Highlights from my Tanzania trip
Updated: Jun 16, 2021
In this blog you can read about my favorite highlights on my volunteer trip to Tanzania, Africa with GIVE volunteers December 2019. This trip was made through the organization who had planned the whole trip including a schedule. Truly a life-changing trip.
Taken at Tarangire National Park
What is including in this article
-My Tanzania Itinerary
-Why I enjoyed volunteering
-Tanzania Travel Tips
My Tanzania Itinerary (made from GIVE)
Day 1 Fly into Dar Es Salaam
On our first day of the volunteer trip, we flew into Dar Es Salaam. Dar Es Salaam is one of the major cities over in Tanzania. The other volunteers and I got to know each other a little better here. I went on this volunteer trip not knowing anyone; just hoping to spend time with the locals here. The flight to Tanzania was around 25 hours long from Los Angeles, and surprisingly, the flight went by fast for me; probably because I was so excited to go to Africa for my first time!
This wasn't my best work since it was when I first started being interested in taking videos... but it really captures my trip to Tanzania and what I got to do on the trip.
Days 3-10 Volunteer on Zanzibar
We would wake up around 7:00 or earlier everyday to eat our breakfast! The pancakes in Tanzania were AMAZING! They were really different, and thin but they were amazing... I ate 5 each morning! Around 8:00 am. we began to work on our English education and school construction projects. We had two different groups for each time of day, Construction or Education.
For education (which I usually chose for the morning session) is where we taught locals the English language. We would all teach different age groups, and they were all sweethearts. Amazing amazing people with the kindest hearts. All my students learned very fast and we would all laugh and joke together.
To the right is a picture of my students for the lessons that I taught! My students would also teach me some Swahili and we got to talk in both Swahili and English picture of me and my class
We volunteered until lunchtime and then go to relax by the beach for a few hours. We got to walk along the beautiful clear blue ocean and walk around Zanzibar meeting locals. A lot of us volunteers would go in the water during this break since it was VERY hot out! The water was so refreshing and was the perfect temperature. After the break, we returned to the project site for the rest of the afternoon. We chose if we wanted to do construction or education for the afternoon, and since I already did education for the day, it was time for construction! For our construction of the school we took turns between three main jobs; Agriculture, Cement, Painting. Painting was my FAVORITE, but we must switch it up every day hahah.
In the late afternoon, we would wrap up our volunteer work and immerse into the culture head on! We would play soccer with locals on the beach, take Swahili lessons, paint with the locals, or just hang around Zanzibar until night time! The time difference really got to me here in Tanzania. During the end of the day I would be exhausted - and I mean literally #EXHAUSTED! I think one day at 8 pm the first night I fell asleep standing up LOL. The time difference was 23 hours! I ended up getting use to it the fifth day!
Picture of us painting a playground
Days 11-12 Travel and Culture Day
On day 11 we departed Zanzibar and embarked on a cross-country journey through Tanzania towards Arusha - a city at the base of Mt.Kilimanjaro. We took a bus which approximately took around 14 hours.
We really got a chance to explore the culture of the country on this day. We visited a local coffee farm to brew fresh coffee and volunteer with a community-based women's cooperative.
Day 13-14 Safari Tour
Picture taken in Arusha, Tanzania
We got to spend the next two days on Safari at Tarangire Park! We got to search for the "Big 5" - lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinos and leopards - as well as driving through herds of giraffes, zebras, baboons and so much more! We got to see so many baby elephants and zebras, they were SO adorable. I really wanted to run off the safari jeep and hug them all - but obviously I didn't LOL. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River which is the primary source in which the animals get their drinking water; especially during dry season.
Seeing these animals in the wild really made me happy. They seemed as if they were all so at peace; roaming around freely - as it should be. I have many subjects I will later talk about in this blog concerning animal issues which are mentioned at the bottom of this blog post, but that will all be in an upcoming blog.
