from 620€

Perfect 4.6rating (112)

Environment and Wildlife Education

location
1 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 16 - 50+

rating  Perfect 4.6  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate

Highlights

  • Educate underprivileged children about the environment, wildlife crime and important life skills.
  • Get involved with local communities and learn about the South African culture!
  • Care for injured and/or orphaned wildlife and help us give animals the second chance they deserve.
  • Go on road trips, sightseeing excursions, safaris and more to discover the beauty of South Africa beyond the gates of our camp.
  • Become a part of the DAKTARI Family, make friends for life and memories you'll never forget!

Especially suitable

Age 16+
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

About the program

Our volunteering program is designed to give you the opportunity to teach local children, care for injured wildlife, and get fully immersed in the South African bush.

As teachers and caretakers at DAKTARI, our volunteers are vital to the success of our programs and really make an impact on the communities. The volunteers will teach the local children, care for the animals and reach out to the community.

Teaching the Children

Since 2006, DAKTARI has welcomed eight ...

About the program

As teachers and caretakers at DAKTARI, our volunteers are vital to the success of our programs and really make an impact on the communities. The volunteers will teach the local children, care for the animals and reach out to the community.

Teaching the Children

Since 2006, DAKTARI has welcomed eight children every week to come to DAKTARI for a five-day stay to learn about the environment. We pick up the Grade 8 students on Monday morning and they stay in dorms at the camp. During their stay, they participate in our teaching program. The goal? To provide a close and engaging learning experience that motivates students to care for their environment, while teaching them important life skills.

The DAKTARI teaching program is dynamic and changes as we find new lessons and activities that the kids enjoy. Although the main frame of the program has stayed the same, we are always looking to improve. The program is completely taught by volunteers and they get a detailed teaching program before they arrive so that they can learn the material.

What makes our Teaching Program different?

The children get to spend a full week at our camp with our volunteers and get to have fun, as well as learn a lot! Because we only take eight children each week, they benefit from one-on-one attention and participate in every lesson. Though our focus is on environmental education, we also spend time teaching the children life skills and addressing social problems like alcohol and drug addiction or safe sex. The teaching program is very hands-on. The children get to see the animals up-close at our wildlife orphanage and interact with the animals every day. The lessons are interactive and practical and the children leave here with a passion for learning.

Working with the Animals in the Wildlife Orphanage

The animals at DAKTARI are the cornerstone for the education program. Sadly, many of them are not able to be released but we are able to give them a second life at DAKTARI where they make a big impact.  Most of the children that come to DAKTARI have never seen one of the Big 5 – Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Elephant, and Buffalo – or any of the local wildlife. Due to poaching and the killing of animals because they destroy crops, the wildlife has been relocated to private and national reserves for their protection. Entrance into these reserves is expensive so the local communities cannot enter.

This is where DAKTARI comes in. We teach the children that their local wildlife should not be inherently feared or hated. We teach them that animals should be protected and respected. We teach them that the local wildlife creates jobs through tourism and animal care. Each day you will help with the different chores that need to be done to keep our animals happy and healthy such as cleaning each enclosure and feeding them. 

Many of the animals that come to DAKTARI are injured or require special care (especially the babies!). That means that you may be tasked with providing medicine, first aid, or additional feeding to animals at the camp, day or night. If we have any new arrivals or animal releases, you will also have the opportunity to renovate or build new animal enclosures with our staff! 

Animals as ambassadors

Having a safe place to rehabilitate injured or orphaned animals has always been part of the vision of DAKTARI. It has also grown into an integral part of the education of the local children. The animals in the orphanage are integrated into the teaching program with the children. There are lessons about poaching, animal facts, and learning how to identify animals by their tracks. The children complete a scavenger hunt around the camp based on the different animals and facts about them.

Each morning and each afternoon, the children assist volunteers and staff in cleaning enclosures and feeding the animals. The children also interact with our more friendly residents during their free time. By actively taking part in the animal care and by learning so much about animals during their stay, the children are inspired to protect the wildlife. It would be impossible to achieve our mission without the animals in our care. 

Community Projects

Some of the children enjoyed their DAKTARI experience so much that together they organised a small after school club to share their inspiration and love for conservation. We are proud to have mentored their club which has now developed into our DAKTARI Outreach Program. The ECO CLUB takes around 30 students at a time for 6 weeks. These voluntary clubs are very popular and the kids are celebrated with a big ceremony at the end of each cycle! 

By working every week with children in their villages, we extend DAKTARI’s impact to a wider population, and empower the children to be role models in their community. Children from any grade can join and many will attend eco-club for several years.

