PMGY volunteer in Tanzania participants are based in the quiet suburbs of the city of Arusha, near the foot of Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest mountain at 4,556m. The Volunteer House accommodation is based around 20 minutes from the city centre and is easily accessible by foot or public transport.
This vibrant African city is an excellent base and for the most part, it is lush, green and enjoys a temperate climate year-round thanks to its altitude. You will find all the amenities you could need in Arusha including banks, supermarkets and international standard hospitals as well as excellent restaurants and nightlife.
Participants generally volunteer on a Monday-Friday basis and the weekends are free to relax or travel further afield. As our volunteers will testify, the wider travel opportunities are extremely important to the whole experience and it is something we certainly recommend. Our local team are able to arrange activities, transport and accommodation but please note this is usually an independent experience outside of the core program.
This informative Maasai cultural museum gives an incredible insight into the lives of this proud, colourful tribe. The museum comes complete with mock-ups of a Maasai house (Boma) and you are taken on a bush walk by a real life Maasai warrior. You can then take a 30 minute camel ride towards the Monduli Mountains, and visit a local Maasai village. Here you’ll get a chance to chat to the local Maasai people and learn about their culture and way of life. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see a real slice of Tanzanian life as its still lived today.
MT MERU CURIOS & CRAFTS MARKET
There are quite a few markets in Arusha but this is mostly definitely one not to be missed. Often referred to as the Maasai Market there are some great, local souvenirs to be found here as well some very good higher-quality items. There are almost 2,000 sellers here and it really is a one-stop shopping area for gifts, curios, gemstone minerals and traditional clothing. You will need to practice your expert haggling skills though and be persistent as this market is one of the best in central Arusha.
Tanzania has a plethora of highlights and so much to explore. Billed as ‘the’ place to safari, endowed with powdery idyllic beaches and topped off with the stupendous Mount Kilimanjaro, what’s not to love about this magical country. Throw in the exotic delights of Zanzibar and you can see why it will be unforgettable.
Our in-country team are on hand to help to sort out your weekend trips. They are easily organised and arranging them when you get there gives you much more flexibility, especially if lots of other volunteers want to go too!
The exotic island of Zanzibar, locally known as Unguja, has it all: amazing beaches, fantastic dive spots, acres of spice plantations, the Jozani Forest Reserve and Stone Town. Stone Town is a maze of narrow streets lined with houses featuring magnificently carved doors studded with brass. What could be better than chilling out on a spectacular beach by the Indian Ocean? You can choose how to spend your independent travel time, whether it’s lazing on the beach, snorkelling or exploring. You can try it all!
NATIONAL PARK SAFARI
Arusha National Park allows for exploration of a beguiling diversity of habitats next to the majestic peaks of Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. The shallow Lake Manyara was described by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”. It’s a viewing feast for lounging baboon troops, scampering blue monkeys, forest hornbills, zebra herds, giraffes, lions and tusked elephants. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the best place in Tanzania to see the Big Five and interact with people from the Maasai tribe.
Kilimanjaro is not only the highest mountain in Africa at a height of 5895m but it is also the tallest free-standing mountain on earth. Conquering its unmistakable snow-capped peak has been the dream of seasoned trekkers for many years. It is a unique mountain full of extreme contrasts. It’s lower slopes are covered in dense forest, the mountain is surrounded by vast expanses of dry savannah, it’s caldera is covered with ice yet this dormant volcano is situated near the Equator. The views from the top of this vast mountain are mind-blowing.
There are several amazing weekend trips to get involved in during your time with PMGY in Tanzania. Travelling over the weekends is a huge part of the experience as it gives you the opportunity to explore the country with fellow volunteers on the program.
Due to a lack of public transport travelling independently in Tanzania is not the easiest thing to do. Even if there were a better transport network it would not be viable to travel out to a national park and then be left to your own devices. As a result, you really need to travel in a more private network to ensure your safety and to make the most of the weekend opportunities.
There are many travel agents based in the city who can provide affordable and reputable weekend trip options to our volunteers, and they also allow for you to meet other travellers in Tanzania. Our local team are also able to organise weekend trips for volunteers, but we want to ensure participants have the freedom to book elsewhere if this suits their plans better.
As a result, we have found participants to prefer the flexibility to explore all the opportunities available to them once they arrive in Arusha rather than pre-organising trips only for people to want to change these plans once they arrive. You can therefore book weekend trips locally based on your budget, travel preferences and once you have met other volunteers on the program.
WILDLIFE SAFARI WEEKEND TRIP
INCLUDES - TRANSPORT, ACCOMMODATION, MEALS & ENTRANCE FEES
As one of Africa’s top safari destinations, this Tanzanian safari is something not to miss out on – during this trip, you will be fortunate to visit not one, not two, but three National Parks!
