Environmental Education for over 300 Children

Jun 9, 2014

Around 150 children educated at DAKTARI since 2014

The kids with their presents bag and promises
The kids with their presents bag and promises

Dear supporters,

First, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU for your continued support and interest in DAKTARI. Your trust and support mean a lot to us. 

Before I get started on the latest news from camp, we are exited to let you know about the next Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day! On WEDNESDAY 25th JUNE, there will be $200,000 available in matching funds from Microsoft, and the matching will be applied at 100%! It will begin at 12:00 PM (EDT) and will end June 26th, 2014 at 11:59:59 (EDT). Please check the time here depending your country and get ready on time.

If you are thinking about making a donation to one of our DAKTARI projects and you want the opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR CONTRIBUTION, here is your chance! Please look all our projects clicking here.


  • 150 children since the beginning of 2014

We are very proud to have had the opportunity to inspire, motivate and educate 150 underprivileged children since the beginning of the year, to care for their environment through the medium of a wildlife orphanage. Indeed, since January, DAKTARI welcomed all the grade 8 of the children from Lepono and Maahlamele School. You can read the promises of one of the children, Dineo, here. It is a good example of what kids can learn during their 5 days at DAKTARI. Note that the next school wich is waiting for us is Nareng. We can't wait to meet all of these new lovely children.

We did a survey for the children's parents, and here are a summury of the results:

- 99% of the parents have seen a difference in their child's behavior since his/her time at DAKTARI.- 87% of the parents think that their child's respect toward other people since his/her time at DAKTARI has improved.- 78% think that this stay at DAKTARI is beneficial for their kids
- For the parents, the 3 most important things are: 1. Interaction with animals (39%) / 2. Working with international volunteers (31%) / 3. One to one teaching (25%)

  • Game Drive at TSHUKUDU!

The 25th of May was a really excited day for the 10 kids who had improved the most during their time at DAKTARI. Indeed, we went on a Game Drive at Tshukudu Game Lodge with the children of Lepono and Maahlamele School. For most of the kids, although they live in a bush village, they never see any wild animals. This game drive is a chance for them to realize what they learnt at DAKTARI. Click here to read the entire article and see our game drive video.

  • We've had babies!

We have had lot of babies these last weeks such as baby porcupines, marmosets, tortoise, python and kitten. The porcupines and the marmosets were born at DAKTARI, for the others we found them lonely in the wild and we are going to organize their release in the next few months. For the kitten, we found a lovely family in town who were very happy to receive him. Kids are always very happy to see newborns, so are we! Don’t forget to follow all of our adventures on our Facebook and Twitter page!

  • The new big 5 of DAKTARI!

We have had lots of arrivals in the long-term volunteers. DAKTARI welcome a new office team, ready to take over the job! Check out here our article about the new team and their position.

  • Build4DAKTARI Campaign!

DAKTARI is developing, welcoming more and more volunteers to increase our work, so we now need to extend our facilities. The purpose of our latest campaign is to build three cement platforms to house the volunteers, two ablutions block for the children, volunteers and local staff, as well as an office extension to allow us to continue our impact on the community. Support DAKTARI and help us to achieve our goals through:http://globalgiving.org/projects/build4daktari

Thank you again for supporting us, allowing the children to have a better futur!

Your contribution represent a lot and DAKTARI will not survive without you!

See you soon for new updates and adventures from the camp! :)

Game Drive at Tshukudu
Game Drive at Tshukudu
Dineo, one of the winner at the end of a week
Dineo, one of the winner at the end of a week
Lovely children
Lovely children
Our kitten is hungry!
Our kitten is hungry!
Build4DAKTARI project
Build4DAKTARI project


Mar 13, 2014

Our educational impact in 2013

Children in a lesson
Children in a lesson

Dear supporters, is it really March already?!

The first quarter of the New Year is almost finished and it seems to have gone by in a flash. That's not to say we haven't been super busy at DAKTARI - time flies when you're having fun!

In this report I am going to share a summary of how DAKTARI's educational programme impacted the underpriviledged children in our surrounding villages during 2013.


  • In 2013 we gave 330 children 5 days of evironmental education at DAKTARI
  • 42 children were chosen as winners of their week and went on a day trip to Kruger National Park
  • We received 97 volunteers from all over the world who delivered our teaching programme

Survey results:

On Monday of every week, each child was asked the same set of questions in 5 areas of knowledge. On the Friday, after receiveing DAKTARI's educational sylabus, each child was asked the same set of questions again and the scores were recorded. 

