Partner with locally run NGOs to take a deep look into one of the most Critical Issues of your generation—the global water crisis. Droughts and a changing climate have only increased the burden on communities with limited access to clean water. Explore different, location-specific approaches to tackling water, sanitation, and hygiene issues—commonly referred to as WASH. Our NGO partners will explain the challenges of scaling community-centered solutions for use across Tanzania. Get your hands dirty as you serve alongside local masons, engineers, and village residents on various water projects. Model good hand washing, one of the most effective hygiene interventions, to the local primary students you encounter.
Components of a Critical Issues Program
Our 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 Kilimanajro 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 receive a broad introduction to water issues around the world, and specifically some of the challenges facing Tanzania: clean water access, hygiene, and sanitation. Then spend the afternoon a challenging hike to build teamwork, as well as get an in-person introduction to some of the communities that surround Arusha town, and return to your guesthouse in the evening for a good night’s rest.
Water is intimately tied to agriculture — both staple crops and cash crops depend on smart, sustainable land and water use. You will spend the morning taking a tour of a local organic 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, the steps that go into making it sustainable, and at the end of the tour treat yourself to a sampling session of fresh brews.
Leave the lush green hills of Mt. Meru and Arusha region, and strike out toward northern Tanzania. Away from the mountains out on the savannahs, the air is drier and water access more scarce. Over the next several days, you will stay in a village guesthouse, getting to know the community with immersive cultural activities, while engaging in a vital WASH infrastructure project. Depending on where our NGO partner is at in their work, you may find yourself digging ditches to lay piping, mixing cement for rain water tank foundations, or helping to construct properly-engineered rural toilets to improve hygiene. One vital project at a time! Spend an afternoon with children at the local primary school teaching proper hand washing techniques — one of the most verifiably effective interventions.
Take a break to visit the sprawling local market on market day! A center point of weekly life, traditional markets for the Maasai tribe are a sprawling affair of sheep, cattle, goats, butcher shops, produce, chickens, cloth, used foreign clothing, and household goods — think of a superstore, but outside! Wander the various sections of the market with your program leaders, barter for some jewelry or kitenge cloth, and later find a nice picnic spot for a thought-provoking discussion.
Dive back in! Spend your final days in the community finishing your service project, and hear from employees of various water organizations about the different approaches to tackling the water crisis. Spend time picking the brains of experts in water issues in Tanzania. For example, some change makers achieve sustainable change through a cooperative relationship with local governments, so that efforts need not be funded in the long-run by outside groups but can be moved forward by democratically elected bodies. Others focus more on grassroots and direct community partnerships. At the end of your time here, you should have an understanding of different ideas for creating impact. On your final day, take part in a heartwarming closing ceremony in the community that you have called home.
Your focus till now has been largely on the people and communities of Tanzania, and how they interact with their environment. View Tanzania through a different lens and see the country’s other occupants, who also depend on smart water use in a changing climate. Strike out on a three-day safari that will cover Tarangire National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, and a hike into the Rift Valley, where some of our hominid fossils have been found. View animals in the beauty of their natural habitats, thriving ecosystems of lush forests vast grasslands full of herds of elephants, packs of lions and hyenas, and wildebeest and zebras everywhere. Revel in the beauty of the Tanzanian countryside!
After a full night’s sleep, spend your final morning in a Rustic Pathways closing ceremony, saying goodbye to your friends and recalling what you have come to mean to each other over the past two weeks. Enjoy a Swahili meal in town for your last taste of local cuisine, and then hit the markets and barter prudently 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?
Kwaheri na safari njema! Goodbye and safe travels!
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.
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.
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. 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 toInternational SOS’ benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership. As a member you will have access toInternational 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.
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.
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)