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June 27 - July 20, 2019
Travel with us to East Africa for 24 days on our teen community service trip and safari program in Tanzania.
This program gave me the opportunity to acheive one of my biggest dreams. It gave me my first taste of what it is like to travel, made me a new person, and opened my eyes to a new world.” - Chelsea H., RLT Alum
Live and work at a local orphanage. Help make improvements to a schoolhouse and care for local children. Teach basic math, English, and computer skills.
Learn Swahili, explore markets, and visit the communal Maasai. Connect with and be inspired by social service organizations working to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Join us on the safari of a lifetime, trek deep into the Yaeda Valley, travel back in time 10,000 years with the Hadza hunter-gatherers, view the incredible ecosystem at the Ngongoro Crater, and visit Lake Manyara National Park.
Keep scrolling to discover how to affect real and lasting change in The Road Less Traveled summer volunteer program for teenagers!
Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rises in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland of East Africa.
The Maasai, an ethnic group of semi-nomadic individuals, live and hunt within the Maasai Steppe, a unique ecosystem in northeastern Tanzania that covers more than 15,000 square miles. We join the Maasai in Engikareti Village for an overnight exchange where we play games with the Maasai children, learn traditional hunting methods, and exchange stories over an evening meal. The Maasai also teach us about using the woodlands, mountains, and Simanjiro Plains for herding cattle and maintaining traditional lands within the Maasai Steppe. Our interaction with the Maasai is continually cherished as we observe our commonalities with compassion and curiosity.
Stretching along the base of the golden Rift Valley, the landscape of Lake Manyara is celebrated by Ernest Hemingway in Green Hills of Africa as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa.”
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro’s crown jewel is a deep volcanic crater, the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world. This natural wonder covers more than 100 square miles.
An area of unique cultural importance, the Yaeda Valley brims with spectacular scenery and biological diversity. Thousands of waterfowl, terns, and shorebirds are drawn to its flooded valley, bordered by the Kidero hills and baobab tree-studded ridgeline.
The Hadza, the world’s last hunter-gathering community living in the wilds of Tanzania, survive on the banks of Lake Eyasi. The tribe doesn’t grow food, raise livestock, or build permanent shelter, but instead chooses to forage and share as they have for more than 10,000 years.
Elephant scratching posts, wildlife tracks, and hyena hairballs mark the way to the Elephant Caves where elephants and buffalo dig for life-sustaining minerals in the soil. Areas like this are the perfect opportunity to see how African animals act in their natural habitat!
The Ngorongoro Forest is of global importance due to the presence of globally threatened species, density of wildlife, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, and other animals. The highland plains allow wildlife to coexist with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing.
Lake Eyasi in one of the oldest parts of the Eastern Rift Valley and forms the southeastern boundary of the Serengeti National Park and Maswa game reserve. It is a wild, scenically stunning area where Tanzania's Wahadzabe and Datoga tribes reside.
The Great Rift Valley is a 4,000-mile crack in the earth’s crust, stretching from Lebanon to Mozambique. It’s one of the world’s most important sites for the study of human evolution.
Working at a Local Orphanage (assisting with construction-based projects, teaching local children), Nambala Agroforest (planting local organic herbs), HIV/AIDS Treatment and Education Centers
A Certificate of Community Service indicating the total number of hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
Safari: Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater with Maasai Guides, Elephant Caves, Ngorongoro Forest
Swahili Language: Formal lessons and exposure within the community and country
Explore: Arusha, Yaeda Valley, Hadza Tribe, Maasai Steppe, Lake Eyasi, Great Rift Valley, Local Coffee Farm
Waterfall: Endoro River Nature Trail, Northern Highlands Forest Reserve
Cultural Immersion: Maasai, Iraqw, Hadza communities
Hike: Mt. Meru Waterfall
We sleep in bunkbeds in a dormitory. Showers are available; however, we shower every three to four days to conserve resources and support sustainability. Bathrooms will vary between western flush toilets at the orphanage to safari style bathroom tents while on safari. While on the safari, we sleep in tents.