Community Improvement Projects

With the help of the children in the ECO CLUB, DAKTARI has initiated and sponsored several community projects, such as community clean-up projects, reusing rubbish to build a dustbin, and planting trees at the creche and school. We aim to not only improve the aesthetics of the community, but the instil a sense of pride and responsibility for their community into the children. That way, they will take better care of it in the future.

Wildlife Crime Campaigns

During the weeks when DAKTARI is not able to bring children to the camp due to exams or school breaks, we go to schools we normally can't work with to do Outreach Campaigning. This consists of 3 mornings or afternoons where we teach Grade 7 kids about the environment, recycling and more important subjects. We are not able to welcome all of these children to our camp, but by doing our Outreach Campaigning we can at least bring them a little more knowledge on the environment and its importance.



Typical day

Monday through Friday you will be teaching a group of eight children, ages 13-16, about the environment, the importance of protecting wildlife, and about social issues like safe sex and substance abuse. All classes are taught in English but you do not need to be a native English speaker to teach ...

Typical day

Monday through Friday you will be teaching a group of eight children, ages 13-16, about the environment, the importance of protecting wildlife, and about social issues like safe sex and substance abuse. All classes are taught in English but you do not need to be a native English speaker to teach at DAKTARI. You also don't need to have any teaching experience. We have everything you need to be a great teacher and we are happy to help you if you need it!

Your day starts at 7am and lessons begin at 9am. Classes are finished around 4:30pm and then we have group talks with the kids about social issues.  Don't worry, we do make time for fun too! You will play games with the children, join them in the pool, and dance around the bonfire to their favourite songs. You also work with the kids to feed and care for the animals at DAKTARI. To get an impression of what life of a volunteer at DAKTARI is, check out the video below!

After you spend your day teaching children you will help our staff care for the animals around camp. This can be anything from feeding an animal with a bottle to cleaning their enclosures or picking up a hammer and renovating their homes. 


Free-time activities

Weekends and time off

On Saturdays you can take a trip into Hoedspruit with Ian. This gives you the opportunity to do any shopping you might need and a chance to get our of the camp for a while. There are plenty of great restaurants in town to have lunch at too!

Sundays are your day off. You can plan ...

Free-time activities

Weekends and time off

On Saturdays you can take a trip into Hoedspruit with Ian. This gives you the opportunity to do any shopping you might need and a chance to get our of the camp for a while. There are plenty of great restaurants in town to have lunch at too!

Sundays are your day off. You can plan a day excursion if you like or just relax at the camp. We are happy to help you plan a trip or put you in touch with a local guide. If you are interested in taking a longer break over the weekend (Friday to Sunday), you are welcome to arrange that with our staff.

Here are just some of the things you can do around DAKTARI:

  •     Visit Kruger National Park for a safari
  •     Go to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
  •     Do the Tshukudu Game Lodge Cheetah walk
  •     Visit the Kinyonga Reptile Centre
  •     Hot air ballooning over the Blyde River Canyon
  •     Boat trips on the Blyde River
  •     Horseback Riding safaris


Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 16 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.

Language Skills

You need to speak English (intermediate level)

Education Requirements

at High School level

Required Documents

Copy of flight details, Copy of passport and Copy of travel insurance

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

We do not require any particular skills aside your enthusiasm and willingness to take part! A decent level of English is also necessary to make an impact. Please note that if you are under 18, you will be required to send a parental consent document.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 18:30

What's Included

What's Included

Services by DAKTARI Bush School

  • Food for volunteers and the children
  • Costs of accommodating volunteers and children
  • Fuel for the generator & transport of the child
  • Telephone and internet
  • Animal food and care
  • Community work
  • Gas for refrigeration
  • Renovations, upgrading of facilities
  • Educational equipment and practical material
  • Veterinary fees

Airport Pickup at Hoedspruit Airport

You can either take a plane or go via a shuttle from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit where we will meet you. Pick up locations:

  • Hoedspruit Airport or
  • RockFig Center , Hoedspruit
  • Kamogelo Center in Hoedspruit
  • Sleepers Restaurant in Hoedspruit

Accommodation

We are located in the middle of the bush and so the camp is rustic, although we do our very best to make sure everyone is kept clean, comfortable, and well fed. You will enjoy hot showers, running water, and solar-powered lights in your traditional chalets. You may be sharing your chalet with up to 4 other volunteers but everyone has their own bed and space to store clothes and personal items.

Laundry is done for everyone each day, with the exception of Sunday, and the rooms are cleaned every day.

Living and working at DAKTARI is very safe. Our camp is fenced in and the farm is in a protected area. You won't need to worry about crime while staying with us and we take precautions to make sure that our staff and children are safe from the predatory animals around DAKTARI. 

