Volunteer with Animals and Children in South Africa

Overall rating: 9.4 based on 40 reviews

Program Description

DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage is a registered non-profit organization created in 2006 and located near the Kruger National Park.
Our mission is to educate and inspire local children to value their environment and stimulate community development.

Our projects cover three main areas of focus. Firstly, the onsite Environmental Education program with children at our camp. Secondly, our Wildlife orphanage with rescued animals. Finally, we work with Community surrounding DAKTARI.

Every Monday we welcome a new group of 8 underprivileged children of 12 to 15 from years old from the nearby villages to spend a week at DAKTARI. We give them the opportunity to discover, learn and become passionate about wildlife and conservation. International volunteers teach them lessons about the environment, animal tracks or the ecosystem. The lessons are fun and engaging, and some of them take place in the bush!

DAKTARI’s Wildlife Orphanage is home to many animals that have no chance of being released into the wild. For instance, some of them are injured and need constant care. Others were hand-raised, therefore they cannot survive in the wild. However, we release animals when possible. They play an important role as they are fully part of the environmental education program. Most importantly, these animals serve as ambassadors for the children. You will work with our animals daily by cleaning their enclosures, improving the animal camps..

At DAKTARI, we created a community program to increase our impact to a larger number of people. Therefore, we are able to actively engage with the nearby local villages. We achieve this thanks to our two main programs: the Outreach Campaigns and the Eco Club. We also organise tours for volunteers in the villages. The goal is to empower local people and encourage eco-tourism.1-8 weeks

Highlights

Educate underprivileged children about the environment, anti-poaching and important life skills.
Care for injured and/or orphaned wildlife and help us give them the second chance they deserve.
Get involved with local communities
Discover the South African culture and way of life.
Go on trips and excursions and discover the beauty of South African beyond the gates of our camp.
Become a part of the DAKTARI Family, make friends for life and memories you'll never forget!

Qualifications

No previous teaching experience is needed! We will provide a full teaching program with lessons content, and you will be under supervision of volunteer coordinator.
You will need to speak an intermediate level of English.
Just bring some passion and enthusiasm

Volunteer Types

What`s Included

Your fees include:
Transfers on Saturdays for arrival/departures (Hoedspruit - Camp site)
Three meals per day, tea, coffee, juice
Accommodation including bedding and towels
Laundry
One trip to town per week
Working in the community

Program Locations

Hoedspruit, South Africa

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Overall rating 
9.4
Experience
9.9
Program Administration
9.4
Living Conditions
9.1
Cultural Immersion
9.3
Social Life
9.5
Health and Safety
9.4
Review This Program

Program Details

Provider:
DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage
Location
  • South Africa: Hoedspruit
Terms:
Throughout the year
Program Duration:
Customizable
Languages:
English
Participants:
Worldwide
Cost:
1 Week: 530 GBP / 590 EURO --- 2 Weeks: 870 GBP / 990 EURO --- 3 Weeks: 1300 GBP / 1470 EURO --- 4 Weeks: 1500 GBP / 1700 EURO --- 6 Weeks: 2020 GBP / 2300 EURO --- 8 Weeks: 2540 GBP / 2900 EURO

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  • Dear applicants, we encourage you to leave a personal review if you have ever taken part in this program. Leaving a review will help fellow travelers to decide where to go and which program to go with as they plan their trip abroad.
    Review this program
    I will recommend DAKTARI to anyone that want a life changing experience, with both animals and children, in a pleasant environment. I have now so many good memories, but also animal and nature knowledge.
    And even with a bad covid-19 situation, the staff had made everything so my stay was enjoyable. And I'm so thankful for that !

    (completed in 2021)
    Avatar Joya Moser

    Wonderful experience!

    Review by: Joya Moser , On: 15 Jul 2021, Changed On: 30 Jul 2021 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I will recommend DAKTARI to anyone that want a life changing experience, with both animals and children, in a pleasant environment. I have now so many good memories, but also animal and nature knowledge.
    And even with a bad covid-19 situation, the staff had made everything so my stay was enjoyable. And I'm so thankful for that !

    (completed in 2021)
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    Working with animals (lot of different species) was real pleasure during my stay.
    A little paradise for animals and people. The staff is very kind. The food is delicious.
    The organisation has a very positive impact on the community.
    I would highly recommend DAKTARI as a first volunteer experience.
    Avatar Solene Combes

    Would highly recommend

    Review by: Solene Combes , On: 13 May 2021, Changed On: 20 May 2021 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Working with animals (lot of different species) was real pleasure during my stay.
    A little paradise for animals and people. The staff is very kind. The food is delicious.
    The organisation has a very positive impact on the community.
    I would highly recommend DAKTARI as a first volunteer experience.
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I felt like home at the very first day

    It was fun to take care of the animals and to teach the children

    I would differently come back to this place for sure

    Thank you DAKTARI
    Avatar charlize

    Great experience

    Review by: charlize , On: 29 Apr 2021, Changed On: 29 Apr 2021 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I felt like home at the very first day

    It was fun to take care of the animals and to teach the children

    I would differently come back to this place for sure

    Thank you DAKTARI
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    Volunteering at Daktari was amazing i really enjoyed working with the animals and the people from the nearby village. the experience was great the atmosphere was nice the staff and the founders were really great
    Avatar Hlulani

    great experience

    Review by: Hlulani , On: 08 Nov 2019, Changed On: 08 Nov 2019 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Volunteering at Daktari was amazing i really enjoyed working with the animals and the people from the nearby village. the experience was great the atmosphere was nice the staff and the founders were really great
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    Great. It was great to see the impact on the kids and their enthusiasm. the experience of sharing with the kids is really interesting and the arrival of children of the village was amazing. The accommodation and the food are really great and the staff is always available for us.
    Avatar stefani

    Daktari: The experience of a lifetime

    Review by: stefani , On: 11 Oct 2019, Changed On: 01 Nov 2019 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Great. It was great to see the impact on the kids and their enthusiasm. the experience of sharing with the kids is really interesting and the arrival of children of the village was amazing. The accommodation and the food are really great and the staff is always available for us.
    Overall rating 
    9.7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    10
    My few months at Daktari have been some of the most memorable few months of my life. I woke up every morning surrounded by nature, feeling as though I was making a difference in the lives of the children as well as the animals. I've met some of the most incredible people over the past two months from all over the world that will remain friends for a long time to come. Daktari has given me that opportunity. I've learned so much from understanding the differences and the similarities in people from different areas that will certainly help me in the future. From the food to the work to the accommodation, I wouldn't want it any other way than it was. Daktari has everything you need to be comfortable, but still has a necessary rustic bush feel to the camp. I wouldn't change a second of my stay. By the end it started to really feel as though it was home, and it's been very difficult to leave. I'm honoured to have volunteered at Daktari and it will be something I'll never forget. Much love for everyone involved with this organization.
    Avatar Julian Ruemenapp

    Unforgettable few months

    Review by: Julian Ruemenapp , On: 22 Mar 2019, Changed On: 22 Mar 2019 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    My few months at Daktari have been some of the most memorable few months of my life. I woke up every morning surrounded by nature, feeling as though I was making a difference in the lives of the children as well as the animals. I've met some of the most incredible people over the past two months from all over the world that will remain friends for a long time to come. Daktari has given me that opportunity. I've learned so much from understanding the differences and the similarities in people from different areas that will certainly help me in the future. From the food to the work to the accommodation, I wouldn't want it any other way than it was. Daktari has everything you need to be comfortable, but still has a necessary rustic bush feel to the camp. I wouldn't change a second of my stay. By the end it started to really feel as though it was home, and it's been very difficult to leave. I'm honoured to have volunteered at Daktari and it will be something I'll never forget. Much love for everyone involved with this organization.
    Overall rating 
    9
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    This is a beautiful and unforgettable volunteer, because you can have the chance to live and learn a lot of the children that come to Daktari, of the staff and people who works in the place, of the volunteers and also of the animals.
    This volunteer can give you the opportunity to learn about the culture of the people of southafrica and other countries, and also makes you realize the duty that we have as human beens to take care of our environment, of our animal and of other people that needs our help.
    Avatar Antonia Martino

    Daktari: un unforgettable experience

    Review by: Antonia Martino , On: 07 Feb 2019, Changed On: 07 Feb 2019 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    This is a beautiful and unforgettable volunteer, because you can have the chance to live and learn a lot of the children that come to Daktari, of the staff and people who works in the place, of the volunteers and also of the animals.
    This volunteer can give you the opportunity to learn about the culture of the people of southafrica and other countries, and also makes you realize the duty that we have as human beens to take care of our environment, of our animal and of other people that needs our help.
    Overall rating 
    9.3
    Experience
    8
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    It has been a wonderful time to work and help at Daktari for those 2 weeks, I have been very welcomed since the beginning by Pretty at first, and Patience, Nodia and the whole permanently staff.
    I really felt the impact and difference for the kids at the end of the week, through the lessons (be respectful, safe sex, environment, animals in South Africa and so on), our talks, our spared time together. I really open that this experience will stay in their mind and it will be useful in their future.
    For the animal part, I would recommend to have bigger cages for each wild animal (caracal, genet, cheetah, wild dog, owls and eagles, ect.) especially that I think they they have enough space in the reserve. The animals would be more comfortable to create an environment close to their (even if they do not hunt, they need space as a wild animal, like horses, cows, ect.)
    In any case, I would recommend Daktari!
    Avatar Marina Martini Caldas

    Best volunteer time ever!

    Review by: Marina Martini Caldas , On: 31 Jan 2019, Changed On: 31 Jan 2019 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    It has been a wonderful time to work and help at Daktari for those 2 weeks, I have been very welcomed since the beginning by Pretty at first, and Patience, Nodia and the whole permanently staff.
    I really felt the impact and difference for the kids at the end of the week, through the lessons (be respectful, safe sex, environment, animals in South Africa and so on), our talks, our spared time together. I really open that this experience will stay in their mind and it will be useful in their future.
    For the animal part, I would recommend to have bigger cages for each wild animal (caracal, genet, cheetah, wild dog, owls and eagles, ect.) especially that I think they they have enough space in the reserve. The animals would be more comfortable to create an environment close to their (even if they do not hunt, they need space as a wild animal, like horses, cows, ect.)
    In any case, I would recommend Daktari!
    Overall rating 
    8.7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    6
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    8
    Lovely place, beautiful animals, lovely staff, delicious food, and you feel like you're really making a difference. One of the best experiences I've ever had, and would recommend it to anybody.
    Avatar Harry Morgan-Grenville

    Best experience of my life

    Review by: Harry Morgan-Grenville , On: 20 Sep 2018, Changed On: 20 Sep 2018 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Lovely place, beautiful animals, lovely staff, delicious food, and you feel like you're really making a difference. One of the best experiences I've ever had, and would recommend it to anybody.
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    For four weeks I did voluntary work at Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage. It was amazing! The way in which animal care and education is combined is special. The founders of Daktari dedicate their lives to the project. Their strategy, including the eco-club and Job Hunting Program, has a real impact on the lives of not only the children who attend classes, but also on the villages where these children live.
    At Dakatari you are welcome, safe and well cared for. The way Michele and Ian and their staff make you feel at home is very special. The solidarity between the volunteers, staff and founders is fantastic.
    I can recommend everyone to do voluntary work at Daktari!
    Avatar Marjo Kommeren

    Amazing

    Review by: Marjo Kommeren , On: 31 Aug 2018, Changed On: 31 Aug 2018 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    For four weeks I did voluntary work at Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage. It was amazing! The way in which animal care and education is combined is special. The founders of Daktari dedicate their lives to the project. Their strategy, including the eco-club and Job Hunting Program, has a real impact on the lives of not only the children who attend classes, but also on the villages where these children live.
    At Dakatari you are welcome, safe and well cared for. The way Michele and Ian and their staff make you feel at home is very special. The solidarity between the volunteers, staff and founders is fantastic.
    I can recommend everyone to do voluntary work at Daktari!
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I stayed at Daktari during 3 weeks from end October to mid November 2016. This was not my first holiday volunteering but Daktari provided me with a unique opportunity to both bring some of my experience to children and to be surrounded by nature and animals.

