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Volunteer in Tanzania - Take a Gap Year or Holiday to Help Communities Grow

Why visit Tanzania

Tanzania is unsurpassed for its magnificent scenery: from the snow-capped heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, the "Crown of Africa", to the exquisite floor of the Ngorongoro Crater; the jewel-like coastal islands of Zanzibar to the awe-inspiring Great Rift Valley, the natural splendours set the stage for the astoundingly diverse wildlife. Within the space of several hours it is possible to go from lazing on idyllic beaches and diving on exquisite coral reefs to exploring the narrow alleys of Arabian influenced Stone Town, from climbing mist-covered slopes in the Southern Highlands to trekking through barren landscapes around Ol Doinyo Lengai, guided by spear-carrying Masai warriors. Turtle season is between December and May, and these prehistoric creatures can be seen laying their eggs on the beaches.

Yet, despite its attractions, Tanzania has predominantly managed to remain unassuming and low-key. It has also remained enviably untouched by the tribal rivalries and political upheavals, and this makes it an ideal choice for both first-time visitors and Africa old hands.

Tanzania's natural endowment as a wildlife safari destination is unrivalled. Wild animals roam in vast uncrowded and unspoilt areas. The magnificent collection of game sanctuaries to the north of the country, near the border with Kenya, is referred to as the Northern Circuit. This is the most popular and accessible wildlife safari route in Tanzania, and is considered as one of the finest game viewing areas anywhere in the world. Arusha, a city of northern Tanzania is surrounded by some of Africa's most famous landscapes and national parks. Beautifully situated below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley, it has a pleasant climate and is close to Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as having its own Arusha National Park on Mount Meru.

Highlights of Tanzania

  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain.
  • Bordered by Africa's three largest lakes - Lakes Malawi, Tanganyika and Victoria.
  • Zanzibar Island, exploring bustling Stone Town, a World Heritage Site, and idyllic beaches, snorkelling, and picturesque fishing villages on Mnemba Island.
  • Ngorongoro Crater - the largest intact caldera in the world, where wildlife are specifically protected.
  • Olduvai Gorge - said to be the birthplace of man.
  • The 20-million-year-old Great Rift Valley.
  • The vast game-filled plains of the Serengeti and hot air balloon safaris.
  • The annual Great Migration of millions of herbivores is a once-in-a-lifetime experience can be viewed between Tanzania and Kenya.
  • More than twenty-five percent of Tanzania is dedicated to conservation areas.
  • Possible to view the elusive "Big 10" in Tanzania - elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, hippo, zebra and giraffe - plus the famous chimpanzees on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
  • Tanzania boasts over 1,000 bird species, with Lake Manyara National Park alone being home to over 400.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer (November -May) 31 °C 20 °C
Winter (June – October) 22 °C 15 °C
Rainfall: March - May (Long Rains “Masika”), November - December (Short Rains  “Vuli”)

Tanzania has a generally comfortable, tropical climate year-round, where temperatures rarely fall lower than 20°C.  The coolest months countrywide are from June to October (15–20 °C), when it is also dry, and the warmest from December to March (25–31°C), although there are significant regional variations:-

  • Along the warmer and humid coast, the average daily temperatures hover in the 30°C range, and only go as low as 25°C due to sea breezes from June to September. The climate here is determined in large part by the monsoon winds, which bring rains in two major periods. During the “masika” (long rains), from mid-March to May, it rains heavily almost every day, although seldom for the whole day, and the air can get unpleasantly sticky. The lighter “vuli” (short rains) fall during November, December and sometimes into January. July and August have the lowest rainfall.
  • Inland, altitude is a major determinant of conditions. The central plateau is somewhat cooler and arid, while in the mountainous areas of the northeast and southwest, temperatures range between 10 and 20°C during cold and hot seasons respectively, and it can rain at any time of year. In the Kilimanjaro area, temperatures vary from 15°C in May-August period to 22°C over December - March. As one heads to the peaks of Kilimanjaro, temperatures can drop to below freezing, especially at night. The best climbing on Mount Kilimanjaro, which is surprisingly easy, is from August to October and from January to March.

Key Facts

Population – 43.7 million
Capital – Dodoma is the political capital, and Dar Es Salaam is the principal commercial city
Currency – Tanzanian shilling
Language  –  Swahili is the most widely spoken language, although English is the official language
“karibu tena” – welcome again

Peoples and Culture:  there are over 120 tribes in Tanzania.  However, the majority of people on Zanzibar follow the Muslim faith. Dress code to them is of particular importance and it is suggested that women try to dress fairly conservatively in order not to offend the local people. An Arabic influence is also evident in the people, who are a mix of Shirazia (from Persia), Arabs, Comorians (from the Comoros Islands) and Bantu from the mainland. The official language of Zanzibar is Kiswahili. Most residents have a good knowledge of English, Italian and various Arabic dialects.

Zanzibar's most world famous musician is Freddie Mercury! He was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5th 1946 in Zanzibar, to parents Bomi and Jer Bulsara, who were Parsees - members of the Zoroastrian faith.

Time difference – GMT +3 hours
Telephone – country code 255

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