Your first day will be spent exploring Tarangire National Park. This expanse of land is based in the midst of the Maasai Steppe and the Great Rift Valley, this park is the 6th largest of Tanzania’s National parks. Famous for its high number of African elephants.
Your second day is spent exploring Ngorongoro Crater – the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Combined with its varied scenery, it is believed to home the largest density of game across Africa. This makes it one of Tanzania’s best-known locations for spotting members of the Big 5!
Lake Manyara National Park tops off this wildlife adventure! Although it might be one of Tanzania’s smaller parks, with diverse vegetation and tree climbing lions. Will you be lucky enough to spot one?
DAY ONE - TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Following breakfast at the Volunteer House, the group will be collected by Jeep and briefed by their guide, before embarking on the 1.5 hour drive to Tarangire National Park. On the way, you will have the chance to purchase snacks and beverages. Upon arrival, you will dive straight in with a game drive to become familiar with the land. After a quick pit-stop for a picnic lunch, you’ll continue exploring the beautiful landscapes that you can call your home for the weekend! As the sun begins to set, the group will head out of the park to camp at Lilac campground, for dinner and a good nights rest before the adventure continues tomorrow.
DAY TWO - NGORONGORO CRATER
After a bite to eat for breakfast, you’ll head back out via Jeep to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. From the edge of the crater, today’s first game drive will begin. You will be able to take in the beautiful sights, varying from plains, to forests and swamps! Lunch will be had at the famous ‘Hippo Pond’ and if you’re lucky, you might spy a hippo going for a midday dip! You will continue to explore these breathtaking scenes before returning back to camp in the evening. It’s now time to relax with dinner and cultural dance.
DAY THREE - LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
You’ll eat your final breakfast at camp before the group makes their way to Lake Manyara National Park, approximately 25 minutes away. Similar to yesterday, you will enjoy two game drives, split up by a picnic lunch. The park is famous for its tree climbing lions, great birdlife, elephants and baboons. As the late afternoon approaches, your guide will take you back to the Volunteer House in Arusha.
ZANZIBAR CHILL OUT WEEKEND TRIP
INCLUDES - TRANSPORT, ACCOMMODATION, MEALS & ENTRANCE FEES
With bright blue skies and seas, Zanzibar is the place to be! Consisting of more than 50 islands, Zanzibar provides the perfect setting to rest and relax after a busy week at project back in Mainland Tanzania. Unjuja is Zanzibar’s largest and most populous island. It is where this weekend trip is based and is unofficially referred to as ‘Zanzibar Island’. The island has the perfect mix of culture, history and beauty, and is conveniently just over an hour away from Arusha by plane – the perfect getaway!
There is a tremendous amount that you can squeeze out of your time in Zanzibar, and with a jam-packed itinerary across 3 days, you ensure that you get the most out of your mini-adventure. Marvel at dolphins as they graze the ocean’s edge, snorkel through the sparkling turquoise waters whilst exploring nearby islands!
DAY ONE - ARRIVAL AND DOLPHIN SPOTTING
Welcome to Zanzibar! After arriving onto the island that morning, you will have a chance to grab your own lunch before getting stuck right in with a Dolphin Tour! Following your collection from the accommodation, the boat departs from Kizimkazi fishing village on the Southern point of the land.
This magnificent region is home to several schools of fish and dolphins, providing you with a great chance of spotting these majestic aquatic mammals. The boat will skim the waters as you keep your eyes peeled, and should the opportunity arise, jump in and swim along! This tour will last between 3-4 hours.
DAY TWO - SAFARI AT SEA
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll be branching off from Zanzibar Island to explore the other lands the region has to offer. Today is full of adventure, allowing you to engage in a variety of activities as you admire the beautiful islands. You’ll have a chance to get geared up snorkel gear to explore the fish and corals that decorate ocean floor, before wandering island trails and joining activities in the sand!
DAY THREE - JOZANI FOREST TOUR AND HOMETIME
Today is your last day on the island, but this isn’t to say that your venture is complete just yet. Following your final breakfast at the hotel, you will be spending the day on-land, exploring Zanzibar’s only national park – Jozani Forest. Zanzibar is the only home of the Red Colobus Monkey. These rare monkeys are full of character and can be found roaming freely around the forest. You’ll spend your day keeping a look-out for these peculiar looking creatures, amongst a vast range of others.
A guide will lead you through the trails, acting as your extra eyes as you explore what might be lurking in the trees! After completing the tour, you will have time to find yourself some lunch, pack and make the most out of any extra time you have left on beautiful Zanzibar Island.