Join DAKTARI for a rewarding travel experience and get fully immersed in the South African bush.
WHAT? You will have the opportunity to teach local children about the environment, care for injured or abandoned animals and engage with local communities.
WHO? Anyone who is 18+ years old with a good level of English and motivated to teach children about the environment and wildlife. No teaching experience required!
WHEN? We welcome volunteers all year round, from mid January to mid December.
HOW LONG? You can join us for 1 to 12 weeks. We also take long-term volunteers for 9 to 12 months, click here for more information.
HOW MUCH? Check our rates here!
TEACHING THE CHILDREN
Monday through Friday you will be teaching a group of 8 children, aged 13-15, about ways to protect the environment and its wildlife. Lessons topics are about the ecosystem, wildlife crime and anti-poaching, animal tracks and knowledge, as well as making South Africa a better place!
The lessons begin at 9:00am until 4:30pm, and then we have group talks with the kids about social issues such as safe sex or substance abuse. Some lessons are done in our classroom, others are delivered out in the bush, and all of them are very interactive with a lot of educational activities.
We also make time for fun! You will play games with the children, join them in the pool and dance around the bonfire to their favourite songs!
CARING FOR THE ANIMALS
The animals at DAKTARI are a big part of our education program. Many of the animals we have here cannot be released in the wild as they are injured or require special care. We are able to give them a second life at DAKTARI where they make a big impact.
Many of the children who visit DAKTARI have never seen the local wildlife, but here they get to see these animals for themselves and find their love for the South African wildlife.
As a volunteer you will learn a lot about the different species and help keeping our animals happy and healthy. The activities include cleaning and renovating the enclosures, feeding the animals or providing enrichment.
Are you excited about the orphanage part of DAKTARI, but not so sure you’re the right person to teach the children? Then you can come as an animal volunteer for 4 to 16 weeks!
We are always in need of volunteers who want to help out with taking care of our animals. You will be given a bit more responsibility regarding animal care and will work closely with our animal manager and animal welfare and development manager.
Your activities will include the ‘Big cleans’ of the enclosures, doing animal enrichment, enclosure improvements or maintenance work. No two days at DAKTARI are the same, and you may even end up carrying out basic veterinary care, or hand raising orphaned animals!
You do not need any previous experience to join us as an animal volunteer, just a passion for animals and willing to get stuck in!
ENGAGING WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES
As a volunteer, you will many opportunities to get involved with the local communities around DAKTARI. Twice a week, DAKTARI hosts ECO Club’s at a local school. The ECO CLUB is a voluntary after-school club that the children attend to learn more about the environment. Our volunteers can join DAKTARI’s outreach manager each week to help host the ECO CLUB.
We also work with primary school students during our outreach campaigns about Wildlife Crime. You can join the outreach team every 2 months for 3 days of engaging and fun teaching about the importance of animals for South Africa!
DAKTARI RESERVE AND ACCOMMODATION
DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage is set in a beautiful nature reserve with granite hills and the most stunning views. Leopard, hyena, buffalo, impala, kudu, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe roam freely within our grounds. The camp itself is located in the heart of the reserve and it is here that you will work with the children and enclosed animals. However, you will be going into the reserve to explore the signs of nature around us!
We are located in the middle of the bush and so the camp is rustic, although we do our very best to make sure everyone is kept clean, comfortable, and well fed! So, you will enjoy hot showers, running water, and solar-powered lights in your traditional chalets. You may be sharing your chalet with up to 4 other volunteers (same-sex). Still, everyone has their own bed and space to store clothes and personal items.
Also, there are no plug points in the chalet. Nevertheless, we have an allocated charging station where you can charge all your electronic devices during daylight hours. However, the only items we do not allow are hair dryers and straighteners as they use too much of our solar power.
Laundry is done for everyone each day, with the exception of Sunday. The rooms are cleaned every day and bed sheets changed once a week. Our volunteers are often pleasantly surprised at the nice conditions when they arrive.
FOOD AND MEALS
At DAKTARI, everyone is served three meals a day by our experienced kitchen staff. We can cater to vegetarians and vegans, but gluten free people should bring their own food for the first week and can then stock up during the weekend. Sadly, gluten free food is too expensive for us to be able to provide it without an extra cost.
ARRIVAL AT DAKTARI
All arrivals and departures are on Saturdays only. We can pick you up from the Hoedspruit airport or Hoedspruit town (if you come in with the early shuttle). When you arrive, you will first be given a tour and introduction to DAKTARI. Then you will have Sunday to relax, catch up on rest and get to know the fellow volunteers. Last but not least, you will also have time to prepare for your lessons on Monday.
To sum up, living and working at DAKTARI is very safe and enjoyable provided you respect the rules of the camp.
WEEKENDS AND TIME OFF
On Saturdays, you can take a trip to Hoedspruit with Ian. This gives you the opportunity to do any shopping you might need and a chance to get out of the camp for a while. There are plenty of great restaurants in town to have lunch at too!
You can plan an excursion on Sundays if you like, which is your day off. If you are interested in taking a longer break over the weekend (Friday to Sunday), you are welcome to arrange that with our staff.