    Each Monday 8 children aged 12-13 year old came from local villages to spend the week with us. Our days were organised around giving lessons to the children (mostly linked to the environment) and taking care of the animals (meerkats, mongoose, eagles, wild dogs etc.). The programme of lessons is very well prepared and detailed but Daktari is always keen for volunteers to bring their own experience and personality, and improve it if necessary. Depending on the number of volunteers present, we usually led with another volunteer a couple of lessons a day (which we chose the day before) and attended the other lessons in order to bring one on one support to the children. We also had more relaxed talks with the children on topics such as respect, substance abuse and safe sex and played board games. Overall the days were quite busy but you have some breaks to relax. There was no obligation to attend all the activities but most volunteers wanted to help and spend as much time as possible with the children. A volunteer coordinator attended most of the lessons and helped with the organisation and translation in case the children struggle to understand in English.

    Daktari is situated in the middle of a game reserve which makes it a unique location too. You are surrounded by the bush and the sound of animals. This is a place where you feel very quickly at home and relaxed. The accommodation (chalets) was comfortable and to my surprise, we had hot water everyday! The food was very good too (and I'm French) and you don't have to drop bad habits like smoking (there is a nice quiet area for smokers) and drinking (for a cheap price too). There was a really nice atmosphere among the volunteers who came from everywhere.

    Every Saturday we had the opportunity to go to the nearest town for shopping. I also spent an amazing week end in the Kruger Park with Greg, our guide, and 3 other volunteers. Visiting the park in a small group and accompanied by somebody like Greg who has a great deal of knowledge and passion about the animals is something you'll experience nowhere else. Greg also offers other types of day or week end excursions for Daktari.
    In short, I had an unique and amazing experience at Daktari and guess what... I'm already planning to go back there for a longer period...
    Avatar Peraudeau

    Stunning 3 weeks at Daktari

    Review by: Peraudeau , On: 09 Dec 2016, Changed On: 09 Dec 2016 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I stayed at Daktari during 3 weeks from end October to mid November 2016. This was not my first holiday volunteering but Daktari provided me with a unique opportunity to both bring some of my experience to children and to be surrounded by nature and animals.

    Each Monday 8 children aged 12-13 year old came from local villages to spend the week with us. Our days were organised around giving lessons to the children (mostly linked to the environment) and taking care of the animals (meerkats, mongoose, eagles, wild dogs etc.). The programme of lessons is very well prepared and detailed but Daktari is always keen for volunteers to bring their own experience and personality, and improve it if necessary. Depending on the number of volunteers present, we usually led with another volunteer a couple of lessons a day (which we chose the day before) and attended the other lessons in order to bring one on one support to the children. We also had more relaxed talks with the children on topics such as respect, substance abuse and safe sex and played board games. Overall the days were quite busy but you have some breaks to relax. There was no obligation to attend all the activities but most volunteers wanted to help and spend as much time as possible with the children. A volunteer coordinator attended most of the lessons and helped with the organisation and translation in case the children struggle to understand in English.

    Daktari is situated in the middle of a game reserve which makes it a unique location too. You are surrounded by the bush and the sound of animals. This is a place where you feel very quickly at home and relaxed. The accommodation (chalets) was comfortable and to my surprise, we had hot water everyday! The food was very good too (and I'm French) and you don't have to drop bad habits like smoking (there is a nice quiet area for smokers) and drinking (for a cheap price too). There was a really nice atmosphere among the volunteers who came from everywhere.

    Every Saturday we had the opportunity to go to the nearest town for shopping. I also spent an amazing week end in the Kruger Park with Greg, our guide, and 3 other volunteers. Visiting the park in a small group and accompanied by somebody like Greg who has a great deal of knowledge and passion about the animals is something you'll experience nowhere else. Greg also offers other types of day or week end excursions for Daktari.
    In short, I had an unique and amazing experience at Daktari and guess what... I'm already planning to go back there for a longer period...
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I have had the most amazing month at Daktari! Daktari is such a great project, what they do is amazing! I've always wanted to go and volunteer in Africa but I wasn't sure if I wanted to find a project with animals or with people and this was just such a good combination, I immediately knew this was it!
    My first week, the group of kids we got were amazing! They were a little shy in the beginning because this is such a new experience for them. For most, it was the first time they went away from home for that long. But very quickly the kids opened up to us. They were so enthusiastic to learn! You can tell they're not used to having people actually ask them questions and pay attention to them in class.
    In the beginning of the week we take a survey with each kid with questions about animals, the environment, safe sex, respect,... all the topics we teach about in the week. On Friday we take the survey again and we can see how much they improved. A girl there my first week went from 2/16 to 14/16! All the kids improve and grow so much! Not only pure knowledge, but also their English, their confidence,...
    The animal part was amazing as well! My first night I hardly slept because of all the noises; owls, ostrich, dogs, donkey, squirrels,... But I got used to it so quick and now it's weird to be back home and to hear cars and plains at night! Every day you do stabling twice a day; preparing food, cleaning out the cages, giving clean water,... There was also an orphaned baby nyala we had to take care of while I was there which was such an amazing experience! It's also good to know that all the animals at Daktari are there for a reason! That was something we really tried to teach the kids as well; protecting the animals doesn't mean putting them into cages if they can live in the wild!
    On Friday afternoon and in the weekends you have free time and there are lots of trips and excursions to take! Me and another volunteer Beccy, went to the Blyde River Canyon with Gregg. Not very cheap but definitely cheaper than a tour with a company, and Gregg knows so much about the area, the animals, the history! We also went and did a homestay in the Oaks village to really get immersed in the culture! I was also very lucky and joined the students of the week (each week the volunteers choose a student of the week; someone who improved the most and has shown the most interest. They win a free game drive) for their game drive to Kruger! We saw so many animals and all the Big 5 except for a leopard!
    Last but not least, the people there, staff and long-terms and Michele and Ian are so wonderful! They have been so sweet!
    I would highly recommend this project, you'll have the time of your life!
    Avatar Shana Van Dyck

    Such an amazing project with the loveliest people!

    Review by: Shana Van Dyck , On: 12 Oct 2016, Changed On: 12 Oct 2016 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I have had the most amazing month at Daktari! Daktari is such a great project, what they do is amazing! I've always wanted to go and volunteer in Africa but I wasn't sure if I wanted to find a project with animals or with people and this was just such a good combination, I immediately knew this was it!
    My first week, the group of kids we got were amazing! They were a little shy in the beginning because this is such a new experience for them. For most, it was the first time they went away from home for that long. But very quickly the kids opened up to us. They were so enthusiastic to learn! You can tell they're not used to having people actually ask them questions and pay attention to them in class.
    In the beginning of the week we take a survey with each kid with questions about animals, the environment, safe sex, respect,... all the topics we teach about in the week. On Friday we take the survey again and we can see how much they improved. A girl there my first week went from 2/16 to 14/16! All the kids improve and grow so much! Not only pure knowledge, but also their English, their confidence,...
    The animal part was amazing as well! My first night I hardly slept because of all the noises; owls, ostrich, dogs, donkey, squirrels,... But I got used to it so quick and now it's weird to be back home and to hear cars and plains at night! Every day you do stabling twice a day; preparing food, cleaning out the cages, giving clean water,... There was also an orphaned baby nyala we had to take care of while I was there which was such an amazing experience! It's also good to know that all the animals at Daktari are there for a reason! That was something we really tried to teach the kids as well; protecting the animals doesn't mean putting them into cages if they can live in the wild!
    On Friday afternoon and in the weekends you have free time and there are lots of trips and excursions to take! Me and another volunteer Beccy, went to the Blyde River Canyon with Gregg. Not very cheap but definitely cheaper than a tour with a company, and Gregg knows so much about the area, the animals, the history! We also went and did a homestay in the Oaks village to really get immersed in the culture! I was also very lucky and joined the students of the week (each week the volunteers choose a student of the week; someone who improved the most and has shown the most interest. They win a free game drive) for their game drive to Kruger! We saw so many animals and all the Big 5 except for a leopard!
    Last but not least, the people there, staff and long-terms and Michele and Ian are so wonderful! They have been so sweet!
    I would highly recommend this project, you'll have the time of your life!
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    As parents, we wanted to show our teenage sons the beauty of the South African bush with its animals - but not by sitting in a touristy jeep and viewing "the Big Five" animals from a distance... . Instead, we chose this volunteer experience which was the best family adventure we have ever had.

    The staff is warm, knowlegable and generous with their time. Sonja and Mika educate and explain patiently how the DAKTARI OUTREACH program into the local Community functions, for example. Patience, who overseens the Daily Operations and "task distribution" as well as Will, the Animal Manager, all instructed us "volunteers". Our teenage boys (17 and 15) were put into teaching situations which gave them confidence and simultaneously taught them about the ongoing current issues of poaching, environmental protection, AIDS, etc. in South Africa. it was an insightful and incredibly enriching adventure!

    This type of vacation is for curious, flexible and adaptable persons, who like to engage with others, are hard workers who seek to make their contribution to help spark dreams in some of the South African Children at the Camp. It was the most rewarding experience we've ever done as a family!
    Avatar Simone-Eva Redrupp-Durand

    Daktari Volunteer Program : a great family adventure!

    Review by: Simone-Eva Redrupp-Durand , On: 02 Sep 2016, Changed On: 02 Sep 2016 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    As parents, we wanted to show our teenage sons the beauty of the South African bush with its animals - but not by sitting in a touristy jeep and viewing "the Big Five" animals from a distance... . Instead, we chose this volunteer experience which was the best family adventure we have ever had.

    The staff is warm, knowlegable and generous with their time. Sonja and Mika educate and explain patiently how the DAKTARI OUTREACH program into the local Community functions, for example. Patience, who overseens the Daily Operations and "task distribution" as well as Will, the Animal Manager, all instructed us "volunteers". Our teenage boys (17 and 15) were put into teaching situations which gave them confidence and simultaneously taught them about the ongoing current issues of poaching, environmental protection, AIDS, etc. in South Africa. it was an insightful and incredibly enriching adventure!

