Tanzania

Is Tanzania Safe? 

Tanzania is generally a safe and peaceful country, and is renowned for its friendly people. Unfortunately, the flip side is that it has huge challenges with poverty and subsequent social unrest, and it is important that volunteers stick to certain basic rules to avoid uncomfortable situations as much as possible. Please remember that you are not the first person to volunteer in Tanzania and certainly not the last! Your personal safety in Tanzania, as in any developing country, is very much dependent on your own behaviour and how you maintain vigilance over your person and possessions.

Stick to the following rules of thumb for travellers / volunteers and you should be fine.

  • Do not walk alone at night - use a taxi.
  • During the day you can walk around safely, but after dark it is safer to go in a group and always tell the coordinator where you are going.
  • Do not walk around with visible valuables.
  • Do not carry a backpack on your stomach as it shows you are a tourist and possibly have valuables.
  • Keep a phone with airtime on you in a non-visible place, so you can call somebody for help if you are lost or feel unsafe.
  • Maintain an air of confidence and knowledge of where you are going, even if you are not too sure! Look at a map indoors and plan your route, not on the corner of the street.
  • Don’t draw attention to yourself with public displays of affection with the opposite sex, as these are highly frowned upon in Tanzania.
  • Only draw your wallet in shopping centres and other secured areas. Keep some small bills and coins in your pocket for paying public transport or in shops.
  • Avoid sudden large crowds where possible. You won’t know why people are gathering, whether for social or other reasons, but either way it’s best not to get caught in the middle.
  • For peace of mind on the water, don’t forget to look at any boat or vessel before you embark, to make sure it’s seaworthy.

Is there a dress code I should be aware of?

Tanzanians like to dress smartly and respectably to demonstrate high status. You won't see many men in shorts, even though it is hot, because wearing long trousers makes you more respectable as a man. Women tend to wear dresses and skirts, as pants or jeans are considered slovenly. Take your cues from those around you and you will blend in!

Tanzania is in the tropics, and therefore hot and humid. Volunteers should pack mainly loose clothing which covers knees and shoulders, and flip-flops. Short T-shirts, short dresses and revealing clothing is NOT allowed. Bikinis are for the beach, not the streets. Dressing more conservatively than you might do at home will be of benefit to volunteers, as any unwanted attention will decrease due to your choice of dress, and you can focus on your project and getting to know the people around you without causing a stir.

Be observant and respectful when you arrive. How do the staff at your project dress and carry themselves? When in Tanzania, do as the Tanzanians do!

What languages are spoken in Tanzania?

There are 129 languages spoken in Tanzania! The most common are Swahili and English, so you will be able to communicate relatively easily.

What should I do if I have a medical emergency?

Medical assistance in Tanzania will be very different from home, but with the assistance of our local coordinator, volunteers will get the best care possible.

All projects have emergency plans available in case of medical needs for volunteers, and you will get to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible.

Expect to pay in advance and then to claim this back from your insurance. Make sure you are aware of specific procedures and conditions for your medical insurance.

Our projects in Arusha are all within easy reach of clinics and hospitals, so in case anything should happen we will make sure volunteers get the help needed.

What vaccinations will I need before coming to Tanzania?

Tanzania is smack-bang up against the Equator, and is a hothouse for various diseases and illnesses that are no longer common in Europe. Check with your doctor to make sure you have the right vaccinations for volunteering at a specific volunteer project and make sure you have received all necessary shots before you leave.

THE ADVICE AT THE MOMENT IS TO GET VACCINATIONS FOR:

  • DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine)
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies (if you will work with wildlife and/or in rural areas)

The costs of these vaccinations are, in many cases, covered by your medical insurance. Please check so you can claim back these expenses.

We are not physicians or doctors and therefore are not able to give any medical advice. The abovementioned comments are general recommendations. Visit your doctor or physician for professional personal advice.

What is the Tanzanian climate like? 

The climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate in the highlands. The average temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius and humid. In the mountainous areas of the Arusha the temperature can sometimes drop below 15 degrees, this is mainly the case in the months of June and July.

There are two rainy seasons - from mid-March to May and in November – December when it may rain a few hours during the day.

Do I need a visa when I am volunteering? 

In short; yes you do need a special permit to volunteer in Tanzania.

Most nationalities will be able to obtain a visitor's permit for Tanzania for 3 months when arriving at one of the major international airports (Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro). The costs involved are 50 USD (cash only).

After arriving at your project the coordinator will need to convert your visitor's permit to a permit allowing you to volunteer and 'work' in Tanzania. The costs for such a permit is 200 USD once-off and will allow you to volunteer up to 3 months or even longer.

If you are planning to stay longer than 6 months for volunteering or a gap year the easiest would be to apply for the correct volunteer permit in your country of origin.

 

 

Fundraising to volunteer abroad for free
Volunteer World
Khaya Volunteer Projects application
Lilizela Provincial Visitor Experience Award

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