DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage
DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage Programs
DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage Reviews
Love, love, love this place!!
Submitted by cybercrone - Toronto Canada | November 02, 2016
I've been to Daktari twice now, and hoping I can go again with one of my grandchildren before I quit travelling.
Working with the kids was just fun and watching them absorb new concepts for the ecological preservation and renewal of their land was rewarding. Tutoring in English and Math was fun too and hearing later on which students got jobs was a bonus. But you *do* hear. Once you are part of the Daktari family you can stay involved and informed forever. I like that.
There was lots of fun to be had caring for the animals, learning what they needed and trying to come up with ideas to make their lives better. And learning to keep the kitchen door locked tight at night so the huge African porcupines wouldn't raid the kitchen was a real necessity.
There was lots of fun to be had as well. Swimming in the pool with the kids, sundown walks to the rock, weekly Lion King parties, not to mention being able to meet other volunteers from all over the world. Most of the volunteers are young people, but there is a sprinkling of retired folk too, and we all got along well. Ian and Michele, the owners and operators are super people, though Ian does work hard at maintaining his image of 'old grump'.
There is also a weekly trip into town and time to see the local sights as well as trips to the local village for projects and eco club work.
I'll be back in a flash as soon as I can make it.
This is rated in my top 5 for best experiences of my life
Submitted by Tracy Ciotti - Dunellen, NJ United States | November 01, 2016
I am an Elementary Art Teacher from NJ. I was looking for a cheap way to get close to animals in South Africa when my research lead me to Daktari. This program is amazing. On my first day, I got to see what a real South African school looks like. I still use pictures that I took, in a slide show to students and fellow teachers to show how different it is. I treasured my time with the kids. I treasured my time with the animals. I treasured my time hanging out in the open air at night, playing pool and drinking a beer. It was so fantastic, in so many ways... there is no way that I can fit it all in this box. Coming back I had a better appreciation for my life and all my blessings... and I just wanted to un-plug and enjoy the beauty that is all around me. It was life-affirming.
Great community involvement
Submitted by Dawid de Wet - Coligny South Africa | November 01, 2016
I spent a week at Daktari with a group of 24 volunteers on a specially organised programme. The administration pre-trip and the co-ordination during our visit was excellently handled. The experience was pure and no thrills, which made it authentic. There was a great balance between working with the animals, teaching the children (and learning about oneself) and going on outreaches into the local community assisting with tree planting at various schools and the eco-club.
All in all it was a great experience.
Such an amazing project with the loveliest people!
Submitted by Shana Van Dyck - Leuven Belgium | October 12, 2016
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!
An incredible two weeks!
Submitted by Sophie Boulter - Birmingham United Kingdom | August 29, 2016
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!