The percentages shown below are the amount of correct answers given on Mondays and the amount of correct answers given on Fridays - with the percentage increase highlighted.

1. The importance of a good education:

Monday - 81.65% | Friday - 89.30% | Increase - 07.65%

2. The importance of the eco-tourism industry:

Monday - 09.79% | Friday - 45.57% | Increase - 35.78%

3. Awareness of job opportunities:

Monday - 13.76% | Friday - 81.65% | Increase - 67.89%

4. Environmental awareness:

Monday - 26.30% | Friday - 59.02% | Increase - 32.72%

5. Life skills - HIV awareness:

Monday - 18.04% | Friday - 37.31% | Increase - 19.27%

A message from the parent of a child:

"Thank you Daktari for choosing my child on January 2013. She experienced more things and she is now respecting people and caring for people, animals and trees. I want to give the organisation word of thanks from the mother of Tiisetso Patricia Maanaso of Ramatau High School. I wish you all the best."

Thank you

We are extremely proud of what we achieved last year and we want you to be proud of the amazing contributions that you made towards our work - for which we are more than grateful.

This year we are already off to a great start and with your continued support, this year will be even better! Don't forget to stay up to date with all our news throughout the year on our website and on facebook.

Many thanks and all the best, 

Amy Hulme - Marketing Manager.

Child with baby mongoose
Child with baby mongoose
Feeding a Duiker
Feeding a Duiker
End of the week, proudly holding certificates
End of the week, proudly holding certificates
Dec 2, 2013

Happy Holidays from DAKTARI

Amy and I, spreading Christmas cheer in Hoedspruit
Amy and I, spreading Christmas cheer in Hoedspruit

Greetings from all of us here at DAKTARI. We hope that you are all well and getting excited about the approaching festive season!

As always, I want to say a huge THANK YOU for your continued support and interest in DAKTARI.

Before I get started on the latest news from camp, I want to let you know about a very special opportunity coming up on GlobalGiving on TUESDAY 3RD DECEMBER!! Two of our projects - our Christmas 'Sponsor a Child' campaign and our Outreach Programme's 'Eco Clubs' project - have been selected for YouthSpark, sponsored by Microsoft, which means that they can receive 100% MATCHED DONATIONS. Matching will begin at 12pm EST. That's 17:00 in the UK, 18:00 for most of Europe and 19:00 in South Africa. Donors in other countries can check the time here. So, if you're thinking about making a Christmas donation to DAKTARI and you want the opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR CONTRIBUTION, here's your chance.*

Since the last report at the beginning of September, you guys have donated over $850 through GlobalGiving. This is absolutely amazing, enough to cover the cost of environmental education for 5 children!! What is even more special is that almost all of these have been recurring donations, meaning that most of you are supporting DAKTARI on a monthly basis – we cannot thank you enough!!

We have been especially busy over the past couple of months, first of all with a French film crew coming to make a documentary about DAKTARI. Although not without it’s challenges, this was such a great opportunity for us to showcase the vital work that we do here. Seeing DAKTARI through the eyes of the film crew also reminded us of how truly special this project is and how proud we all are of what we are achieving. The documentary is due to be aired soon on French TV channel TF1 – keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more details.

Another exciting event has been Shiloweni’s annual check-up with wildlife vet, Peter Rogers. As well as monitoring the overall health of our leopard, this gives the children and volunteers an opportunity to get up close and personal with this magnificent animal. For the children, especially, this is a once-in-a-life-time experience, one that they couldn’t wait to tell their friends and family about. For the full report on Shiloweni’s check-up, please click here.

Another creature who has been teaching the children more about his kind is Hedwig, our baby Spotted Eagle Owl. Hedwig fell from the nest at a very young age and would have died without human intervention. Now safe at DAKTARI, this odd-looking ball of feathers is helping to change the perception of the kids, many of whom are afraid of owls due to local superstitions.

Of course, it’s not just the animals that are doing a great job of educating the children. We recently welcomed back 2 students from our Outreach Programme to help out at DAKTARI as volunteers. Having continued their environmental studies at Eco Club over the past few years, Ashandy and Tiras were able to share their knowledge and assist the international volunteers with the teaching programme. Not only was this valuable for DAKTARI, but it was also a great experience for Ashandy and Tiras, allowing them to develop their confidence and abilities as young adults and giving them some work experience to add to their CVs.

