Tanzania Service, Safari and Adventure (21 Days)
$5,995 + $275 Intra Trip Flight + Airfare
Jun 30 – Jul 20
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from all over the world!
9, 10, 11, 12
|Places we visit:||
Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Monduli Mountains, Marangu Mtoni, Foothills of Kilimanjaro, Stone Town, Kwale Island, Prison Island
|Optional group flight there:||
New York (JFK) to Dar es Salaam (DAR)
|Optional group flight back:||
Zanzibar (ZNZ) to New York (JFK)
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 wildlife. We will get to know the country like locals as we embark on a week-long service project with a local school for girls, participating in activities with them as we grow to learn about both ourselves and our new friends. As we head up north, we’ll learn how to live the rustic, African way of life as we spend our days in the bush viewing wild game and our nights camping under the clear, starry skies. Our encounters with local tribes will give us valuable insights into how people have existed in the area for thousands of years and the many ways that they continue to preserve their cultures today.
No trip to Tanzania is really complete without a visit to the idyllic island of Zanzibar! We will finish this epic adventure learning about the completely different cultures that live peacefully side by side while enjoying the picturesque beaches and ocean that surround this one of a kind island. 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.
On This Trip You Will:
- Volunteer with a local girls’ school and and earn up to 40 hours of service credit while forming lasting friendships with the students
- Join your new friends on a field trip to a stunning waterfall and strawberry fields
- Spend a day exploring an island marine reserve just outside of Dar es Salaam
- Explore the “undiscovered Africa” of Tarangire National Park
- Spend a night in traditional African style igloo rooms!
- Descend into the world famous Ngorongoro Crater and go on a game drive in this haven for wild animals, including Black Rhino, elephants, lions, and wildebeests
- Go on a tracking adventure with the Hadzabe Bushman tribe and learn about how their hunter gatherer way of life is being threatened
- Visit the Datoga tribe to learn about their trade as metalsmiths and how they make arrows and jewelry
- Spend time at a traditional Maasai boma to better understand this ancient culture
- Discover the bustling city of Arusha at the base of Mt. Meru
- Take a breathtaking hike to a waterfall in the foothills of Kilimanjaro
- Wander through the narrow streets of Stone Town
- Witness a variety of cultures and religions coexisting peacefully
- Visit a local tailor to design and make your own outfit out of traditional fabrics
- Learn about slavery in East Africa and the rest of the world
- Snorkel through crystal clear waters and if you’re lucky, swim with dolphins!
- Enjoy a traditional island BBQ feast
- Learn about spices and how to cook traditional Swahili food from a village woman
- Hang out with tortoises and snorkel through magnificent reefs
- Eat dinner on a traditional Arab rooftop terrace overlooking the city
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM JFK
DAY 2: 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 3: 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.
DAYS 4-10: MOROGORO SERVICE PROJECT
After breakfast 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 project at the school is the heart of this trip. You will be working on projects focusing on life skills and leadership training, as well as forming bonds with the students. Most of the students are from highly disadvantaged backgrounds and many of them arrived to the school suffering from very low self-esteem. We continue to help address this important issue by helping the students build confidence and leadership skills through a variety of games and activities. Together you will work on hands-on projects including assisting with the organic gardens, Anti-Ivory Club activities, cooking lessons, and many others. We will also have the unique opportunity to visit the homes of some of the students who live in the area.
We will celebrate the end of our time together boy joining the girls on a day trip to a nearby mountain where we will hike to a waterfall and spend time picking our own strawberries in a strawberry field. This day is a favorite for both TFT and the students alike! We will spend our last evening together enjoying a delicious Swahili meal, singing, dancing, and recalling stories of our time together over the past week.
DAY 11: ARUSHA
After breakfast, we will say farewell to our new friends and begin our overland journey to Arusha. Let the safari adventures begin!
DAY 12: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
In the morning we will drive to Tarangire National Park, the least visited of the northern Tanzanian game parks, providing the real feeling of truly undiscovered Africa. It lies a little distance to the south of Lake Manyara and covers an area of 1,000 square miles. We will enjoy game viewing throughout the day, as well as a picnic lunch. Keep your eyes peeled for herds of elephants and a variety of birds while taking in the epic scenery of baobab trees and the Tarangire River. In the late afternoon we will drive to Panorama Camp for dinner and stay the night in African style igloo rooms!
