Volunteer Stories: Rachel in Tanzania

Well Tanzania… where to start! Arrived late at night, so in the morning Joe took me for a great walk around the area and introduced me to some locals and the adorable kids. Felt really welcomed by everyone in Uchira, and they really do appreciate the work we contributed to the place. The trips we went on were well organised and lasted all day, so we never got bored or had to wait around for a long time. In particular, Lake Challa was the best trip from the Uchira stage, beautiful views and warm water to swim (and for some people have a wash…) in.

At first, I was a little reluctant to pay to go on the Safari, but it was worth every penny! The Safari guys really do look after you, and the chef was great 🙂 The Ngorongoro Crater was one of the most amazing places I have ever visited, it`s weird that thousands of animals are all living in this Crater.

Going on a hunt with the Habzabe tribe, is definitely an experience that you couldn’t get anywhere else. You really got an insight into what it is like for them living in the wild.

Living with the Masaii for 5 weeks was definitely my favourite part of the trip. At first I nearly had a heart attack when we were told it was only 2 showers a week and we were sleeping on beds made of wooden sticks. But, it’s the closest you’ll ever get to living in the middle of nowhere without the little luxuries you’re used to at home.

There were 2 huts to sleep in, and even though the beds weren’t the comfiest you really get used to it! We split into cooking groups, so when it was my group we had to cook 3 meals and tidy up the camp for the day. Its a great opportunity to use or learn cooking skills, and if you put some effort in you can really make some good food… rice and beans 🙂 The Masaii people are really friendly and take care of you, it was worth learning useful words of their language to try and communicate with them.

On the second night at camp, we watched the traditional killing of a goat and sheep which I thought I wouldn’t be able to watch, but it`s not bad when you think this is part of their culture and it`s great to watch and learn from it.

The wildlife surveying is the main part of this stage, which includes recording numbers of different animals in their own habitat. It`s amazing just to see animals such as Zebras, running around in the wild – nothing like we get back at home!

The final part of the trip is a great holiday to Zanzibar, which we were all eagerly awaiting for a few days of relaxing in the sea and sun. Even though it takes a lot of travelling to get there, once I saw the white sands and crystal clear sea I was amazed by how beautiful the place is, it felt like a reward for all the hard work we had put in during the past 9 weeks! Stonetown was an interesting place to explore, stocked up on the incredibly cheap spices and herbs and ate some great food!

Dom and Joe were the best expedition leaders you could ask for, without their hard work it definitely wouldn`t have been the same physically challenging and satisfying expedition! They looked after 12 of us for 10 weeks, didn’t complain and became more like a friend to all of us. All the other volunteers were great, its a perfect time to develop social skills and work as part of a team.

Finally, I also climbed up Kilimanjaro, and from the first sights of it in Uchira I really thought it would be impossible. However, with great amounts of physical and mental stamina and endurance I made it to the top in 5 days. It felt like the proudest moment of my life, it really is a huge achievement and to anyone considering doing it, push yourself and do it!

Find out more about our brilliant expedition to Tanzania here.

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Gapforce run independently inspected and award winning expeditions, outdoor training courses, volunteer abroad programs, conservation and aid programs. From 2 weeks to 1 year, your adventure starts here!