Rustic Pathways | Tanzania

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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.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 19 reviews
  • Impact 9.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 19
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Nicole
10/10

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.

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

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 [email protected] or [email protected] :)

Yes, I recommend this program
Andy
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Lauren
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Emily
10/10

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.

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

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.

How can this program be improved?
I would love a longer home stay and longer program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Nicole
10/10

The Maji Safi Project

This program was truly life changing. I have only been out of the country twice before, and I was very nervous to not only travel to another country, but to do it with a program where I didn't know anyone. As soon as I got to the airport the staff was very welcoming and I found that it was easy to sit down and make friends. My time in Tanzania felt impactful and was really fun. I was lucky that I was in a group that bonded quickly and got really close throughout the program. Whenever we did service, we worked hard but also had fun. My favorite memory was visiting a special needs school and getting to play with the kids. I really enjoyed this program and would definitely recommend it.

How can this program be improved?
This was the first time this specific program was being run, and so I think refining the schedule and making sure everything is set up would improve the program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Nicole
9/10

Culture and the Crater in Tanzania

This trip was so amazing! The people, the leaders, the locals - everything about is what unique and special. Although this is definitely a service-heavy trip, Rustic does an amazing job to make sure we have multiple cultural activities incorporated into the itinerary as well. It was so nice getting to stay in one place and get to know the locals and the children really well. Would highly recommend this trip!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Gabrielle
10/10

Culture and the Crater

This trip changed my life more than I could have ever expected. Going into it, I was nervous to step outside of my comfort zone and spend two weeks with a group of people whom I had never met before in a foreign place with little communication with my family but the second I shook hands with my leaders I was nothing but excited. The trip leaders never failed to make me feel welcome, wanted, loved, safe, and there if I ever needed to talk. Culture and the Crater gave me the opportunity to learn about a different culture and way of life where less is more while also making a difference in their lives and seeing the genuine effects it had on those people. On this trip we were immersed into the culture, welcomed as locals, and thanked tremendously for our hard work. One of my favorite aspects was being able to create friendships with the children through actions and smiles alone, no matter our language. I recommend this trip to everyone looking to make a difference in the lives of people who, by the end of the trip, have a special place in your heart.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Avery
10/10

Rustic Pathways Tanzania: Njoro Village Service Immersion

I spent two weeks in Tanzania this past summer, and if I were to have the opportunity to change my plans, I would still have taken the same trips. After Climbing Kili, I was able to spend a week in the Njoro Village. It was a truly enriching experience, where I was able to understand the true village culture. The accommodations of the trip are better than expected in a rural village, as Rustic students stay in a dorm-style building on the property of "Mama and Baba" (Mom and Dad in Swahili). Mama and Baba are two of the sweetest people I have met abroad, which speaks volumes to the atmosphere in Tanzania. The trip does have a heavy community service aspect, as students complete 25 hours in one week, but the service at the local Poli Primary School flies by. The students constantly smiled and laughed as we helped build the new Dining Hall. When we were not doing service, there were plenty of enrichment activities, such as a safari, a soccer game with the local secondary school, a trip to church, and a few trips to local markets. My favorite memory from my trip was making Chapati (a typical Tanzanian dish) with the Mamas in the village. I now have a greater appreciation for African village life, and I have an increased desire to explore Africa as a continent and the other cultures that thrive within the continent. I would recommend this program to any student interested in a short trip or a connecting program where they are able to learn about Tanzanian culture, make a difference in a primary school, and explore the country through the people and experiences!

How can this program be improved?
The only change I would make to this program would be to make it longer!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Samantha
10/10

Climbing Kili

Rustic Pathways is excellent at giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of where they are visiting through having local leaders and activities with locals. Even when I was in the remote peaks of Kilimanjaro I was surrounded by singing and dancing Tanzanian leaders and I ate Tanzanian cuisine. The route that Rustic Pathways takes allows students to sleep in huts, which makes the climb more comfortable when temperatures range around freezing. Additionally, when I was at my lowest point, the Rustic and Tanzanian leaders constantly provided motivation and love. I felt safe on the mountain because the leaders would genuinely ask how we felt, and we had medical check ups every morning and night. Reaching the summit was unbelievably difficult, and what made it even more special was doing it with Rustic and my sixteen new best friends. I left Kilimanjaro in awe of the amazing people I met and feeling grateful for the opportunity. I can confidently say my time spent in Tanzania changed my life for the better. I have grown in my understanding and acceptance of different cultures, I discovered a strength and resilience inside myself, and I developed relationships with wonderful people. Thank you so much Rustic!!

