Welcome to Tanzania! You will arrive to Dar Es Salaam to begin your journey.
Join the efforts of young environmentalists and aspiring biologists all over the world as part of Rustic’s Critical Issues environmental conservation program. Travel around Tanzania to aid in habitat restoration efforts, while you work alongside community members on projects that support development and conservation. Spend a day in one of Tanzania’s national parks to see the animals you are protecting in their natural habitat. Cap off your trip in eastern Tanzania to collect forest data and see how the hands-on projects you assisted with are measured and evaluated. Return home an active global citizen and perhaps be inspired to do one thing each day to bring positive change to people, animals, and the environment in your community.
Components of a Critical Issues Program
Your adventure in Africa begins as soon as you board the flight to Tanzania. All of Rustic Pathways’ scheduled group flights to Tanzania depart from New York and are escorted by a flight leader. After boarding the flight in the evening, you’ll have plenty of time to relax, get to know your fellow travelers, and sleep in preparation for your arrival in to Africa. Your trip leaders will be ready and waiting to take you on the adventure of a lifetime when you arrive at the airport.
Welcome to Tanzania! You will arrive into Dar Es Salaam in the evening and transfer to a guesthouse. This first night in Africa will offer the chance to get to know the other students on your program, your staff members, and your new host country. Your guides will give you a quick orientation that will introduce you to the local culture and prepare you for an exciting adventure ahead.
Wake up to your first morning in Tanzania! Today you will be introduced to the Jane Goodall Institute, a global nonprofit founded by the pioneering primatologist Jane Goodall that “empowers people to make a difference for all living things,” and its youth-led community action program, Roots & Shoots. The founders and staff of Roots and Shoots will provide a broad introduction to wildlife conservation in Africa, and its many components – deforestation, soil science, data collection, community education, and community development. On this program you will learn that effective conservation entails addressing an ecosystem of related causes!
After a local lunch, hit the beach and spend the afternoon getting your hands dirty and learning about Dar’s coastal mangrove ecosystem. You’ll learn about the challenges these delicate marine ecosystems face and the restoration efforts driven by local communities. Wrap up the afternoon with some games on the beach before heading back to your hotel for a hot shower and some shut eye before your flight tomorrow.
Arrive in the western town of Kigoma in the early afternoon. After checking into your campsite and home for the next several days, visit the local markets, where goods of all kinds (from clothes to food to household items) can be bought, sold, or traded. Purchase kitenges, traditional local cloth, from which you can have t-shirts or skirts custom-made. Finish your day with a visit to the beach and a late afternoon swim, followed by a discussion of some of the ways that conservation and tourism relate to one another.
Today, you will meet your service partners for the week – a group of local Roots & Shoots volunteers of similar age, who will work side-by-side with you as learn about community-centered conservation, participate in a practical capacity-building project, and visit Gombe National Park.
After breakfast, head to the Kitwe Forest Sanctuary – an early reforestation effort of JGI Tanzania – and currently a teaching tool for conservationists from all over. You’ll discuss how you’ve noticed some of the themes you learned about in preparing for this program are playing out on the program itself. After an orientation with JGI of Kigoma, hop in the car and head over to a local village where your service partners await you! Spend the rest of the afternoon playing games, learning more about the local community, and getting to know your Roots & Shoots partners.
As you will learn from JGI, one of the most important aspects of environmental and wildlife conservation is combining sustainable community development with community-led conservation. JGI’s goal is to plant 100,000 trees this year in the 52 villages surrounding Gombe National Park, but also provide means of income and livelihood to those communities. Help engage a project that supports those twin goals by establishing a tree nursery in an important partner community in the region. Those seedlings can be planted by the community as well as sold for income. Mix soil, pot plants, build fencing, all alongside your peer Roots & Shoots volunteers.
To this point, your conservation efforts have focused on environmental science, forest protection and regeneration, and community development. Today you will see the reason that all of this matters!
In the morning, meet with your Roots & Shoots friends and charter a boat down Lake Tanganyika to the edges of the famous Gombe National Park, where Jane Goodall conducted her groundbreaking work on chimpanzees and made her name as a pioneer of conservation. You will split into small groups, to minimize your impact on the environment, and one group at a time will hike with a staff member and park ranger into the heart of Gombe National Park in search of chimps. Like any experience with animals, we cannot know for sure if you will find chimps or how many you will see, or how long the hike will take, until we try – the discovery is part of the adventure!
