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Maasai Immersion Volunteer Project in Tanzania

Maasai Immersion Volunteer Project in Tanzania

This project is currently not accepting applications.
Purpose
Support local Maasai people through various community projects
Start dates
Programs start on the 1st and 15th of every month
Duration
Choose from 2-4 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Age
Volunteers aged 18+, and 14+ accompanied
Accommodation
Stay in a Maasai boma
Program fees
From CA$1017 for 2 weeks
What's included
Find out here
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Enthusiastic volunteers who want to support a community tackle rural poverty, education, food security and more.

Project details

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 local community projects and Maasai people, selecting from a wide range of tasks and gaining an authentic cultural experience. You will experience the day-to-day life of the local Maasai tribes, while learning about their unique culture and lifestyle.

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’ll dive into a unique cultural journey from arrival in Arusha to Makuyuni Village. Immerse yourself in the Maasai way of life, supporting their community’s educational, environmental, and poverty reduction initiatives.

Experience the richness of Maasai culture while making a tangible impact. Choose from a variety of volunteer opportunities, all supported by the local Maasai people. No prior experience required—just a willingness to immerse yourself in this incredible journey.

Engage in various volunteer roles such as pre and primary teaching, medical aid, construction, agriculture, women’s empowerment, and more. Experience daily life by caring for livestock, contributing to the community’s sustainable farming practices, and aiding in school development.

Our project is run by a very special Maasai community who has set up a not-for-profit initiative that started in 2013, which has grown to support over 360 children among the other members of the community. With your help, we aim to expand our impact, providing education and essential resources to this underserved Maasai community.

Beyond volunteering, enjoy cultural activities like Maasai dancing, traditional fire making, and interacting with locals. Join us in empowering Maasai communities while creating unforgettable memories.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

As job losses escalate as a result of Covid-19, it is estimated that nearly half of the global workforce is at risk of losing their livelihoods. We must improve access to jobs, decent work conditions and community services in order to achieve peace, sustainable economic growth and a better quality of life for all.

Why do Maasai Immersion volunteering in Arusha with IVHQ?

As a Maasai Immersion volunteer in Tanzania you’ll be making an impact to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Helping local Maasai people improve education and facilities
  • Supporting a wide range of projects
  • Developing your communication and practical skills
  • Deepening your cultural intelligence and global awareness
  • Engage in Maasai cultural experiences
  • Discovering Tanzania’s incredible landscapes and wildlife

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers aged 14 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 14-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead.
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.

Not sure which program to join?

Get personalized recommendations >


'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

MH
Matt Heady
18 Jun 2024

From the time I landed to the airport drop-off, IVHQ took care of everything including excursion transports, food, lodging, and they were very flexible for me to stay my extra night at the Maasai boma instead of the volunteer house. The entire trip and experience was phenomenal.

...
DM
Donna Moll
25 Jan 2024

My experience living in the Maasai community was life-altering to me personally. I have made lasting friendships and hope to return in 2024 to continue my assignment working in the school. I loved my charming cozy hut in Maasailand! And the meals are excellent! The cooks (mamas) definitely catered to my vegetarian diet.

I plan to volunteer again in 2024. Best decision for 2023 was volunteering with IVHQ and the local team in Tanzania.

...
LG
Lorna Ghanim
04 Jan 2024

My time spent with the Maasai was beyond words and I have made lifelong friends and plan to return in the not too distant future. The Serengeti and Ngorongoro blew my mind and were everything I'd hoped for. Overall the staff and coordinators were amazing and everything was exceptionally well organised.

The mamas fed us like kings and queens and nothing was too much to ask for. I hope I gave 110% on my Maasai program, they are awesome people and made me more than welcome!

What that community is achieving with the school is unreal and the Maasai leader and his team deserve all the help available.

BIG thank you for my African bucket list experience, I will never forget!

...
LH
Lydia Hall
21 Dec 2023

Best experience I have ever had! Honestly exceeded all expectations. Everything from the warm welcome, the amazing other volunteers, the volunteering work. Perfect!

