Hakuna matata and a warm welcome to Tanzania! Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as we travel into the heart of this stunning country to get a true taste of African culture and community enrichment. We will get to know the country like locals as we embark on a week-long cultural exchange with a local school for girls, participating in activities with them as we grow to learn about both ourselves and our new friends. Together with our host students, we will participate in community enrichment projects, such as spending time with children at a local orphanage and learning about sustainable farming techniques.
Next it’s time to keep your eyes peeled for the Big Five when we go on an authentic African safari to finish off our journey! As we travel to and from the center of the country, we’ll witness the African way of life firsthand, passing through countless small villages and stunning scenery during our journey. When it’s time to leave, you’ll be able to say, “asante sana,” Tanzania, knowing that you have shared with her just as much as she has with you.
During this program, you will…
- Spend a day exploring an island marine reserve just outside of Dar es Salaam
- Work alongside the students at a local school l and earn up to 40 hours of service credit while forming lasting friendships
- Help students improve their English skills and participate in many fun games as part of your service work
- Learn how to cook chapati, a favorite amongst locals, along with many other traditional delicacies
- Teach your new friends how to make tie dye t-shirts
- Visit the homes of the students you are working with to learn about how people in rural communities live
- Go on a game drive to spot some of the Big Five in Mikumi National Park
- Join your new friends on a field trip to a stunning waterfall and strawberry fields
- Visit a local tailor to design and make you a unique outfit made from traditional fabrics
Most travelers opt for our extended version of this program, Tanzania Service and Safari, to see more of this beautiful country and of course, spot more African wildlife!
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2–3: DAR ES SALAAM
Karibu! East Africa will welcome us with the bustling of this port city and its white sand beaches to explore near our hotel. We will spend the remainder of the day checking out the area or simply relaxing and basking in the late afternoon sun as we adjust to the Tanzanian pace of life.
DAY 4: BONGOYO ISLAND MARINE RESERVE
Wake up early to watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean before taking a motorized dhow across the water to Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve. Spend the day exploring sandy and uncrowded beaches, coral reefs, seagrass and algae beds, and even some lagoons. Snorkel through Shark’s Lagoon Cave, named after the young sharks that swim along the shores hunting for octopus – don’t worry…they don’t bite! After our picnic lunch you can go on a hike, keeping your eyes peeled for hawksbill and green turtles, or simply relax on the beach with a good book. Whatever you decide to do, you will have plenty of time to stretch your legs and prepare for tomorrow’s excursion into the heart of Tanzania and to the school where we will spend the service portion of our trip.
DAY 5: DAR ES SALAAM > MOROGORO
Now our real adventure begins! We will travel to Morogoro with a private bus, having lunch en route. Upon our arrival, we will receive a warm greeting with a traditional welcome song from the students at the school. This week-long cultural exchange meets service projects at the school is the heart of this program. You will work on projects focusing on life skills and leadership training, as well as forming bonds with the students. We will work together inspire confidence and build leadership skills in each other through a variety of games and activities. You will work on hands-on projects around the campus including assisting with the organic gardens, Anti-Ivory Club activities, cooking lessons, and many others.
DAYS 6–11: MOROGORO CULTURAL EXCHANGE & SERVICE PROJECTS
During our days in Morogoro we will also have the unique opportunity to visit the homes of some local families who live in the area to learn about life in Morogoro. Our student hosts will accompany us to visit an orphanage and spend the day playing with the children who stay there. We will also go on a day trip together to a nearby mountain where we will hike to a waterfall and even take a dip for those who don’t mind the chilly water!
Our journey is completed with a game drive in the nearby Mikumi National Park, a part of Tanzania’s lesser-known, but equally amazing, Southern Circuit. Try to spot the Big Five as we drive deep into the bush to take the roads less traveled before spending the last of our time with our wonderful hosts. We will enjoy our last evening together savoring a delicious Swahili meal, singing, dancing, and recalling stories of our time together over the past week.
DAY 12: MOROGORO > DAR ES SALAAM
We will say farewell to our new friends and begin our overland journey back to Dar es Salaam where we will then begin our travels home!
DAY 13: RETURN TO THE USA
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. We do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities; we prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Dar es Salaam our hotel is located outside of the bustling city and on its very own stretch of beach. In Morogoro we will stay at a guesthouse in a very secure area that is under the supervision of the local girls’ school with whom we have partnered for the project.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Students love that this program takes them out of their comfort zones and on an incredible journey through all the best parts of this enthralling country. The broad range of experiences and sights gives them unparalleled nature and wildlife, incredible vistas of unbelievable locations and a boatload of cultural experiences and activities. They form close bonds with their fellow travelers and the locals they meet and work with on this unforgettable journey!
What is unique about this program?
The community service component of this trip is nothing short of captivating. The days are incredibly rewarding; making friends with the girls you will work and helping them build self-confidence and leadership skills while learning firsthand about each other’s cultures. This is also one of our more adventurous programs that captures the best of this diverse and fascinating country.
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Not included in cost (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; visas and visa application fees; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 14 and 21 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Tanzanian food is colorful, interesting, and unlike anything you’ve tried before! Ugali is the national dish of Tanzania. It is a thick, dough-like mass and varies in flavor and consistency depending on the flours used and how it is cooked. It is usually served with a sauce containing meat, fish, beans, or greens. Rice and ndizi (cooked plantains) are other staples. Three meals a day is usual, although breakfast is frequently nothing more than kahawa (coffee) or chai (tea) and mkat (bread). We will have the chance to enjoy a few traditional Tanzanian meals, so participants can try a lot of different local foods found nowhere else but here.
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need to bring anything special for the community service portion of this program?
Female participants will need to bring loose trousers or skirts/dresses that fall below the knee as well as shirts and blouses that cover the shoulders and are not too low cut. Male participants should bring shirts with sleeves and either pants or shorts at or below the knee. Items such as soccer balls, decks of cards, nail polish, etc. are always great to bring to share and pass time with the students and people you meet along the way!
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
US citizens require a visa to enter Tanzania. The cost of the visa is $100 (multiple entry) valid for one year, 90 days at a time. Participants under 18 years of age will also need to have parental approval. All information for U.S. citizens applying for the visa can be found here.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Will we encounter dangerous animals during our game drive?
Participants will be able to see all wildlife from a safe distance. On every safari/game drive, there will be guides in order to keep participants safe. Outside of the game parks, there is almost no chance of encountering any dangerous animals.
Is Tanzania a safe country?
We only visit and stay in the safest places and hotels in Tanzania. We have carefully avoided any areas which are prone to crime. Safety is our number one priority at all times.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!