While one group is walking with the park ranger, the rest of the students will enjoy the pristine waters of Lake Tanganyika through swimming, beach activities, and conversations. In the evening, have a beachside bonfire and conversation with a biologist from the Gombe Stream Research Center. The Center has continued the work Jane Goodall began, and the researcher will speak to you about the research they do and help explain how all of the various activities of JGI and Roots & Shoots contribute to the preservation of wildlife populations in Africa. Who knows, maybe this chance to sit down with an expert will inspire your future conservation endeavors.
Take a ferry back to Kigoma for a shower and a farewell ceremony. Say goodbye to your friends from Roots & Shoots, and to Gombe, and promise to keep in touch as you go your separate ways! Have a final dinner in town and pack as you prepare for the last bit of your adventure.
Today is a day for travel and reflection. Sleep or journal as you fly from Kigoma to Dar Es Salaam, and from Dar to Kilimanjaro. Drive to the small but bustling city of Moshi and get a good night’s rest in a comfortable guesthouse.
You’ve participated in community projects, ecotourism, and chimp tracking – now add sustainable agriculture to the mix to round out your understanding of conservation. You will spend the morning taking a tour of a local coffee plantation where you will be able to see all of the steps that result in the delicious drink you know and quite possibly love, and end the tour treat yourself a sampling session of fresh brews. In the afternoon, visit the pioneer institution of wildlife studies and ecotourism, Mweka. You may even be lucky enough to drop in on a lecture and listen to one of Mweka’s notable professors, who are reputed beacons of knowledge in this growing field in east Africa.
Wake up early and head to a rural village on the slopes of the mighty Kili, where you will learn about the culture of the community and partner with them on a development initiative, alongside your Roots & Shoots friends. Possible projects you might participate in include building fuel-efficient stoves, building trashcans, planting trees, or cleaning the litter scattered throughout the area. Participate in traditional cooking and harvesting, and end with a rousing song-and-dance routine! This will close out the program for your Roots & Shoots partners, so say goodbye as you hop in the bus and head to Arusha.
Rise with the sun this morning and load up into your safari cars… you’re going to Tarangire National Park! You’ll spend the day driving through Tarangire, known for its high density of elephants and baobab trees, and become familiar with another one of the many different ecosystems that Tanzania has to offer. While observing some of Tanzania’s resident mammals, like zebras, wildebeest, and gazelles, your driver will talk about animal behavior, conservation efforts, and human-wildlife interactions, and are happy to answer questions about anything you see outside of your car. On your last night, reflect on your trip and all of the experiences and friends you have made along the way.
Enjoy a Swahili meal in town for your last taste of local cuisine, and then hit the markets and practice your bartering skills as you browse the stalls for popular souvenirs like paintings, Tanzania soccer jerseys, wood-carved masks, the Masai tribal blanket called the shuka, and more! Compare your purchases with your friends as you prepare for your journey home in the evening.
Return home to the sights, sounds, and smells you grew up with, and the loved ones who will greet you at the airport as you say goodbye to your newfound friends. Take a moment to pause and reflect on what you and your group accomplished. What challenged you? How did you engage with the place and the people that you visited? And more importantly, how will you amplify their stories as you tell others about the growth-filled experience you’ve just had?
We trust you’ve had an incredible time and look forward to seeing you again soon.
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity.
The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
“Optional Activities” are fully included in the cost of your program, but you can choose to not do these activities.
“Add-On Activities” are not included in the cost of your program and must be paid for separately. Add-on activities are rare, but include things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or weekend side-trips. Not every program has add-on activities.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
All programs in Tanzania connect well with other programs in Tanzania. Any programs that run consecutive weeks can be combined. (Remember: start and end dates are inclusive of travel times from the United States, so the listed start and end dates of consecutive programs will overlap by two days.) Tanzania’s geographical location makes it difficult to connect seamlessly with the other countries we operate in. We suggest any student interested in connecting programs should first return home and wait for the following week until the next program begins. This will allow enough time to smoothly integrate into the upcoming trip.