    This type of vacation is for curious, flexible and adaptable persons, who like to engage with others, are hard workers who seek to make their contribution to help spark dreams in some of the South African Children at the Camp. It was the most rewarding experience we've ever done as a family!
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    First of all, I want to say a massive thank you to everyone at Daktari for an incredible two weeks which I will never forget! As a primary school teacher, I wanted to find a productive way to spend my summer holidays, and Daktari Bush School seemed like the perfect way to spend a couple of weeks; teaching local children and working with animals.
    I was a little nervous when I first arrived as this was my first time travelling solo, but I soon realised I had no reason to be! Ian was there at the airport to greet myself and another volunteer, and he immediately made us feel welcome. He even stopped the car a few times on the way back to show us the giraffes and other animals! Arriving at Daktari, the warm welcome continued and it seemed like Ian and Michele had created a proper little Daktari family. After settling in, we were invited to join the other volunteers on an overnight safari, organised by Greg, which was such a fantastic experience and allowed me to bond with the other volunteers before the children arrived, and get a real taste of Africa.
    At the start of both weeks, the children were so shy and quiet, but it was fantastic to see them growing in confidence and knowledge as the week progressed. By the time Thursday rolled around, we were all toasting marshmallows on the bonfire, with the children teaching us different songs, chants and dances.
    The teaching programme at Daktari covered so many areas in such a short space of time, but it managed to do it in a way that kept the children engaged and motivated. As volunteers, we were encouraged to improve the lessons, so we worked on the existing knowledge hunt lesson to create a challenging scavenger hunt. The children got incredibly competitive running around the camp looking for the clues, and it was great to see them helping the other children in their team.
    I was also given the opportunity to visit a local crèche as part of Daktari’s outreach programme and teach a lesson to the 3-4 year olds. It was a real eye opener, and such a contrast from my school back in England.
    All in all, I have had such a fantastic experience at Daktari, and my only regret was that it didn’t last longer! It’s incredible what Ian and Michele have achieved at Daktari in 10 years, and it’s clear the impact it has on the children, animals, local communities, and the volunteers who visit. I cannot recommend it enough, and I hope very much to visit again in the not too distant future!
    Avatar Sophie Boulter

    A fantastic experience I will never forget!

    Review by: Sophie Boulter , On: 29 Aug 2016, Changed On: 29 Aug 2016 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    First of all, I want to say a massive thank you to everyone at Daktari for an incredible two weeks which I will never forget! As a primary school teacher, I wanted to find a productive way to spend my summer holidays, and Daktari Bush School seemed like the perfect way to spend a couple of weeks; teaching local children and working with animals.
    I was a little nervous when I first arrived as this was my first time travelling solo, but I soon realised I had no reason to be! Ian was there at the airport to greet myself and another volunteer, and he immediately made us feel welcome. He even stopped the car a few times on the way back to show us the giraffes and other animals! Arriving at Daktari, the warm welcome continued and it seemed like Ian and Michele had created a proper little Daktari family. After settling in, we were invited to join the other volunteers on an overnight safari, organised by Greg, which was such a fantastic experience and allowed me to bond with the other volunteers before the children arrived, and get a real taste of Africa.
    At the start of both weeks, the children were so shy and quiet, but it was fantastic to see them growing in confidence and knowledge as the week progressed. By the time Thursday rolled around, we were all toasting marshmallows on the bonfire, with the children teaching us different songs, chants and dances.
    The teaching programme at Daktari covered so many areas in such a short space of time, but it managed to do it in a way that kept the children engaged and motivated. As volunteers, we were encouraged to improve the lessons, so we worked on the existing knowledge hunt lesson to create a challenging scavenger hunt. The children got incredibly competitive running around the camp looking for the clues, and it was great to see them helping the other children in their team.
    I was also given the opportunity to visit a local crèche as part of Daktari’s outreach programme and teach a lesson to the 3-4 year olds. It was a real eye opener, and such a contrast from my school back in England.
    All in all, I have had such a fantastic experience at Daktari, and my only regret was that it didn’t last longer! It’s incredible what Ian and Michele have achieved at Daktari in 10 years, and it’s clear the impact it has on the children, animals, local communities, and the volunteers who visit. I cannot recommend it enough, and I hope very much to visit again in the not too distant future!
    Overall rating 
    9.7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    My summer at DAKTARI primarily consisted of teaching local children and working with orphaned African wildlife. Working with local children proved to be the largest interaction while working at DAKTARI as students would come for five days a week and we would work with them from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M. each day. We would teach the students different subjects related to the environment and eco-tourism with some lessons touching on making South Africa a better place, safe sex, respect, and substance abuse. The schedule for working with the children was very similar to that of an educational summer camp, and also involved the children and volunteers with the care taking of animals kept within enclosures around DAKTARI's camp. Taking care of the animals consisted of cleaning their enclosures and feeding and watering them every day. At times, volunteers created projects to enhance the animal enclosures and would work on those projects when students were not at DAKTARI. There were also opportunities for volunteers to go on excursions during the weekends, where every Saturday volunteers could go into town or go on other excursions such as hot air balloon tours, trips to Kruger National Park and to different wildlife centers around Hoedspruit. I had a wonderful time and would recommend looking into DAKTARI as a possible volunteering opportunity. Be prepared to work, as it can be a demanding and tiring job at times. While I worked at DAKTARI some issues arose between volunteers and managerial staff where views did not align at times, and jokes could be off-color, but the long term volunteers were great to discuss these issues with. DAKTARI gave me a wonderful, life changing experience and really opened my eyes to the world outside of the United States. I could have never predicted what the experience was like and the African bush was truly breath-taking. I greatly enjoyed working with the local children, they were very fun to teach and to play games around the camp with. I enjoyed working with all of the other volunteers and I am so glad that I met all of the long term volunteers, all of which are wonderful people and great company around a dinner table. I hope DAKTARI continues to touch the lives of the locals and to make a difference in how the environment is perceived in Africa.
    Avatar John Stanton

    DAKTARI Summer Experience

    Review by: John Stanton , On: 22 Aug 2016, Changed On: 22 Aug 2016 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    My summer at DAKTARI primarily consisted of teaching local children and working with orphaned African wildlife. Working with local children proved to be the largest interaction while working at DAKTARI as students would come for five days a week and we would work with them from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M. each day. We would teach the students different subjects related to the environment and eco-tourism with some lessons touching on making South Africa a better place, safe sex, respect, and substance abuse. The schedule for working with the children was very similar to that of an educational summer camp, and also involved the children and volunteers with the care taking of animals kept within enclosures around DAKTARI's camp. Taking care of the animals consisted of cleaning their enclosures and feeding and watering them every day. At times, volunteers created projects to enhance the animal enclosures and would work on those projects when students were not at DAKTARI. There were also opportunities for volunteers to go on excursions during the weekends, where every Saturday volunteers could go into town or go on other excursions such as hot air balloon tours, trips to Kruger National Park and to different wildlife centers around Hoedspruit. I had a wonderful time and would recommend looking into DAKTARI as a possible volunteering opportunity. Be prepared to work, as it can be a demanding and tiring job at times. While I worked at DAKTARI some issues arose between volunteers and managerial staff where views did not align at times, and jokes could be off-color, but the long term volunteers were great to discuss these issues with. DAKTARI gave me a wonderful, life changing experience and really opened my eyes to the world outside of the United States. I could have never predicted what the experience was like and the African bush was truly breath-taking. I greatly enjoyed working with the local children, they were very fun to teach and to play games around the camp with. I enjoyed working with all of the other volunteers and I am so glad that I met all of the long term volunteers, all of which are wonderful people and great company around a dinner table. I hope DAKTARI continues to touch the lives of the locals and to make a difference in how the environment is perceived in Africa.
    Overall rating 
    8.3
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    6
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    6
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    My four weeks I spent at Daktari is, and will always be one of the best experiences I have ever had! If you love animals and kids this is the perfect volunteer programme for you! From the moment I arrived at Daktari and met everyone I was made to feel so welcome within their family atmosphere and the location of the camp is beautiful, the fact you can be sitting chatting and a Bushbuck can come wandering up to talk to you is just an incredible. The accommodation was ideal and I was surprised at how comfortable it was despite the fact you are out in the middle of the bush. My first day of teaching the children I was so nervous but the kids are so great and enthusiastic that they make it easy and it was actually really fun. We had such a great time with them, especially on Thursday evening's when we had our bonfire where we sang and danced around the fire, everyone is in such great spirits! Each group of children we had at Daktari were great, along with those we got to meet in the local schools, we all had so many great laughs together. For me that loves animals, being surrounded by some of the most beautiful creatures, as well as looking after them, was literally a dream come true. I also had the opportunity to do a home stay at the local village with a great family where I was made so welcome, and to experience their culture and their daily lives is fantastic, I would highly recommend it! I have so many brilliant memories from my time in South Africa, and I met some of the most amazing people! I couldn't recommend Daktari enough it is one of the greatest places I have been lucky enough to have been to, which I would go back to in a heartbeat!
    Avatar Jodie Clark

    My time at Daktari

    Review by: Jodie Clark , On: 18 Jan 2016, Changed On: 18 Jan 2016 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    My four weeks I spent at Daktari is, and will always be one of the best experiences I have ever had! If you love animals and kids this is the perfect volunteer programme for you! From the moment I arrived at Daktari and met everyone I was made to feel so welcome within their family atmosphere and the location of the camp is beautiful, the fact you can be sitting chatting and a Bushbuck can come wandering up to talk to you is just an incredible. The accommodation was ideal and I was surprised at how comfortable it was despite the fact you are out in the middle of the bush. My first day of teaching the children I was so nervous but the kids are so great and enthusiastic that they make it easy and it was actually really fun. We had such a great time with them, especially on Thursday evening's when we had our bonfire where we sang and danced around the fire, everyone is in such great spirits! Each group of children we had at Daktari were great, along with those we got to meet in the local schools, we all had so many great laughs together. For me that loves animals, being surrounded by some of the most beautiful creatures, as well as looking after them, was literally a dream come true. I also had the opportunity to do a home stay at the local village with a great family where I was made so welcome, and to experience their culture and their daily lives is fantastic, I would highly recommend it! I have so many brilliant memories from my time in South Africa, and I met some of the most amazing people! I couldn't recommend Daktari enough it is one of the greatest places I have been lucky enough to have been to, which I would go back to in a heartbeat!
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    A couple of years ago, I watched a documentary on the French television about Daktari.
    I had been thinking for a while to do something different during my holidays, and this year was the year!

    I have had the chance to spend 3 weeks at Daktari and take part in the Alternative Teaching Program, as we welcomed older students from the nearby community.
    Very fast I was asked to lead a class and, although I did not have a teaching experience, the fact that I am in my mid-forties (with a bit more work and life experience than the other volunteers) was an advantage as I could share my own experiences.

    Throughout the week, we helped the students writing a CV, creating a cover letter, practicing job interviews. We talked about the job opportunities in the tourism industry as, surprisingly, they actually don’t know much about them, as most of the students are not in contact with the tourists visiting South Africa. The visit to the nearby Big Five reserve was one of the highlights of my stay. Not only did we have the chance to see a leopard on our way, the students had the opportunity to talk to some of the managers of the reserve who explained their daily tasks and how they got there. It was very motivating! We visited the workshop, the kitchen, housekeeping and talked to the camp manager.

    Back at Daktari, we also worked with the students on their presentation and debating skills. We had a lot of fun during the debate on ‘Girls are better students than boys’, where the boys had to defend the statement and the girls had to disagree! The other debate we had fun with was on ‘Marriage to more than one person should be legal’. During the exercise, the students came with strong opinions to express their agreement or disagreement.

    The rest of the week, we stuck to the normal teaching program. We talked about Plastic and the environment, and I even learned a few things! This is why I love being part of a community with volunteers coming from all horizons, having different backgrounds and coming from all over the world. You learn so much!

    We tried to illustrate as much as possible the class, using for example the video of the Harley Davidson that was washed away by the tsunami in Japan and found more than a year later on a beach in Canada, to explain how far plastic or rubbish can travel in the ocean.
    Also we made drawings to explain the different cycles (breathing, water, life) and the consequences if something went wrong. If the local community doesn’t take care of the animals and the environment, tourists will no longer go to South Africa, reducing job opportunities in their area but it might also impact my job in Belgium as I work in the airline business. We live in a world where everything is connected.

