Summer High School Programs in Tanzania with Rustic Pathways

Video and Photos

Students of Midabini- Tanzania
Students of Midabini- Tanzania
Midabini primary school
Midabini primary school
Building a home- Tanzania
Building a home- Tanzania
The Dining Hall
The Dining Hall
Mama and Baba
Mama and Baba
Local Students
Local Students
Kilimanjaro Views
Kilimanjaro Views
Summit Descent
Summit Descent

About

Since 2006, Rustic has introduced students to the people and cultures of Tanzania. Between safari trips and Mt. Kilimanjaro climbs, students are exposed to indigenous tribal groups, such as the Maasai of the Great Rift Valley and the nomadic Hadzabe, who still maintain traditional lifestyles. Students also work alongside villagers on collaboratively designed service projects, enabling them to integrate with the community and develop a local perspective.

What you will remember most from your time in Tanzania is the people. Tanzanians welcome you with big smiles and are genuinely excited to share their culture and customs. Be ready to become part of the community while you sip tea and listen to stories from your host families, community members, and other locals.

Popular Programs

Join the efforts of young environmentalists and aspiring biologists all over the world as part of Rustic’s Critical Issues environmental conservation program. Travel around Tanzania to aid in habitat restoration efforts, while you work alongside community members on projects that support development and conservation. Spend a day in one of Tanzania’s national parks to see the animals you are protecting in their natural habitat.

Adventure to the roof of Africa on this six-day trek to the continent’s highest peak. Start with a short introduction to the unique culture of the region as you engage in a community service project, immerse in the tribal history of the Chagga people, and acclimate to prepare for your climb. Considered a non-technical climb, the route up Mount Kilimanjaro is highly challenging but can be conquered by anyone with good physical and mental fitness.

Explore the incredible wildlife of Tanzania on this ultimate safari adventure. Ride through both the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorogoro Crater, spotting the famous big five animals, and learning about conservation and human-wildlife interaction along the way. Then, take a short plane ride to Zanzibar where you will learn about the historic island spice trade, experience a sailing safari out on the open water, snorkel, and relax on the beautiful beaches.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 28 reviews
  • Impact 9.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 28
Bella
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

culture and the crater

going into the trip, i was so so nervous that I wouldn’t make many friends and kept thinking to myself, “what a i getting myself into?” turns out, it was the best decision I could’ve made. you meet people and make friends instantly, right when you get to the airport. we spent most of the 16 days working on building a kitchen for students, and also spent time teaching the students English which was so rewarding. I love playing with the local children for hours- running around with them and laughing is something that I will never, ever forget. i think that by going on this trip, I was able to see a side of Tanzania that you could never get just going on vacation there... we visited local farms, cooked with women of the village, and spent time in a village that you would never even know was there if you just went on a family trip... making this experience so special.

What would you improve about this program?
the only thing I would change about this program is the group size. my group had 25 people in it, and while it was great to meet so many new people, it felt like too much at times and was harder to get to know everyone really well.
Pauline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic Pathways in Tanzania

I traveled through Rustic Pathways on two programs in Tanzania, spending a total of three weeks in the country. From the moment I got into the airport to when I landed back in the US I always felt like I was in very capable hands. My first program was focused on building infrastructure for a school on total Tanzania.While there we were immersed in the culture and made amazing memories. We were able to enjoy a wide variety of cultural activities from making traditional foods to learning how to build with mud while also interacting with the children. My second program focused on sight seeing through safaris in mainland Tanzania and traveling through Zanzibar. I saw sights I never thought I would see in my lifetime and had amazing experiences.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My most nerve wracking moment was when I thought I would miss our connection from Amsterdam to Arusha. Our flight out of New York had been delayed due plane issues, naturally our connection was then missed in Amsterdam. Despite having 40 people to reschedule, rustic pathways staff was able to book all 40 of us on flights getting to Arusha within 24 hours, even if these flights took interesting paths, ie Amsterdam to Adis Ababa to Nairobi to Arusha, ultimately we all made it and learned not to be stressed over what we can’t control.
Lily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Culture and the Crater Experience