DAY 13: NGORONGORO CRATER
After an early breakfast, we will depart the lodge and and drive to Ngorongoro Crater, where the stunning ethereal blue-green vistas are simply breathtaking. The famous Crater is a World Heritage Site and situated at the eastern edge of the Serengeti. Though the views from above are beautiful, the real magic happens when you descend down into the world’s largest unbroken caldera, nearly three million years old and considered “Africa’s Garden of Eden.” It is a haven for thousands of wild game, including lions, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, rhino, Thomson’s gazelle, and buffalo. We will descend into the Crater for game viewing and drive among this unparalleled concentration of wildlife, including the highest density of both lions and overall predators in Africa, as well as the last of the remaining Black Rhino. After our game viewing and picnic lunch, we will ascend the Crater and drive to Lake Eyasi and the campsite where we will have dinner and spend the night camping in tents.
DAY 14: HADZABE BUSHMAN TRIBE
This morning our guides will introduce us to the Hadzabe Bushman Tribe that inhabits the area. This is a hunter/gatherer tribe that lives much as they have since the Stone Age. They hunt for small game with homemade poison arrows and gather berries, nuts, and honey. They have no permanent home, preferring instead to make shelter of leaves and other bush each night. As human activities and agriculture have increased, their very existence is under constant threat. It is considered a very special privilege to have the opportunity to learn firsthand about their culture and lifestyle. Following our visit to the Hadzabe, we will meet the neighboring Datonga Tribe. This tribe is known for their many metalsmiths who trade with the Hadzabe, providing them with the arrows that they use to hunt as well as beautiful metal jewelry. At the end of the day we will travel to Monduli Juu for dinner and will spend another night sleeping in tents under the starry African sky.
DAY 15: MONDULI MOUNTAINS – MAASAI
This day is full of cultural experiences as we trek through the Rift Valley and the forest of the Monduli Mountains. We’ll visit a Maasai boma (homestead compound) and Maasai villages along the way with our guide. Here we will learn firsthand about the Maasai culture from the Maasai people themselves, a very unique opportunity to gain insights into the most famous of the area’s tribes. Following our visit, we will return to Arusha for the night.
DAY 16: MARANGU MTONI AND KILIMANJARO FOOTHILLS
Our morning starts early as we drive to Marangu Mtoni, where we will meet our guide and visit the home of the locals who accompanied the first recorded climber of Mt. Kilimanjaro as his guide in 1889. We will also have our choice of two beautiful waterfalls to hike to before visiting a traditional Chagga house where we will learn more about their culture as we enjoy a hot, local lunch carefully prepared by the women in the village who participate in this cultural program with us. After lunch, our guide will take us to see a historic site in the Makundi area where we will visit caves used to protect people during the Maasai-Chagga wars in the distant past. We will also visit blacksmiths who still use traditional methods to prepare tools as well as a local woodcarving school. At the end of this amazing day full of cultural experiences and our up-close encounter with Mount Kilimanjaro, we will head back to Arusha to enjoy our final night there.
DAY 17: ARUSHA/STONE TOWN
Our last morning in Arusha will be spent either exploring the town or relaxing by the pool before our flight to the island paradise of Zanzibar. Get ready to fly over crystal clear waters that are more breathtaking than any others in Africa and possibly even the world!
You will discover that Stone Town is a very lively place where you’ll find a mixture of Arabic, African, Indian, and European cultures living comfortably together. As you walk through the labyrinth of streets too narrow for cars to pass, you will see mosques, churches, and temples built side by side. We will visit the Former Slave Market Site, where slavery was put down in the late 1800’s. As more people learn about the issue of modern-day slavery, this International Site of Conscience becomes an increasingly poignant reminder that millions of people around the globe are still denied freedom and basic human rights. We will finish our first day of island life with dinner at Forodhani Gardens, one of the best street food markets in all of East Africa.
DAY 18: SAFARI BLUE CRUISE
Get ready for a full day of Zanzibar’s favorite pastime: a Safari Blue Cruise! We will spend the entire day travelling on a traditional dhow boat around the southern coastline of the island. This magical journey will take you on an exploration of the Indian Ocean from Fumba Fishing Village to the Menai Bay Conservation Area. Our day will include snorkeling at a sand bank, swimming, relaxing, exploring the Kwale Island lagoons, refreshingly cool drinks, and a seafood buffet.
In the sandbank we will snorkel, sunbathe, and swim. There are experienced snorkeling instructors who will show you the coral reef and point out the tropical marine life that we will encounter. There is a chance that you will see and even swim with both Indo-Pacific humpback and bottlenose dolphins! After snorkeling, there are ice cold drinks, fresh coconut, and local snacks to enjoy on the dhow. In the afternoon we will take the dhow to Kwale Island, where we will feast on a barbeque buffet of fresh fish, lobster, calamari, and fries with a variety of sauces, all served from a sizzling hot grill.
