Camps International

Camps International

About

Camps International are an award-winning volunteer trip provider. We run meaningful gap year volunteer programs across Africa, Asia and South America. Unlike other providers, we own and run permanent camps, we employ local people to staff our camps and build sustainably in local style.

Our camps are co-located alongside rural communities, so you become part of the culture, not just an observer of it. We don't believe in "token" projects; we listen to the needs of each individual community, so that you can feel confident working on the projects that they believe are needed.

Built in to your program will be plenty of time to explore you amazing destination country; laze on stunning beaches, explore mystic temples, spot the 'big 5' on safari, kayak crystal waters, trek through steamy jungles, try delicious street food, haggle in bustling markets or just chill by the camp fire!

Founded
2002
Headquarters

Unit 10 Kingfisher Park, Headlands Business Park
Ringwood
Hampshire
BH24 3NX
United Kingdom

Reviews

Default avatar
Ewa
10/10

First Day:
I was originally supposed to go to Kenya for 1 month (July). Unfortunately, Nairobi was unsafe at the time so we were relocated to Tanzania. The first day was a complete culture shock. We drove for about 6 hours to get to our camp, stopping for toilet breaks where the conditions were rather interesting (hole in the ground type of interesting). On our drive to the camp, I don't remember seeing more than 2 sets of traffic lights...there weren't that many cars around, so traffic was generally not an issue. However, on the odd occasion that we stopped, there were locals trying to sell us fruit and corn etc, which were extremely overpriced. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the currency before buying anything....my poor friend bought a pear for $6 !!

Once we arrived at the camp, everybody was extremely friendly, energetic and happy. There was a already a group of volunteers there who arrived a month before us, who, on most part, were great...but played a few pranks on us newbies (guess we were too gullible).

Location and Housing:
The camp was located on a cliff overlooking the beach. We each had a mattress and mosquito net in an army tent of 6 people. I know it's Africa, but the nights do get cold so don't forget to pack a jumper! There were outdoor showers only - it was pretty cool looking at the sky while in the shower.

Food:
We ate in a communal dining room. We were provided with 3 meals per day.
Breakfast - tea/coffee, omelette/toast/fried eggs/fruit/cereal/pancakes.
Lunch - pasta/potato/chapati/rice with a little meat and cooked veg/salad. One thing I'd improve would be to include more vegetables. Fruit for dessert.
Evening meal - same options as lunch - varied daily.

But you could go to the local supermarket to get extra snacks/food you wanted. It was a short taxi ride away.

Safety:
There were 2 guards at night around our camp each night. I felt very safe in the area we were in.

The local community:
The children would follow us around the village, they were extremely energetic and happy. Because white people, 'muzungus' are rare in Tanzania, we felt sort of like celebrities - children would shout 'muzungu, muzungu' and try to speak English with you, take selfies, wear your glasses and bobbins etc. Warning: their energy levels never stop, so be prepared to be exhausted.

Tanzanian Time:
This is so so so so important!! When someone says they'll be ready at 6am, it doesn't necessarily mean 6am. The attitude is 'pole pole', meaning 'slowly slowly'. Tanzanian 6 am could be 8am or even 9am. It is whatever time, as long as everyone is ready. There is never any rush in Tanzania, so do not get annoyed if someone is 5 minutes 'late'.

Washing:
You can hand wash your clothes, or give a local 'mama' your dirty laundry and 5-10 dollars to do it for you.

Projects:
There was no stress involved. Each one of us was assigned to a different project - making a toilets for the local school, painting classrooms and walls, building a hut for the 'mama' in the village. Nobody rushed us, we got help if we needed it. The school was a 30 minute walk from our camp. We worked Monday to Friday and had the weekends off.

Extra activities:
PADI
I booked the PADI Scuba Diving course, which was a 4 day course. We spent the first 2 days learning theory and practicing to breathe in the pool. The next 2 days we did an exam and went out into the ocean.
If you plan on continuing to scuba dive around the world and want to do it without an instructor, I'd recommend the course. However, if you just want to see life underwater once every now and again, a simple snorkeling trip is much cheaper and almost as good - ask the local fishermen to bring you to a neighboring island.

