Low cost volunteering in Tanzania with Hostel Hoff

Video and Photos

Hostel Hoff
Hostel Hoff
Typical Dorm Room
Typical Dorm Room
Help with homework
Help with homework
Climbing Mt. Meru (the 5th highest peak in Africa) for a weekend excursion.
Work with street kids
Work with street kids
Adorable little Asha and Jasmini from KYGN (they never went anywhere without each other).
Volunteer at our sustainable orphanage in Moshi
Volunteer at our sustainable orphanage in Moshi
Me with my favorite little baby Juma and his friend in the village of Mabogini

About

Hostel Hoff offers volunteer placements at a grass roots level, where you simply pay for your accommodation and we organise your volunteering for free, as it should be! We are a small family run organisation working with approximately 20 different volunteer projects in Moshi, Tanzania. Projects include women and community groups, orphanages, centres for children with disabilities, manual work such as farming, teaching projects and medical centres. There is a large variety of work on offer and we are careful to provide sustainable, ongoing support to the organisations we help. All of our volunteers stay at hostel, where they can share their experience with like-minded travellers! Karibu (welcome to) Tanzania!

Highlights
  • Low cost volunteering
  • Provide sustainable ongoing support
  • Home away from home
  • projects diversity
  • intenships

Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 7 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.9
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
Default avatar
Diana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Choice I've Ever Made

Staying at Hostel Hoff was hands down the best choice of my entire Africa trip. It was incredibly well-organized, ethically-run, clean, safe, and had some of the most welcoming staff I'd ever met.

The facilities and grounds of the hostel far surpassed my expectations. There was good wifi, hot water, near-constant electricity, and beds were very comfy! There was a nice kitchen we could use, dishes and fridge and toaster. There was a big common space indoors with TV that was loaded with movies and shows, a giant bookshelf full of novels in all languages, towels/sheets, and a big comfy couch!! There was a nice dining area outside we ate at every evening, with electric plugs nearby, and the woman (Mary) who runs the hostel ate with us every night! The facility has indoor rooms (think: college-dorm-type setup,) as well as permanent outdoors tents for the more adventurous! The tents are super cool--zero bugs/snakes, stay cool in the heat, and have locking cabinets/a dresser/big comfy wooden beds with mosquito netting. You get to be in nature when you wake up, and can see the smattering of stars across the sky when evening comes(:

I felt very safe in the town itself, and could walk around alone there for hours at daytime (I'm a 21 y.o. female). Hostel guards kept us very safe at night--never once felt unsafe.

There are cleaners daily for the hostel, and a groundskeeper who keeps the nature tame!
The food at Hostel Hoff is the best I've had in my entire life. Dinner and breakfast are provided. There is always fresh fruit/veg at meals, and more than enough food to go around! I'm still dreaming about Victoria and Jessica's chicken stew over steamy rice, eggplant spaghetti, chips mayari, and toasty chapati bread! YUM!

The volunteers I lived with and met have become lifelong friends. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming, they go out for drinks on the town, dinner at nearby restaurants (the brownies at La Fuente are to DIE for,) and shopping days in town! It's truly a lovely community to come back from projects to every day. After dinner we would always play games or watch movies together and I don't think I've ever laughed as much as when we all played charades together!! Lots of people were there solo, as was I, so don't worry if you're going alone. You'll fit right into the Hostel Hoff family!

The hostel is a 10 min walk from the town center, very close to post office/bank/supermarkets/good restaurants/nightclubs.

Mary is the woman who runs the show. She answers emails within a day (usually less!,) and is constantly on top of everything happening there. Her communication and organization are flawless. She makes changes whenever issues are brought up, magically fixes electricity cuts, checks up on everyone, and really makes the place feel like home when she visits every night! I can't say enough positive things about her.

The hostel will help you get a SIM card, and give you a town tour as well! They have numbers for safe motorbike/tuk tuk/taxi drivers, massage and manicure people, doctors, etc., etc., all on hand.

I will note that their weekend tours are wildly overpriced. (Masai tour, waterfalls, coffee, etc.). While I'm sure they're lovely, I would really urge you to look elsewhere. There are loads of wonderful, safe, super fun, and fairly priced tours offered elsewhere in town!

