If you’re looking for volunteer programs in Africa, consider volunteering in Tanzania. Tanzania is located in mid-eastern Sub-Saharan Africa, close to Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Zaire, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. It shares a coast with the Indian Ocean and has two official languages—English and Swahili. This may make it a great place to practice your English (unless you’re already fluent, in which you might enjoy navigating Tanzania with linguistic ease) and learn some of the Swahili language. Tanzania’s vibrant and dynamic society and culture may make it a prefect place to volunteer abroad. Read below to learn more about Volunteer in Tanzania programs.
Why Consider Volunteering in Tanzania?
Tanzania is teeming with opportunities to volunteer. Schools, medical clinics, and organizations such as non-profits and non-governmental organizations may all have need for volunteers. So too might organizations that protect animals, create media to share and celebrate Tanzanian culture, and serve children left homeless or without families. You might even be able to teach English or work to address poverty and other issues in rural communities. With so many options, you may find great ways to share your time and skills in Tanzania. Best of all, you may be able to learn about Tanzanian culture, study Tanzanian languages, or engage in academic coursework as parts of your volunteer abroad program. In short, if you want to go to Africa to volunteer, Tanzania may provide a wonderful option.
What Might It Be Like to Live in Tanzania While I Volunteer Abroad?
Don’t forget that while you’re volunteering in Tanzania, you’ll also be living there! Here are some of the many things you might enjoy:
Feast on Tanzanian food:
Much of the food in Tanzania is influenced by its roots: Indian, Middle-Eastern, and native African. Foods and spices from those regions merge into Tanzanian cuisine allowing for a distinctive flavor. Some staples in Tanzanian cuisine include chai tea, uji (millet porridge), ugali (a cornmeal porridge), and grains and starches such as plantain, cassava, and sorghum (which often accompany breakfast, lunch, or dinner). Popular meats include goat, beef, pork, chicken, and duck. Meat is commonly fried or cooked on kabobs over fires. Vegetables, such as cabbage, squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, are quite common, as are fresh fruits which many Tanzanians consume for dessert. You might find peanuts, beans, coconut milk, and curry thickening and flavoring many dishes.
Some common snacks and meals include:
- Indian flatbreads
- Mishkaki (bbq) and chips (french fries)
- Ugali, often served with meat, sauce, or beans
- Nyama choma, or grilled meat (usually goat, fish, or chicken) commonly served with grilled bananas, ugali, or rice
Enjoy Tanzania’s Culture:
Tanzania’s culture, like its food, is influenced by its Indian, Middle-Eastern, and Native African roots. Indicative of Tanzania’s Native African influence, the country is one of Africa’s most linguistically diverse, with the population speaking more than 100 languages. The music scene in Tanzania is infused with traditional African music, named taarab, and a type of hip-hop called bongo flava. Or you may choose to listen to the many stories people share through folktales, poems, riddles, proverbs, and songs. Much of Tanzania’s literature is oral and this may be a great way to learn more about your adopted country. You may also wish to check out the two popular styles of art in Tanzania: Tingatinga (brightly colored paintings made with canvas and enamel) and Makonde, a type of sculpture made of wood from ebony trees. Or enjoy the sports scene - football (soccer) is a popular sport in Tanzania, as are netball, boxing, and volleyball.
While walking down the street in Tanzania, you’ll likely see lots of people, beehive-shaped houses (sometimes alongside rectangular ones), and numerous livestock. You’ll also likely see markets, people wearing traditional clothing, and architecture and buildings boasting Indian, Middle-Eastern, and African influences. Your individual experience, of course, ultimately depends on where in Tanzania you are. No matter your location, volunteering in Tanzania will likely provide a great opportunity to explore the country’s warm, dynamic, and distinctly African culture.
Explore Tanzania’s Iconic Tourist Destinations:
There are many great places to see while you volunteer abroad in Tanzania. Try not to miss:
- Hiking in Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Shopping for spices, wandering narrow passageways, visiting mosques, and sitting on the beach in Zanzibar.
- Taking a safari at the Selous Game Reserve or camping in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to see crater’s, swamps, and numerous wild animals such as elephants, rhinos, hippos, zebras, and wildebeests. Selous and Ngorongoro differ in landscape and their animal populations, so explore your options carefully (and enjoy!).
- Visiting the chimps, baboons, and colobus in the Mahale Mountains.
- Diving and snorkeling to see whale sharks and turtles in Mafia Island (perhaps as a treat after volunteering!).
How Do I Find a Program to Volunteer in Tanzania?
You can find a list of volunteer abroad programs in Tanzania below. Simply browse through them to get a sense of what programs are available and click “Learn More” to do just that—learn more. Once you’ve found the Volunteer in Tanzania program of your choice, feel free to use our website to contact them to ask questions and register. The beauty, culture, and opportunity of Tanzania awaits. Good luck!