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Sorry, it looks like the last version of our newsletter was sent out too soon! You can ignore that one and dig into this official version of our October newsletter! Enjoy!

A special welcome to all of our regular and new subscribers to this November edition of DAKTARI news.

Despite the temperature gauge soaring at times to the mid 40’s, DAKTARI and its wonderful people continue to make a difference to impact positively on the environment and people from many walks of life, and of course, our beloved animals.

In this month’s edition of DAKTARI news:

• Celebrating our ECO CLUB children’s achievements
• Shangaan’s enclosure receives a makeover
• DAKTARI welcomes the Michael Mount Waldorf school
• Bonnie and Clyde - Our African Wild Cat kittens are thriving!
• Countdown to #GivingTuesday
• Former Volunteers lead the way back home
• Thank you to Sausage Tree and Wait-a-Little safari camps


A brief overview of DAKTARI’s ECO CLUB community project


Community outreach programmes play a key role in environmental education. For this reason, the ECO CLUB community project was established in a village close to DAKTARI known as the “Oaks”. This fun project runs in 6 week cycles throughout the year, consisting of 12 modules per cycle, where all children aged between 14 and 17 apply for membership and complete the programme. 30 children are taken per cycle on a first apply first in basis, the balance of applicants having the opportunity to complete the next 6-week cycle. This way everyone gets the chance to enjoy the programme. Our dedicated outreach team, assisted by volunteers deliver these modules that include topics such as combating wildlife crime, environmental waste management and animal knowledge to name but a few. What makes this programme special is that it is interactive where the children learn many valuable skills such as time management, public speaking and organisational skills.

Celebrating our ECO CLUB children’s achievements

On Thursday, the 23rd October 2019 we all got to celebrate the children’s achievements after they successfully completed the 6-week ECO CLUB programme. Proud parents, school teachers, community members and of course many DAKTARI staff and volunteers attended the awards ceremony where a beautifully decorated church hall was utilized as the venue. A few of the children were called up on stage to read out letters written to local counsellor’s requesting their support in helping to keep the environment clean and safe. DAKTARI co-founder Michèle felt so privileged and honoured, and let it be said emotional when presenting each child with their certificates of achievement. There were not many dry eyes in the hall as everyone felt so proud to see these wonderful children smiling and having felt such an amazing sense of accomplishment as they all went up to receive their certificates. Well done to everyone!


Click this picture to watch a lovely video about our first ECO CLUB cycle


Our magnificent emerald green eyed, pointed eared Caracal “Shangaan “, a name derived from the Tsonga people of Africa recently had his home revamped. Shangaan was sent to DAKTARI when attempts to release him failed some years back, although his brothers release was a success. Caracals, the largest of the small cats of Africa can jump over 3 metres into the air where they catch birds and even small antelope. Nocturnal by nature, Shangaan spends his daylight hours relaxing in his new enlarged enclosure “house”.


At night, he ventures out to explore and play with the enrichment toys made for him and leaps onto platforms to get a better view of his surroundings. This keeps him active and in good condition, along with a balanced diet formulated specifically for him. We would like to take this opportunity to extend a special thank you to all the volunteers involved and to Cathy Perkins who has generously donated funds that have enabled us to ensure he lives the best life possible, in his new bigger and better home.


DAKTARI welcomes Michael Mount Waldorf school

The Waldorf method of education strives to develop students intellectual, practical and artistic skills using an integrated, hands on approach.


During the latter part of October, we welcomed 26 pupils (aged 11-12) from the Michael Mount Waldorf school near Johannesburg. The week promised to be a fun, hands on approach that included morning and evening stabling (feeding and cleaning of enclosures) and building and camouflaging 2 vulture hides. The children’s physical ability was “tested” with numerous bush walks that enabled them to observe and learn about animal behaviour – especially the fascinating buffalo, 1 of Africa’s BIG 5. These walks were done under supervision of experienced bush guides followed by a refreshing and invigorating swim in the DAKTARI pool.


It was so heartwarming to see how wonderful the children interacted with our animals that are homed in enclosures. When the animal enrichment activity was held (making toys for animals) the children went about this using their creative minds carving out pumpkins and gem squash, then filling them with animal treats. Gosh, the animals had the time of their lives as they played with these toys to get the treasured prize inside. Included in the busy schedule, environmental education topics such as combating wildlife crime and animal knowledge were discussed. The children, armed with popcorn and juice got to enjoy the renowned documentary “Planet Earth“ narrated by Sir David Attenborough. The movie was screened in our outdoor theatre, under starlight, so apt for the occasion. The week ended off with an awards ceremony, where each student received their “bush survival certificate”. On the final evening, everyone was singing and dancing, learning cultural Sepedi songs to the beat of a drum, around a big bright bonfire. Thank you to all the children from Michael Mount Waldorf school for your passion, enthusiasm and of course great sense of humour too!


Bonnie and Clyde - our African Wild Cat kittens are thriving!

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We recently stumbled upon an abandoned litter of 2 African Wild Cat kittens near the DAKTARI camp site. The decision to rescue, home and release them in the near future was taken. Every 2 hours for the first month the kittens are bottle fed a specific milk formula. Being mothers to these precious animals means huge responsibility and our animal welfare manager, along with a few long-term volunteers took feeding shifts to ensure the wellbeing of our kittens. It won’t be long till the kittens become cats and their instinct to hunt small rodents, birds, frogs and at times small antelope will take over. We promise to keep you all updated as to the progress of Bonnie and Clyde.


Countdown to #GivingTuesday

DAKTARI’s aim is to educate children from marginalised communities in the Limpopo province to value and protect their environment. Our role, as is theirs is crucial as wildlife poaching and environmental degradation are increasing. DAKTARI being a non-for-profit organisation relies on donor funding to enable these programmes to be carried out.

GivingTuesday southafrica

We welcome and encourage as many people as possible to join the #GivingTuesday movement to shape South Africa’s next generation!

On the 3rd December 2019, we have the opportunity to raise funds for our numerous programmes through GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding organisation that assists many organisations raise funds for their projects around the world.

Every donation made on that day will be matched to an incentive fund through GlobalGiving. Donations can be made by visiting our donations page on the website: Click on the donate button in the top right-hand corner and choose your area to donate to. Thank you for the support!


Former volunteers lead the way back home

For many of our volunteers their DAKTARI experience doesn’t end when they board the plane to return their home country. By this we mean they remain involved in one way or another. This may be writing stories and sharing them with friends, family or on social media. They often visit schools and other learning institutions to share their stories about their time at DAKTARI by means of presentations. Recently 2 of our former volunteers, Michele Benevett from Brazil and Marco Gauci from Malta decided to raise funds for their birthdays that could be put to good use at DAKTARI. This extremely kind and generous gesture ensured we were able to give our ECO CLUB students a really special awards ceremony to cover the costs. Thank you to both Michele and Marco for your kindness.

Michelle Benevett
Marco Gauci

Thank you to Sausage Tree and Wait-a-Little safari camps

We would like to convey our thanks again to Sausage Tree Safari Camp and Wait-a-Little horse safaris, 2 organisations that have been firm supporters and friends of DAKTARI for many years. This is done by way of monetary donations and the supply of goods and services. Our environmental education and animal programmes are supported by means of providing the children with game drives and camp visits to explore and learn about career opportunity within the industry. These 2 wonderful lodges offer a truly remarkable experience for guests wanting to experience Africa and all its magnificent beauty. For the experienced horse rider wanting to explore BIG 5 territories on horseback or game drive enthusiasts that also enjoy the creature comforts of a luxury lodge, please do not hesitate to visit the respective websites on: and

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