On Assignment Projects
Meet Your Expert
Tanzania is renowned for its incredible wildlife, yet its diverse cultures and welcoming people are equally fascinating. Though the Maasai are perhaps the most widely recognized tribal group, Tanzania is home to more than 120 ethnicities. Immerse yourself in village life, and discover how tribal communities have interacted with their environment for centuries. From vibrant villages to open savanna plains, examine the challenges of preserving Tanzania’s prized wildlife and cultural traditions through an On Assignment project of your choice— Photography or Wildlife & Biodiversity.
Maji ya Chai Village, Northern Tanzania
Settle into a small agricultural village nestled between Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru to get acquainted with Tanzania and our group. Spend the first couple of days working together with the villagers on a community service project, such as developing a water-delivery system or helping with repairs to the local school. Learn firsthand about ujamaa, the uniquely African concept of interdependent community developed by Tanzania’s first president, Julius Nyerere. Break into your On Assignment teams to plan projects and interact with community groups, artisans, and village youth. Visit young children in an orphanage, play sports with Tanzanian kids, or tutor English at the local school. Assist community leaders and educators with their programs promoting education, healthy nutrition, and HIV/AIDS awareness. Learn about music and dance from local youth, practice batik, and participate in lively discussions about environmental and social issues. Throughout the week, report on your experiences through photographs, writing, or video, and develop a narrative about your time in the village.
Wildlife Safari and Maasai Tribal Lands
I really loved staying with the Maasai people and learning about their culture. They opened their doors to us, and shared their long, interesting history and traditions.
Our safari begins with a special invitation to spend two days on the Maasai Steppe at Noloholo, an environmental research station run by National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantees Laly Lichtenfeld and Charles Trout. Discuss conservation efforts and land use issues with field biologists, and participate in the National Geographic–sponsored Build a Boma project, helping to construct a “living wall” of trees to keep predatory animals away from a Maasai community’s livestock. Dressed in brightly colored robes and adorned with intricate beaded jewelry, the Maasai welcome our group into their community. Meet schoolchildren who split their time between tending cattle and attending school. Witness drumming and jumping contests. Learn how these nomadic herders are adapting to the modern world. Move to the Oldonyo Sambu Wilderness Area outside of Tarangire National Park. Here, set up camp and spend the next two days on hikes with traditional Maasai warriors through their ancestral hunting grounds.
Head to a site among the baobab trees deep in magnificent Tarangire National Park. On daily game drives, get up close to lions, zebras, cheetahs, elephants, Cape buffalo, baboons, and jackals in their natural habitat. With our professional guides, discuss natural selection, animal behavior, and the wildlife-management challenges facing the people of Tanzania.
Continue to Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best wildlife- viewing spots in the world. This volcanic caldera contains almost 30,000 animals at any given time. Spot lions, zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, and even black rhinoceroses from the safety of our safari jeep.
Continue on to flamingo-fringed Lake Manyara National Park for more wildlife viewing.
Spend your last few days at a community-run eco-lodge in northern Tanzania. Learn a traditional dance, meet local artists, and visit a coffee farm. Share your On Assignment projects and enjoy a farewell celebration before flying home.
While in the village, we stay in dormitory-style housing with bunk beds. Boys and girls share a sleeping area and bathroom with other students of the same gender. We work in teams to help to prepare meals. In the Maasai tribal lands and on safari, we stay in tented camps.