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
Mama and Baba
Mama and Baba
Local Students
Local Students
The Dining Hall
The Dining Hall
Sammy on the Summit
Sammy on the Summit
Kilimanjaro Views
Kilimanjaro Views

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

African Wildlife Conservation

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.

Climbing Kili

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.

Serengeti to Zanzibar

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

9.82 Rating
based on 28 reviews
  • Impact 9.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 28
Default avatar
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.
Default avatar
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.
Default avatar
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.
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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.
Default avatar
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.
Default avatar
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.
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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.
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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.