Find out what's going on at DAKTARI

Read through DAKTARI's Blog to get updated on what's happening at the camp. If you want to receive our newsletter to stay up-to-date, sign up at the bottom of the page!

Children Stories
Animal Stories
Campaign Stories

"I came to DAKTARI on April 1st 2018. I was looking online for places to volunteer abroad and out of around 20 organizations DAKTARI was the one that seemed to offer the most opportunities and experiences. After I found DAKTARI I spent no time hesitating to prepare for the trip. I bought my plane tickets just a few days after I emailed them saying that I wanted to volunteer and would be arriving in 2 weeks.

My experience here overall has been wonderful. I was nervous because I have had no previous experience on teaching children or taking care of wildlife but every new thing I am doing here has been with a supportive team of amazing volunteers and staff. I learned that teaching children about the environment is fun and rewarding. However, kids are still kids and they can get into quite a lot of trouble-making which means that we the volunteers spend much time watching over them. Trying to juggle the classroom lessons while caring for baby antelopes and doing regular duties has occasionally left me exhausted though. I love that I am making a difference here in the lives of many children and animals but my limits have definitely been pushed but they have been pushed for the better. I think my favorite times were when I was able to share in the local culture and dances with everybody and we all had a great time as well as when I was able to take breaks and bask in the beauty of South Africa and not worry about a single thing.


I have enjoyed my time here greatly. I come from a very urbanized city with little to no wildlife. Coming here is like a vacation and reminder that the Earth has so many wonderful things to show us. I was also able to partake in great opportunities like working with children to teach them to take care of their environment and feed baby antelopes and buffalo from a bottle. We also are lucky enough to work closely with a cheetah, dassies, jackals and wild dogs which is something very few people will ever do in their lifetime. It also gave me a break from the very fast-paced lifestyle we have in Los Angeles so I will be very refreshed coming back home.

My best memory may have to be the bonfire night dances with the children and staff. It is like a party and everyone has a great time. It makes me feel like we are all one big family enjoying our time together."



Thursday, 05 April 2018 06:34

My School, My Village, My Planet

My School, My Village, My Planet is one of South Africa's biggest community-based fundraising programs and you can help us just by becoming a cardholder and shopping.


The money you can raise through your purchases will contribute to our work of educating underprivileged children about the importance of the environment and animals. 

We invite ± 350 children per year for a week of environmental education at DAKTARI. This includes transport, food, accommodation, stationery, a trip to a neighbour private game reserve, T-Shirts for children and running cost. 


The way the card works is very easy! You can apply for your FREE card or download the My School App and shop with your card at partner stores such as Woolworth, Waltons,, Fight Centre, and participating Engen QuickShops. Every time you swipe your card at a partner store, they will donate a percentage of the value of your purchase to aid the valuable work we do!



 I arrived 3 of March 2018 for one month. My biggest interest to come to DAKTARI was the kids because I would like to work in social services. I always wanted to do a volunteers trip. Furthermore,  the perfect place for me is in the middle of the bush to discover the animals and to learn a lot of things about them. 

During my stay at DAKTARI, I went a week in the neighbouring village. I lived with a local family and discovered their daily life and their culture. I was disoriented by their way of life: the toilets are not in the house, it looks like a hole outside and sometimes there is no door. The most shocking thing for me was the shower. The family puts a little water in a bath with a dishcloth and you have to do it by yourself. And there is not a real road in the village. 

Then the children play everywhere with everything the most of the time without shoes. Everybody is really welcome, friendly and you feel like a star because everyone wants a picture with you!


During this week, I visited the creche and discovered that it is very different than in Switzerland. I went also to the primary school and secondary. I had the opportunity to teach English and math. The greatest difference is the number of student in one classroom: around 50, sometimes more! 

During the english lesson, they had to read a text and answer questions. The problem was that if a front person read basically they were talking to each other and it’s hard to get everyone’s attention. During the math lesson, I tested the children with mental calculations, they all stood up to answer. What I remember is that really hard and tiresome to have a large class like that.

