I consider myself to be a pretty well-traveled man and I have had all kinds of adventures around the world and I can honestly say that my time at Daktari was among the best times of my life. I... Phil Woodland
Submitted by Mary Ann - New York United States | April 05, 2016
I had just retired and decided to travel to South Africa to begin my new life of "giving back." When my husband and I (both in our early sixties) arrived at Daktari our first activity was after dinner -- the baby dassies needed their evening bottles. I fed the furry little creature, then she crawled onto my neck and went to sleep. Believe me -- it was more relaxing than any spa treatment I have ever experienced. So began our wonderful 2 week adventure at Daktari. We feed and cuddled the dassies every morning and evening, met the cheetah, held brand new baby mice, petted the jackal and laughed with Eeyore the donkey. We also worked hard stabling and feeding the animals. That was the animal orphanage part of Daktari. The Bush School part was just as rewarding. Who knew my husband could command such attention in the classroom - the kids really listened to him. We had the opportunity to talk about politeness, respect, the environment and the economic and humanitarian importance of protecting the animals in South Africa.
I loved every minute. Everything was wonderful -- from my first email inquiry until the day we left. We plan to go back. Animals and kids in the African bush. What could be better than that?
My Daktari Experience
Submitted by Jodie Clark - Kilmarnock University of the West of Scotland | January 18, 2016
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!
Unforgettable time in Daktari
Submitted by Sabrina Richter - Hoedspruit Hans-Freundesberg Schule | December 30, 2015
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.
Sabrina from Germany
DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage responded to this review January 02, 2016 at 7:24 AM
Thank you so much Sabrina for your great review. We are happy that you had a good time with us and feel like you made a difference to the people and animals of South Africa. We also had a great time having you with us.
Wish you a very happy new year.
My time at Daktari
Submitted by Matilda Carne - Alps | December 03, 2015
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.
Daktari; a unique, peaceful and loveable place
Submitted by Marloes de Vries - Rotterdam | April 23, 2015
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!
beautiful experience-superbe experience
Submitted by jujulafrancaose - ayherre bordeaux 1 | September 21, 2014
cette experience m a permise de voyager, de decouvrir toutes sortes d animaux, des personnes extraordinaire.... une superbe experience. de plus yan et michele sont deux superbes personnes !!!!! bref que du positif
This experience allowed me to travel and discover all sorts of animals, amazing people .... a great experience. more Yan and Michele are two beautiful people !!!!! brief but positive
Submitted by Gemma - England | September 19, 2014
I volunteered at Daktari for 6weeks in 2011 and loved every moment!
Michele and Ian (founders) are awesome , they care a huge amount about the local community and local wildlife hich is infectious for volunteers!
I remember Michele had an injured baby bush baby we helped care for during my time at Daktari, holding & caring for that cute & fluffy bush baby was amazing, unfortunately he I'd not make it but we tried! And that's the point of Daktari, they all try to save wildlife and make a difference!
By educating the local community it will help protect wildlife now and in the future, watching personalities and attitudes of the kids that visit Daktari change during their time is a life is a life changing experience or all volunteers!
Being a part of Daktari is being part of a family!!
My home away from home
Submitted by Ditte Soerensen - Hjørring | September 19, 2014
Hi all :o)
If you're looking for a volunteer experience, where you can combine working with children with the african bush and animals, this is the place.
As part of my study, I did an internship a 6 months internship at Daktari in 2006/2007, and I have been coming back every year since.
The founders Michele and Ian are fantastic people, who put their heart and soul into making a difference for not only the local children and injured animals, but also for the local community and the volunteers, who stay at Daktari :o)
At Daktari you will become part of the local community, and get an insight into the local south african way of living. At the same time, you will have a chance to influence the life of young local children - and they will influence you life as well.
