Welcome to Tanzania! You will arrive to Arusha to begin your journey.
Immerse yourself in village life on this one-week service program in northern Tanzania, near Mt. Kilimanjaro. Help transform a primary school into a more effective environment and get a firsthand introduction to Tanzanian culture. Partner with the community to complete important school construction projects and increase students’ confidence in English and life skills by engaging them in activities. Take a break from service to learn about local life as you explore marketplaces and farms, and learn how to cook local staple foods like ugali. Live comfortably in a cozy village guesthouse, take in the spectacular scenery during a hike to a nearby waterfall, and try your hands at pottery after a demo from local craftswomen. This program is ideal for students who seek an immersive volunteer experience in a shorter period of time, or who want to connect with other programs in Africa.
All of Rustic Pathways scheduled group flights to Tanzania are escorted by a Rustic Pathways Flight Leader and depart from New York. The flight departs in the evening and takes about 18 hours. During your flight take the time to get to know other students on your flight, and get some sleep in preparation for your arrival into Africa.
You will arrive into Arusha, Tanzania in the early evening and will transfer to the Rustic Pathways Base. Spend the night getting to know the staff and as part of your initial orientation, you will be taught many aspects of Tanzania protocols and expectations of behavior.
Today you will transfer to your base which is located in the heart of Njoro village. The property has been set up for Rustic Pathways to have sole use of the summer camp-style dorm rooms and grounds throughout the summer. You will meet some of the most important people of the village and get a tour of your new home as well as the projects that you will be working on for the week.
Today will be your first full day of service work. You will be taking part in a number of different community service projects throughout the summer that will benefit the students of Poli Primary School, which is located in Njoro Village. Project work during the course of your program may involve participation in a variety of initiatives. Your main project will involve building a community center and kitchen for the people of Njoro. This space will serve as a place for community functions and provide the students at Poli Primary with a place to eat lunch. You can also expect to spend some time within the local school, tutoring students in English, helping with classroom activities and getting involved with local sporting events. Your time on this immersive program will be varied, interesting, challenging and extremely rewarding and worthwhile. At the conclusion of each afternoon’s work you will return to the base house for the evening.
Knock out a few hours of service in the morning, then hop on the bus for your first excursion outside of the village and an interesting cultural experience. Visit a local Maasai market where people come together twice per week to buy, sell, and barter everything from produce, to basic household supplies, to cows. On the way back, stop at the Kenyan-owned Nakumatt for a view of the other side of Tanzania for an interesting comparison – modern, more expensive, and more like what you’re used to at home
Start your morning with an important village ritual – church! Religion is a big part of community life and the social fabric, and shows our respect for the community. Then hop into some 4x4s and head out on safari! Spend a day on a game drive in Arusha National Park, a bit of a gem off the usual tourist circuit. Look for baboons, birds, and other monkeys, and if you’re lucky you may even spot elephants and giraffes.
During the next two days your focus will primarily be back on the projects your group is undertaking. Each morning and afternoon, you will be assigned a specific task, partnering with local masons, and various members of the local school that take an interest in the projects. In the late afternoon and evenings, take part in more cultural immersion by learning how to milk a cow, making local foods like ugali and chapati, or trying your hand at the village style of clay pottery.
Another afternoon your group might explore the surrounding area, perhaps taking an enjoyable hike to a nearby waterfall or playing a soccer match against the nearby high school.
This morning will be the conclusion of your service work within the local villages. A time for farewells and best wishes and a chance to reflect on the experiences and memories which have encapsulated themselves in the hearts of your group over such a seemingly short period of time. Incredible friendships are made that will be cherished for many years to come. We will make the transfer back to Arusha for lunch.
If you are departing to the USA tonight, your afternoon will include a stroll through the streets of Arusha with staff checking out the local markets that are filled with high quality crafts for gifts or souvenirs. After a final meal with your group, you travel to the airport and bid Tanzania farewell (until next year perhaps). You will arrive back into New York on Thursday (Day 10) morning.
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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Arusha, a small village 20-30 minutes outside of Arusha called Njoro, and Longido.
Each program in Rustic Pathways will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. At least one staff member on this program will have the more advanced Wilderness First Responder certification.
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 or purchases bottled water 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, (whether as a camera or as a means of communication) 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 thankfully we do not expect much rain.
Students will be staying in a small guesthouse directly in the village. The guesthouse has beds, a flushing toilet, warm water showers (though the warmth is not always reliable) and villagers as neighbors.
Occasionally, due to odd numbers of boys and girls and the need to keep genders separate, a small group can opt to sleep in a large safari tent outside of the dorm rooms. Functionally this is identical to the rooms, except the mattresses lie on the ground instead of on bed boards. As toilet facilities are shared, everything else is the same.
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.
As mentioned, two shared showers and a shared flushing (squat-style) toilet are available for students. The family next to us owns the guesthouse and we usually take meals in their courtyard – they have an additional toilet for our use.
You will not have access to 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 should not expect to do laundry on this program, unless you are connecting to this program from another program. In that case, our assistant cook can arrange to wash the clothes for a fee or have another woman in the village do so. Laundry is not covered in the program cost.
Generally speaking, there are usually a several more girls than boys, but it is difficult to say with each trip being different.
Transport is by private bus or van that we contract.
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 and Zanzibar in particular to use bug spray with DEET and to wear long sleeves and pants, particularly at dusk and dawn. Our hotels on Zanzibar do provide bed nets.
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 HX Global (http://hx-global.com/) 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.
HX Global is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to HX Global benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.
As a member you will have access to HX Global’s 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 HX Global webpage.
Njoro village is less than 30 minutes drive from Arusha, where there are good clinics with English-speaking staff within a ten-minute walk from our Arusha basehouse. As the primary launching point for tourism in the region, there are also a number of well-equipped hospitals in the city.
We are also good friends with a retired local doctor in the village, who obtained his education and Kenya and the USA and has practiced in a number of countries. While he is not our official source of healthcare, he has been a wonderful resource for us.
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 and the prevalence of eggs, though we have done so on this program. Vegans and those with severe allergies should consult with the Country Director or a Personal Travel Advisor before committing to the 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.
$150-300 to buy snacks during the week and souvenirs. You can also choose to make donations to the school. Your guides will collect your donations to purchase school supplies, uniforms, etc.
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 the community in Njoro, you will join a long-term education enhancement program designed to both improve the physical quality of the education facilities, and enhance the students’ English education with hands-on teaching, tutoring, and lesson planning.
A reusable water bottle and headlamp with spare batteries are required. Bedding is provided.
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 Njoro village. 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 Arusha to begin your journey.
Your home-away-from home, this cozy village just outside of Arusha is friendly and inviting!
Drive up for an afternoon at one of the larger maasai markets, where everything from goats to traditional blankets is for sale.