The company that runs the hostel also hosts Kilimanjaro climbs and safaris. I went on a safari with them (African Scenic Safaris,) and had a phenomenal time. I really encourage you to check out their TripAdvisor page, as they've got thousands of reviews and 5 stars! I've had 9 friends climb Kilimanjaro with them and heard nothing but positives. They're safe, ethical, fairly priced, and have a super high summit rate.

Tanzania really is the "heart of Africa" and I feel very lucky to have picked Moshi as my first destination on such a beautiful and misunderstood continent. The hostel became my home, and I hope to return some day.

I strongly urge you to send them an email (a quick google search will get you to their website/contact details,) and book the flight! You won't regret it!

I volunteered at their medical volunteer option--St.Joseph's hospital. This next bit is about that:

I was able to be incredibly hands on (within my level of training) at the hospital. I performed CPR on countless kids and infants, was able to help insert/remove IVs, observe surgeries (heart, c-section, appendectomies, etc.,) clean and triage burn victims, change dressings, help with charting and rounds, consult with doctors, help with births, transport patients, and give advice where I could.

As a nursing student, I came with the idea to work on a different ward (male, female, labor & delivery, and pediatric/children's,) each week, to maximize the scope of my experience. However, after one week on the children' ward, as my focus in school is pediatric trauma nursing, I fell in love with the kids and knew I'd found my spot! I worked the pediatric ward for 4 weeks, with days here & there spent in labor & delivery.

The experiences I had there were beyond comprehension. In my time on the children's ward I witnessed & experienced deep joy, sharp sadness, loss, wonder, and fascination all wrapped into one. I became dear friends with the local nurses, as well as foreign med students and volunteers. I had profound experiences there that have shifted my views on medicine, invigorated my passion for pediatric trauma nursing in 3rd world nations, and given me a newfound appreciation for the resources available at my home hospitals.

I fought tooth and nail alongside other volunteers for countless children and newborns, performing CPR, mouth-to-mouth, intubating, doing the kangaroo method to raise body temp., etc., etc..
Quite a few kids and infants who we worked on in my time at St.Josephs ended up succumbing to their various conditions/traumas and dying with us. Holding them as they passed, fighting to save them, informing their families, and everything that came between has fundamentally changed who I am.
Witnessing and helping with births, watching babies enter the world and holding them in their first moments here with us? Words don't even come close.

Volunteering at St. Joseph's was a deeply profound privilege. I had experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life, met patients who have impacted me at the core, and was able to witness things I couldn't have seen elsewhere.

Staff all spoke very good English, doctors and nurses were very kind and open to feedback, the facilities were well-organized. They did not have any continuous monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, etc., (in fact did not have any BP cuffs at all,) but did everything they could with what they had.

The effort you put determines the quality of your experience there. If you leave at noon, or don't ask to help out with things, you can have an entirely different experience than I did. Stay until 2pm, ask nurses and doctors if you can help with/perform skills within your medical training (such as asking to wash burn victims, take over CPR if someone has been doing it for a long time, change bandages, observe a surgery,--only if you are well trained in that area,) speak with other volunteers, follow up with your patients, etc. You get out what you put in!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
There was an infant rushed to the pediatric ward (where I was volunteering,) who was not breathing and had no pulse. The local doctor was not trained in CPR (a common occurrence I later learned,) and as a nursing student I've been trained in pediatric/adult/infant resuscitation and CPR. I had never done CPR before, let alone seen it performed on a real person. As my fellow volunteer ran into the room holding her and yelling she needed CPR, it was very nerve-wracking. But I took a quick breath and ran right over to begin compressions and rescue breaths on her. We fought for her for the next 2 hours, intubating, continuing CPR, etc., etc.
Default avatar
Joseph
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Hoff

Where do I start? I had an amazing time in Moshi volunteering for six weeks through Hostel Hoff. I decided to undertake a project involving manual labour, and for this I decided to join Kili Kids - an orphanage based very close to Moshi at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. There I was able to contribute to the daily maintenance of the farm, as well as help with jobs such as painting the dining hall. The kids there are absolutely adorable.