The secondary school was to teach the teenagers to keep a healthy environment, not to throw waste on the ground and how to reuse it. For example, we make a rubbish with the brick of milch. You have to know that this is an optional lesson and there were so many students present.


My experience was just amazing! I really want to come back there because the life is totally different but really a good  place to live as well.

My best memory was in the primary school when all children come to hug me. I felt really overwhelmed but so comfortable at the same time because they look so happy.


Wednesday, 21 March 2018 20:51

Welcome to Tango and Chimoya


We are very happy to welcome two new babies at DAKTARI this mouth! 


At the beginning of March, we welcomed a baby sable antelope called Tango given to us from a nearby farm. We took in Tango when he was only 2 days old because his mother could not produce milk to feed him. 

Raising a baby antelope is a real challenge due to the complexity of their stomach. Sable antelopes gave four chambers in their stomach and if the milk is not the correct temperature it can go into the the wrong chamber. 


Last weekend, we welcomed Chimoya, a baby buffalo, given to us by a local farmer. We are taking care of her because her mother rejected her. She is now settled into her new enclosure with Tango who is very happy to have a new friend! 


Our volunteers are doing an amazing job of providing food and care for our two new babies! They are feeding them every few hours, making sure they receive all the attention they need. 


When Tango and Chimoya grow enough to go by themselves they will be released in a nearby reserve where they are free to enjoy the bush!


Thursday, 15 March 2018 05:29

Day Trip to Tshukudu Bush Camp


At the end of each week, our volunteers chose a "winner" of the week according to their politeness, participation in the classroom and their general enthusiasm and behavior during their week at DAKTARI. On Friday, the children have a ceremony to end their week and a "winner of the week" is chosen. They are rewarded with a tree that they can plant at home or at school and are invited to participate in a day trip with other winners from the other weeks. 


Last weekend, we took the eight children for a day trip to Tshukudu Bush Camp  for a game drive! This is a private game reserve home to the big 5 near Kruger National Park. Ian knows the reserve well as this is where he work as a game ranger and met Michele!  Our volunteer coordinator and two other volunteers accompanied the children on the drive. 


They saw many animals including zebra, giraffe, kudu, hippo, crocodile, waterbuck, impala, caracal and two rhino families! They learned a lot about the wildlife and animals thanks to the knowledge of the wonderful ranger Richard. The children were amazed by the animals and even got to touch three beautiful cheetahs that were raised on the reserve. This is the first time they got to see many animals in the wild. 


We would like to say a big THANK YOU to Tshukudu Bush Camp for this wonderful day!


Wednesday, 07 March 2018 18:07

New Support!

We recently received some generous donations! 


Powafix, a paint manufacturer, donate 20L of paint to us. We will use this paint to keep our bush camp up to date and keep DAKTARI's camp clean and pleasant for the volunteers and staff. 


Waltons also donated some laminated pouches to us. This donation will contribute to our work of educating underprivileged children about the importance of the environment. 


Build it Hoedspruit donated 3 rolls of wire mesh. This will keep our camp safe and functioning so we can continue to welcomes new animals, volunteers and children to DAKTARI. 


We are very grateful for all these amazing donations! Donations like these are important in keeping our camp up to date, improving the running of our environmental education program. 





Tuesday, 27 February 2018 13:40

DAKTARI's Impact

When the children arrive at the DAKTARI camp on Monday, they fill in a general survey that works as a level indicator. The questions are based on crucial points of their education that they may or may not have learned in school or in life as of yet. The questionnaire is used as a progression sheet as they are asked to fill out the same questions when they leave on Friday. 


Through mapping the results of this survey, it has become evident that the progression the children are making throughout the week has decreased over the last three years (2015-2017). Although they are learning the same content as the previous years, the children possess more knowledge on these topics than when they arrive. This is particularly the case with their understanding of environmental awareness. 



This demonstrates that after over 12 years of working in this area, the impact DAKTARI is having on the community is becoming increasingly visible. As more children come to DAKTARI, they spread their knowledge to their family and friends making them aware of certain environmental issues. DAKTARI has now reached over 4000 children and each child that attends becomes an important ambassador to spread their knowledge into the nearby villages. 