Marketing volunteer, Amy, and I will be outside PicknPay in Hoedspruit with Eco Club member, Jeremiah, over the Christmas period talking to the local community about DAKTARI and selling some lovely Christmas gifts to raise funds and spread awareness. If you are in the area on December 21st, please come and say hello – we would love to meet you!

So, until the next report, from everyone here at DAKTARI, we wish you a very merry holiday season and a happy new year!!

*Matched funding will begin at 12pm EST on Tuesday 3rd December. Check the time in your country here.

There is $250,000 available in matched funding and matching will continue for 24 hours or until these funds run out.

Only the following DAKTARI projects have been selected for YouthSpark: Christmas Gift – Sponsor a Child and Environmental Clubs for Kids in South Africa.

Matching will be applied up to $1000 per unique donor.

Ian and Michele with the French fim crew
Ian and Michele with the French fim crew
Michele and the children meet Shiloweni
Michele and the children meet Shiloweni
Tiras and Kobe feed baby owl, Hedwig
Tiras and Kobe feed baby owl, Hedwig
Eco Club member, Ashandy, teaches the kids
Eco Club member, Ashandy, teaches the kids
Jeremiah, from Eco Club, speaks to the community
Jeremiah, from Eco Club, speaks to the community


Sep 4, 2013

New Team, New Additions

The A Team - Aby, Amy, Claire and Louise
The A Team - Aby, Amy, Claire and Louise

Spring is in the air and Daktari has a spring in it’s step with a brand new team of long-term volunteers. Michele and Ian are being kept busy and entertained by Aby, Amy, Louise and Claire who are in charge of volunteers, marketing, fundraising and the outreach programme respectively.

In July, along with the help of our maintenance volunteer, Sebastien, we held a street party to raise funds for Daktari. All the local projects were invited to join us and we raised over R5000. A great time was had by all and Michele even got involved in the cooking of the sausages!

As well as human additions, we also have some exciting new animals here at Daktari.

First of all, we welcomed a group of Dassies, or Rock Rabbits as they are sometimes known. At first they were a bit unsure of their new enclosure and they climbed the trees in an effort to escape! They have since settled in nicely and can be seen basking in the sun on a warm day.

We have also made room for a beautiful Pearl-spotted Owlet who will remain with us until her wing is strong enough for release. A permanent home has been offered to a yet-to-be-named Long-crested Eagle who is blind in one eye and therefore does not have the distance vision required for hunting prey.

The final addition is our Thick-tailed Bushbaby, Banchee. This little darling was hand-raised so is unable to fend for herself in the wild. She now has a safe ‘forever’ home with us here at Daktari.

Of course, the children continue to delight and challenge us each week. They learn so much and teach us a thing or two in the process!

Take 2 minutes out of your day to watch DAKTARI NEWS and let our children share a few facts about their favourite animals:

Thabiso and the Ostrich

Natasha and the Meerkats

Once again, we cannot thank you enough for your continued support. It would not be possible for us to continue our work in environmental education without the help of people like you. Thank you for making a difference!

The dassies plot their escape!
The dassies plot their escape!
Bella, the Pearl-spotted Owlet
Bella, the Pearl-spotted Owlet
Our Long-crested Eagle
Our Long-crested Eagle
Banchee, the Thick-tailed Bushbaby
Banchee, the Thick-tailed Bushbaby


Jun 7, 2013

Meet Jumper!

Meet Jumper, a Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle who came to Daktari last week. Jumper had a broken wing and had to have most of it amputated. Although he cannot fly, he is still very quick on the ground as he jumps around his cage, hence his name!!

The children were really excited to meet him but a little bit nervous because of his size.  Jumper is about 60cm tall and has VERY big talons.  He is a brilliant edition to the orphanage as we have never had a black eagle before and the children can study his behavior at close hand.

Just a reminder that Bonus day is coming up, GlobalGiving offers YOU a 50% match on your donation on the 12th June.

Donate online the Wednesday 12th of June from 9 am to midnight Eastern Time or 3 pm to 6 am (13th of June) European Time to boost YOUR impact

Share your African Dream and encourage YOUR friends and family to support YOUR dream too.

This is the link to BOOST your donation by 50%: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/environmentaleducationforover300children/

Africa's environment is thanking you for your contribution.

Ian and Michele Merrifield
(Co-Founders of DAKTARI)


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Project Leader

Michele Merrifield

Hoedspruit, Limpopo South Africa

Where is this project located?

Map of Environmental Education for over 300 Children