Laura Nardini, DAKTARI Volunteer 11/10/2014 - 15/11/2014
"I spent 5 weeks at DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage, an amazing program that allows volunteers to work with local children as much as wild animals. The perfect mix! Not only you teach the children about saving environment, animals and other matters, but you also learn about them and their way of life which is quite different from ours. It's very enriching, and I would say that you learn from them as much as they learn from you. You also work and live among the animals, and the arrival of a new one is always very exciting!
Volunteers also have the possibility to meet local people from the neighbor village, by spending a night within a family. A unique experience I highly recommend...
DAKTARI is a family size program. The day of your arrival you immediately meet all the people that work here, including the founders, and you quickly feel like at home. The relationship with other volunteers is great because everybody is very willing to help, and you can meet people of every ages and from every places of the world.
Finally, when you are volunteer at DAKTARI, I would say that you feel very useful and it is an experience you will never forget"
DAKTARI's challenge: Clean the Oaks Village!
You know it, DAKTARI's mission is to inspire and educate underprivileged children to care for their environment through the medium of a wildlife orphanage. From Monday November 3rd to the 5th this mission was extended even further by going into the local community to educate the neighbouring village of The Oaks, in the first of many stepping-stones into becoming a clean, eco-friendly area. The Oaks is located 30 minutes from DAKTARI. We often do community projects with them, like the Home Stay or the Eco-Club, to help and develop the village.
DAKTARI volunteers came armed with bin bags, gloves and enthusiasm in their bundles! They teamed up with local residents, who volunteered their time also, in cleaning up the rubbish around the main market area and the sides of the road. Over the three days DAKTARI and the locals of The Oaks came together to pick up the rubbish and the residents were taught of the importance of keeping their village clean for future endeavors.
The founders of DAKTARI, Michele and Ian Merrifield, had meetings with the Chief of The Oaks and the Municipality prior to the event, which resulted in the Municipality organizing the rubbish collection and the promises to provide 20 new cement rubbish bins to be placed around The Oaks.
To continue the support of local businesses, DAKTARI volunteers immersed themselves even more into the DAKTARI community during their lunch break by dining at Mama’s Kitchen!
Thanks to the Oaks’ chief and the municipality for their great collaboration in making it possible!!
Are you looking for a Christmas Gift? We have the perfect present for you!
Make An Animal and/or a Child Happy and receive your Virtual Gifts!
DAKTARI needs your help to spread joy to disadvantaged animals and children! From November to January 2014, you can make a donation to an orphaned wild animal or an underprivileged child on behalf of a loved one. Do it by yourself or even better get your family together to make a contribution as a group. Indeed, our Virtual Gift concept does exactly that - rather than just asking for donations to cover the cost of an animal or a child at DAKTARI, we ask you to make a donation on behalf of someone else and we then send you a personalised gift certificate, a thank-you picture and a video to be given to this person. So, interested? (Find the details on the links below)
+ RECEIVE YOUR VIRTUAL GIFTS!
- There is a minimum donation amount of just $10
- The name of your gift recipient.
- Your name or the nickname you want to sign with.
- A personalised message?
- For the animals. Check out the video below to choose what animal you want to love and spoil for Christmas and let us know! :)
THANK YOU for supporting our lovely children and animals at DAKTARI! When these Virtual Gifts are continuously purchased, this allows us to keep the animals happy and educate South Africa's next generation to care and love their environment, their heritage, their future.
From the enclosure into the wild!
We have such a big and good announcement to let you know about!! We are so happy to inform you that we released our 11 Mongooses into the wild. Bandit, Munchkin, Nikita, Weasle, Nwana, Stoffles, Sidoney, Fernando, Mango, Groove and our little Erishka are now free again!! Another successful rehabilitation story by DAKTARI that we are very proud of.
General Facts and Flash Back on their story
General: The Banded Mongoose is a sturdy mongoose with a large head, small ears, short, muscular limbs and a long tail, almost as long as the rest of the body. The Banded Mongoose is not an endangered species, the development of agriculture in the continent has had a positive influence on their numbers as crops of the farmland serve as an extra food source.