For the rest of the afternoon, you can either relax and sunbathe or swim in the natural lagoon surrounded by beautiful mangrove forests. We will set sail back to Fumba as the glowing African sunset begins to emerge.
DAY 19: SPICE FARM VILLAGE TOUR AND PRISON ISLAND
Time to get your spice on in true Zanzibar spice culture fashion! Today we will enjoy a spice tour on a local farm and afterwards explore a nearby village. A local woman will show us how she farms and together you will collect cassava leaves to make a local coconut milk-based sauce. We’ll cook the sauce together in her outdoor kitchen and then eat a delicious Swahili-style lunch in the village, sitting down together as Zanzibaris traditionally do.
After our spice tour and lunch we will journey to Changuu Island, though better known to most as Prison Island. Our dhow will pick us up from the shores of Stone Town, setting down anchor three miles away on the beautiful beach of Prison Island. The prison, now owned by a hotel, was built in 1893 and was originally intended to house violent prisoners as well as sick people from the mainland. You will get the opportunity to visit the tortoise sanctuary, which contains a large colony of giant tortoise imported from the Seychelles in the late 19th century. The average weight of these creatures is 440 lbs, and many of them are said to be over 150 years old. If you’re lucky, you will get a chance to meet the oldest of them all – keep an eye out for the scarred shell of this 193-year-old tortoise! Get your spinach leaves ready for feeding the tortoises and taking some awesome tortoise selfies. After we say farewell to our new tortoise friends, you can either enjoy the marine life as you snorkel around the coral that fringes Prison Island or simply relax under the warm glow of the sun until you head back to Stone Town.
For our last night in East Africa we will enjoy a delicious Zanzibari dinner at one of the most famous rooftop restaurants in all of Stone Town, watching the sun set over the ancient town and the ocean beyond.
DAY 20: OLD SLAVE MARKET AND RETURN TO JFK
This morning we will wander through the city with our local guide who will take us on a historical and cultural journey through Darajani Marketplace (for amazing souvenir shopping), the House of Wonders, the Old Fort, and the Sultan’s Palace. Afterwards, we will have time to shop for any last-minute souvenirs and enjoy the beach one more time before we grab some lunch and then head to the airport to catch our flight home. Kwaheri, Tanzania! Until we meet again!
Day 21: RETURN TO JFK
The group flight takes off in the evening of day 20 and lands back at JFK in the morning of day 21.
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
This trip is only for students who are currently in high school i.e. 9th-12th grades i.e. approximately 15-18 years old. If you live outside of the USA, you are welcome to join.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means 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. During our time in Arusha we will stay at a game lodge with two-three people in a room. During the gamedrive portions of our trip we will have the opportunity to stay in African-style igloos for one night and in tents under the African sky for two nights. We finish up the trip staying in a hotel right in the heart of Stone Town, walking distance to all major sites and the infamous, white sand beaches of Zanzibar.
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 a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
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 are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you 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 BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on 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?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included: (not intended to be an exhaustive list) Airfare, visas & visa application fees, beverages other than filtered water at meals, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related, such as movies and clubs, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description, such as damage to hotels and excess baggage fees, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters, as well as personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
In addition to the TFT staff from outside Tanzania, there will also be a local full-time TFT guide with them for the majority of the trip.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week-long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
At Travel for Teens, our trips typically fall into 3 different size categories.
Small: 7-14 students where 14 is the maximum.
Medium: Average is between 14-21 students with 21 as the maximum.
Large: Trips 21-35 students. These are our largest trips.
Typically the Tanzania trip falls into the small range with a maximum of 14 students.
How does this program connect to other programs?
This program can be connected to trips in North America, Australia, FIji and Asia. At the end of the Tanzania trip, your counselor will escort you to the airport and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
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.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/. After you register, we will provide you with a list of vaccinations you should consider discussing with your child’s family doctor.
Do I need to bring anything special for the community service portion of the trip?
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!
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.
Will we encounter dangerous animals during our game drives?
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.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group almost always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. At our accommodations, students will have a good amount of free time to enjoy the facilities but will not be able to leave the grounds without one of our staff members. Our time in Dar es Salaam and Stone Town will be fairly regimented to maximize the activities we can enjoy during our time, however there will be some free time to go shopping in certain areas of the cities as well as some rural markets. Additionally, a lifeguard certified counselor will be supervising the students any time they are involved in water activities.
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: Tanzania Embassy – US. If you are coming from somewhere outside of the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.
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!