How can this program be improved?
My only wish after completing this program was more reflection on our experience.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Katie
10/10

Culture and The Crater!

Being one of the youngest on the trip, I was a little nervous. Being only 14 years old, my parents were also very hesitant to let their teenage daughter go without them. But as soon as I stepped into the JFK airport, all my worries went away. While everyone was different from each other, we all had this unbreakable connection. After a long two days of traveling, we finally made it to Tanzania!! We took a 3 hour bus ride up to our new home, Mongla Juu. Mongla Juu was the most amazing place I have ever seen. Everywhere you went, kids run up to you, and hug you, and everyone was so happy to see us!! We slept in a classroom, and there was 13 other girls with me. There was not any running water, or electricity. And while sometimes it was diffcult to live in, it was one of the best things of the trip. You become so much closer with everyone, and it is like having a sleepover for 17 days! We would brush our teeth outside with a water bottle, and used squat toilets. Since its winter in Tanzania, bring jackets and a warm hat! Also, BRING SUNSCREEN. I got the worst sunburn of my life, and really regret not bringing sunscreen and a hat. We eat breakfast around 8am, lunch at 1pm, and dinner at 7pm. The food was so amazing. We had a couple birthdays during our trip, and wow. Tanzanians know how to party!!!! We also taught in the local school, which was the highlight of my trip. We played so many games, and sang/danced a lot. We played against the village soccer team, and even went to church! Church was so amazing, so much singing, dancing, and laughter. I was in tears by the end of the trip. If you even have the slightest interest in Culture and The Crater, please come. Pack your bags, and keep an open heart and you will have the best summer of your life.

How can this program be improved?
I wish I knew to bring a portable charger, as there was no outlets in the village.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Shaya
10/10

Culture and the Crater 2017

This trip could not have been programmed better. It was a perfect mix of hands-on service and cultural immersion with a bit of sightseeing and free time. Our service project was building a doctor's house in Mangola Juu (or Northern Mangola), a village near the Ngorongoro Crater. It was hard work - we learned how to mix cement and concrete, lay bricks, and speak a few construction-related words in Swahili. As other supplements to our service, we helped a family harvest a week's worth of corn, built a mud hut, and taught primary school children at the local school. The service, especially the construction, was my favorite part because we were making a tangible, real impact in a community as opposed to sending money off without realizing its end result. The hours spent laying bricks and mixing cement also gave way to many inspiring and hilarious conversations.

In addition to a safari and a visit to the Hadzabe, one of the last known hunter-gatherer tribes in the world, we participated in different activities in the village that helped immerse us in the culture and become closer to the people. We got our hair braided by the mamas in the village, played soccer with the village's soccer team, and later celebrated with the soccer team after their victory against a neighboring village. A few of us even joined in with some Maasai men having a jumping contest!

Overall, Culture and the Crater was an amazing trip and I would definitely recommend it to anybody, regardless of age or past travel experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Rachael
9/10

Culture and the Crater

Although the air travel was long, the trip was 100% worth it. The trip was such an eye opening experience. Living in a classroom with 12 other girls and no electricity or water and even sometimes a chicken (true story) seems like it would suck but in actuality it created memories for life and a great bonding experience. Spending time with the children of the village and seeing their happiness about every little thing most definitely changed my life for the better. If you do choose to go on this trip, make sure you know you won't be showering for a week at a time. Make sure you bring tons of baby wipes because that will be the only way you will get clean. Also bring sweaters because most nights and days are super cold. There is no way to charge your phone either so if you want to use it to take pictures, make sure to bring a portable charger!

Yes, I recommend this program
Nadia
10/10

African Wildlife conservation

I joined rustic in a chance to join Jane good all's roots&shoots program. My favorite part was going to the village in Sokoine where we installed water tanks and bagged 4,531 trees for the village also Lake Tanganyika was so much fun we had like our private beach and left in tents it was really great time to connect with people and life. My program changed me in many ways me personally in life. fun!

How can this program be improved?
A lot of activities with roots and shoots kids. we had a lot but i wish there was more community service things with them to help teach them more and teach us more,
Yes, I recommend this program

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Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on...