In previous years most students visiting Tanzania have been able to purchase and receive their visa upon arrival into Arusha. However due to recent changes we have been advised to require travelers to apply for their visas in advance of travel. Students attending a service oriented program in Tanzania (Faces of East Africa, Culture and the Crater, or African Wildlife Conservation) must obtain a travel visa for “Other Business” for their entry. For travelers on adventure programs (Climbing Kili or Safari and a Splash of Paradise) a travel visa for “Leisure, Holiday” will suffice. Once again, we have partnered with G3 Global Services to assist in the visa application process. You can review the updated visa requirements on their site at www.g3visas.com/rusticpathways.html. Since requirements for visas vary by nationality, G3 is only able to process applications for US citizens. However, they have provided additional information to assist families residing outside of the United States. Should you choose to apply for your visa directly through the embassy or via another visa service agency please contact us at email@example.com if you require additional assistance.
A Flight Leader will meet all the students originating from the United States at JFK airport, and will be with them until their arrival into Tanzania. A Flight Leader will also be present on the return flight home.
This flight includes about 21 hours of travel, starting from your take-off in New York.
The advertised trip does include international travel time. To get a sense of the true in-country time, note that our programs start and end on Wednesday evenings.
The program’s itinerary is split between Dar Es Salaam, Kigoma, and Moshi, respectively, although the majority of the program is spent in Kigoma. What are the internal flights on this trip? Students will fly from Dar Es Salaam (DAR) to Kigoma (TKQ), and from Kigoma to Moshi (JRO).
Each program will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. Some of our program leaders are also certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.
Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 students. Additionally, each program maintains at least 2 primary program leaders, one male and one female.
Rustic Pathways uses sterilization techniques to ensure that all drinking water for students is potable and safe to drink. We ask students to bring reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic usage.
Students are allowed to bring phones on their Rustic Pathways program, but must abide by our cell phone policy. Students will not be allowed to use their phones during group activities, nor at any other time where it is disruptive to the group dynamic. If students are unable to abide by this policy, disciplinary action may be taken.
Tanzania uses United Kingdom-style plugs at 220-250 V / 50 Hz (the USA is 120 V / 60 Hz).
We are in Tanzania in their winter, so in the villages and cities, the weather will usually be sunny and warm during the day (high 70s F), and cool at night (50s F). It is the dry season, so we do not expect heavy rain.
While in Dar Es Salaam and Moshi students will be staying in a basic guesthouse and dormitory-style accommodations. During their stay in Kigoma students will be camping on a site on Lake Tanganyika, where conditions will more rustic. Access to flushing toilets, electricity, running water, and showers may be limited.
We have cooks that provide most of our meals and have worked with us for a number of years. They do a wonderful job of creating familiar dishes for the students, while also fixing the occasional local meal. Meals typically include soup, salad, main course and dessert. Special circumstances, such as being a vegetarian, can be accommodated.
Bathrooms throughout the program will range from flushing toilets with running water to pit toilets. Wet wipes are recommended and hand sanitizer is a must-have.
You will have limited access internet or phone during this trip. On your last day, during brunch with the rest of the students on programs in Tanzania, you will have the option of visiting an internet café if you so choose.
You will have the chance to do laundry once guaranteed, and possibly twice, during this program.
Generally speaking, there are usually a several more girls than boys, but it is difficult to say with each trip being different.
Parents and students who have not carefully read the itinerary tend to be surprised at the level of physical interaction with African wildlife on this program. As the program focuses on current critical issues with wildlife conservation in Tanzania, and the service projects and educational enrichment being geared toward learning more about it, students who are expecting a safari-like experience are encouraged to link this program with our Serengeti to Zanzibar program.
Students will be able to explore three different parts of the country on this program, allowing them to observe different ecosystems and lifestyles of the local people. There is a moderate level of travel which will occur through short, internal flights.
Students will take brief, internal flights when traveling between Dar Es Salaam, Kigoma, and Moshi, and will be transported in the city in privately hired buses and vans.