    I must confess, it has not always been easy. First, at the beginning of the week, the students were shy but after playing a game at the end of the first evening or playing football in the early morning, they opened up. Also taking care of the animals brought us together.
    Secondly, some of the problems the community is facing are tough. During the social talks, we talked about difficult topics related to respect, culture and traditions (like forced marriage, rape and poaching). The students were asking for some advice and it is so difficult when you don’t have an answer to give them and when you have to tell them that sometimes they will have to choose between bad or worse, to be silent or to stand up and in this case to be ready to cut ties with some people (as they might not believe or understand you or minimize the problem). Reporting a crime is not that easy, and easier said than done, especially if it concerns somebody you are close to or if you expect retaliation…
    I thought it was important to show the video of Lady Gaga ‘Til it happens to you’. This song is directed to victims of rape - but when you hear the lyrics, it can be addressed to anybody who has been emotionally or physically abused or has suffered any kind of pain whether it is harassment, bullying, depression, drugs, alcohol, losing someone, failing at something, being humiliated, being betrayed...
    We debated amongst the volunteers about whether we should show or not the video as the content is pretty violent and we decided to show it. To be honest, I was actually unsettled (and not the only one) by the reaction of some of the students who thought the video was ‘cool’. It was not the reaction we had expected on such a difficult topic. Obviously the message ‘Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels’ didn’t get through. Rape is a scourge that is minimised and victims are not recognised as such. There is still a lot to do in this area to make them realize how much damage such an event can have in someone’s life.

    Anyway, at the end of a very busy week, it was heart-breaking to see the students go. They had become our friends and I want to know what they will become in the future. Hopefully we will stay in touch.

    I only made a small contribution but I hope that for some of the students I made the difference. One of them told me I was ‘inspiring’, another one said I was ‘motivating’. I wanted them to become ambassadors, to teach their community what they have learned at Daktari because I believe in education.
    I also found out, through the comments of the other volunteers that I was good at teaching and they were impressed about all the stuff I knew. I like to keep myself informed because knowledge, just like education, is power.

    To finish, I was really happy when Daktari gave Patience and Thato a job. They were both very shy at the beginning of the week but they have really grown during the week and increased their self-confidence.

    The students just need a little push and that is what Daktari and the volunteers are striving. We want to educate and make sure the students act responsible and think long term and create awareness of animal welfare. Their future is now in their hands!

    It was definitely an incredible and unforgettable experience!
    Keep on the good work!
    Avatar Brigitte Herman

    An incredible and unforgettable experience @ Daktari!

    Review by: Brigitte Herman , On: 10 Jan 2016, Changed On: 10 Jan 2016 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    A couple of years ago, I watched a documentary on the French television about Daktari.
    I had been thinking for a while to do something different during my holidays, and this year was the year!

    I have had the chance to spend 3 weeks at Daktari and take part in the Alternative Teaching Program, as we welcomed older students from the nearby community.
    Very fast I was asked to lead a class and, although I did not have a teaching experience, the fact that I am in my mid-forties (with a bit more work and life experience than the other volunteers) was an advantage as I could share my own experiences.

    Throughout the week, we helped the students writing a CV, creating a cover letter, practicing job interviews. We talked about the job opportunities in the tourism industry as, surprisingly, they actually don’t know much about them, as most of the students are not in contact with the tourists visiting South Africa. The visit to the nearby Big Five reserve was one of the highlights of my stay. Not only did we have the chance to see a leopard on our way, the students had the opportunity to talk to some of the managers of the reserve who explained their daily tasks and how they got there. It was very motivating! We visited the workshop, the kitchen, housekeeping and talked to the camp manager.

    Back at Daktari, we also worked with the students on their presentation and debating skills. We had a lot of fun during the debate on ‘Girls are better students than boys’, where the boys had to defend the statement and the girls had to disagree! The other debate we had fun with was on ‘Marriage to more than one person should be legal’. During the exercise, the students came with strong opinions to express their agreement or disagreement.

    The rest of the week, we stuck to the normal teaching program. We talked about Plastic and the environment, and I even learned a few things! This is why I love being part of a community with volunteers coming from all horizons, having different backgrounds and coming from all over the world. You learn so much!

    We tried to illustrate as much as possible the class, using for example the video of the Harley Davidson that was washed away by the tsunami in Japan and found more than a year later on a beach in Canada, to explain how far plastic or rubbish can travel in the ocean.
    Also we made drawings to explain the different cycles (breathing, water, life) and the consequences if something went wrong. If the local community doesn’t take care of the animals and the environment, tourists will no longer go to South Africa, reducing job opportunities in their area but it might also impact my job in Belgium as I work in the airline business. We live in a world where everything is connected.

    I must confess, it has not always been easy. First, at the beginning of the week, the students were shy but after playing a game at the end of the first evening or playing football in the early morning, they opened up. Also taking care of the animals brought us together.
    Secondly, some of the problems the community is facing are tough. During the social talks, we talked about difficult topics related to respect, culture and traditions (like forced marriage, rape and poaching). The students were asking for some advice and it is so difficult when you don’t have an answer to give them and when you have to tell them that sometimes they will have to choose between bad or worse, to be silent or to stand up and in this case to be ready to cut ties with some people (as they might not believe or understand you or minimize the problem). Reporting a crime is not that easy, and easier said than done, especially if it concerns somebody you are close to or if you expect retaliation…
    I thought it was important to show the video of Lady Gaga ‘Til it happens to you’. This song is directed to victims of rape - but when you hear the lyrics, it can be addressed to anybody who has been emotionally or physically abused or has suffered any kind of pain whether it is harassment, bullying, depression, drugs, alcohol, losing someone, failing at something, being humiliated, being betrayed...
    We debated amongst the volunteers about whether we should show or not the video as the content is pretty violent and we decided to show it. To be honest, I was actually unsettled (and not the only one) by the reaction of some of the students who thought the video was ‘cool’. It was not the reaction we had expected on such a difficult topic. Obviously the message ‘Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels’ didn’t get through. Rape is a scourge that is minimised and victims are not recognised as such. There is still a lot to do in this area to make them realize how much damage such an event can have in someone’s life.

    Anyway, at the end of a very busy week, it was heart-breaking to see the students go. They had become our friends and I want to know what they will become in the future. Hopefully we will stay in touch.

    I only made a small contribution but I hope that for some of the students I made the difference. One of them told me I was ‘inspiring’, another one said I was ‘motivating’. I wanted them to become ambassadors, to teach their community what they have learned at Daktari because I believe in education.
    I also found out, through the comments of the other volunteers that I was good at teaching and they were impressed about all the stuff I knew. I like to keep myself informed because knowledge, just like education, is power.

    To finish, I was really happy when Daktari gave Patience and Thato a job. They were both very shy at the beginning of the week but they have really grown during the week and increased their self-confidence.

    The students just need a little push and that is what Daktari and the volunteers are striving. We want to educate and make sure the students act responsible and think long term and create awareness of animal welfare. Their future is now in their hands!

    It was definitely an incredible and unforgettable experience!
    Keep on the good work!
    Overall rating 
    9.7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    10
    Staying at Daktari was such a great experience for me. I was impressed of the amazing people who made me feel welcome. I didn’t need previous knowlege to teach the chiledren and to take care about the animals I could easily handle it, because of the good introduction of the Daktari team.

    Ian and Michelle are just like caring parents for the children, animals, the staff and volunteers.
    I had the feeling to really make something useful for the the children and the animals.
    I enjoed showing them the real world and the real south africa.

    Reflecting the time in africa I really miss the beatiful landscape of Daktari, the morning Dogwalk, the colourful sunset, the run to „Leopard Rock“, singing and sitting around the ,,Bonfire’’ and last but not least the people from Daktari.

    A big thank you to all the people who made my visit at Daktari unforgettable.

    Best wishes

    Sabrina from Germany
    Avatar Sabrina Richter

    Unforgettable time in Daktari

    Review by: Sabrina Richter , On: 30 Dec 2015, Changed On: 30 Dec 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Staying at Daktari was such a great experience for me. I was impressed of the amazing people who made me feel welcome. I didn’t need previous knowlege to teach the chiledren and to take care about the animals I could easily handle it, because of the good introduction of the Daktari team.

    Ian and Michelle are just like caring parents for the children, animals, the staff and volunteers.
    I had the feeling to really make something useful for the the children and the animals.
    I enjoed showing them the real world and the real south africa.

    Reflecting the time in africa I really miss the beatiful landscape of Daktari, the morning Dogwalk, the colourful sunset, the run to „Leopard Rock“, singing and sitting around the ,,Bonfire’’ and last but not least the people from Daktari.

    A big thank you to all the people who made my visit at Daktari unforgettable.

    Best wishes

    Sabrina from Germany
    Overall rating 
    9.3
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    Ever since I first visited Daktari (over 9 years ago, not as a volunteer but as a friend) I made a promise to myself that I will come back but as a volunteer.
    I finally did and it was even better than I imagined. I spent three weeks at Daktari teaching children, looking after the animals living there and mostly laughing and having fun with the other volunteers. The whole team at Daktari are great, they made me feel at home even before putting down my bags.
    The work that is done at daktari is amazing, what Ian & Michele have created is really something worth taking your hat off to. Having lived and worked there for a couple of weeks, you really appreciated the amount of hard work that is put into it, they are literally changing most of these children's lives with the knowledge they give them during their week at Daktari.
    It may sound exaggerated (I promis it isn’t) but the time I spent at Daktari was one of the best experiences of my life, just participating a tiny bit in what they are doing is a great honor and I was very proud to be part of it.
    Avatar Matilda Carne

    My time at Daktari

    Review by: Matilda Carne , On: 03 Dec 2015, Changed On: 03 Dec 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Ever since I first visited Daktari (over 9 years ago, not as a volunteer but as a friend) I made a promise to myself that I will come back but as a volunteer.
    I finally did and it was even better than I imagined. I spent three weeks at Daktari teaching children, looking after the animals living there and mostly laughing and having fun with the other volunteers. The whole team at Daktari are great, they made me feel at home even before putting down my bags.
    The work that is done at daktari is amazing, what Ian & Michele have created is really something worth taking your hat off to. Having lived and worked there for a couple of weeks, you really appreciated the amount of hard work that is put into it, they are literally changing most of these children's lives with the knowledge they give them during their week at Daktari.
    It may sound exaggerated (I promis it isn’t) but the time I spent at Daktari was one of the best experiences of my life, just participating a tiny bit in what they are doing is a great honor and I was very proud to be part of it.
    Overall rating 
    9.3
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    8
    Fabrice and Cécile (Dad and Mum)
    We lived an unforgettable experience at DAKTARI Bush School ! Our amazing hosts, Ian and Michele, and great volunteers were so kind with us ! Our entire family has been wonderfully well received (welcomed). Parents as children were immediately involved in all activities. To help with the education of great children and to take care for wild animals was an amazing and rewarding experience. We will never forget our hosts, all other volunteers, children and animals of DAKTARI Bush School. Thanks to all of you!

    Marianne (Bobo), 14 years old
    I spent only one week at DAKTARI, but it was so wonderful that I left in tears. Everything was perfect. We met very nice people who I will never forget. DAKTARI is just like South Africa: a beautiful place, unique in the world. That is why I want to thank all who were there and made this adventure amazing, especially Michele, Ian, Marta, Nathalie, Erica, Ernest, Manu, Toine, and also all the volunteers, Wellington, Thijs, Amy, Jodie, Julie, even Mirabelle and Nikita !
    You can be sure that I will come back!

    Baptiste (Baba), 12 years old
    I had a brilliant time at DAKTARI : to take care of animals, meet other young people, walk in the bush, play cards and participate in daily tasks !
    I feared not being authorised to participate in activities. But instead, I was busy all day with some great people and great animals. Thank you all !