...
ER
Eleonora Russo
16 Nov 2023

The Masaai immersion was an experience I’ll never forget. The Masaai people were all incredibly gracious and kind towards the volunteers and treated me like one of them. The food was absolutely amazing! I felt very safe throughout my stay and I only wish I could have stayed longer.

...
DS
Daina Selma
04 Oct 2023

Even thought I’ve volunteered a lot in my life, every experience brings different awareness and welcomes new people in your life. I’m really grateful that I had an opportunity to join Maasai immersion and meet many incredible, inspiring people, who shared their joy and knowledge with me. My accommodation at my placement was much better than I expected. It was extremely clean and comfortable. I ate everything and I had no issues with food, and everything was prepared with high hygiene standards. Some of the best food I ever had!

Love, gratitude, happiness, and joy flowed through me as I immersed myself in the vibrant Maasai culture. Their profound wisdom, rich traditions, and fearless spirit touched my soul in ways I can hardly express. Stepping into their world, lending a helping hand to the community, and breathing their air were experiences that etched an indelible mark on my heart. I became completely lost in the rhythm of their songs and dances, lost in the laughter and play with the children, feeling like one of their own. It was a journey back to my roots, a rediscovery of pure, unadulterated joy, and a celebration of the simple pleasures of life. In that moment, I chose happiness above all else. Money, as important as it may be, pales in comparison to the genuine emotions of love, gratitude, and joy that permeate the hearts of both adults and children in the Maasai community. I only can hope that my presence among them maybe can play a small role in building opportunities for countless Maasai children to access education and embrace a life filled with happiness and fulfilment.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

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

Location

Maasai Cultural Immersion Volunteer Project in Tanzania with IVHQ

Location

Get ready for an adventure like no other! Our project is based in the heart of Makuyuni Village, nestled in the stunning rural landscape of Maasailand, just a thrilling 1.5-hour ride from Arusha. With luck, you’ll be treated to the sight of majestic wildlife roaming freely, as the village sits within the vast expanse that encompasses Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Get ready to be immersed in nature’s playground as you embark on this unforgettable journey!

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. All Maasai Immersion volunteers will stay at the volunteer accommodation in Arusha until their orientation day. They will be transported to Maasailand after orientation and this transfer is included in the program fee.

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. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the night before your start date.

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 start date.

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 first working day following the public holiday. However, your recommended arrival date doesn’t change, and it is always the day before your start date.

Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Tanzania – an introduction to Tanzania, Tanzania 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

First Day

On the first day of the volunteering placement, you will be escorted to the project by our local staff and introduced to the local people at your project in Makuyuni.

Weekdays

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 take the short walk to the placement. 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 to the accommodation for lunch, rest and prepare for the next day. You can choose to continue your project, or engage with the local culture, if you wish to.
6:00 - 7:00 PM Dinner is available at the volunteer accommodation.

Weekends

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 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.

Far from the bustling crowds and distractions of modern life, the remote Maasailand offers a rare opportunity to disconnect and reconnect with nature’s rhythm. While it may not boast an array of activities for leisure, its simplicity invites introspection and immersion in the beauty of the natural world. Embrace the stillness, let time slow down, and savor the moments of quiet contemplation in this untouched landscape.

The Maasai Immersion project is located about 2 hours away from Arusha. Due to the remoteness of the project, volunteers who wish to go back to Arusha and take part on tours over the weekends, will need to arrange transportation with the local team directly at an extra cost of CA$100 per vehicle, for up to 4 passengers. Please note that this doesn’t apply to safaris, as the local team can pick-up volunteers from the Makuyuni Village on the way out to the wildlife parks and reserves.

Accommodation and WiFi

During their time in Arusha, Maasai Immersion volunteers are accommodated in dorm-style volunteer houses located in Sakina, Arusha. In the volunteer houses, you can expect to share a room with one to ten other volunteers of the same gender; however, the majority of rooms accommodate 4-6 people. Living conditions are basic, but the volunteer houses have running water and electricity. It’s important to note that there are often power outages, which can affect the availability of hot water and electricity. There are cooks who prepare meals for the volunteers, and volunteer houses have security guards.