Interesting Facts: Mongoose are highly social, living in packs of about a dozen, typically up to about 30. Packs sleep together and forage in loose groups, each mongoose obtaining its own food. Groups live in home ranges which may be territories, as meetings between groups are aggressive. Each home range contains several dens which are used in rotation for a few days at a time.
Personal Story: All the Mongooses arrived at DAKTARI one after another, with a different past. At the beginning we tried to put them all together but they fought a lot and we had to separate them in different enclosures. During a long time, we worked on a rehabilitation process, with the long term goal of releasing them into the wild. And... It was a success! After having 11 Mongooses living together and cohabiting very happily, we planned their release.
The release: 21th of October 2014. It was difficult for all the DAKTARI Team to say goodbye to all of these little Mongooses. We were used to having them and taking care of all of them for a long time! But we also know that this is the right thing to do for their hapiness. So we arrived in a neighbour reserve with the Mongooses at the back of the Bakkie and, "3, 2, 1... Open the door! Let's GO Mongooses, you are FREE!!" :)
What happened after opening the cage was a bit surprising...
Watch it in the following video!
Exploring the area... One of them even found food that he shared with the others!! This is a very good sign for the next step of their free life.
Bonjour à tous!
Après avoir vu le documentaire TV sur DAKTARI et être tombé par hasard sur le site internet quelques mois plus tard, j’ai décidé de contacter DAKTARI et de m’inscrire pour 1 mois d’eco-volontariat!! La réponse fut positive…
J’ai 61 ans, sportive et assez garçon manqué, veuve depuis 2 ans vivant seule et... je m'ennuie a mourir! Je m'envole donc pour Johannesburg. Après 6 heures de bus pour arriver à Hoedspruit, là m’attend le rangers Ian, qui me récupère avec d'autres volontaires. Une autre heure de route et de piste pour arriver au camp, accueil chaleureux, on s'installe et le lundi, levez 6 heures, on attaque!! Je m’aperçois vite que les journées sont biens remplies, avec un planning précis décidé entre les volontaires la veille au soir. Au programme: s'occuper des animaux, nettoyer les cages, préparer et distribuer la nourriture, donner les cours en anglais aux enfants… L’anglais est leur deuxième langue donc ce n’est pas toujours évident et il faut parfois s’armer de patience pour leur expliquer la leçon. Un autre point important: Préparer les cours en avance! C’est une bonne chose à faire quand, comme pour moi, parler anglais toute la journée n’est pas facile et que cela demande beaucoup de concentration et d’énergie. Il était bon de se reposer après de telles journées! De plus je suis entourée de jeunes de 20 à 40 ans de tous les coins du monde, il y a une super ambiance et tout le monde participe!
Quoi d’autres? On mange super bien, on se lave parfois à l'eau froide, l’électricité c’est que le matin et n’oubliez pas vos lampes de poche! Un petit détail important que j'ai particulièrement apprécié, les femmes de ménage passent tous les jours dans la chambre et la salle d’eau, prennent notre linge sale et nous le repose le lendemain lavé et repassé! C' est une expérience très enrichissante, on apprend pleins de choses, on rencontre des gens du quatre coins du monde.
Aux questions que l'on me pose: "mais tu payes pour faire cela?!" "Oui je paye! On paye notre pension et on fait un don pour les enfants et les animaux, c'est comme cela que le camp arrive a tenir!” Pour moi c'est une manière de découvrir le pays et sa population, le week-end on fait des excursions on essaye de s'impliquer plutôt que de se regarder le nombril, on est tous dans le même état d'esprit, on s’entraide... Les filles venaient me voir pour me demander des conseils à la fin et en plus on se marre, vous ne pouvez pas vous imaginer. Et du coup cela m'a fait rebondir, je repars pendant un mois faire un périple dans les pays d'Afrique du Sud, Namibie, Botswana, Zambie, Zimbabwe, cela m'a donné des ailes et j'ai pu montrer de quoi je suis capable. L'année prochaine je pars au Cambodge en mission pendant 2 mois.
