Few destinations on earth can compare to Tanzania. With the iconic Mt Kilimanjaro providing a stunning backdrop to country, it’s evident that this African nation is one of awe-inspiring beauty and diversity: from the Serengeti desert to the Zanzibar archipelago, Tanzania really does ‘have it all’.
In addition to its divine landscape, the country is home to an abundance of animal species, making a wildlife volunteer experience in Tanzania an unusual and rewarding endeavour for any intrepid traveller. Leopards, zebras, whale sharks and more can all be found here, but with such a wealth of animals laying claim to the land, wildlife conservation in Tanzania has become all the more important over the years.
Volunteering in Tanzania can be an unforgettable experience, and coupling a project abroad with a visit to other popular tourist sites makes for a truly enjoyable adventure. Visit the serene Mafia Island as a whale shark volunteer and see how you can make a difference!
Tanzania is home to some 20% of Africa’s large mammal species, with giants such as elephants, rhinos, and numerous gazelles each being found across the country. Should you choose to volunteer abroad in Tanzania, you may be lucky enough to see:
• A series of endemic species, such as the yellow-collared lovebird and the Rondo dwarf galago.
By volunteering on a project in Tanzania, you will have the opportunity to witness the country’s marine life at its very best. You may be fortunate enough to spot gregarious dolphins as they dance alongside your boat in Mafia Island, and with over 400 species of fish found in these waters, you’ll probably spot something new every day! Of course, the mammoth whale shark is the main attraction for many – marvel as they gracefully float by. What better experience could you ask for on a volunteer program in Tanzania?
Tanzania’s culture is incredible varied, with 128 different languages spoken and around 130 different tribes found across the country. These tribes are all significant in their own way, and are distinguished by their unique masks, hand-woven baskets, poetry and more. While Tanzania has a deeply-rooted tribal history, the country has taken steps towards modernisation, as is evident in the former capital of Dar es Salaam and its emerging business and infrastructure. That said, Tanzania’s traditional charm is hard to avoid, and a holiday here should be spent absorbing some of the elements which make this country so special:
• Ugali – dig in to the dish which is commonly considered to be Tanzania’s national dish. Ugali is a stiff dough serves alongside a sauce containing fish, meat, vegetables or beans. Traditionally, the dough is broken off and rolled into a ball with the right hand before being dipped into the sauce/stew. In addition to being filling and delicious, Ugali is a wonderfully communal dish – gather round and share a bowl with your friends!
• Major holidays and festivals – celebration is a big thing in Tanzania, and if you happen to be around at the same time as an event, you should certainly pop along! The Waynyambo Festival, for example, takes place in Dar es Salaam every January and is an enjoyable celebration of food, music, culture and dance. Join the party!
• Art – Tanzania is world-renowned for its wood sculptures, typically known as ‘Makonde art.’ These impressive pieces often appear in the form of animals or local people, their design being somewhat abstract. Mapiko masks are also well-known and have been used in coming-of-age rituals since before the 19th century. The masks are painstakingly carved from a single block of light wood, are typically designed to represent spirits or ancestors, and are worn by dancers in the ritual.
Tanzania is home to some of the most iconic sights on earth: from mountain ranges to famous deserts, there’s an excursion for everybody. Some of the best things to see in Tanzania are as follows:
• Mount Kilimanjaro – this monumental formation, with its three volcanic cones, is the highest mountain in all of Africa. Kilimanjaro stands at around 5895m above sea level and can take over a week to climb, though the risks involved with reaching the summit are plentiful. Instead of trekking to the top, consider observing this natural marvel from afar – it’s impossible to miss!
• Serengeti National Park – what would a holiday to Tanzania be without a trip to the Serengeti? Arguably the most famous desert on earth, the Serengeti sees the annual migration of over 1.5 million white-bearded wildebeest and 250,000 zebra – an event which, should you be so lucky to witness, will remain with you forever. Visit the Serengeti National Park and witness Africa’s amazing wildlife in all its glory!
• Zanzibar Town – Tanzania, in general, is far from a bland destination, but if you want to inject even more colour into your trip, pay a visit to beautiful Zanzibar. A Persian bathhouse, a coral-stone mansion, and vibrant market stalls are all waiting to be discovered down winding alleyways – take a walk through history and lose yourself in the maze otherwise known as Stone Town!