IN & AROUND ARUSHA

PMGY volunteer in Tanzania participants are based in the quiet suburbs of the city of Arusha, near the foot of Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest mountain at 4,556m (14,947ft).

 

This vibrant African city is an excellent base and for the most part, it is lush, green and enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year thanks to its altitude. You will find all the amenities you could need in Arusha including banks, supermarkets and international standard hospitals as well as excellent restaurants and night life.

 

Arusha also has its first real coffee house, Africafe, a great location to chill out, people watch and sample some home baking with famous brands of teas and coffees grown on the fertile slopes around Mbeya, Southern Tanzania.

Maasai tribal dance at the Maasai cultural museum

MAASAI MUSEUM

This informative Maasai cultural museum gives an incredible insight into the lives of this proud, colourful tribe. The museum comes complete with mock-ups of a Maasai house (Boma) and you are taken on a bush walk by a real life Maasai warrior. You can then take a 30 minute camel ride towards the Monduli Mountains, and visit a local Maasai village. Here you’ll get a chance to chat to the local Maasai people and learn about their culture and way of life. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see a real slice of Tanzanian life as its still lived today.

MT MERU CURIOS & CRAFTS MARKET

There are quite a few markets in Arusha but this is mostly definitely one not to be missed. Often referred to as the Maasai Market there are some great, local souvenirs to be found here as well some very good higher-quality items. There are almost 2,000 sellers here and it really is a one-stop shopping area for gifts, curios, gemstone minerals and traditional clothing. You will need to practice your expert haggling skills though and be persistent as this market is one of the best in central Arusha.

Tanzania Market
Volunteer Tanzania

FURTHER AFIELD

Tanzania has a plethora of highlights and so much to explore. Billed as ‘the’ place to safari, endowed with powdery idyllic beaches and topped off with the stupendous Mount Kilimanjaro, what’s not to love about this magical country. Throw in the exotic delights of Zanzibar and you can see why it will be unforgettable.

 

Our in-country team are on hand to help to sort out your weekend trips. They are easily organised and arranging them when you get there gives you much more flexibility, especially if lots of other volunteers want to go too!

ZANZIBAR

The exotic island of Zanzibar, locally known as Unguja, has it all, amazing beaches, decent dive spots, acres of spice plantations, the Jozani Forest Reserve, and Stone Town.

 

Stone Town, the archipelago’s major metropolis, is a maze of narrow streets lined with houses featuring magnificently carved doors studded with brass. There are 51 mosques, 6 Hindu temples, and 2 Christian churches. And though it can rightly be called a city, much of the western part of the larger island is a slumbering paradise where cloves, as well as rice and coconuts, still grow.

 

What could be better than chilling out on a spectacular beach by the Indian Ocean? As this is your time for some independent travel you can choose to spend it as you like whether that’s lazing on the beach, snorkelling or exploring or you could have enough time to do it all!

An exotic Zanzibar beach
Giraffes wandering in Arusha National Park

NATIONAL PARK SAFARI

Arusha National Park gives you the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a short period of time under the shadow of the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru.

 

Lake Manyara was once described by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”. It’s a feast of game viewing including hundred-strong baboon troops lounging nonchalantly along the roadside, scampering blue monkeys, dainty bushbuck and outsized forest hornbills as well as large buffalo, wildebeest and zebra herds and giraffes. But the icing on the cake has to be the legendary tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants.

 

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world, a breathtaking natural wonder and the best place in Tanzania to see the Big Five. It is also an exceptional place to interact with people from the Maasai tribe.

KILIMANJARO TREK

Kilimanjaro is not only the highest mountain in Africa at a height of 5895m but it is also the tallest free-standing mountain on earth. And conquering its unmistakable snow capped peak has been the dream of seasoned trekkers for many years. And so it should be, it is a pretty unique mountain full of extreme contrasts. Its lower slopes are covered in dense forest but the mountain is surrounded by vast expanses of dry savannah; its caldera is covered with ice yet this dormant volcano is situated near the Equator.

 

The views from the top of this vast mountain are mind blowing: from Kilimanjaro’s summit it is possible to make out the curvature of the planet and on a clear day the views stretch as far as the plains of the Maasai Mara.

The unmistakable snow capped peak of Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain

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