Maasai Immersion Volunteer Project in Tanzania
Wondering how living and working as a volunteer in a Maasai Village is? International Volunteer HQ’s Maasai Immersion is a holistic project in which volunteers will have the opportunity to support the Maasai people with a wide range of tasks and gain an authentic cultural experience. Volunteers will eat traditional food and live day-to-day life the way the local Maasai tribes do while learning about their unique culture and lifestyle.
- Programs start on the 1st and 15th of every month
- Affordable fees from AU$840 for 2 weeks
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Help to improve the lives of Maasai people while preserving their traditions
Experience cultural immersion and incredible landscapes
Live like a local in remote Maasailand
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Maasailand stretches across northern Tanzania and is home to the Maasai tribe. As a Maasai Immersion volunteer you will engage in a unique cultural experience from start to finish. After arriving in Arusha, you will be driven to Makuyuni Village, where the environment is like no other and the local people are only Maasai.
Volunteers will have the option to take part in various activities according to their interest and the help needed at the time. For those interested in agriculture there is a fully operational farm with daily ongoing works to be completed to protect the plants and produce using organic methods and manual labor.
For those who want to get involved in teaching and childcare, there is an excellent local English medium school that offers opportunities to teach and nurture children.
Maasai people are known for their herds of cattle and this program has plenty of cows and goats that need care along with milking every morning to provide food for the school and volunteers.
Whilst the children are herding the cattle, the Maasai women are busy bead making, and this is an opportunity for those interested in fashion and beading to support the women and their projects, giving advice on business plans and development.
Furthermore, there is always a construction project happening at the site. Whether it’s a new school building, a new boma (hut) or repairs on the animal shelter, there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to put on their boots and gloves and get stuck in.
Why do Maasai Immersion volunteering in Arusha with IVHQ?
As a Maasai Immersion volunteer in Tanzania you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Helping local Maasai people build and improve important facilities
- Supporting local children, women, farming, or construction projects
- Developing your communication and practical skills
- Deepening your cultural intelligence and global awareness
- Immersing yourself in Maasai culture and truly living like a local
- Discovering Africa’s incredible landscapes and wildlife
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.
All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Tanzania photo gallery
Academic course credit
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!Learn about course credit
Read reviews from Maasai Immersion volunteers in Arusha
”My time with the Maasai was amazing. I was accepted as part of the family. This appeared to be the case from the first welcome. I loved the way that I was cared for as a person. This volunteer trip has given me a sense of belonging and purpose.”
Read reviews from Maasai Immersion volunteers in Arusha
This project is set at Makuyuni Village in rural Maasailand, located approximately 1.5 hours from Arusha. You’ll have the rare chance to see wildlife roaming freely across the landscape, situated in an area that is part of the larger Manyara and Tarangire National Parks.
Arrival and orientation
The program orientation begins on the 1st and 15th of every month. Volunteers joining this project will need to arrive in Arusha the day before their start date and will spend their first night at the volunteer house in Arusha. On the following day, after their orientation together with volunteers from other projects, they will be transported by the local team from the volunteer house to Makuyuni Village and then return on the end date two weeks later.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK) in Arusha. Your airport pick-up is included in your program fee. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Arusha, where you will spend your first night. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Tanzania prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Arusha on the day before your program orientation. Orientation is hosted by our local team at one of the volunteer houses in Arusha. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date. If your start date falls on a weekend or a public holiday, your orientation will begin on the Monday or day following the public holiday. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Tanzania – an introduction to Tanzania, Tanzanian customs, rules and expectations, language lessons (Kiswahili), safety, travel opportunities in Tanzania, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
Volunteer schedule example
On the first day of the volunteering placement, you will be escorted to the project by our local staff and introduced to the staff at the project you will be working with.
Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. A typical volunteer day would be as follows:
|7:30 AM||Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.|
|8:00 AM||Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at.|
|1:00 - 5:00 PM||Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers will walk back home for lunch at their accommodation, rest and prepare for the next day or come back to their placement in the afternoon.|
|8:30 PM||Dinner at the volunteer accommodation.|
Tanzania is a wildlife lover’s dream. In your free time you can venture out on a safari and see Africa’s Big 5 - lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhino - as well as the mind-blowing number of other species that call Tanzania home.