Hostel Hoff itself was a great place to stay. It is about 10 minutes walk from town, and at no time did I feel unsafe. For a one-time fee upfront you are able to have unlimited access to the bottled drinking water at the hostel, which I highly recommend. The rooms were cleaned everyday, and the laundry done on a semi-regular basis. Included in the fee is a full breakfast and dinner, which was unbelievably good quality. The hostel also has wifi, as well as satellite television and a DVD collection (donate a DVD, should you decide to stay!). The hostel also runs a weekly football (soccer) social match.

Should one have the time, and the money, I would recommend the awesome feat that is scaling to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Also recommended is going on Safari - these activities may be organised through the hostel, at a discounted rate to volunteers. Tip - bring USD beforehand to pay for these, to avoid multiple trips to the ATM!

As is the norm when volunteering overseas, I met the most amazing individuals from all over the globe. I travelled solo; however I met groups, couples, and even families who stayed at the hostel.

PS. Whitney is the best cook in Moshi :p

What would you improve about this program?
Hard to say. The volunteering is free, the facilities are great, and the support staff are extremely helpful.
Default avatar
Stephanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The hoff

The hostel hoff, is an amazing place to stay. You feel really safe and the staff is so wonderful. When you stay at the hostel it is like you become a family. The staff is also part of the family, and they are so nice and helpfull. If you are going to Moshi to volunteer, i would definitely recommend that you stay at hostel hoff.
The hostel is only a 15 min walk from town, although it is placed in a quite area, which is nice at night. The hostel has dogs to guard, and guards as well. They are really nice, and also part of the big hostel hoff family.

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

Home, not a hostel

I came to Hostel Hoff in February 2015, stayed for 3 months and had the absolute best experience of my life so far. I travelled to the Hoff alone but within days I felt like part of one big ever-changing family that consisted of all the staff and volunteers at the hostel. The staff at the Hoff are absolutely wonderful people and the heart of the hostel. They'll make you feel at home and welcome from the very beginning.

During my stay, I lived for 9 weeks in Hostel Hoff 2 and 4 weeks in Hostel Hoff 1 (as we entered low season, hostel 2 was temporarily closed). Each hostel has two resident dogs, which was just brilliant by me! The two hostels are within 2 minutes walking distance of one another and just as good as one another so there is no need to worry about which one you will be placed in.

The food at the hostel is just yum. Breakfast and dinner are both served buffet-style at the hostel and there is more than enough to go around. They also cater for vegetarians, despite the fact that vegetarianism is an awful lot less common in Tanzania than it is here in Ireland.

With regards to water, each hostel has a bottled-water dispenser which you can have unlimited access to for a price of 5,000TSH per week. This is only about €2.50 per week and definitely worth it considering how much water you'll need to drink in the heat!

The volunteer placements organised by Hostel Hoff through their charity Path to Africa are with local projects and will be the most rewarding part of your stay. Almost everyone finds the first week of volunteering difficult, between the language barrier and the culture shock, but those challenges are so worth it when you start to feel at home in your project and begin to figure out what you can offer to help. I worked for 2 months at KYGN (a charity school in a nearby village) and for one month at the Juvenile Retention Centre in Moshi - two extremely different projects but both so rewarding. Though I taught at both projects, I'm sure I learned much more by working with the kids than they learned from me.

It's worth mentioning that Hostel Hoff is quite modern and definitely offers some luxuries such as a television, hot showers and western toilets. This, on top of the fact that we had two meals cooked for us each day, our clothes washed for us and our rooms cleaned each day, did make me feel a bit too pampered. However, my 3 months at the Hoff definitely allowed me to fall in love with Tanzania and it's people and I'm hoping to return as soon as I get through university, if not sooner.

Overall, I would highly recommend Hostel Hoff to anyone looking to volunteer in East Africa for the first time, as you will feel safe, supported and at home as you ease into African life. You'll also meet loads of interesting and adventurous people and make life-long friends from all over the world.