Safari
There was 1 safari tour included in the program. It was very touristy. However, we saw lions, hundreds of elephants, giraffes (which are extremely photogenic) among other wildlife and plants. We also had an option to book an additional safari - we did not see as many elephants or lions, but saw hippos and crocodiles. We stayed overnight in a national park and had a BBQ on the beach..would highly recommend it. The tour guide Boko was amazing.

In conclusion, if you want to make more of an impact in the community (by working on projects), and enjoy the chill Tanzanian lifestyle, I'd recommend staying for at least 2 months. 1 month was just not enough for me. Similarly, if you want to do additional activities (e.g. Kilimanjaro), one month is not enough. I made sooo many new friends, some of which I am still in contact with today (4 years later!!).

I made a list of things I'd bring next time:
-pictures of my house, family and where I grew up to show the locals in the village what a completely different world you live in.
-speakers
-shoes you don't mind throwing away
-sports bra
-football

In future I would book a volunteering experience with a non-profit organisation. I feel like the real reason we helped the community is by providing jobs for locals (cooks, cleaners, tour guides, gift shop owners, security guards etc.). How many of us have actually built a house or toilet before??? Some of the locals also learned English by speaking to us tourists, which is a huge positive. However, the cost of the trip seemed a little excessive considering we were staying in tents, and needed few expensive project resources (paint, cement, wheelbarrows, spades...). Nonetheless, the whole experience was great and I have zero regrets.

How can this program be improved?
Provide more vegetables at mealtime
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Danielle
10/10

My time in Kenya was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. The Kenyan staff on camp were marvelous at welcoming us into their environment and making us feel at home. Everyone I had the pleasure of meeting during my 1 month out there was so incredibly friendly, helpful and really interested in me and where I'd come from. The people of Kenya are so respectful and honorable and throughout my whole trip I felt at home. The group I was on camp with couldn't have been a better bunch of people. We all got on so well and, along with our camp leaders 'Mama' and 'Baba', we became one big, happy family who looked after each other and cared for one another. On reflection, the thing I noticed most about my trip was that I had simply been happy the whole time and with every new thing that I learned and the amount at which I grew as a person; I've realised this trip changed me as a person for the better and opened my eyes to a whole new, fantastic world.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Eleanor
10/10

I loved Peru as a country and with camps you get to really immerse yourselfs in the community life of the indeginous people and truly be a part of these special communities . The people on camps with me became like a family to me over the 3months couldn't have had more fun. The great thing is you get to be part and help these communities but also get to see the amazing cities in Peru on the weekends and have the freedom to explore . I would 100% recommend you do worth while long lasting work and get to enjoy this amazing country at the same time .

How can this program be improved?
I would add more time in Cuzco because it's such an amazing city and you need time to appreciate it . Also maybe try and add a bit more variety in the work I did a lot of plastering work .
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Katie
9/10

I had an amazing time - we only had a small team but Camp Cambodia told me in advance and gave me the opportunity to change it or stick as it was.

The two support staff were lovely. It was such a great thing to have people who live in the village to help with the project who wanted to help! They even let me go meet their family which was lovely. I really felt I was making a difference.

The second part of the trip was in the city with a tour guide - was fantastic and so flexible (probably because we had such a small group!) but it was incredible to have such a plan!

I would definitely recommend it.

How can this program be improved?
I wasn't 100% keen on the food - be prepared for lots of rice and fried potato.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Danie
10/10

Had the most incredible time at Camp Borneo. The project work was a little disorganised at times but we didn't mind because it was really fulfilling and all the people were so lovely! The camp itself was nice and in a cool location right next to the jungle and just a very short drive away from the village we were working in.
One of my highlights though was having fresh coconuts at the project site on our last day, that someone literally climbed up a tree to get for us.

How can this program be improved?
The project work was a little disorganised at times.
Yes, I recommend this program

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