Tanzania is considered the most stable country in East Africa and now sees over a million tourists every year! Safety tips for traveling here are much like traveling anywhere – be conscious of your belongings, keep money hidden, travel in groups, and do your research beforehand. All of which we do and teach you to do as a young traveler. There are a couple of health issues to note specific to Tanzania. The country is considered endemic for malaria and dengue fever. Both are vector-borne illnesses spread by mosquitos; malaria has both prophylactics and antibiotics available for prevention and treatment, but there is no cure or vaccine for dengue. Those most at risk for serious complications from dengue are those who have contracted it before. These diseases present the greatest risk during the rainy season (March-May), and near large bodies of water or in low-lying areas, such as the more southern city of Dar Es Salaam. Risk in the inland north where we operate is much lower. The risk on Zanzibar, where Safari & Splash students visit, is somewhat elevated in comparison, though Zanzibar has not had some of the outbreaks that have afflicted Dar Es Salaam. The fact that we travel during the drier and cooler winter months in Tanzania helps reduce that risk. Nevertheless, students should be vigilant on all programs, practicing prevention by use of bug spray with DEET and to wear long sleeves and pants, particularly at dusk and dawn.
Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be traveling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit the International SOS and Center for Disease Control websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveler’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions. For entry, we will note that yellow fever or other vaccinations are currently not required to enter Tanzania. The exception is if you have spent time in a yellow fever-endemic country (such as Kenya). You will want to review the countries to which you have previously traveled to determine if you will need to show proof of vaccination for entry.
International SOS is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to International SOS’ benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership. As a member you will have access to International SOS’ extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travelers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program. For more information please visit our International SOS webpage.
As Dar Es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania, it is home to multiple private clinics and hospitals. In Kigoma and Moshi we have identified and vetted clinics and doctors which have the appropriate facilities for care for students.
Special circumstances can be accommodated as long as we have ample warning. Note that vegans can be more difficult to accommodate based on the food available in Tanzania, though not impossible. Vegans and those with severe allergies should consult with the Country Director or a Personal Travel Advisor before committing to this program.
There may be some mosquitos, but generally in those regions and at that time of the season the mosquito population is much lower. We do not carry bed nets, but we do encourage the use of bug spray if mosquitos appear.
Personal gifts, internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.
$100 for visa (or $50 for non-USA citizens). Bills should be clean, unwrinkled, and dated 2006 or later. $200-300 to buy snacks and souvenirs on the last day. In the past, some students have also made donations such as goats, school supplies, uniforms, etc., or supplemented our tips to the Gombe National Park guides with additional tips of their own. Note: students should only bring monetary donations, not items from home! Imported donations tend to crowd out local businesses and impair the local economy. A more sustainable practice is to bring money and use that to purchase goods (school supplies, etc.) from local suppliers.
Please refer to our Community Service Hour Awards webpage for more information on how service hours are awarded.
Rustic Pathways works with local community leaders and organizations to identify and prioritize the needs of each community. For this program, the primary service project is a reforestation project in Kigoma, along with constructing bee hives in an effort to supplement the economy for the local community the students will be working with. Students will also get hands-on with various projects in the forest and mangroves of Dar Es Salaam, and on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in Moshi.
A reusable water bottle, sleeping bag, and headlamp with spare batteries are required. Required experience – do students need to have any prior experience? Students do not need to have any prior experience, just a comfort level with rustic living conditions.
Tanzanians in general dress modestly, and as polite visitors we will also dress relatively conservatively. While Arusha town can be a little more relaxed, it is important that we show respect at all times and particularly in Kigoma. The requirements are fairly straightforward: Shorts – basketball-style only; no running or soccer-style shorts. Rule of thumb is that the bottom of the shorts should be approaching the kneecap for both boys and girls Leggings or yoga pants – not to be worn by either boys or girls. If the pants are paired with a truly long T-shirt, then leggings will be acceptable. Loose-fitting pants, capris, and long skirts – acceptable and preferred Tops – shoulders must be covered on both boys and girls. No tank tops or spaghetti straps. If you arrive and your garments are deemed unacceptable by your program leaders, you’ll have to purchase appropriate wear before service work starts in the village.
Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:
Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.
A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.
A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal. A wheeled bag is only suitable if it can be carried like a duffel over rough terrain.
(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)
Welcome to Tanzania! You will arrive to Dar Es Salaam to begin your journey.
Transfer to Kigoma, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
Venture into the park and track chimpanzees with park rangers.
Meet other Rustic Pathways groups for a final lunch and souvenir shopping.