What would you improve about this program?
Although I know that the hostel does make an effort to ensure that the volunteer placements are of benefit to both the volunteers and the projects they work with, it would be great if a more structured role for volunteers was in place at each project to maximise the benefit for the projects themselves. I think that the hostel could be stricter about ensuring that there is a need for volunteers at a specific project before allowing volunteers to be placed there, as well as encouraging volunteers to volunteer at the projects in need of more help.
Default avatar
Kajsa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great stay!

I've stayed at the hostel twice, once in 2007 and then again 2012 and I love it! They are involved with many great projects and are very helpful in finding one that's right for you, no matter what your plan is (a friend and I needed a project for our Uni studies and they were very helpful!).

The hostel has good food, laundry included and many wonderful people to hang out with. So it's easy to come and just enjoy your stay in Moshi.

I we've recommended several people to go and know that all of those who have has enjoyed their stay.

Default avatar
Tricia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Happy to be a Hostel Hoffer

At hostel hoff you were able to easily meet people from all around the world while also living in a completely different culture and environment from your own. The staff were especially great, always being there if I needed directions, to practice my swahili, teach me to cook or wash my clothes by hand, or to simply joke around with. They were definitely part of the reason that my stay at hostel hoff was so special.
The accommodations were also great. You have an option of staying in a dorm type room inside the house or living with one to three other people in the tents on the grounds. I was lucky enough to stay in one of the tents and it was the most comfortable place I stayed in while living in Moshi. The beds were comfortable, it didn't get too hot at night (although in the morning you couldn't sleep past 9 without dripping with sweat). But that's all part of the fun of living in a tropical environment.
Hostel hoff also helped me find a place to volunteer that suited me best. They gave me many options and I ended up choosing a school that is now near and dear to me heart, Kilimanjaro Young Girls in Need. I may not have come across this wonderful school with it's wonderful children and staff if it wasn't for those at hostel hoff.
My time spent in Tanzania was great and being welcomed with open arms by the hostel hoffers made those first few transition weeks extremely easy. I am happy and proud to call myself a Hostel Hoffer :).

What would you improve about this program?
The price to stay at Hostel Hoff was a bit much. It was over $500 per month and when you are volunteering and not making any money it can really become a struggle to have that much money each month.

Also I would have liked more of a variety of food. You were served breakfast and dinner there and the food was delicious (made by our lovely Jessica), however it was the same foods over and over each week while also being more western style foods than Tanzanian.
Default avatar
Tom
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Volunteering Experience, Couldn't ask for anything better!

Hostel Hoff is in one word fantastic! I previously stayed in Jan/Feb 2013 for 5 weeks and loved it so much I am now back! The owner Amanda is lovely and helps you with anything. Mary the local Tanzanian manager is also very nice and welcoming. Anyone wanting to volunteer in Tanzania, should have Hostel Hoff at the top of their list. The staff that work at the hostel are all so nice and it really is lovely how welcoming they are. They work really hard and also always have the biggest smiles on their faces.

The volunteering can be hard work but this is outweighed by the fulfillment you get by helping those in need of it and the local orphanages and schools are welcoming and extremely grateful for your help. The opportunities you get to make a difference by staying at Hostel Hoff are great!

It is by far the best trip I have ever done and you also get the opportunity to climb Mt Kilimanjaro or experience a Safari in the amazing Serengeti National Park. The other great thing about staying at Hostel Hoff is the other volunteers you meet that are also staying at the hostel, I have now made so many new friends around the world and these will be friends that I keep for life! In my time at the hostel I have always got on with everyone and meeting a mix of people from all over the world is lovely.

The hostel itself is very clean and is a very relaxing place to stay. It gives you the chance to be sociable with the outside seating area but also available are the use of hammocks in the garden and other quiet areas if you wanted to read a book or get some quiet time. This place really does suit everyone and I couldn't recommend it more. The country is also very beautiful. Do yourself a favour and visit this amazing country and have a great time living at the HOFF!

Interviews

Staff Interviews

About Hostel Hoff

Hostel Hoff offers volunteer placements at a grass roots level, where you simply pay for your accommodation and we organise your volunteering for free, as it should be! We are a small family run organisation working with approximately 20 different...