Merci à Michelle, à son mari Ian et à son équipe, vous êtes toujours dans mes pensées!
Here is your Newsletter for July - September 2014!
As always, the DAKTARI Team is very excited to let you know about our latest adventures! New baby (But from who??), animals releases (Who is free again??), new videos about children (What? A TV Crew again at DAKTARI??), special offer for your volunteer time (I want to book now!!!), and so on.
Don't wait, click the slides below to see what happened at DAKTARI, and see you again at the beginning of 2015!! :)
What Impact does DAKTARI have on the local children?
Last week DAKTARI invited the principals and educators of the schools they work with for an afternoon of positive interaction and communication! Maahlamele, Lepono, Sekoko, Nareng and Leoma Schools, all came together at our camp!
After hearing the children’s fascinating stories about DAKTARI, the teachers were so excited to discover our bush school for themselves. We showed them around the camp to exhibit the animals they have in our care, so they could see why their schoolchildren became passionate about wildlife and environment.
We then started speaking about one of the most vital topics today: the education of our next generation! It is common for local school classes to be larger than 60 pupils. As a consequence, the basic education of these children is suffering, and this has serious implications for the surrounding environment as well as their future. At DAKTARI, we only welcome 8 children per week so that the children receive the full attention they need. Curious to hear the teachers’ feedback, Michele took the lead of the discussion by asking this crucial question to the teachers:
What impact does DAKTARI have on the children?
Take 4 minutes to hear what they have to say!
As the discussion deepened we also addressed areas on saving energy and recycling, two very important topics for DAKTARI. The teachers confirmed to us that they are more than willing to help us to work toward a greener environment for Limpopo.
This day represented a chance for educators from different backgrounds to join together so a clearer picture was formed about what is needed in order to be an even greater success. The people who will end up benefiting the most will undoubtedly be the children. Time and effort must be put in because these are our future leaders, so it is urgent that we all support and prepare them as best we can.
Thank you so much Teachers for coming at DAKTARI to share your feelings!!
Maxime Fradin - DAKTARI Volunteer 09/08/2014 - 29/08/2014
"Ce voyage restera à jamais gravé dans ma mémoire et mon coeur tellement l'Afrique du Sud est un pays merveilleux sur tous les points et que vous nous le faite découvrir de la plus belle des façons! Avoir des employés locaux permet aux volontaires d'être en contact avec la population et donc de découvrir leurs bons comme leurs mauvais côtés...
Ensuite les paysages, DAKTARI est placé entre montagnes, bush, et coins plus tropicaux grâce aux rivières avoisinantes. DAKTARI, crazy DAKTARI, est à la hauteur de ce que j'attendais par l'école et l'orphelinat mais aussi par vous, Ian et Michèle, qui êtes des personnes formidables. Vous n'hésitez pas à ouvrir grand vos bras afin qu'on découvre votre paradis! De votre humour à votre expérience en passant par votre générosité tout est à prendre et à s'en servir comme leçon de vie. Ne changez pas, vous rendez cette expérience sud africaine encore plus émouvante qu'elle ne l'est déjà!
Je vous souhaite une bonne continuation sur cette lancée, n'arrêtez surtout pas de rendre meilleure la vie des jeunes locaux et des animaux, mais aussi des volontaires! J'espère que ce n'était pas un adieu et qu'on aura l'occasion de se revoir par la suite.
Maxime Fradin alias Rafiki"
More Solar Electricity for a brighter future!
You probably already know that there is no electricity at DAKTARI, we live thanks to a generator and solar electricity. In order to have more power in the camp, we recently installed new solar panels. We are very thankful and blessed to have done this, without the generosity and precious help of a few people, this would not have been possible.
All the DAKTARI team would like to say a warm thank you to Delec Power Distributors. They donnated all of the goods, sundries and labour needed for our new solar installation. Moreover, the cable and mc4 connecters were given by lapp cables. THANK YOU so much for your time and consideration. Indeed, all together we replaced one old panel by a new one, the idea is to split the electricity in both: if one panel doesn't work we still have the other one now.
More solar electricity at DAKTARI for a brighter future!!