DAKTARI also works in the community and the twice-weekly Eco Clubs the children attend at the local schools help them expand their knowledge after they have been to DAKTARI. Moreover, children that have never been to DAKTARI can also attend to learn about the environment. The DAKTARI team regularly meet with the teachers and headmasters of the local schools and the schools have reported significant improvements in the students who have attended DAKTARI. This includes increased concentration in the classroom, more confidence to speak up in class, an increase in politeness and self-esteem and a higher pass rate at the end of the year.  


Tuesday, 20 February 2018 01:40

Mélissa Faugère - Volunteer January 2018


I volunteered at DAKTARI for three weeks and it was the most beautiful project of my young life. I had wanted to volunteer for a while but I was more interested in volunteering with animals rather than children. After three weeks at DAKTARI that completely changed and I was so happy to be able to spend so much time with such incredible children. 


Every week eight children from a local school come to spend one week with us to follow a teaching program and do educational activities. From Monday to Friday you could see how much they had changed. On Monday we helped the children to fill out a questionnaire with questions on several topics that will be discussed during the week with them. Usually on Monday they cannot answer the questions correctly. The same questionnaire is given to them on Friday and it is a joy for all the volunteers to see there has been a big improvement. During one of my weeks, the child I helped went from 4 out of 16 right on Monday to 14 out of 16 right on Friday! It is really amazing to observe the impact one can have on them and to realize that their future is in your hands. 


The best time of the week is Thursday night. We gather around a bonfire with the children and sing and dance all together. It is a beautiful moment to share with the volunteers and children.


In terms of the animals, it is just as wonderful. Each animal has its own story that has led it to DAKTARI. I loved being close to the animals, cleaning their enclosures, feeding them twice a day and cuddling the baby dassies! 


I could talk about my experience at DAKTARI for hours so I will thank all the volunteers and staff who I share my time with - it was lovely to meet you all. Leaving was the hardest thing but as DAKTARI says so well "Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end, they simply mean I'll miss you until we meet again!" 


I'm already saving to go back! 


DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage aims to provide environmental and life-skills education to local children and stimulate community development. The below text outlines how our project aims further the sustainable development agenda. 


 1. No Poverty:
  • Improved education
  • Creating employment opportunities in the nearby area
  • Helping local youths find jobs
  • Promoting entrepreneurship
  • Access to technology 
 8. Decent Work and Economic   Growth: 
  • Teaching local youths the skills they need to find a job
  • Assist with work experience and training
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship 
 3. Good Health and Well-Being:
  • Education about HIV/AIDS and pregnancy 
  • The importance of clean water
  • Encouraging tree planting to improve air quality
  • Teaching respect to encourage healthy relationships
 11. Sustainable Cities and   Communities: 
  • Provide environmental education opportunities to local high-schools
  • Assisting in community improvement projects such as planting trees
  • Organizing clean-up days in the local community 
 4. Quality Education: 
  • Providing one-on-one teaching
  • Small class sizes
  • Learning to formulate your own opinion 
  • Reinforcing and building on existing education
  • Developing self-confidence
 12. Responsible Consumption and   Production: 
  • Teaching about water conservation
  • Adopting the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle 
  • Encouraging tree planting
  • Awareness of issues surrounding plastics
 5. Gender Equality: 
  • Learn about social issues such as respect 
  • Teach to respect all people regardless of their background
  • Program is accessible to all without discrimination 
 13. Climate Action: 
  • Learning about climate change and the social and environmental challenges
  • Encouraging individual action to prevent climate change
 6. Clean Water and Sanitation: 
  • Learn how to use a flushing toilet 
  • Importance of basic hygiene
  • Conduct water testing experiment to see if the water can sustain life 
 15. Life on Land: 
  • Teaching the economic importance of conserving the environment including plants, animals and water
  • Explaining the eco-tourism industry
 7. Affordable and Clean Energy: 
  • DAKTARI is run on solar power and we do our best to conserve energy
  • In the evening we use minimal lighting and turn off large appliances that use a lot of energy
 17. Partnerships for the Goals: 
  • Attending meetings with like-minded organizations so ideas can be shared and sustainable methods promoted


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