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 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. 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! 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. In Dar es Salaam you will learn about the beautiful and complex history of East Africa by visiting historic sites and spending time dancing and sharing meals with locals. 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…
- Work alongside the students at a local school and earn up to 20 hours of service credit participating in projects both on-campus and in the community
- Help students improve their English skills and participate in many fun games as part of your cultural exchange projects
- Visit a non-profit that trains hero-rats that help to detect Tuberculosis and land mines
- Visit a local food production business to learn about entrepreneurship in rural communities
- Meet a local tailor to design and make you a unique outfit made from traditional fabrics
- Go on a game drive to spot some of the Big Five in Mikumi National Park
- Learn about the lesser-known parts of Dar es Salaam on a private guided tour of the heart of the city
- Spend a day exploring an island marine reserve just outside of Dar es Salaam
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)
DAY 2: DAR > MOROGORO
Karibu! Now our real adventure begins! Upon our arrival to the bustling port city of Dar es Salaam, we will travel to Morogoro with a private bus. This week-long cultural exchange at the school is the heart of this program.
DAYS 3–7: MOROGORO CULTURAL EXCHANGE & SERVICE PROJECTS
During our days in Morogoro our student hosts will participate in cultural exchange activities with us. During the day when our hosts are in class, we will gain first-hand insights into a variety of service-based projects, such as visiting an orphanage and spending the day playing with the children who stay there and learning about sustainable farming techniques in the community.
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 time is highlighted by a trip to a nearby mountain where we will hike to a waterfall and even take a refreshing dip! Also learn new skills while taking a netball lesson and traditional Tanzanian dance lessons!
We will enjoy our last evening with our wonderful hosts savoring a delicious Swahili meal, singing, dancing, and recalling stories of our time together over the past week.
DAY 8: MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK
We will say farewell to our new friends and continue to 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 heading towards Dar es Salaam for the final portion of our travels.
DAYS 9–11: DAR ES SALAAM > BONGOYO ISLAND MARINE RESERVE
In Dar es Salaam, our days will be full of a variety of cultural activities that will show us the real Dar. We’ll visit the National Museum of Tanzania to learn about the history and natural environment of Tanzania and also check out Art Garage to learn about the inspiring story of two Tanzanians who create income-generating opportunities by designing unique, handmade, recycled art.
Take a guided private bike tour of the lesser-known parts of the city to get a sense of what true Dar es Salaam culture feels like. We will learn about the socio-economic structures and issues of these neighborhoods, visit buzzing markets and enjoy street performers and the art of artists from the area. For those who do not wish to cycle, hop aboard a Bjajaj (Tuk Tuk) for an equally fun experience!
Explore the vibrant music culture of this bustling city, as our local guides take us to experience a variety of music, including Njenje, Taarab, Rhumba, and to top it all off, some local cuisine for dinner. We will also take a motorized dhow across the water to Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve to spend the day exploring sandy and uncrowded beaches and swimming around coral reefs.
We will end our time in Tanzania with a delicious final dinner at a rooftop restaurant looking out over Msasani Bay while we reflect upon the East African adventures that we’ve had and the memories we’ve made with new friends.
DAY 12: DAR ES SALAAM > RETURN TO THE USA
We will spend our last morning in Dar es Salaam hanging out at the nearby beach or simply relaxing and basking in the late afternoon sun at our lodge as we enjoy our final day of the Tanzanian pace of life before heading to the airport for our flight home.
DAY 13: ARRIVE IN THE USA
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do.
Eat, stay, and travel like a local. Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we were awarded Top Youth Travel Organization in 2017.
"I went to Tanzania for three weeks during the summer of 2018, from late June until early July. Going into this trip I was so excited to meet girls living at a boarding school and to work in an orphanage. I was excited to meet all the people that I would be staying with and going on safaris. What I wasn't expecting was to have my outlook on life changed forever. When we landed in Dar es Salaam after two long flights, we were greeted with the most love and joy I have ever seen and felt. Everyone was smiling and waiting to help us in any way they could. I was so overwhelmed at how amazing these people were. After being greeted we began the drive to our first hotel. On the way, I saw the poverty throughout the capital, but what I also saw was smiles. Smiles everywhere. I saw mothers carrying their children along the streets, with no shoes on; but they were still smiling and talking happily to each other. Not only did I see this is the capital, but I also saw this with the girls and the orphans. These girls had nothing but their uniforms and books, yet they were so happy. They always thanked us for any little thing we did. I will never forget one time a sweet girl about my age (16), cried out of happiness just from me sitting with her and making friendship bracelets. The little kids in the orphanage that had been living there since before they could remember were all joy. All they wanted to do was hold your hand and be next to you. These things will always stay with me, not because I got to go to Africa, or see zebras and lions and giraffes up close, or meet some amazing people who I still keep in touch with today, but because I saw people who realized that life is not about what you have, it's about who is in your life and how you chose to live it."
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 with 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!