    Perrine (Bibi), 15 years old
    I only spent one week at DAKTARI but if I could had made this experience last longer, I would have gladly done it ! We had a lot of fun with the other volunteers and children. The animals were just as amazing as the people. I really do hope I will come back one day !
    Avatar MAUREL Fabrice et Cécile

    DAKTARI : Great and amazing experience for all our Family

    Review by: MAUREL Fabrice et Cécile , On: 20 Sep 2015, Changed On: 20 Sep 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Fabrice and Cécile (Dad and Mum)
    We lived an unforgettable experience at DAKTARI Bush School ! Our amazing hosts, Ian and Michele, and great volunteers were so kind with us ! Our entire family has been wonderfully well received (welcomed). Parents as children were immediately involved in all activities. To help with the education of great children and to take care for wild animals was an amazing and rewarding experience. We will never forget our hosts, all other volunteers, children and animals of DAKTARI Bush School. Thanks to all of you!

    Marianne (Bobo), 14 years old
    I spent only one week at DAKTARI, but it was so wonderful that I left in tears. Everything was perfect. We met very nice people who I will never forget. DAKTARI is just like South Africa: a beautiful place, unique in the world. That is why I want to thank all who were there and made this adventure amazing, especially Michele, Ian, Marta, Nathalie, Erica, Ernest, Manu, Toine, and also all the volunteers, Wellington, Thijs, Amy, Jodie, Julie, even Mirabelle and Nikita !
    You can be sure that I will come back!

    Baptiste (Baba), 12 years old
    I had a brilliant time at DAKTARI : to take care of animals, meet other young people, walk in the bush, play cards and participate in daily tasks !
    I feared not being authorised to participate in activities. But instead, I was busy all day with some great people and great animals. Thank you all !

    Perrine (Bibi), 15 years old
    I only spent one week at DAKTARI but if I could had made this experience last longer, I would have gladly done it ! We had a lot of fun with the other volunteers and children. The animals were just as amazing as the people. I really do hope I will come back one day !
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    My time at Daktari was not only a rewarding experience but one that I think of every day since.

    Michele and Ian are two of the kindest and hardest working people I have ever met and everything they do makes a difference to all involved with Daktari.

    From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I was made to feel at home. The accommodation is better than some places I've stayed and paid for, all the volunteers and children are kept comfortable and safe at all times.

    Being from the city, it was a great privilege to meet like minded people from all over the world. The mix of working with animals and children was exciting and rewarding as you can see the children's confidence blossom during the time they spend at Daktari.

    I hope to return one day as I can honestly say,it was the best experience of my life and I long to see my friends and the animals again! If you choose to visit, it will be the best decision you will ever make.
    Avatar Victoria Parry

    Experience of a Lifetime

    Review by: Victoria Parry , On: 28 Aug 2015, Changed On: 28 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    My time at Daktari was not only a rewarding experience but one that I think of every day since.

    Michele and Ian are two of the kindest and hardest working people I have ever met and everything they do makes a difference to all involved with Daktari.

    From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I was made to feel at home. The accommodation is better than some places I've stayed and paid for, all the volunteers and children are kept comfortable and safe at all times.

    Being from the city, it was a great privilege to meet like minded people from all over the world. The mix of working with animals and children was exciting and rewarding as you can see the children's confidence blossom during the time they spend at Daktari.

    I hope to return one day as I can honestly say,it was the best experience of my life and I long to see my friends and the animals again! If you choose to visit, it will be the best decision you will ever make.
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I visited several countries as a tourist, which were all nice experiences, but I was looking for more. I really wanted to help people, not only by spending money in their country. Out of all the projects that were looking for volunteers, I chose Daktari. The combination of working with kids and animals is great. But Daktari earned my choice because of their tone of voice; positive and full of sincere love for the environment. At first I was really nervous about joining them as a volunteer. I did not have experience in teaching, working with kids, animals or travelling alone. These worries were not necessary at all. I was adapted in a group of very nice people and really felt at home. The staff even cooked me vegetarian meals. Fake meat in the bush; I did not expect that at all :)! I had never been so far from the civilized world. I had to get used to the peace and quiet. But after a few days I really appreciated it, even the digital detox cure :)! The set-up of the teaching programme is great. We have done so many things with the kids, which gave lots of energy. Finding the squirrel in the peanut butter, feeling the breath of the donkey in my neck during dinner and getting kicked of the couch by the warthog because I was sitting on his spot; Daktari is really a unique, peaceful and loveable place. The only thing that annoyed me during my two weeks stay was the sound of the owl. I said that I would rather hear the sounds of traffic. But as I am writing this experience on my roof in the noisy center of Rotterdam, I think that owl was not that bad ;). I have many good memories from my stay. Thank you very much for that Daktari, I wish you all the best in the future!
    Avatar Marloes

    The combination of working with kids and animals is great!

    Review by: Marloes , On: 26 Aug 2015, Changed On: 26 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I visited several countries as a tourist, which were all nice experiences, but I was looking for more. I really wanted to help people, not only by spending money in their country. Out of all the projects that were looking for volunteers, I chose Daktari. The combination of working with kids and animals is great. But Daktari earned my choice because of their tone of voice; positive and full of sincere love for the environment. At first I was really nervous about joining them as a volunteer. I did not have experience in teaching, working with kids, animals or travelling alone. These worries were not necessary at all. I was adapted in a group of very nice people and really felt at home. The staff even cooked me vegetarian meals. Fake meat in the bush; I did not expect that at all :)! I had never been so far from the civilized world. I had to get used to the peace and quiet. But after a few days I really appreciated it, even the digital detox cure :)! The set-up of the teaching programme is great. We have done so many things with the kids, which gave lots of energy. Finding the squirrel in the peanut butter, feeling the breath of the donkey in my neck during dinner and getting kicked of the couch by the warthog because I was sitting on his spot; Daktari is really a unique, peaceful and loveable place. The only thing that annoyed me during my two weeks stay was the sound of the owl. I said that I would rather hear the sounds of traffic. But as I am writing this experience on my roof in the noisy center of Rotterdam, I think that owl was not that bad ;). I have many good memories from my stay. Thank you very much for that Daktari, I wish you all the best in the future!
    Overall rating 
    9.7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I have been staying in Daktari last year for 3 weeks and it was a really good and interesting experience . I was looking for a volunteer job and I choiced Daktari because I found a blog in which , Michelle , the foundator, explained its aims and their need of money to continue their
    work with the animals and with the children . I was seduced by her sincerity and in fact I was not deceived by the implementation . Daktari is a beautiful place in a wonderfull environnement in which you help children to become aware of nature and sensitive to animal life. its a step to help humanity and to save our planet .
    Avatar zoulikian

    Amazing experience

    Review by: zoulikian , On: 25 Aug 2015, Changed On: 25 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I have been staying in Daktari last year for 3 weeks and it was a really good and interesting experience . I was looking for a volunteer job and I choiced Daktari because I found a blog in which , Michelle , the foundator, explained its aims and their need of money to continue their
    work with the animals and with the children . I was seduced by her sincerity and in fact I was not deceived by the implementation . Daktari is a beautiful place in a wonderfull environnement in which you help children to become aware of nature and sensitive to animal life. its a step to help humanity and to save our planet .
    Overall rating 
    9.3
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    8
    I first went to Daktari for four months in 2010. The main reason for going was to satisfy my ambition for a placement working with animals, both to care for the sick and orphaned that are looked after there and also to learn more about the wild animals that surround the project, in the beautiful and unique bush environment that borders the Kruger Park.

    Other than the animals, the main aim of the project is to educate the under-privileged local children that live in the nearby villages who have not had the chance to learn about their natural heritage and the respect that the environment they live in deserves. I was amazed how much helping these children had an impact on me, having never been drawn to teaching beforehand. In turn it was incredible to see the impact we had on them, after a five day program where they had the pleasure of spending time in the bush and the opportunity of working alongside international volunteers and the wonderful staff at Daktari. The smiles on their faces as they said goodbye and the hope that they held in their hearts after what they had gained from the experience, whether it be a minor thing or something more substantial, makes Daktari truly unique in its priceless quest.

    Michele and Ian, who established the foundation, are absolute diamonds and are two of the most amazing, caring and hardworking committed people I have ever met, and who I can, I hope, now call friends.

    I have since been back in 2011 and 2012 (and will continue to do so when finances allow), where I was pleased to see how any donations needed and gratefully received have led to many improvements, and likewise thrilled to get the same sense of soul and aspiration that I received from the project during my first experience. I am absolutely certain that Daktari will have a special place in my heart forever.
    Avatar Tim Marriott

    Daktari - A Special Place that will Stay in your Heart Forever

    Review by: Tim Marriott , On: 24 Aug 2015, Changed On: 24 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I first went to Daktari for four months in 2010. The main reason for going was to satisfy my ambition for a placement working with animals, both to care for the sick and orphaned that are looked after there and also to learn more about the wild animals that surround the project, in the beautiful and unique bush environment that borders the Kruger Park.

    Other than the animals, the main aim of the project is to educate the under-privileged local children that live in the nearby villages who have not had the chance to learn about their natural heritage and the respect that the environment they live in deserves. I was amazed how much helping these children had an impact on me, having never been drawn to teaching beforehand. In turn it was incredible to see the impact we had on them, after a five day program where they had the pleasure of spending time in the bush and the opportunity of working alongside international volunteers and the wonderful staff at Daktari. The smiles on their faces as they said goodbye and the hope that they held in their hearts after what they had gained from the experience, whether it be a minor thing or something more substantial, makes Daktari truly unique in its priceless quest.

    Michele and Ian, who established the foundation, are absolute diamonds and are two of the most amazing, caring and hardworking committed people I have ever met, and who I can, I hope, now call friends.

    I have since been back in 2011 and 2012 (and will continue to do so when finances allow), where I was pleased to see how any donations needed and gratefully received have led to many improvements, and likewise thrilled to get the same sense of soul and aspiration that I received from the project during my first experience. I am absolutely certain that Daktari will have a special place in my heart forever.
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    July 2015

    I could only spend a few weeks at DAKTARI because I had to go back to school, but I really enjoyed the time there.

    It's no problem if you don't have any experience teaching or taking care of animals. You'll get used to everything very quickly! You'll never get bored, there is always work to do!
    The lessons are interesting as they aren't just the usual subjects you normally have at school. You teach the kids about things that are more important for life than math or history.
    The accomodation was good and the pancakes on sundays were awesome!
    I especially loved the animals! The marmosets and squirels jumping around everywhere, the porcupines that visit the Lapa every evening and all the other animals that walk around freely, but also the meerkats, the mongooses and all the others that are in the enclosures.

    I wish I could have stayed longer! I miss living in the bush surrounded by all kinds of animals, playing cards in the evening, riding in the back of the Bucky to Leopard Rock and spending time on Leopard Rock at sunset. The dog walks just aren't the same in Switzerland. You'll never see any giraffes here and you don't expect to see any leopards.

    I'll never forget it!
    Avatar Mara

    Wish I could have stayed longer

    Review by: Mara , On: 21 Aug 2015, Changed On: 21 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    July 2015

    I could only spend a few weeks at DAKTARI because I had to go back to school, but I really enjoyed the time there.

    It's no problem if you don't have any experience teaching or taking care of animals. You'll get used to everything very quickly! You'll never get bored, there is always work to do!
    The lessons are interesting as they aren't just the usual subjects you normally have at school. You teach the kids about things that are more important for life than math or history.
    The accomodation was good and the pancakes on sundays were awesome!
    I especially loved the animals! The marmosets and squirels jumping around everywhere, the porcupines that visit the Lapa every evening and all the other animals that walk around freely, but also the meerkats, the mongooses and all the others that are in the enclosures.