And if you end up like me, Africa and Daktari will get under your skin - and you will try to get back here, at every chance you get :o)
A truly wonerful experience
Submitted by Phil Woodland - Tokyo | September 18, 2014
I consider myself to be a pretty well-traveled man and I have had all kinds of adventures around the world and I can honestly say that my time at Daktari was among the best times of my life. I stayed at Daktari for a couple of months in 2010 and visited again for a shorter time last year and the place has only gotten better and better. It is a beautiful place and i loved being constantly surrounded by animals and having such a hands-on experience with them. When listening to a leopard roaring and being visited by a hungry porcupine while enjoying an evening beer become a regular thing you know life is good;) And driving the kids back to the village one Friday and having kids from previous groups chasing the bus and waving and calling to me made me realise what a wonderful thing Ian and Michelle (and all us volunteers) are doing. It really seems to have a positive impact on their lives. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Submitted by Monica - London | September 18, 2014
Volunteering at Daktari in August 2012 is my best volunteering experience because it combined wildlife conservation and education. I've done other projects (orangutans in Borneo, pandas in China, teaching in Beijing, planting native trees in Mauritius) but this is a fantastic opportunity to make a real social impact through the one week residential program and visiting the eco club at the local secondary. It was most rewarding to see the kids confidence with animals and expressing themselves improve over the course of just 5 days in residence.
Wonderful experience with kids and animals in a bush camp
Submitted by HOLLY - Mannheim Ursulinen Gymnasium Mannheim | September 18, 2014
In my 2 weeks at Daktari (June 2013) I learned a lot about under-privileged kids in Africa, notably that education is key for them to a better life.
Education must include a broad bundle of aspects in order to carry them personally, and the region they live in, forward: Command of the English language, knowledge about nature and environment, but also ethical and friendly behaviour count. I am happy to have contributed to a couple of children making strides forward.
Taking care of the animals at Daktari was also a very nice experience and contributed to the deep spirit of giving to support every being, to be giving and foregiving. Amazing organization, too, so no animal was ever forgotten!
I also learned new things about myself, and developed myself further. At first I was a bit doubtful whether I could do a sufficiently good job at teaching. After all, I was by far the youngest of the volunteers, and barely older than some of the kids. The good teaching material, helpful other volunteers, and just pleasant and excited kids coming in both weeks made it easy and fun for me to master the teaching well.
PS: I would have preferred to stay another week or 2, but I had to fit this into a 2 week "social project" slot at my (German) high school.
Submitted by Martien - Amsterdam | September 18, 2014
Daktari was my first experience as a volunteer, and a great one to start.
Communication was good and quick and we got there with good directions. We were picked up and brought to the farm. Met everyone and got shown around.
For me the best part was the combination between wildlife and children. Helping both felt great and satisfying. Best was to see the kids grow as the week progressed, with the Thursday night bonfire with great dancing and singing.
The accommodations were very good for African standards and the food even better. Great to hear all the animals noise at night.
Ian & Michele are loving and warm people who dedicate their living to bringing joy and health to both animals and people. Plus Ian is very funny.
In the weekend we went on a trip to Kruger park with Greg, the house-friend. He knows about every bird and animal and shared all his knowledge during the tour. Would definitely recommend taking a trip with Greg.
We went for two weeks, because it was our first trip, but wished I went longer.
It really was a great experience and would love to go again.
PS part of the reason I choose Daktari is that you contact them directly, and not pay for intermediaries. That is why this is very affordable compared to other projects.
Submitted by ILOVEDAKTARI - La Possession | September 18, 2014
Daktari offers a volunteers programm that will amazed you. Leopard, crocodiles, owls, austrichs, antilopes, donkey, porcupine...all the wildlife around you and you become a actor of there survival! Wow, I could not advise better programm!
Finding the answers
Submitted by Marilyn - Toronto | September 19, 2014
I was there for a month in 2011 and though I've done volunteering before, this was one of the best.
Michele and Ian have really involved the community youth in finding answers and ways to combat the ecological devastation in their communities. The program continues with the eco-clubs. Part of the program for the kids is some tutoring in English and math which is so much needed as many of the teachers don't have much training. The kids are fun and polite, and there are games, a Lion King (movie) night and a party night before they head home again.
Working with the animals was just great too. Seeing the variety that is there along with what just comes to visit was really fun, and I learned a lot about the critters that were there, and of course had my favourites.
Meals were good and plentiful, accomodation was clean and comfortable, and I was greeted each morning by a little tree frog that would be sitting on my bathroom mirror.
So, not only value for money (there are too many of the other kind!) but great fun and a real sense that you'd helped with something worthwhile when you came home again.