Food & Beverages

Our wonderful staff provides us with healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. We also cater for vegetarians. 

Tea, coffee and juices are included in our rate. Any extra drinks like sodas or alcohol are excluded and can be bought onsite. 

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) in Hoedspruit. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

Travel Insurance

Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE

Vaccines

If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

We do arrivals and departures to/from camp on SATURDAYS.


A member of the project will meet you on arrival and they will bring you back to camp where you will have a meet and greet with everyone before heading off to your room and getting a tour around camp.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

1 week (min. stay) 620€
2 weeks 1,190€
3 weeks 1,690€
4 weeks 1,890€
5 weeks 2,190€
6 weeks 2,490€
7 weeks 2,790€
8 weeks 3,090€
9 weeks 3,390€
10 weeks 3,690€
11 weeks 3,990€
12 weeks (max. stay) 4,290€
Average fees 488€/week

Program fees

488€ per week 1 - 12 weeks Age 16 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

1 - 12 weeks

Deposit

The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.


Final Payment

Your final payment will be agreed with DAKTARI Bush School during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

DAKTARI Bush School

Perfect 4.6 rating (112 reviews)

Non-profit - founded in 2002

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by

Pretty

Spoken languages: English

About the project

The mission of DAKTARI is to educate and inspire local children to value their environment and stimulate community development.

Meet your organization

OUR STORY: A LOVE STORY THAT BECAME DAKTARI

Ian and Michele Merrifield officially opened DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage in 2006 but it was a long road to make it happen. Ian and Michele met while Ian was working as a game ranger at Tshukudu Game Lodge and Michele was volunteering there as well. While hand-raising injured zebras, wildebeest, and warthogs, Ian and Michele fell in love.

Michele had long dreamed about living in Africa and taking care of the wildlife. When she met Ian, she was able to realise that dream. They left Tshukudu after getting married and opened a restaurant in Hoedspruit to start raising capital for their own wildlife orphanage. While there, Ian and Michele helped raise a local boy from the village named Thabo. He had almost no knowledge or understanding of his native wildlife and environment, so Ian and Michele began using the animals in their care to teach him. Thabo's understanding of conservation was typical of children in Limpopo and the idea of adding a bush school was born.

So where did the name DAKTARI come from? Michele says, "When we were younger, there was a TV program called Daktari. It was about a family in Africa, who looked after and raised many different types of orphaned wild animals. As kids we loved it and we remember getting deeply emotionally attached to the different animals." Sounds familiar right? Michele and Ian adopted the name and so DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage was born.

OUR MISSION

The Mission of DAKTARI is to educate and inspire local children to value their environment and stimulate community development.

Through the combination of the bush school and the wildlife orphanage, DAKTARI has developed an immersive educational experience for local children to learn about the wildlife around them, the environment, anti-poaching, and a wide variety of other issues, right in the middle of the bush. Our work extends into their communities through Eco Clubs at the secondary schools, career guidance for the youth, and community development projects.

112 reviews · rating4.6

Luke Llabres rating5

2024 at Environment and Wildlife Education

I wanted to come to Daktari to spend my summer giving back to the world in a good way while learning about myself and progressing as an individual. I was able to accomplish both while here! It's super rewarding to get to teach kids about the world around them and how they can make it a better place. ..
Marc CAILLIS rating4.6

2024 at Environment and Wildlife Education

I wish I stayed more ;). Firstly, I think that the impact on the children I had was significant. That was my biggest concern before coming. Secondly, the accommodation, food, atmosphere was very ...
erine coutant rating4.8

2024 at Environment and Wildlife Education

Daktari was an experience where I was able to discover many things and learn new things, both in terms of animals and also in the education of children. I really liked being with the children and a little less the animal side. then I met people who were beneficial and enriching for me, I would just ...
Laurie CHASTANG rating4.4

2023 at Environment and Wildlife Education

This is my second time at Daktari. It’s always a pleasure to be here. You meet new volunteers who are always kind and friendly. The staff and the animals don’t change but I’m very happy to see them again. I advise you to do this volunteer experience because you can learn so much about the ...
Brenda Cunha rating3.8

2023 at Environment and Wildlife Education

Stay with the kids was amazing and as there were a lot of voluntaries, it was easy to make everything with patience and organization. All the experience was really ...
Henrique Gimenez rating5

2023 at Environment and Wildlife Education

Be part of Daktari project was one of the most incredible experience in my life. We learnt a lot with the kids during classes and funny moments and the contact with nature and animal is perfect. I hope be able to return one day to live unforgettable moments once again. Thank you ...

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