Photo of a wild giraffe
What I got to see
I got to see a lion preying on a wild boar, LIVE! It was crazy seeing the king and queen of the jungle in real life. Im a Leo, so I personally LOVE lions and think they represent who I am as a person pretty well HAHA, so seeing them in person left me in awe; especially since they were wild! I felt so bad for the wild boar though; Mr. Pumba was not so lucky;(
I got to see so many buffalo! There were almost thirty buffalo in a herd just right next to our safari car!
I also got to see many giraffes, zebras, antelopes, monkeys, and more! There were monkeys everywhere! It was so cool to see them all in their natural habitat. They're all very humanlike and I'm not going to lie, they were mainly reproducing everywhere I looked LOL.
Picture of a beautiful Zebra in Arusha
(ignore all these filters, these are photos from 2019 when I still used these types of filters instead of LUTS HAHAH)
Day 15 Fly back home
I had the chance to add on the hike up Mt.Kilimanjaro onto the trip, but I personally was not prepared or had any experience of mountain hiking before; especially for Mount Kilimanjaro. It is currently the highest mountain in Africa, and if you're a good hiker I really recommend adding this onto your Tanzania trip! Hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro would definitely be quite the experience; you would be trekking, camping, sleeping outdoors, in low and high temperatures and seeing amazing views the entire way up! Make sure to go with a good guide team if you go!
My take on this trip / Why I enjoyed volunteering
I am still truly grateful and thankful to have had the opportunity to volunteer in Tanzania. Tis trip has inspired me in so many different ways. The people I met here were so incredible and inspiring, they really made me see life from a different perspective. Though the locals here don't have the luxuries that most countries do, they are still the worlds most happiest people. They really proved to me how life is never about how much money you have, or how many friends you have... it's about happiness. The locals here did not have as much, but every single time I passed them, they had a huge smile on their face always saying hello. Being able to volunteer with the locals, being immersed into their culture really taught me about many things but mainly happiness. Happiness truly is a mindset. The locals here work so hard everyday - doing manual labor in extreme heat - and still have a smile on their face, no matter what. They give and give, even If they have little. They always give what they can offer, and that really inspired me. It inspires me to give ALL that I have to others - to the world. The locals are so genuine, happy, and just at peace; they truly care about others no matter who you are or where you come from. They love everyone just the same, which is how it should be all around the world. We are all equal, no matter if you are man or woman, if you have "status", no matter your race... we are all just HUMANS. We need to do our best to protect communities like this... volunteering is an amazing way to do so. Donating to charity as well is always helpful! Make sure to research charities to make sure they donate ALL profits to a campaign that you are interested in:)
A picture of me and the beautiful kids I got to spend time with in my time in Zanzibar Island. They were the most well-behaved, loving children I have met and I loved spending time with them. They would run up to me and hold my hand, and dance with me. I miss them every day.
Make sure to get your proper shots and medications! If you go anywhere in Africa, you're going to need specific shots as well as medications to take orally. I had to get two different vaccines as well as Malaria pills to take in Tanzania daily. Take these medications seriously since these infections can be very fatal! The shots were very easy for me, 100% painless without any side effects. The Malaria pills I think aided in my tiredness during the trip, but other than that I had no side effects as well!
Research what to wear for the country you are visiting! Most countries here in Africa still represent a more conservative culture and so in most countries it is respectful to wear long pants that cover the knees as well as sleeved shirts that cover your shoulders. You should wear things like this at all times when around others unless the part of the country is not as conservative. Remember it can get HOT, so choose what time you want to go wisely!
Visas are necessary! You could apply online for a visa to enter the country which would be much more efficient, but visas are also available upon arrival into the country. Visas to Tanzania costs 50 USD if you are going for tourism. Volunteering Visas are a little cheaper.
You should definitely tip your guides and drivers! Tip them as much as you can, they really appreciate it and they mainly work for tips out in Africa. Many guides and drivers don't get paid, so it very very important that you tip anyone who helps you on your trip.
Public Tranportation here is very confusing! It is good to arrange transportation prior to your travels. Many people here ride the little buses around town, but these can get VERY confusing to use and not the most effective. I would just call a taxi here, it wouldn't be too expensive here.