This past summer I traveled to Tanzania on Rustic Pathway's Culture and the Crater. I was nervous about the trip, questions such as "what if I become homesick, what if I am too young for this, should I have brought a friend?" raced through my mind as I drove to the airport. As soon as I met my flight leaders and the other kids on my flight, my nerves began to fade. Once we arrived in Haydesh village and met the elders and students, it felt like another lifetime that I was nervous and apprehensive about the trip. I couldn't feel nervous about things like homesickness because the village soon felt like home. My other fears such as being too young also faded. I was one of the younger kids on my trip since I was only 15 and most of the others were around 17; however, the group you travel with becomes a family as you partake in this once in a lifetime opportunity together, and I never felt too young. As for bringing a friend, I couldn't have been happier that I traveled alone. Most of the kids on my trip were sole travelers and it allowed all of us to become closer. It also allowed me to immerse myself in the culture more since I didn't have any attachments to home. The hardest part of my trip was leaving. As cheesy as it sounds, Haydesh became my home and the villagers, my family. Leaving it all behind was one of the most difficult goodbyes I think I will ever experience. That is why, when I got home I became an impact ambassador, and I encourage anyone who is considering getting involved with the Rustic Pathways Foundation to do so. The foundation has allowed me to still feel connected with Haydesh even if I can't be in direct contact with the amazing people who call the village home.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
This trip was truly an incredible experience. I would recommend coming alone to allow yourself to be fully immersed in the culture. The locals are beyond kind and welcoming, so don't be afraid to use the Swahili you learn even if you are afraid of making mistakes. Don't be afraid to try new foods and to wear some new clothes. If you come to this trip with an open mind and heart, it will absolutely change your life for the better.
Addison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Better Than any History Class

Rustic Pathways opens your eyes to a world you didn’t think existed. Yes, you knew Tanzania was in Africa, maybe you knew that the city of Karatu existed, but you probably didn’t know that the small school in the village of Haydesh was lacking a kitchen. Being out there in the middle of no where with people you’ve never met before is exhilarating. You can visibly see the change you are making and you learn more about the rich culture of this country than you could in any history class or safari. You see the way they interact with each other, you hear their language with the unique pronunciations that only people who’ve been speaking the tongue since they were born have mastered. It’s an experience that is worth every hard effort put into it and I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to have their life changed.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go in with an open mind, be open to meeting brand new people and experiencing things you never thought existed. There will be many things outside of your comfort zone but it makes it so much better and you come home with a new outlook on things.
Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fun and inspiring!!

I participated in the Njoro Village program and it was amazing. I was definitely nervous going into it because it is so far away, but I felt safe the whole time. Days are busy, so there isn't any time to be homesick anyway. It was a lot of work (make cement, digging, etc), but so rewarding. It's amazing to be able to see tangible results of the work you do. But it's not all work, it's really fun too. My group was 7 (I think) people and I shared a room with two other girls, so you definitely get really close with everyone really fast. The program leaders are awesome too, they treat you like equals so it's not like they are your babysitter, they're just like another student on the trip. Obviously they were still really helpful in accommodating meals and making sure everyone is safe and healthy. Apart from working, we hung out with the locals and learned a lot from them too. We learned to cook a traditional Tanzania dinner and how to make clay pots. We also went on a safari where we saw giraffes, monkeys, zebras, and so much more. It was awesome. I had an amazing time and definitely recommend!! And even if this trip isn't for you, Rustic Pathways is an amazing group and has so many other programs to participate in!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't overpack! You won't have a whole lot of room and you don't need a lot of stuff anyway. Also, you are expected to wear long shorts, pants or skirts, so I recommend elephant pants. They aren't always super cute but they are so comfy and don't trap heat and you can get really cheap ones.
Lily
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

culture and the crater

On this program we built a kitchen for the primary school and I loved working on one main service project the entire time because we got to see our major progress and impact. We also got to teach English in the school which was amazing. The local children are so fun, kind, and curious. We would play with them for hours upon hours after our service was completed. On this trip you get to participate in so many cultural experiences such as going to the local Church, cooking with the local Mama's, having an interview with the elders of the community, walking to the nearest water source with donkeys, etc. It is such an immersive experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the real side of Tanzania, a truly beautiful country filled with amazing culture and people.

What would you improve about this program?
Our group had around 20-25 people in it so if the group was smaller I think the dynamic would have been better.
Maia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic Pathways

Having the privilege to travel throughout my high school career has given me the ability to see the world through a different lens. By experiencing other cultures and meeting new people I have been given a deeper understanding of global interaction. Through this understanding, I have also been able to develop a stronger sense of empathy. I believe empathy is an incredibly important aspect of finding global peace. Traveling with Rustic has lead me to pursue a career in International Development at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. I also believe being able to travel with Rustic at such a young age forced me to mature earlier through the experiences I had on my trips and understanding what life is like for those living outside of my small hometown bubble. Overall, Rustic has been an incredibly positive force in my life and being able to travel made me a better person.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The scariest thing on this trip was getting to the top. The actual act of us getting to the top was not scary, but the intimidation of the mountain leading up to summit night were some of the scariest moments. It was far less difficult than I thought, and you realize you are capable of much more than you thing.
Isabella
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Experience of a Life Time