    I wish I could have stayed longer! I miss living in the bush surrounded by all kinds of animals, playing cards in the evening, riding in the back of the Bucky to Leopard Rock and spending time on Leopard Rock at sunset. The dog walks just aren't the same in Switzerland. You'll never see any giraffes here and you don't expect to see any leopards.

    I'll never forget it!
    Overall rating 
    9.7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I stayed at DAKTARI 1 year, and still, it was not enough time. Today back to France, I still dream about this amazing adventure I have lived there and I know one day, for sure, I will be back to South Africa. I first experienced 2 weeks of volunteering, teaching the children and helping the animals, a great interaction! As a volunteer you are really useful to others and it feels so good. I went there to teach the kids about environment. At the end, I think I am actually the one who has learned the more, about life and about myself.

    The second part of my stay, I experienced another side of the volunteering because I was marketing manager in order to help the organisation to grow. Yes, it boosts my CV. More, it was a great professional and personal formation where I used my skills for a good cause. I loved my work and I now missed it so much.

    I do not remember a day where I woke up the morning and I was not happy. Living in the bush, surroundings by new friends from all over the world, beautiful wild animals, smiling children and crazy locals staff were the best things ever. I have realized how much we need to re-connect to nature and people in order to feel good. What a lesson of life! I did things that I would have never thought possible, like holding a python, walking with cheetah, sleeping with cute bushbabies, running the morning with giraffes, falling asleep with the sound of the Hyena calling, saving a pangolin... The list goes on and on.

    My advice: Do not hesitate one more minute and go check out by yourself! You will not regret it!!
    Oh and, when you will be there, please kiss everyone for me! Michele, Ian and all DAKTARI, they are my Africa family for me :)
    Avatar Anne-Sophie

    The best life experience ever - highly recommanded

    Review by: Anne-Sophie , On: 20 Aug 2015, Changed On: 20 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I stayed at DAKTARI 1 year, and still, it was not enough time. Today back to France, I still dream about this amazing adventure I have lived there and I know one day, for sure, I will be back to South Africa. I first experienced 2 weeks of volunteering, teaching the children and helping the animals, a great interaction! As a volunteer you are really useful to others and it feels so good. I went there to teach the kids about environment. At the end, I think I am actually the one who has learned the more, about life and about myself.

    The second part of my stay, I experienced another side of the volunteering because I was marketing manager in order to help the organisation to grow. Yes, it boosts my CV. More, it was a great professional and personal formation where I used my skills for a good cause. I loved my work and I now missed it so much.

    I do not remember a day where I woke up the morning and I was not happy. Living in the bush, surroundings by new friends from all over the world, beautiful wild animals, smiling children and crazy locals staff were the best things ever. I have realized how much we need to re-connect to nature and people in order to feel good. What a lesson of life! I did things that I would have never thought possible, like holding a python, walking with cheetah, sleeping with cute bushbabies, running the morning with giraffes, falling asleep with the sound of the Hyena calling, saving a pangolin... The list goes on and on.

    My advice: Do not hesitate one more minute and go check out by yourself! You will not regret it!!
    Oh and, when you will be there, please kiss everyone for me! Michele, Ian and all DAKTARI, they are my Africa family for me :)
    Overall rating 
    9.3
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    After graduating from university and not yet having a job, it was the perfect time to fulfil a life-long goal—volunteering in South Africa. And after a very bumpy ride over the dirtroad on the Daktari grounds, my first impression of the camp was a colourful one: it is surrounded by many Bougainville’s in all sorts of colours which were in full bloom. We were greeted by the four dogs, the awesome local staff and without a doubt two of the most fantastic people I’ve ever met, heads of the project Ian and Michele.
    Despite living next to Africa’s most famous game reserve, the Kruger Park, most of the children visiting Daktari have never seen wildlife. Most of the time the children spend at the preserve is therefore pent on the protection of the environment. Upon their arrival at Daktari, the children generally don’t know what this actually means, why it is important or what they can contribute to protecting the environment. It’s great to see how they take an interest in this during their stay, for example during one of the bushwalks led by Ian (much and more to learn for volunteers about African wildlife as well during those!) or when they discover about job opportunities in eco-tourism. During the lessons on more regular school subjects, it struck me how big the difference in the level of education of the children was compared to their peers in Europe. Yet, it was rewarding to see how eager most of them were to learn, and how they would develop their skills in the course of the week. The lessons are fun, with many games. I felt incredibly privileged to see how the children flourished under the personal attention of the volunteers and staff. In addition to the classroom lessons, we would have group discussions on topics such as sexual education, drugs and alcohol addiction and domestic violence. I was often heart-struck to hear how many children had experience with these issues in their home environments.
    Working so closely with the animals provides the children the opportunity to experience the amazing wildlife of their country, in a way that they had never before. Working together also gave me the opportunity to have some good one-on-one conversations with the kids while doing chores. I was able to gain insight into their lives and dreams for the future. They would also take great interest in where I came from, what my country looks and what job I would have. They would also always be interested in volunteers’ taste of music – often followed by a request for a demonstration! Having the animals around made our work and conversations more lively; although it was sometimes a bit troublesome to have a donkey continually sneak up to the table where I was trying to explain the solution to a math problem.
    My stay at the project was absolutely wonderful. There is also plenty of leisure time, to be spent with a Savannah at the Leopard’s Rock, relaxing at the pool or outings to Kruger Park. The meals are wonderful and very social. Staying in a basic, but well-equipped rondavel hut made a perfect experience. Best of all though, are being able to work with all the other volunteers and staff. There is so much fun, so much laughter, so many good – and crazy – conversations, so much to be exchanged!
    Teaching the children, taking care of the animals, living in the African bush and working with the other volunteers and the unique staff of Daktari exceeded any of my expectations and turned out to be my life’s most rewarding, heart-warming and inspiring experience. I feel incredibly privileged to have been part of this project. Daktari has changed me. I pushed my own limits and accomplished a number of “firsts”. Above all else, I noticed a change in my point of view. I found I could settle down and do some introspection, I found mountains of inspiration, I had the time to realize how many valuable things I have in my life, and I found a whole new horizon to put those things in perspective. Despite the years that have passed since, I’m still eating breakfast above my brightly-coloured African table cloth and feel that, somewhere between next to the Krugerpark and the Drakensbergen, there is a second home with an enormous family.
    Go experience for yourself!
    Avatar Fleur

    Wonderful experience

    Review by: Fleur , On: 18 Aug 2015, Changed On: 18 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    After graduating from university and not yet having a job, it was the perfect time to fulfil a life-long goal—volunteering in South Africa. And after a very bumpy ride over the dirtroad on the Daktari grounds, my first impression of the camp was a colourful one: it is surrounded by many Bougainville’s in all sorts of colours which were in full bloom. We were greeted by the four dogs, the awesome local staff and without a doubt two of the most fantastic people I’ve ever met, heads of the project Ian and Michele.
    Despite living next to Africa’s most famous game reserve, the Kruger Park, most of the children visiting Daktari have never seen wildlife. Most of the time the children spend at the preserve is therefore pent on the protection of the environment. Upon their arrival at Daktari, the children generally don’t know what this actually means, why it is important or what they can contribute to protecting the environment. It’s great to see how they take an interest in this during their stay, for example during one of the bushwalks led by Ian (much and more to learn for volunteers about African wildlife as well during those!) or when they discover about job opportunities in eco-tourism. During the lessons on more regular school subjects, it struck me how big the difference in the level of education of the children was compared to their peers in Europe. Yet, it was rewarding to see how eager most of them were to learn, and how they would develop their skills in the course of the week. The lessons are fun, with many games. I felt incredibly privileged to see how the children flourished under the personal attention of the volunteers and staff. In addition to the classroom lessons, we would have group discussions on topics such as sexual education, drugs and alcohol addiction and domestic violence. I was often heart-struck to hear how many children had experience with these issues in their home environments.
    Working so closely with the animals provides the children the opportunity to experience the amazing wildlife of their country, in a way that they had never before. Working together also gave me the opportunity to have some good one-on-one conversations with the kids while doing chores. I was able to gain insight into their lives and dreams for the future. They would also take great interest in where I came from, what my country looks and what job I would have. They would also always be interested in volunteers’ taste of music – often followed by a request for a demonstration! Having the animals around made our work and conversations more lively; although it was sometimes a bit troublesome to have a donkey continually sneak up to the table where I was trying to explain the solution to a math problem.
    My stay at the project was absolutely wonderful. There is also plenty of leisure time, to be spent with a Savannah at the Leopard’s Rock, relaxing at the pool or outings to Kruger Park. The meals are wonderful and very social. Staying in a basic, but well-equipped rondavel hut made a perfect experience. Best of all though, are being able to work with all the other volunteers and staff. There is so much fun, so much laughter, so many good – and crazy – conversations, so much to be exchanged!
    Teaching the children, taking care of the animals, living in the African bush and working with the other volunteers and the unique staff of Daktari exceeded any of my expectations and turned out to be my life’s most rewarding, heart-warming and inspiring experience. I feel incredibly privileged to have been part of this project. Daktari has changed me. I pushed my own limits and accomplished a number of “firsts”. Above all else, I noticed a change in my point of view. I found I could settle down and do some introspection, I found mountains of inspiration, I had the time to realize how many valuable things I have in my life, and I found a whole new horizon to put those things in perspective. Despite the years that have passed since, I’m still eating breakfast above my brightly-coloured African table cloth and feel that, somewhere between next to the Krugerpark and the Drakensbergen, there is a second home with an enormous family.
    Go experience for yourself!
    Overall rating 
    9
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    8
    Dear Daktari Family,

    The feeling I got the moment I arrived at Daktari is indescribable. I was surrounded by nature, silence, animals and unknown people. Things I wasn't used to but it really felt like coming home. I joined the program for six weeks and it was an incredible experience I will never, in my whole life, forget. The teaching program is amazing and the children, as well as the animals, made my days at Daktari unforgettable.
    South Africa is the most beautiful place on earth and I'm definitely coming back!

    Keep up the good work and big hugs & kisses from the Netherlands!!
    Avatar Julia

    A wonderful experience

    Review by: Julia , On: 18 Aug 2015, Changed On: 18 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Dear Daktari Family,

    The feeling I got the moment I arrived at Daktari is indescribable. I was surrounded by nature, silence, animals and unknown people. Things I wasn't used to but it really felt like coming home. I joined the program for six weeks and it was an incredible experience I will never, in my whole life, forget. The teaching program is amazing and the children, as well as the animals, made my days at Daktari unforgettable.
    South Africa is the most beautiful place on earth and I'm definitely coming back!

    Keep up the good work and big hugs & kisses from the Netherlands!!
    Overall rating 
    8.7
    Experience
    8
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    8
    I have now been at DAKTARI a year and a half. I firstly came to volunteer here for 2 months back in 2010, couldn't resist to come back in 2013 and decided to bring my dog Shiloweni and my suitcases back in 2014 for a long time here...I probably simply felt in love with the project :)
    Daktari is a very familiale atmosphere....when you come here, you simply feel at home. What do I love about the project?
    To meet people from everywhere in the world, to discover other culture, to have the opportunity to do more than you think you are able to do, to learn about yourself, to learn about others, to do something that you know you are doing good on the children, the animal and the community....
    Above that you could have the opportunity to go to the nearest village and meet the local people, support them and teach the children...and more often what they give you back is even more amazing :)
    Coming at DAKTARI is a lifetime experience...being able at the same time to teach the kids about environment and wildlife and also taking care of wild injured animals is a unique project in South Africa :) No need to be a teacher or a vet, everyone can do it as long as you put your heart into it...
    I was in the lapa this afternoon surrounded by our squirrel Campton, our dogs, our blind donkey, the guinea fowls, bushbucks, duikers....and then went to feed our baby nyala (you can see on my profile)...its just feel like in heaven...
    Ian & Michele, the co-founders are amazing, unique, dedicated, lovely friends, so is the whole office team and staff working with them and without who the project would not be the same. Welcome at DAKTARI, welcome home!
    Avatar Nathalie ROURE

    I could never leave....