New York (JFK)
A leader-escorted round-trip flight will be available (but not required) for those travelers who wish to fly with a leader. Please contact our office for details.
Join in on the fun! Check out #HujamboRLT for a behind-the-scenes look at photos from past participants and leaders.
The first word we learn upon arrival is the lively Swahili greeting “Hujambo!”
Imagine traveling to East Africa, where the daily routine is filled with the satisfaction of hard work and new friends -- rafikis. As we explore this vast country, we discover the beauty of Tanzania, their conservation efforts, and their struggles while we support a village off the beaten path along with the people.
Our community is located in the northern highlands of Tanzania and is surrounded by some of Africa's most celebrated landscapes and national parks. We join an orphanage outside of Arusha that cares for children who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.
Along with teaching mathematics, English, and computer skills to the children, we help with the general running of the orphanage and participate in the daily chores. Our work includes making improvements to the grounds, washing clothes, and constructing and improving the various enclosures. The iconic Mt. Kilimanjaro is in sight as we explore local markets, enjoy Tanzanian cuisine, and sing Swahili songs.
We move up and over the Mbulu Highlands in search of the rapidly disappearing Hadza tribe. Here, we learn what they know, what we have forgotten. Perhaps more than 100,000 years old, the Hadza have left little more than footprints on the land. They grow no food and raise no livestock; they simply forage. They do not engage in warfare and are free from possessions, religious structures, and many family responsibilities.
We live with the Hadza in the Yaeda Valley and experience their way of life -- hunting with bow and arrow, sharing music and song, gathering honey and mastering how to start a fire with our hands in less than 30 seconds. We experience the “Hadza effect”— growing calmer together, more attuned to the moment, more self-sufficient, and a little braver.
We move on to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and get a taste of safari life in the caldera’s 14-mile wide hollow, teeming with a spectacular array of wildlife. Every animal we could hope for is here for the viewing. We travel the Endoro River nature trail within the Northern Highland Forest Reserve to visit the elephant caves and waterfalls, enjoy bird watching, and learn about local flora. Then it’s on to see the tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park.
We learn how HIV/AIDS is affecting this country and see what is being done to empower its people while building meaningful relationships and broadening our worldview.
After we’ve all gathered at JFK International Airport in New York, we depart on the escorted flight for Kilimanjaro Airport. Once we arrive in Arusha, we head straight to the orphanage to settle into our home for the next 15 days.
For the next 13 days, we join in the daily routine at the orphanage, helping to maintain the facilities, teach, feed, and care for the children. This orphanage was established in 2011 to help children whose parents have been affected by AIDS and HIV.
On Day 11 and 12, we join the Maasai, a Nilotic ethnic group, at their camp in Engikareti Village for an overnight exchange. While there, we try on the role of a brave Maasai warrior, try our luck at a spear toss, play games with Maasai children, and exchange stories over an evening meal.
During our down time, we receive formal Swahili lessons to help us develop our local language skills. We meet local coffee farmers, learn how to make traditional Maasai ornaments and batiks, visit a Maasai community and market, and explore other markets of Arusha.
After completing our work, we head to the Rift Valley to our camp in the highlands where we will make camp for the safari. It’s our once-in-a-lifetime experience to meet with one of the world’s last nomadic tribes, the Hadza.
Then we jump in our 4X4 safari trucks and head out to Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara in hopes of spotting the “Big 5”: elephant, cape buffalo, rhino, lion, and leopard.
We say our final farewells to the children at the orphanage and board our escorted flight back to the U.S.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years).
Please visit the CDC’s website to read more about recommended vaccinations for travel to Tanzania. The decision to get some, none, or all of the recommended vaccinations is a personal one, and should be discussed with your family doctor.
If you’d like to receive an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please give our office a call anytime between 9am and 5pm CST at 773-342-5200.
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination back home on the last day of the trip.
This program offers an optional leader-escorted flight for those families who are interested.
If you wish to have your participant fly directly into the starting location, please call the office for details.
The Tanzania: Hujambo program requires a tourist visa. The Road Less Traveled provides directions on how to apply for the visa at the appropriate time (usually mid-spring).