In Arusha itself you can find great markets, take a few days to hike up the nearby Mt Meru, or learn about the Maasai and Meru tribes of the area. You can also take take a short flight down to Zanzibar for a weekend of sun and sandy beaches or save some time before or after your program to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Accommodation and WiFi
Volunteers in Tanzania are accommodated in a volunteer house during their first night, in Arusha. Volunteers can expect to share a room with 1 to 8 other volunteers of the same gender and volunteer houses can accommodate up to 30 volunteers at a time. The volunteer house has running water and electricity but it is important to note that there are often power outages which affect availability of hot water and power.
At Makuyuni Village, volunteers will be sleeping in their own Maasai Bomas and gathering around the campfire every evening for dinner under the stars. These bomas are purpose built accommodation to host volunteers in a way that are very similar to the design of a Maasai boma.
A boma consists of a collection of simple crafted traditional Maasai earth huts, typically made of mud, sticks, grass and cow dung. Each hut offers solar power, comfortable beds, and basic washroom/shower facilities. Volunteers can expect to share a boma with only one other volunteer of the same gender. Living is rustic but comfortable.
Bedding is provided, however you will need to bring your own towel and toiletries. It is also recommended to bring a sleeping bag for cooler months and weekends away.
In the volunteer house, there is a cook who prepares meals for the volunteers and there is a security guard.
If you would like to keep connected during your stay, we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in Tanzania. The local team can assist you with purchasing a SIM card during your program orientation. You can also access WiFi from cafes and restaurants in Arusha.
If you would like to arrive a day earlier than your recommended arrival date, or wish to spend a few extra nights after finishing your program, we can arrange extra nights of accommodation for you for $35 per person, per night, meals included, subject to availability. Please note, extra nights are only available in Arusha.
If you would like to arrange extra nights of accommodation, just make a note in your application or contact your IVHQ Program Manager who will be happy to assist you.
Tanzanian cuisine varies across the country, owing to the difference in produce inland and along the coast. The immigration of Khoja Indians has resulted in local dishes influenced by Indian cuisine. Staple foods in Tanzania include rice, ugali (maize porridge), chapatti and coconut milk.
Volunteers are served three meals per day. Breakfasts generally consist of chai (tea), toast, fruit and mandazzi (deep fried dough). A typical lunch can include meat and vegetables with rice and fruit, while dinner usually sees traditional food, such as ugali and chapatti accompany the meat and vegetables.
Meals are served at the accommodation, however a packed lunch can be provided upon request if your placement is due to finish after lunch time.
Bottled water is readily available in Tanzania and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 (approximately AU$8) per week for 2 litres a day. At your accommodation in Maasailand, there’s bottled water in each hut.
If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know so we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|2 weeks||AU$840 Equivalent to AU$60/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
- Certificate of International Volunteer Service
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$536) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Tanzania generally find US$75-100 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
Go off the beaten track with wildly exhilarating Tanzania adventures
From game drives with lion, elephant and rhino to climbing the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and visiting Africa’s ancient tribes - Tanzania offers some of the most awe-inspiring travel opportunities on the planet.
We believe that no volunteer adventure would be complete without experiencing these wonders. That’s why we offer safaris, guided hikes and other tours, exclusively available to IVHQ volunteers as affordable add-ons.
Here are just a few of the Tanzania add-ons we offer:
Get up close to flamingoes or visit the ancient Maasai tribe - perfect for your #IVHQweekends! We offer a range of Maasai Village Tours, as well as trips to Moshi and Bushmen/Eyasi.
We offer a range of incredible safari tours and game drives to suit every schedule and budget across Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks. Safari tours range from one to four days.
Tick something truly epic off your bucket list by climbing Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and also known as the “Mountain of Greatness”. Guided hiking tours range from five to seven days.
How to book IVHQ’s recommended add-ons:
When you apply for an IVHQ volunteer program, make a note of which tours and add-ons you’re interested in on your application form so we can check availability and prices for you.
Once you’ve paid your registration fee, your Program Manager will be able to book your place on the tour(s) you have chosen and help you organize your trip.
See our Tanzania Tours and Recommended Add-ons page for more awesome volunteer travel options in Tanzania.
Check what's required to visit Tanzania
Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Essential country information
|Languages||Swahili and English|
|Currency||Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)|
Weather and climate
Tanzania is hot throughout the year and is humid on the coast and dry on the central plateau. The heavy rains last from March to June and can make unsealed road travel difficult. The hot, dry weather in January and February attracts the most tourists. The best time to visit the Serengeti is from January to March, when the grazers are calving and there are plenty of lions around. Or witness the wildebeest migration to and from Kenya, which occurs at the onset of the dry season and again with the first rains, usually around the beginning of June and mid-November.