    Review by: Nathalie ROURE , On: 16 Aug 2015, Changed On: 16 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I have now been at DAKTARI a year and a half. I firstly came to volunteer here for 2 months back in 2010, couldn't resist to come back in 2013 and decided to bring my dog Shiloweni and my suitcases back in 2014 for a long time here...I probably simply felt in love with the project :)
    Daktari is a very familiale atmosphere....when you come here, you simply feel at home. What do I love about the project?
    To meet people from everywhere in the world, to discover other culture, to have the opportunity to do more than you think you are able to do, to learn about yourself, to learn about others, to do something that you know you are doing good on the children, the animal and the community....
    Above that you could have the opportunity to go to the nearest village and meet the local people, support them and teach the children...and more often what they give you back is even more amazing :)
    Coming at DAKTARI is a lifetime experience...being able at the same time to teach the kids about environment and wildlife and also taking care of wild injured animals is a unique project in South Africa :) No need to be a teacher or a vet, everyone can do it as long as you put your heart into it...
    I was in the lapa this afternoon surrounded by our squirrel Campton, our dogs, our blind donkey, the guinea fowls, bushbucks, duikers....and then went to feed our baby nyala (you can see on my profile)...its just feel like in heaven...
    Ian & Michele, the co-founders are amazing, unique, dedicated, lovely friends, so is the whole office team and staff working with them and without who the project would not be the same. Welcome at DAKTARI, welcome home!
    Overall rating 
    8.3
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    8
    Dear Michele and Ian,

    quite a long time has passed since Dasha and I had to leave and flicking through my huge bunch of pictures recently, I felt like I had to write you and say hello.

    I am still incredibly grateful for every single moment I spent in South Africa, for every single laugh we had and every person I met (including you two insanely great people!!). While at DAKTARI I often thought "Man, I really want to remember every single bit of this" and I was afraid I wouldn't manage to. But now, looking back on everything from a distance, I feel that I actually do. I remember the smell of the bird bath after the porcupines jumped in and the sounds of the lovely ostriches. I remember Shiloweni's heavy breathing, Jacob's childishness, cheeky Cachou's bites and Mirabelles excited pre-dogwalk barking. I remember loud kids, lovely kids, annoying kids, grateful kids, "little shit" kids and kids that are enthusiastic about new things as no-one else can be. I remember waking up to water dripping on my face in the night, and monkeys running over the roof in the morning. I do remember Candy's singing, Hyenas' calling, bumpy rides in the back of the bucki, zebra rescues and a hundred other "hurry up"s. I think of the silence and beauty of a sunset on Leopard Rock, and of falling asleep to the sound of nearby lions. I remember your dirty jokes (and mind), Ian, your wonderfully infectious laugh, Michele, and I remember thinking that I probably never met people like you before, with hearts as big and minds as open as yours. All these things I remember so vividly, that looking at the pictures of the camp (including the one you find attached) I actually feel homesick. And you two are the ones to blame. Thank you for letting us participate in your life, for making us feel so at home in a place so far away from home. And thank you for everything you taught us - about ourselves, about life, about the wild (I really feel like a little ranger, when I watch Africa documentaries!!), about how to be a good person. I never had such a good time learning so much.

    I do still miss you dearly (and I think Dasha does too) and am already saving up for the next trip.

    See you very soon, you crazy, lovely, big-hearted, open-minded, funny, ambitious, perfect people!

    Lots of love from Germany,

    Anne
    Avatar Anne

    Totally Worth It

    Review by: Anne , On: 16 Aug 2015, Changed On: 16 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Dear Michele and Ian,

    quite a long time has passed since Dasha and I had to leave and flicking through my huge bunch of pictures recently, I felt like I had to write you and say hello.

    I am still incredibly grateful for every single moment I spent in South Africa, for every single laugh we had and every person I met (including you two insanely great people!!). While at DAKTARI I often thought "Man, I really want to remember every single bit of this" and I was afraid I wouldn't manage to. But now, looking back on everything from a distance, I feel that I actually do. I remember the smell of the bird bath after the porcupines jumped in and the sounds of the lovely ostriches. I remember Shiloweni's heavy breathing, Jacob's childishness, cheeky Cachou's bites and Mirabelles excited pre-dogwalk barking. I remember loud kids, lovely kids, annoying kids, grateful kids, "little shit" kids and kids that are enthusiastic about new things as no-one else can be. I remember waking up to water dripping on my face in the night, and monkeys running over the roof in the morning. I do remember Candy's singing, Hyenas' calling, bumpy rides in the back of the bucki, zebra rescues and a hundred other "hurry up"s. I think of the silence and beauty of a sunset on Leopard Rock, and of falling asleep to the sound of nearby lions. I remember your dirty jokes (and mind), Ian, your wonderfully infectious laugh, Michele, and I remember thinking that I probably never met people like you before, with hearts as big and minds as open as yours. All these things I remember so vividly, that looking at the pictures of the camp (including the one you find attached) I actually feel homesick. And you two are the ones to blame. Thank you for letting us participate in your life, for making us feel so at home in a place so far away from home. And thank you for everything you taught us - about ourselves, about life, about the wild (I really feel like a little ranger, when I watch Africa documentaries!!), about how to be a good person. I never had such a good time learning so much.

    I do still miss you dearly (and I think Dasha does too) and am already saving up for the next trip.

    See you very soon, you crazy, lovely, big-hearted, open-minded, funny, ambitious, perfect people!

    Lots of love from Germany,

    Anne
    Overall rating 
    9.7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage is the perfect place to volunteer in South Africa.
    The location in a private game reserve allows you meeting wild animals every day.
    At DAKTARI, you immediately feel home et fall in love with this beautiful place, the very cute animals living there, Ian's jokes and Michele's heart laugh ;)
    Chalets are comfortable, food is very good.
    Your days are busy, but you will enjoy your time with animals and with the teenagers who are welcome every week at DAKTARI.
    Furthermore, you will learn a lot! a lot about South Africa an its people, about animals, about living in a community, about jobs related to an NGO (especially if you volunteer for a long period), an about life and yourself.
    I have found at DAKTARI my real essence, have opened my heart, have grown up and learnt a lot. I went there to give what I could and actually, I have received so much more !
    Around DAKTARI, it is easy going to meet the kids at school in the village, spending authentic unforgettable 24 hours at a local's home stay to share their way of living, visiting the amazing reptile park, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center, ... And above all, spending 1 to 3 days in the famous Kruger park with Ian or Greg, the best rangers ever, where you have the best chances to see the big 5!

    Do not hesitate going to volunteer, for DAKTARI, for the kids, for animals, for Mother Nature and also for yourself.

    Michèle, Ian thank you for existing and for all the love you are giving to the World.

    Love xxx
    Jeanne
    Avatar Jeanne LAZAREVIC

    The magic wolrd of DAKTARI

    Review by: Jeanne LAZAREVIC , On: 15 Aug 2015, Changed On: 15 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage is the perfect place to volunteer in South Africa.
    The location in a private game reserve allows you meeting wild animals every day.
    At DAKTARI, you immediately feel home et fall in love with this beautiful place, the very cute animals living there, Ian's jokes and Michele's heart laugh ;)
    Chalets are comfortable, food is very good.
    Your days are busy, but you will enjoy your time with animals and with the teenagers who are welcome every week at DAKTARI.
    Furthermore, you will learn a lot! a lot about South Africa an its people, about animals, about living in a community, about jobs related to an NGO (especially if you volunteer for a long period), an about life and yourself.
    I have found at DAKTARI my real essence, have opened my heart, have grown up and learnt a lot. I went there to give what I could and actually, I have received so much more !
    Around DAKTARI, it is easy going to meet the kids at school in the village, spending authentic unforgettable 24 hours at a local's home stay to share their way of living, visiting the amazing reptile park, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center, ... And above all, spending 1 to 3 days in the famous Kruger park with Ian or Greg, the best rangers ever, where you have the best chances to see the big 5!

    Do not hesitate going to volunteer, for DAKTARI, for the kids, for animals, for Mother Nature and also for yourself.

    Michèle, Ian thank you for existing and for all the love you are giving to the World.

    Love xxx
    Jeanne
    Overall rating 
    9
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    8
    My stay at DAKTARI was so rewarding. I particularly loved having the opportunity to teach. Not only do we educate children about the environment, we also show them how they have the ability to make a difference. The kids are wonderful and its been such a fulfilling experience to see how they improve throughout the week. Working with the animals was so much fun and was just as educational to me as it was for the children!

    The accommodations at DAKTARI are great. My room was comfortable and the food was amazing.

    DAKTARI has such a welcoming atmosphere. It has been so great to meet other volunteers from around the world. There are no kids there on the weekend so it's a good time to relax and bond with fellow volunteers. On Saturdays volunteers can go to the nearest town and explore or they can organize their own excursions.

    My time at DAKTARI was short but full of exciting moments that I'll never forget! I highly recommend it to other volunteers, I promise you won't regret it!
    Avatar Michelle Savage

    An Amazing Experience

    Review by: Michelle Savage , On: 15 Aug 2015, Changed On: 15 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    My stay at DAKTARI was so rewarding. I particularly loved having the opportunity to teach. Not only do we educate children about the environment, we also show them how they have the ability to make a difference. The kids are wonderful and its been such a fulfilling experience to see how they improve throughout the week. Working with the animals was so much fun and was just as educational to me as it was for the children!

    The accommodations at DAKTARI are great. My room was comfortable and the food was amazing.

    DAKTARI has such a welcoming atmosphere. It has been so great to meet other volunteers from around the world. There are no kids there on the weekend so it's a good time to relax and bond with fellow volunteers. On Saturdays volunteers can go to the nearest town and explore or they can organize their own excursions.

    My time at DAKTARI was short but full of exciting moments that I'll never forget! I highly recommend it to other volunteers, I promise you won't regret it!
    Overall rating 
    9
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    10
    Daktari is a great place which does great things. I was only there for two weeks but Ian and Michelle welcomed me & put me to work immediately - I'm not one to sit still so suited me down to the ground.

    What I love about Daktari is that it's not about having animals for entertainment or tourism, where possibly they always try and release them back to the wild & if they can't these animals become an educational resource for local children.

    I'll admit that I often like animals more than people, but working with the kids was a highlight. I even got to accompany them on a trip Kruger, although I think I was more excited than they were!

    Because I was only there for a short time Ian and Michelle made sure I got the most out of it, keeping me busy but also giving me the opportunity to visit other local reserves in my downtime.

    Ian, Michelle and their team are dedicated & lovely. They make the project work, & are always striving to improve, change & become more efficient in what they are doing - all with a common goal at the end, if they can educate the younger generation we can improve the outlook of the bush (& it's animals) for the future but also inspire these children to learn, be respectful to animals & people, and consider jobs they might not have realised even existed within reserves.

