Tanzania and the Swahilli Coast
Volunteering in Tanzania is such a great way to get to know this wonderful country.
Tanzania is one of the most popular tourist destinations in sub-Saharan Africa. While those that are not so well acquainted with Tanzania may struggle to place it on a map, everyone has heard of its major attractions- the Serengeti, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. These make up the Golden Triangle of Northern Tanzania and are the basis of any two week itinerary. Without doubt, it is a wonderful trip and for many, the trip of a lifetime.
The drawback, however, is that with all these great attractions there is very little time to step outside of the itinerary and enjoy the subtleties and peculiarities of this nation. The volunteer, on the other hand, gets the opportunity to spend time in a town or small village, learning a little about the way of life and asking the important questions, such as:
Tanzania will teach you many things, but something that everyone can learn is patience, and to be happy with what you have. Pole pole, slowly slowly, it's the way of life in Tanzania and you have to be there long enough to learn to appreciate it.
The seven hour hike up the active volcano, Oldonyo Lengai, and yes, it is as steep as it looks
Accommodation: see individual project page for local accommodation or go to the accommodation section of the site
Cheka School, Arusha
Capital: Dodoma, though Dar es Salaam is the financial capital, and arguably the real capital for all intents and puposes.
Getting there: International flights into Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, buses from Nairobi
Airlines: KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, and Kenyan fly to Kilimanjaro, while these companies along with Qatar and BA fly to Dar es Salaam. To save money you could consider flying to Nairobi and taking the bus into Tanzania.
Airlines: Precision Air and Air Tanzania have relatively inexpensive daily flights within Tanzania and between Tanz its neighbouring countries.
Buses: Dar Express has a better reputation than most, buy tickets in the office only the day before. If travelling outside of the main intercity roads, expect long bumpy journeys.
Currency: Tanzanian Shilling . Roughly 1500 Tsh= 1usd
Budget: While the cost of living (food, transport) is very low, accommodation can be surprisingly high, and personally I reckon it?s because tourism has arisen from the early days of luxury hunting safaris and therefore started at the top end rather than the lower end. However, if you are self catering and staying in a volunteer house with dorms you can budget 20 usd per day for food and accommodation, with another 5 for internet, lunch and transport.
Languages: While the primary language is Swahili, English is the language of business and all school classes are taught through English at secondary level. This doesn?t mean students are fluent, as teaching standards are poor, but you can certainly get around with English, esp in the bigger towns.
Visas: You need a volunteer work permit for Tanzania. Your hostel/project will have to assist you in organizing a visa. In general you need a Class B before arriving and then you must apply for a Class C once in country. The process can be swift or prolonged, depending on the immigration officers, and the cost of the Class C is 120 usd.
Malaria tablets: Some places, such as Moshi and Arusha, have very little malaria. However, once you step outside these places and go to the Serengeti or to the coast, for example, the chances of being infected can be up to fifty times higher. Malaria tablets can be bought in the major towns for minimal cost
Economics: Agriculture, while accounting for around 25% of GDP, employs up to 80% of the workforce. Outside of the cities, Tanzania remains decidedly rural with many surviving on subsistence farming. On the other hand, Tanzania?s service industry is the largest contributor to GDP, with tourism on the rise and being identified as one of the main engines for economic and social development. Responsible, sustainable tourism can greatly add not only to social development but also to conservation, as the battle between capitalism and conservation is often decided by how much revenue can be generated from tourism.