Traveling to Tanzania with Rustic Pathways was one of the best experiences of my life. The sense of community and friendships I made on the program are incomparable. They made the labor of building a kitchen from the ground up fun. Lifting rocks, mixing cement, and laying down bricks are some of the fondest memories I have from the trip because of the other students and the masons. Music was always playing when we worked and the Tanzanian masons ensured we were both safe and helpful. Another highlight of the trip was the Tanzanian children. Immediately after walking out of the bus, the children greeted us with smiles on their faces. All 40 of them shook our hands and greeted us. The relationship that I formed with 2 children in particular, Regina and Apiyo, were especially significant. Every day they would run up to me with the brightest smiles and ask me to play a game with them. Although it was always a simple game, it was so fun. The unique aspect of this trip was the cultural trips that we took. On the Culture and the crater trip, we were able to hunt with the Hazabe tribe, one of the last true hunter and gather tribes, go on a safari, cook ugali, a traditional Tanzanian dish, with local mamas, and see how the mud houses are made. Rustic pathways truly provided me with a truly unique experience.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking moment for me was before the trip even started. I had initially signed up to go on this trip with a friend but she pulled out at the last minute. I was terrified to go alone. However, as soon as I joined the circle of students at the airport I immediately felt welcomed. All of the students on the trip, regardless of if they were traveling with a friend or alone, were open and excited to meet and make friends with new people.
Halle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Great Tanzanian Expirence

Rustic Pathways trip Serengeti to Zanzibar is an unforgettable experience. During the trip, we were able to see all the amazing wildlife Tanzania has to offer. We got to see these magnificent creatures up close. One of my favorite moments from the Serengeti was when a Cheetah jumped on a nearby safari cart and we were able to watch it up close. Then we traveled to Zanzibar I never wanted to leave. The island holds many great experiences for tourists to have. We went on a spice tour and we were able to indulge in many of the delicacies of the island. My favorite day spent in Tanzania was our sailing day on Zanzibar. We were able to snorkel in see the coral reefs. The glorious day we sent on the boat we travel to many of the outer islands of Zanzibar. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. iI would totally recommend it.

What would you improve about this program?
There are very few things that I would change or improve for this trip. One would be that it was too short we had just gotten around to getting to know each other when our experience was ending.
Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Maji Safi Project

Going into my trip this summer, I was hesitant to be put in a situation that was so unfamiliar to me. I had only been out of the country once before, and as excited and passionate I was about the volunteer work and cultural immersion I knew would be on my Rustic trip, I was nervous to fly to another country and spend almost three weeks there. As soon as I got to JFK and met the other people on my program and the Rustic travel leaders, all my fears went away. Everyone was kind and welcoming, and the other kids were just as passionate as I was about our Critical Issues program.

Once in Tanzania we worked with a local organization, The Maji Safi Group, to build arborloo toilets and learn about the global water crisis. Beyond this volunteer work, the trip completely immersed us in the culture in Tanzania. We got the chance to do a homestay with one of the workers at The Maji Safi Group, and I loved spending the day helping with chores, cooking, playing games and dancing, and just getting to know the family. Our afternoons were filled with fun after a morning of service, and we went to several different schools where we played with the kids. I gained a basic understanding of the complex water crisis in Tanzania, what was being done to combat it, and more specifics about WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) and disease prevention.

This trip motivated me to continue learning and taking action once I got home. All the proceeds I make from selling clothes and other items on an app called Depop go to The Maji Safi Group, and I also hope to continue fundraising at my school. I’ve already brought my experience back to my school, where as the president of a popular club I’m planning discussions around the water crisis, and specifically what The Maji Safi Group is working on.

My trip would not have been as amazing as it was without the people I met along the way. The Maji Safi Group and other organizations we got a chance to work with were so welcoming and inspired me to continue my learning and work when I got home. By the end of the trip, I felt as close to our program leaders as I did to the other kids on the trip, and they were always there to make the trip as amazing of an experience as possible for us and make sure we were safe. Most importantly, the other people on the program were hardworking and it was obvious how much they cared about the work and learning we were doing. I keep in touch with them, and consider some of them to be some of my best friends. As cheesy as it sounds, this trip was truly life changing.

What would you improve about this program?
This program was exactly what I was looking for, so I honestly can't think of how it could be improved.
Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maji Safi Project (name changed to Clean Water Project)

Last week I drove over 2 hours to meet up with one of my friends that I met on this trip, we reflected on the memories that we would always hold on to and the new family we shared. Earlier that summer I traveled to Tanzania for a 2-week program that I would make some of the closest friends that I will ever have and where I would change the way I see the world. I learned more in these 2 weeks about what matters in the world and about my self than high school would ever teach me.