    I learnt a lot, about the animals, the culture & kids we were teaching & myself. It's a great cause.
    Avatar Hannah

    Great Volunteer Experience

    Review by: Hannah , On: 15 Aug 2015, Changed On: 15 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Daktari is a great place which does great things. I was only there for two weeks but Ian and Michelle welcomed me & put me to work immediately - I'm not one to sit still so suited me down to the ground.

    What I love about Daktari is that it's not about having animals for entertainment or tourism, where possibly they always try and release them back to the wild & if they can't these animals become an educational resource for local children.

    I'll admit that I often like animals more than people, but working with the kids was a highlight. I even got to accompany them on a trip Kruger, although I think I was more excited than they were!

    Because I was only there for a short time Ian and Michelle made sure I got the most out of it, keeping me busy but also giving me the opportunity to visit other local reserves in my downtime.

    Ian, Michelle and their team are dedicated & lovely. They make the project work, & are always striving to improve, change & become more efficient in what they are doing - all with a common goal at the end, if they can educate the younger generation we can improve the outlook of the bush (& it's animals) for the future but also inspire these children to learn, be respectful to animals & people, and consider jobs they might not have realised even existed within reserves.

    I learnt a lot, about the animals, the culture & kids we were teaching & myself. It's a great cause.
    Overall rating 
    8.3
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    8
    Daktari was the NGO of choice for myself and six friends and we all agree that it was a life changing/fulfilling experience to be able to contribute to this initiative. The grassroots approach to tackling both social justice and ecological heritage issues provided opportunities for volunteers and underprivileged local school children and adolescents to interact with unique endemic and threatened species and make connections to education and career opportunities that arise from their protection.
    Plus, the jeep ride, sundowners on the rock, bonfire songs and dances, and nightly tales from fellow travelers from far and wide will be forever cherished memories.
    Avatar Tristan

    A thoroughly rewarding and significant two weeks at Daktari

    Review by: Tristan , On: 15 Aug 2015, Changed On: 15 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    Daktari was the NGO of choice for myself and six friends and we all agree that it was a life changing/fulfilling experience to be able to contribute to this initiative. The grassroots approach to tackling both social justice and ecological heritage issues provided opportunities for volunteers and underprivileged local school children and adolescents to interact with unique endemic and threatened species and make connections to education and career opportunities that arise from their protection.
    Plus, the jeep ride, sundowners on the rock, bonfire songs and dances, and nightly tales from fellow travelers from far and wide will be forever cherished memories.
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I spent four months at Daktari in 2013, and it was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. Hidden in the bush, this is quite literally a little piece of paradise just waiting to be found! Not only is it an extremely relaxing and peaceful place to be with its beautiful outside longing/dinning spaces, but you are surrounded by some of South Africa's most majestic wildlife. I can still remember sitting outside with everyone socializing and enjoying drinks as the lion from the neighboring reserve serenaded us with its evening call. Or, having my morning cup of coffee in the presence of a beautiful bush-buck who frequently visited the area.

    To be honest, I could go on and on with memories just like this one, but instead I will spare you and just say that Daktari is definitely worth a visit. From the people, the animals, it is an all around beautiful place!!
    Avatar Samantha K

    A Little Piece of Paradise

    Review by: Samantha K , On: 14 Aug 2015, Changed On: 14 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I spent four months at Daktari in 2013, and it was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. Hidden in the bush, this is quite literally a little piece of paradise just waiting to be found! Not only is it an extremely relaxing and peaceful place to be with its beautiful outside longing/dinning spaces, but you are surrounded by some of South Africa's most majestic wildlife. I can still remember sitting outside with everyone socializing and enjoying drinks as the lion from the neighboring reserve serenaded us with its evening call. Or, having my morning cup of coffee in the presence of a beautiful bush-buck who frequently visited the area.

    To be honest, I could go on and on with memories just like this one, but instead I will spare you and just say that Daktari is definitely worth a visit. From the people, the animals, it is an all around beautiful place!!
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I am a 54 year old woman who has dreamt of visiting South Africa since childhood. I adore animals and have watched every movie, mini series and National Geographic special about the wildlife in South Africa. Living at Daktari exceeded my expectations and gave me the best memories of a place unimaginable and thought to be unattainable. When I stood next to an elephant for the first time I wept uncontrollably! My dream had come true. I think the the guide thought I was afraid, but it was pure joy and awe. In my opinion Daktari made this dream come true!! I chose to volunteer because I wanted to make a small difference and because I wanted a safe place to land while on my magical journey. While I was the oldest person there, I brought my beautiful niece who was half my age. What the experience did for her was remarkable. I stood in disbelief as she grew more confident and authentic with each day. The local children we met adored her. She was a natural born teacher. Meeting these children was as rewarding as working with the animals. We both cried when we said good bye to all of the wonderful people we met from around the globe! I knew when we flew back home that our lives would never be the same! We wanted to stay longer and we did not want to come home. Thanks to Ian and Michelle for your love and acceptance in making our dreams come true. I miss you dearly.
    Avatar Lisa Avaloz

    Life at Daktari

    Review by: Lisa Avaloz , On: 14 Aug 2015, Changed On: 14 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I am a 54 year old woman who has dreamt of visiting South Africa since childhood. I adore animals and have watched every movie, mini series and National Geographic special about the wildlife in South Africa. Living at Daktari exceeded my expectations and gave me the best memories of a place unimaginable and thought to be unattainable. When I stood next to an elephant for the first time I wept uncontrollably! My dream had come true. I think the the guide thought I was afraid, but it was pure joy and awe. In my opinion Daktari made this dream come true!! I chose to volunteer because I wanted to make a small difference and because I wanted a safe place to land while on my magical journey. While I was the oldest person there, I brought my beautiful niece who was half my age. What the experience did for her was remarkable. I stood in disbelief as she grew more confident and authentic with each day. The local children we met adored her. She was a natural born teacher. Meeting these children was as rewarding as working with the animals. We both cried when we said good bye to all of the wonderful people we met from around the globe! I knew when we flew back home that our lives would never be the same! We wanted to stay longer and we did not want to come home. Thanks to Ian and Michelle for your love and acceptance in making our dreams come true. I miss you dearly.
    Overall rating 
    9
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    10
    It was such a great program, with so many different types of experiences.
    Working with the children was a joy. Teaching them about ecology and conservation, and tutoring them in their math and english since they'll need both of those to obtain work in this severely economically depressed area.
    And working with the orphaned and injured animals was an amazing learning experience. Everything from the cute and cuddly to the bush pigs that bullied the dogs off their dogbeds was fun.
    Hiking the countryside, getting a chance to visit nearby game farms and villages, and the weekly trip to town were all fun too.
    Staff was great, Michele and Ian were lovely, George the frog sat on top of my mirror every morning while I brushed my teeth, food was good and plentiful and the beds had mozzie nets. I'd go back in a flash.
    Avatar Marilyn

    Wonderful breadth of experiences

    Review by: Marilyn , On: 14 Aug 2015, Changed On: 14 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    It was such a great program, with so many different types of experiences.
    Working with the children was a joy. Teaching them about ecology and conservation, and tutoring them in their math and english since they'll need both of those to obtain work in this severely economically depressed area.
    And working with the orphaned and injured animals was an amazing learning experience. Everything from the cute and cuddly to the bush pigs that bullied the dogs off their dogbeds was fun.
    Hiking the countryside, getting a chance to visit nearby game farms and villages, and the weekly trip to town were all fun too.
    Staff was great, Michele and Ian were lovely, George the frog sat on top of my mirror every morning while I brushed my teeth, food was good and plentiful and the beds had mozzie nets. I'd go back in a flash.
    Overall rating 
    8.3
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    8
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    8
    I did an internship at Daktari in 2006-2007, when it has just started up, and I have been coming back to Daktari every year since.

    Daktari is a perfect project for those who want to work with children and/or animals. Voluntering at Daktari also provide people with a chance to experience the 'real' and local africa.

    At Daktari you will become part of the family, and I would highly recommend this experience for everyone, who has a wish to work in South Africa.
    Avatar Ditte Gerstroem Soerensen

    Perfect choice for working with animals and children

    Review by: Ditte Gerstroem Soerensen , On: 14 Aug 2015, Changed On: 14 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I did an internship at Daktari in 2006-2007, when it has just started up, and I have been coming back to Daktari every year since.

    Daktari is a perfect project for those who want to work with children and/or animals. Voluntering at Daktari also provide people with a chance to experience the 'real' and local africa.

    At Daktari you will become part of the family, and I would highly recommend this experience for everyone, who has a wish to work in South Africa.
    Overall rating 
    10
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    10
    Living Conditions
    10
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    10
    Health and Safety
    10
    I went at Daktari 3 years ago, and it's still one of the most amazing experience I lived.

    It's really interesting to work with children (who are more open-minded that we can imagine ! ), with animals and with others volunteer from everywhere !

    Landscapes are really unbelievible, people are kind.

    I recommand this program !
    Avatar Martin

    Daktari - A really good place to volunteer !

    Review by: Martin , On: 14 Aug 2015, Changed On: 14 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    I went at Daktari 3 years ago, and it's still one of the most amazing experience I lived.

    It's really interesting to work with children (who are more open-minded that we can imagine ! ), with animals and with others volunteer from everywhere !

    Landscapes are really unbelievible, people are kind.

    I recommand this program !
    Overall rating 
    8.7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    8
    Cultural Immersion
    10
    Social Life
    8
    Health and Safety
    8
    My time at Daktari was very rewarding.

    I lacked experience in animal care and teaching children but this was not an issue. As part of a team you can still make a difference.

    We all say poaching is terrible but how much do we actually do to prevent the requirement for this at grass routes level? Even if you only make one person think about whether poaching is the best way of providing for their family, you have made a contribution. Even better if you contribute to skills development to give people an alternative method of earning a living.

    The animal side is great and you will get to interact with species you have never 'met' before. This is Africa, not the UK, so you will not be held back by numerous health and safety laws, but a sensible approach to things will mean you stay safe.

    Living conditions cover all you need and the home cooking is amazing.

    The area around Daktari is one of the most beautiful in South Africa, and you can safely walk in the reserve. If you want to be in the bush but also have accessibility to airports towns and tourist attractions this is an amazing area, but you will need a car to explore further. For me this is better than being in one of the volunteer programs nearer to the large city of Johannesburg.

    Like most things the experience is what you make it.
    Avatar Lesley Cashell

    Recommened

    Review by: Lesley Cashell , On: 14 Aug 2015, Changed On: 14 Aug 2015 | Yes, I would recommend this program
    My time at Daktari was very rewarding.

    I lacked experience in animal care and teaching children but this was not an issue. As part of a team you can still make a difference.

    We all say poaching is terrible but how much do we actually do to prevent the requirement for this at grass routes level? Even if you only make one person think about whether poaching is the best way of providing for their family, you have made a contribution. Even better if you contribute to skills development to give people an alternative method of earning a living.

    The animal side is great and you will get to interact with species you have never 'met' before. This is Africa, not the UK, so you will not be held back by numerous health and safety laws, but a sensible approach to things will mean you stay safe.

    Living conditions cover all you need and the home cooking is amazing.

    The area around Daktari is one of the most beautiful in South Africa, and you can safely walk in the reserve. If you want to be in the bush but also have accessibility to airports towns and tourist attractions this is an amazing area, but you will need a car to explore further. For me this is better than being in one of the volunteer programs nearer to the large city of Johannesburg.

    Like most things the experience is what you make it.
    Overall rating 
    7
    Experience
    10
    Program Administration
    8
    Living Conditions
    6
    Cultural Immersion
    6
    Social Life
    6
    Health and Safety
    6

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