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Gap year in Tanzania


Things to see and do

It is in Tanzania that some of the continent's most vivid images come to life: snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, rhinos standing proud in the Ngorongoro Crater and wildebeests hooves thundering over the Serengeti National Park. A gap year in Tanzania gives you the chance to experience mountain-climbing, safaris with amazing wildlife, chimpanzees encounters, beautiful beaches and scuba diving. Tanzanians are well known for their hospitality, and living in a local community means you'll get invited to weddings and family celebrations as well as the chance to drink sweet tea in numerous houses.

Our gap year volunteers are based around the lively towns of Arusha and Moshi with plenty of interesting weekend excursions available, as well as the vibrant towns themselves to explore. Arusha has many good restaurants and bars catering for European and African tastes and buzzing discos playing hip-hop, local bongo flava and taarab from the coast. Moshi is more laid back and enjoys a beautiful location below Mount Kilimanjaro, with great views of the mountain (when it's not clouded over!). Both towns have plenty of shops with lovely handicrafts to buy tingatinga paintings, makonde carvings, Masaai jewellery and batiks. There are also plenty of swimming pools, where gap year travellers can laze away a sunny afternoon, relaxing after the hard work of the week!

Further afield, there are easy day trips to cultural tourism programmes. Longido is a Masaai village near the Kenyan border where you can climb the imposing Mount Longido, do a walking safari to see great birdlife and giraffe, and visit a local medicine man. Gap Year travellers can even sleep the night in a Masaai boma. Ngaramtoni village also has great walking through the forests and foothills of Mount Meru and you can visit a boma where you'll learn how to make Masaai jewellery. On Sundays it hosts a huge cattle market, where warriors trade their cows and catch up for some singing and dancing.

Tengeru town has a fabulous market on Saturdays where everything from fruit to clothes can be snapped up at a bargain price be prepared to haggle! It is also close to the picturesque Lake Duluti, a lake set in a dormant volcanic crater and surrounded by lush forest teeming with birds and monkeys, as well as a community programme where you can pick and grind your own coffee. Gap year travellers looking for something more relaxing head over to Marangu, one of the starting points of a Kili climb. It's a lovely place for some gentle walking and breathtaking waterfalls.

Of course any gap year trip to Tanzania wouldn't be complete without one of our journeys:
  • Mount Kilimanjaro Climb: The highest mountain in Africa provides a challenge that can't be missed. Kili can be walked up (no technical climbing required) and provides a variety of scenery from forest to snow-capped peak. Climbs take 5-6 days and are tough as most people suffer from some altitude sickness. A good general level of fitness and more importantly determination and a positive attitude are needed.
  • Safari: There is no better way for gap year volunteers to experience wild Africa than by camping in the middle of the Serengeti and hearing the calls of hyenas in the distance. The Northern Safari Circuit is world-famous for both the density of wildlife and variety of environment. A tour of the circuit covers the Serengeti with rolling plains and wildebeest migration, the spectacular Ngorongoro crater with the biggest concentration of wildlife in Africa, Tarangire, famous for his huge elephant herds and Lake Manyara home of the amazing tree-climbing lions. A safari in Northern Tanzania with knowledgeable, eagle-eyed guides gives you a great chance of seeing the big five close up.
  • Zanzibar: The stunning spice island of Zanzibar is a tropical paradise. It boasts white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and clear turquoise waters. There are great opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving with giant turtles regularly spotted. The northern resorts host full moon parties and there are plenty of bars and restaurants. Away from the beach the Jozani forest has troops of red colobus monkeys and mangrove swamps, while a spice tour gives a fascinating insight into the agriculture of the island, as well as a chance to sample cloves, vanilla and the lipstick tree! Stone Town is a historical slave centre with strong Arab influences. It's a maze of back streets with beautiful architecture and a surprise around every corner. Gap year travellers can finish the day with a cocktail in hand watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean.

Gap year abroad in Tanzania and nearby has many fascinating places to visit. The west of Tanzania is home to Gombe Stream National Park home to many families of chimpanzees and the famous Jane Goodall Research Centre. Rwanda and Uganda offer access to Mountain Gorillas where gappers can come face to face with a silverback. Gap year travellers can also whitewater raft down the Nile in Uganda. Closer to home Mount Meru can be climbed in 3-4 days and is often used as an acclimatisation trip before a Kili climb.

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