Volunteering Additions to the Tanzania Safari

Many people want to come to Tanzania to see the animals on a game safari; however this is no longer enough; many wish to add a week [or longer] to volunteer their time to community projects once the safaris and mountain climbing are completed. This trend seems not to be originating from any particular part of the world. Requests are arriving in Tanzania from as far apart as Scandinavia, Australia, England and the United States.

The organized cultural tour is a thing of the past; I hope and I doubt it ever was popular. The organizing of cultural visits necessities it becoming prepared, this preparation causes the cultural elements to be reduced to two dimensions. However, to full appreciate Africa then learning something of the culture, meeting people completes the safari experience.A few hours visiting a school id not a cultural tour.

It may be enjoyable meeting with the children but it not 'cultural' with both sides feeling a bit uncomfortable. If you are unlucky a hustler will also try to take a chance at extorting some money; thereby souring the whole experience; and at the very least tainting the reputation of the very culture you are trying to reach out and touch.To volunteer a day or two, a week or longer is a great way to meet people, genuine Tanzanian's, see how the culture functions; it is an experience in which you will discover as much about yourself as you do about the culture in which you work.

There are a few tour operators offering this facility. There are many tour operators, with a few who work with the communities on which they depend for their livelihood. Giving back to the community to make sure tourism remains ? or becomes ? responsible.

Responsible tourism actually makes a difference, it can change lives of communities and as the community is lifted the individuals of the community are helped and entire families are liberated from the poverty trap.Tanzanian's are not beggars and would rather work for an honest wage than be given a hand out; a hand out is a temporary solution. It creates a culture of dependency.

Volunteering help the charities function, it helps you pass on skills and encouragement to the community. It gives you, the volunteer, a worthwhile mission once you return home; to help and be a part of a process that helps whole communities to lift themselves out of the poverty trap will not only change lives but be a life changing process for yourself. You will discover much about yourself on a journey with people from a different culture.


For a more comprehensive guide to the Selous game reserve and Lions Safaris in Tanzania or travel in Tanzania contact Ian through http://www.betheladventure.co.uk or Using responsible tourism to change lives.

By: Ian Williamson

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