Bush School & Wildlife Project

Project Details

Project starts: Thursday
Location: 1 hour from Hoedspruit, South Africa
Minimum duration: 2 weeks

Bush School & Wildlife was opened in 2006 with the mission of educating and inspiring local children to value their environment and stimulate community development. Through the different programs, more than 4,000 children have been reached, hundreds of animals have been cared for and helped dozens of youth get employed.
Every Monday, eight new students come to DAKTARI’s camp to spend the week building their knowledge of the environment and wildlife. They attend lessons, do activities, and interact with the animals in the wildlife orphanage. DAKTARI also works at the secondary schools to further this education and undertake community development projects.
DAKTARI’s volunteering program is designed to give our volunteers the opportunity to teach local children, care for injured or abandoned wildlife, and fully immerse 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. You will spend your days teaching children and helping 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.

The farm is located roughly 425km away from Johannesburg International (About a 5 hour drive) and a short 70km from Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport (About a 1 hour Drive).

Volunteer Tasks

Monday through to 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. Your day starts at 7 am and lessons begin at 9 am. Classes are finished around 4.30pm when you will have group discussions with the children about social issues. You will play games with the children, join them in the pool, and dance around the bonfire to their favorite songs. You also work with the kids to feed and care for the animals at DAKTARI. These projects change according to needs of the animals and farm and you might not help with all of them while you are on the program.


  • Return Transfer from Johannesburg airport
  • Airport pick up
  • 2 Day Johannesburg Orientation
  • Accommodation
  • Three meals a day (on project)
  • Weekly transport to town for shopping
  • Transport to and from the project
  • 24 hour support and supervision
  • Donation to the project
  • Certificate of Appreciation

Located in the middle of the bush, the camp is rustic and 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 3 other volunteers but everyone has their own bed and space to store clothes and personal items. The rooms are cleaned every day. Chalets are equipped with towels, bed linens, and a mosquito net. The accommodation is safe, the chalets have locks on the inside and all the windows have mosquito gauze in front of them. Our volunteers are often pleasantly surprised at the nice conditions when they arrive. 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.

Laundry and ironing are done for everyone each day, with the exception of Sunday.

WIFI is available for free

Volunteers are served three meals a day by the experienced kitchen staff:
Breakfast consists of cereals, fruit, yogurts, toast and spreads
Lunch is a salad, (like potato, pasta or beetroot salads) along with either cold meat,
chicken strips, sandwiches, pizza etc. (something light)
Dinner consists of a hot cooked meal such as beef stew, rice/pasta/potatoes,
boerewors pot, chicken etc. + pap and sauce during the week

● Tea and coffee will be available
● All other drinks will be at own expense, though tap water is safe to drink
● A generous amount of food will always be given. If snacks are desired there are
several grocery stores nearby.
● There will be refrigeration available for volunteer’s personal food and soft drinks.
● All Dinners will include a meat, starch and vegetable.

Please note: This project will be closed from 15th December 2019 – 12th January 2020.

The projects that DAKTARI are currently working on are:

Bush School
The purpose of the bush school is to provide a close and engaging learning experience which motivates Grade 8 students to care for their environment while teaching them important life skills. The children who are visiting DAKTARI are from the local secondary schools in the nearby villages. The teaching program is a mix of environmental education, life skills training, animal interactions, and social issue discussions. The lessons are taught by volunteers and class sizes are kept small with each child receiving individual attention during the week. The lesson topics include anti-poaching, politeness, job opportunities in game reserves, and discussions are surrounding social issues like substance abuse and safe sex.

Wildlife Orphanage
The purpose of the wildlife orphanage is to provide a home for un-releasable or orphaned animals that inspire a passion for the environment in the children that visit DAKTARI. The wildlife orphanage houses more than thirty species of animals. From cheetahs to crocodiles to meerkats, eighty animals call DAKTARI home. These animal ambassadors are unable to survive in their natural habitat so they live at DAKTARI and help to educate the children. The students are actively involved in animal care during their time at DAKTARI where they see and interact with these animals for the first time. This unique experience inspires them to protect their local wildlife and environment.

Community work
The impact of the teaching program is increased through the ECO CLUB and community projects. The outreach program consists of three parts: ECO CLUBs at secondary schools, community development projects and outreach campaigning. In ECO CLUB you’ll teach groups of about 30 students at a time. These children come to the voluntary after school club for 6 weeks at a time to further their environmental education. Outreach campaigning happens when there are no kids at the camp due to holidays or exams. During these weeks, we visit several schools that we normally can’t work with to give them a sort of “crash course” on the environment and its importance.

Shops/Grocery Stores: You will receive weekly transport into town so that you can purchase essentials and food items
ATMS: There are plenty of ATMS in Johannesburg where you will have your orientation. Once on the project you will have the opportunity to withdraw money on your weekly shopping trip.

Supervision/Co- Ordination
As the nature of the work varies we will place volunteers under the supervision of various staff members. We will have one member of our team assigned as “team leader” to facilitate the smooth operation of the volunteers stay and provide guidance where necessary.

Winter in South Africa
Please note that May through to September are our winter months and it can get quite chilly with an average temperature ranging from 5 degrees Celsius at night to 15 degrees Celsius during the day. So, please make sure to pack enough warm clothes if you plan your trip in that period.

Johannesburg Activities

    Johannesburg (a.k.a. The City of Gold) is the largest city in South Africa. Home to the hipster-friendly neighbourhood of Maboneng which is the most successful urban-renewal projects in the world. The city has many museums such as the Apartheid Museum, offering insight into South Africa’s troubled past. Click on the button below and select the Johannesburg tours option to see what The City of Gold has to offer.

Animal Interaction Level
Educational level

Project Highlights

  • Live in the bush next to numerous South African wildlife
  • Gain knowledge on the importance of conservation
  • Work with children, teaching important life skills and conservation ethics
  • Learn about the local people
  • Have access to several different wildlife reserves and activities (optional extra)

Volunteer Requirements

  •  Completed Application form
  •  Basic level of competency in English
  •  Copy of return flight itinerary
  •  Travel Insurance



Please visit our FAQ’S page for a comprehensive list of the most frequently asked questions.

Phone: 0.215.569.69
Cape Town, South Africa
20 Briza Road, Table View
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