Beginning a Critical Issues program, this program attracts like-minded teenagers who want to make the world a better place. These genuine people inspire me to do big things. On the last few days, we all brainstormed different ways we could help solve the complex Global Water Crisis that cannot be fixed overnight or with one solution. They inspired me to start an Instagram page where I make and sell bracelets with all the profits going to Maji Safi, the group that we worked with. (@bangilli.for.water) I also plan to make a video called "Why Teenagers Should Care About the Global Water Crisis" and share it with my friends and family. As the speaker we listened to at Nano Fitter said "be a millionaire who helps millions", the leaders and my new best friends inspire me to change the world.

For never taking notes at school left with a notebook full of notes from all the speakers we listened to but I learned the most from experiences. Working with Maji Safi Group (http://www.majisafigroup.org) we helped build toilets to help with disease prevention. This taught me more about WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene). Also, we played with over 3 different school group kids with the Maji Safi Group to share our different cultures and share our knowledge on WASH. One of my favorite days was the homestay day where we could experience the daily life of someone in Shirati. The Safari was also amazing!!!

This was the BEST trip ever but If your not interested in supporting other people or the Global Water Crisis (or WASH) than I would suggest looking at other Rustic trips. I went on 2 other rustic trips that were also amazing but this one was personly my favorite. My parents were worried about safety (anytime I get into a car they get worried) but rustic knows what they are doing and my family and I felt completely safe the whole time.

I will hold on to these 2 weeks for the rest my life, as these 2 weeks honestly were life-changing. Go on this trip!! :)

If you have any questions or want to hear more about my trip please reach out!!
My email is mcgrathh19@kua.org or hannahmcgrath444@gmail.org :)

Andy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

Rustic pathways allows young students to have the best experience of their life. I went to the culture and the crater program, and I want to go back but I can’t because I just graduated from high school. I would recoment this program to anyone who is willing to step out of their comfort zone and helm those who need it most. Rustic pathways allows students to have fun, help, get to know different people, cultures, traditions and food.

Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Maji Safi Project

This was my favorite Rustic Pathways trip I have been on. I love the other trips I went on but they were nothing like Maji Safi. This trip had the best leaders and local staff that were so supportive and knowledgeable. My favorite parts of the trip are almost too hard to choose from but when I look back on the trip I would choose the community service. Whenever we did service work the whole group loved it and everyone was so involved. The hours would always pass by so quickly too because we would always be talking to each other and laughing. Another one of my favorite parts is when we would have dinner we would all sit at this one long big table and it would be like a huge family meal. Then after everyone would hang out together before bed. At the end of the trip, we were one big family.

Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experiencd With Rustic Pathways

Over the past two summers, I have been going on Rustic programs, and it has completely changed my life. Rustic has taught me how to be myself and be comfortable in situations that I would not have willingly put myself in before. Two years ago, I did a photography program in India with Rustic, and I made great friends and had an amazing time. I was able to step out of my comfort zone, because as I am generally a very quiet person, I was able to be myself around my friends. I never thought that I would be the type of person that would travel the world in a setting like this, but pushing myself to do it was a great idea. While in India, I got to learn about other cultures. I remember how much I learned about Buddhism that I found so interesting. The highlight of the trip by far was when we got to see the Dalai Lama on his birthday at a celebration. We also got to stay with a semi-nomadic tribe, where we learned about their way of life. When I returned from the trip, everyone could see that it had changed me.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania and participate in the African Wildlife Conservation trip. When the trip began, I did not expect myself to be as interested in the topic as I was. It was a Critical Issues Program, where we studied the topic of wildlife conservation, specifically chimpanzees. We worked alongside the Jane Goodall Institue to study chimpanzees and learn how our actions have made them endangered. We worked to plant trees in order to create a habitat where chimpanzees could pass through to get to other populations of chimps. Our service in the area culminated in a trip to Gombe National Park, where Jane Goodall conducted her research. We went on a hunt to find the chimpanzees, which resulted in a long hike, but once we saw the them, it was worth it. We also got to go on a safari, where I saw all of my favorite animals! (Besides chimps)
My trips with Rustic Pathways were the best experiences of my life. They taught me so much and I am beyond grateful for having the opportunity to go on these programs.

What would you improve about this program?
I loved everything about my programs, so I really do not think they can be improved.
Rose
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maji Safi program

This was truely a life changing experience and it is perfect for someone intreated in clean water issues and health related issues. The trip had a lot of educational oppurtunities and fun activity as well. It was a balance of fun and service. We built arbolu toilets and visited a lot of schools in the village and also had fun while going on a safari and shopping. The program is located in 2 places: Shirati and Arusha. Shirati is a rural village and arusha is a city and I like that you get to see both sides to Tanzania. The program is a great way to meet people with common intrests.

What would you improve about this program?
I would love a longer home stay and longer program.