Desertification is one of Tanzania’s biggest challenges due to climate change and deforestation caused by population growth. This project focuses on reforestation and trail restoration in the northern part of the country.
Planting trees helps mitigate climate change by delivering oxygen into the atmosphere, protecting water sources, improving water quality, providing erosion control, providing shelter for wildlife, sustaining biodiverse habitats, and increasing access to space for the local community’s well-being.
Reforestation will not only preserve biodiversity and defend the rights of forest communities, but it is also one of the most cost-effective ways of curbing global warming. While working in collaboration with local community organizations, our projects will support developing a sustainable environment for future generations.
You will participate in various activities to help re-forest the foothills around the great African Rift Valley Wall near Lake Manyara National Park and the Rau Forest Reserve near Mount Kilimanjaro.
Activities could include building a fence to protect and preserve natural resource land, removing non-native species, planting indigenous trees, growing rare trees in a nursery, collecting seeds, and carrying out essential surveys to monitor forest regeneration. You will also help restore trails in the Rau Forest Reserve and learn about local forest restoration from an expert land manager.
Volunteer work trips offer the opportunity to experience the land in a unique way not available to the average tourist.
No prior experience is required! We will provide project training. You should be able to hike with a day pack, climb hills, move soil or rock with a shovel, pull unwanted vegetation, or carry stones. As always, our priority is your health and safety.
Look through the tabs on the left for more details about the itinerary, price, and gear list
Introduction: We are still finalizing some of the details, but the description below outlines the activities you can expect on the trip. Because local conditions and the project needs continually evolve, please remember that detailed project plans get finalized or revised after the group arrives. The trip leaders review the conditions at the site and consider the volunteers’ capabilities and special interests.
Just before each trip, volunteers will receive information about where their specific group will be based and an outline of planned activities.
Day 1: “Karibou Tanzania Rafiki” Introductions, Dinner & Orientation
Welcome to Tanzania, friend! Volunteers will be met at Kilimanjaro airport and transferred to our hotel in Arusha. Upon arrival, you will have time to refresh, relax, and enjoy the lodge on your own before our orientation. Our time together begins at 5 p.m. with an orientation where you will get acquainted with your ConservationVIP® Trip Leaders, fellow volunteers, and local guide and get an overview of the exciting time ahead, including the history of Tanzania and its people after British Colonialism, thru independence to modern times. We will have an introductory Swahili lesson for an engaging exchange. (Dinner and lodging included)
Day 2: Head East to Karatu and Gekrum Village, keep an eye out for wildlife along the way!
After breakfast, we depart the lodge in Arusha for the 2 ½ hour drive to the Karatu project site at Gekrum Village, which borders Lake Manyara National Park. Here we will be met by Gekrum Village members, a Cushitic community near our project site, with which we will be working. We will have a brief orientation to learn about their community and culture and a project overview. The Cushitic people are one of Tanzania’s many ethnic groups.
Then we will begin preparations for our reforestation project. After our initial work is complete, we will head to the lodge to check in and freshen up. Then we will depart the lodge to visit Gekrum Village on our way up to the mountain top for the sunset view. Then back to the lodge for dinner. (All meals including snacks and lodging provided)
Day 3-4: Reforestation Project Workdays with the Gekrum Community
After breakfast, depart the lodge for the project site, a short drive to Gekrum Village. Our projects will vary throughout the week and may include removing non-native species, preparing the soil for planting, planting native plants, collecting water and watering, and mixing fertilizer. This work may involve hiking 1- 3 miles round trip per day. After our projects end for the day, generally around 4:30 p.m., you will have a little time to relax before dinner. After dinner is your free time to relax and unwind. (All meals including snacks and lodging provided)
Day 5: Rest Day – Lake Manyara National Park Safari
Lake Manyara National Park abuts Gekrum Village. Our project helps to create a natural buffer zone between the village and the park.
Today, you will have the opportunity to see how our project work helps to conserve the Rift Valley. After breakfast, we depart for Lake Manyara National Park. Lake Manyara is one of the smallest safari parks in Tanzania but encloses, within its numerous microclimates, a diverse range of landscapes and animal populations that mirror those of many different parts of Tanzania in miniature. We will enjoy lunch in the park. Later we return to the lodge to freshen up before dinner. (All meals including snacks and lodging provided)
Day 6: Reforestation Project Work with the Gekrum Community
Today, we return to the project site for tree planting work and have a closing activity with our Gekrum Community Partners before saying goodbye. During dinner, there will be an introduction to our next partner on our journey along with an overview of upcoming activities, and our next project. (All meals including snacks and lodging provided)
Day 7: Travel Day to Moshi
After an early breakfast, we will take the day-long journey northeast to the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro towards our next project site. We will stop along the way for lunch and refreshments, then continue to our hotel in Moshi. (All meals and lodging included)
Day 8: Moshi & Rau Forest Reserve & Cultural Orientation
After breakfast, we will enjoy a tour of Moshi en route to our Rau Forest Reserve project site. We will begin our project with an expert land manager’s orientation about the Rau Forest Reserve, including visiting the community adjacent to the forest and learning about the local culture. Lunch will be in the forest. (All meals and lodging provided)
This work may involve hiking 1- 3 miles round trip per day. After our projects end for the day, generally around 4:30 p.m., you’ll have a little time to relax before dinner. After dinner is your free time to relax and unwind. (All meals and lodging provided).
Days 9-11: Rau Forest Reserve Reforestation and Trail Maintenance.
During these volunteer project days, the group will engage in various activities that could include forest clean-up, preparing the planting site, working in the tree nursery, planting trees, and cleaning and maintaining trails. (All meals and lodging provided)
Day 12: Rest Day – Exploring the Lower Foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro at Materuni Village!
Today is a rest day. It will be your choice to relax on your own and enjoy the hotel grounds or explore the lower foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro at Materuni Village. You can hike to the waterfalls, explore caves, enjoy the local culture and food, and cap it off with an experience at a community Coffee Plantation that is a social enterprise you won’t forget. (All meals and lodging provided)
Day 13: Kiviwama Day & Celebration Dinner
Today we will head back to the Rau Forest Reserve and meet up with our partners from Kiviwama, who will lead us in planting trees in the Njoro Juu Water Spring’s natural springs. KIVIWAMA (Young Activists in Environment affiliate in Moshi) was formed in 1999 during the national water week when the nation motivated the citizens to plant and care for these indigenous trees that are water friendly. After our work is complete, we return to the hotel to refresh and relax before dinner.
Before we say goodbye to our Rafiki (friends) in Tanzania, we will come together for dinner to celebrate our work together. (All meals and lodging provided)
Day 14: Kwaheri Rafiki! Day of Departure.
Our trip ends after breakfast this morning. You may join the transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport or opt to extend your stay in Tanzania with a safari in one of the many national parks and reserves.
Note: Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including changes in the local project needs, weather, and terrain conditions.