At Makuyuni Village, volunteers will be accommodated in their own Maasai Bomas and gather around the campfire every evening for dinner under the stars. You can expect to share a boma with one or two volunteers of the same gender. ​These bomas are purpose built accommodations to host volunteers in a way that is 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 in Arusha and Makuyuni, however you will need​ ​to bring​ ​your own towel and toiletries. It is​ ​also​ ​recommended to bring​ ​a​ sleeping bag for cooler months.

During the busy months of June, July, and August 2024, our volunteer houses in Arusha may reach full capacity due to the high number of volunteers joining us. To ensure that everyone is comfortably accommodated, part of our volunteers may be hosted in a nearby hotel, in dormitory style rooms separated by gender. Don’t worry, this arrangement is carefully coordinated to ensure your comfort and convenience. Those staying in the hotel will receive their meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - directly at the hotel.

If you would like to keep connected during your stay in Arusha, 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.

At your Maasai accommodation, wifi is widely available.

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 in Arusha for CA$50 per person, per night, meals included, subject to availability. Please note, extra nights are not available in Maasailand.

If you would like to arrange extra nights of accommodation, you will be able to request these via the website after you register.

Please be aware that private room upgrades are currently not available in Tanzania.

Meals

Tanzanian cuisine varies across the country due to differences in produce found inland and along the coast. The immigration of Khoja Indians has influenced local dishes with Indian flavors. Staple foods in Tanzania include rice, ugali (maize porridge), chapatti, and beans. Please keep in mind that rice and beans are significant components of meals in Tanzania, so you can expect to be served these quite often.

Volunteers are provided with three meals a day at the volunteer houses and homestays. Breakfast typically consists of eggs served with pancakes, mandazzi (deep-fried dough balls), or cake, along with plenty of fresh fruit, bread, and a selection of jams and other spreads for toast.

Lunch and dinner usually feature a traditional meat dish (chicken or beef) alongside a vegetable dish, beans, lentils, or cooked vegetables served with rice, pasta, chips, or chapatti.

Meals are served at the accommodations, but lunch boxes with fruits and sandwiches can be provided upon request if your placement is scheduled to finish after lunchtime.

Bottled water is readily available in Tanzania, and volunteers should budget approximately $5 per week for 2 liters a day. Filtered water is also available at the accommodations, and you can choose between purchasing bottled water or using the free filtered water provided in the houses.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us so that the local team can make arrangements for you. They can provide vegetarian meals and options that are dairy and gluten-free; however, please note that vegan, halal, and kosher options are not available. Keep in mind that your eating experience may differ from what you’re accustomed to at home. The local team will do their best to accommodate your needs and ensure volunteers are well taken care of, but it’s essential for volunteers to remain flexible.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately CA$471) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
2 weeks $710 Equivalent to $51/day
3 weeks $1,015 Equivalent to $48/day
4 weeks $1,330 Equivalent to $48/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$471) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Independent volunteers under the age of 18 will have an additional cost of US$80 per week added to their program fee to cover extra logistical support provided by the local team, including transportation to and from placement each day and airport drop-off.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, transport to and from your placement each day 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.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • US$100 per week for transportation, logistics involved and other costs for hosting you at the Maasai village
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized 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

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Arusha

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Arusha! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Arusha program.

Kifaru Safari
Kifaru Safari

A 2 day safari in Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater where you will have the opportunity to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat.

CA$498
Maasai Village Tour
Maasai Village Tour

Gain an authentic insight into the Maasai way of life on a full day tour to Maasailand.

CA$164
Moshi Trips
Moshi Trips

An opportunity to visit Moshi Town, the last village before the Kilimanjaro National Park. Volunteers can choose between 1 or 2 day trips.

From CA$100

Check what's required to visit Tanzania

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

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.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Dodoma
Population 58 million
Languages Swahili and English
Currency Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Time zone UTC+03:00

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.

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How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!