About Tanzania



Thank you for choosing to volunteer in Tanzania. We CVS-Tanzania would like to make your stay as comfortable as you may wish it to be. It is in this effort that we have developed this simple guideline to guide you as you move around and as you carry out your volunteer assignment. In this booklet, you will get pertinent information about the country, CVS-Tanzania and general advice about living in Tanzania. We hope that you will enjoy your stay in the country and that you will gain as much as you can from your assignment. Upon your arrival in Tanzania you will be provided with a Placement Information sheet with specific information about your host organization, a copy of volunteer guidelines, and an address list of the persons related to your stay. Please feel free to contact us should you need any further information or help.

Enjoy your stay!




Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa. It is situated south of the equator between 1 and 12 S. It has a long coastline on the Indian Ocean. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda on the north, by Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia on the south and by the Democratic Republic of Congo on the west. The coastline measures 1,424 km, and the total area covered by Tanzania is 945,07 sp km, out of which the land covers 886,037 sq km and the water bodies cover 59,050 sq km. Kilimanjaro Mountain, situated at an elevation of 5,895 meters, is the highest point in Tanzania.



The country of Tanzania is a result of the political union between mainland Tanganyika and the off-shore islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. The two parts of the union attained independence from Britain separately, the mainland in 1961 and Zanzibar in 1963.

Tanzania is divided into 28 regions (22 on the mainland, 3 on Zanzibar, and 2 on Pemba). 99 District councils have been created to further increase local authority. These districts are also now referred to as local government authorities. Currently there 114 councils operating in 99 districts, 22 are urban and 92 are rural. The 22 urban units are classified further as city (Dar es salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Tanga and Mbeya), municipal (Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, Shinyanga, Morogoro, Lindi, Tabora and Iringa.), and town councils (the remaining communities).


From independence in 1961 until the mid-1980s, Tanzania was a one-party state, with a socialist model of economic development. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Tanzania undertook a number of political and economic reforms. In January and February 1992, the government decided to adopt multiparty democracy. Legal and constitutional changes led to the registration of 11 political parties. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, will serve until the next general elections in 2015.


 President- Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

Vice President-Dr. Ghalib Bilal

President of Zanzibar-Dr. Mohamed Shein

Minister of Foreign Affairs- Bernad Membe

PrimeMinister– Mizengo .P.Pinda



Significant measures have been taken to liberalize the Tanzanian economy along market lines and encourage both foreign and domestic private investments.

Agriculture constitutes the most important sector of the economy of Tanzania, providing about 27% of GDP and 80% of employment. Cash crops, including coffee, tea, cotton, cashews, sisal, cloves and pyre thrum, account for the vast majority of export earnings.

The main industrial activities (90%) are dominated by small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) specializing in food processing including dairy products, meat packing, preserving fruits and vegetables, production of textile and apparel, leather tanning, and plastics. A few larger factories (10%) manufacture cement, rolled steel, corrugated iron, aluminum sheets, cigarettes, beer and bottling beverages, fruit juices, and mineral water. Other factories produce raw materials, import substitutes, and processed agricultural products. Poor infrastructure in water and electricity supply systems continues to hinder factory production. In general, Tanzania’s manufacturing sector targets primarily the domestic market with limited exports of manufactured goods. Most of the industry in Dar es Salaam.

Zanzibar’s economy is based primarily on the production of cloves (90% grown on the islands of Pemba), the principal foreign exchange earner. Exports have suffered with the downturn in he clove market. Tourism is a promising sector with a number of new hotels and resorts having been built in recent years.

GDP (2008):                         $18.3 Billion

Average growth rate (2008): 7.1%

Per Capita income (2008):     $44.2


Population distribution in Tanzania is extremely uneven. Density varies among arid regions, the mainland’s well-watered highlands and Zanzibar. Most of the population is in rural areas. According to (2008) records mainland population is 41 million and in Zanzibar 1.2 million (estimate).


Tanzania lies so close to the equator that seasonal variations in temperature are not extreme. Owing to the country’s widely varying topography, Tanzania’s climate displays great range of regional differences. In general, there are two rain seasons throughout the country: the long season from mid March through May and the short rain seasons falls during November, December, and January. The coolest months are from June to October, and the warmest are December to March.

THE CLIMATE ALONG THE COAST: Coastal Region, Dar es Salaam, Lindi, Mtwara and Tanga, and the off-shore Islands of Mafia, Pemba and Unguja in tropical with relatively high humidity. The average temperature, which is moderated by the sea breeze, especially on the islands, ranges between 27 and 29 degree Celsius.

IN THE CENTRAL, NORTHERN AND WESTERN: Around Mwanza, Kagera, Kigoma, Shinyanga and Tabora, the climate is modified by highland plateau, low humidity with temperatures ranging between 20 and 27 degrees Celsius during the cooler months of June and August. The temperature can reach as 30 degrees Celsius and higher between the months of December and March.

NORTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST: In the mountainous areas of the Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Mara region and Mbeya, Rukwa, Iringa and Ruvuma, and Makonde Plateau (Newala, Masasi, Nachingwea and Tunduru), the temperature occasionally drops below 15 degree Celsius at night during the months of June and July. In the area around Rungwe Mountains the temperature can reach as low as 8 or 6 degree Celsius.

 CENTRAL: A large part of central regions (Dodoma and Singida) is semi-arid, receiving less that 500mm of rain annually. In contrast, the mountainous area in the north-east and south-west receive over 2000mm of rain annually. Along the coast (Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Lindi, Mtwara and Coastal region) rainfall ranges between 1000 and 1900 mm.


The official languages in Tanzania are Kiswahili and English, but we regard Kiswahili as our National language. There are also very many localized languages and dialects. There are more than 100 tribal groups many of Bantu origin. In Zanzibar and Pemba there is a strong Arab, Shiraz and Comorian influence.


SWAHILI                                           ENGLISH

Hujambo?                                           Hello

Habari?                                               How are you?

Nzuri                                                   I am fine

Asante                                                 Thank you

Karibu                                                 Welcome

Tafadhali                                             Please

Hapana                                               No

Ndiyo                                                   Yes

Kwaheri                                              Goodbye

Maji                                                     Water

Chakula                                               Food

Choo                                                   Toilet


Tanzania is made up of 100 of tribal groups of mainly Bantu origin. None of these groups comprise more than 10% of the population and this perhaps contributes to the tranquility the country has experienced. The most numerous groups are the Sukuma of Lake Victoria, Chagga of Mount Kilimanjaro, Nyamwezi of Tabora, Hehe of Iringa and the Gogo of Dodoma.


In general, Tanzania are modest people with deep cultural and traditional values. Hence, whatever you wear must be equally modest and respectful. Neither topless nor nudity is allowed at beaches. Short sleeve shirts, shorts and trouser for men are sufficient. For ladies, short sleeve blouses, slacks and skirts are ideal though in the touristy places such as Arusha and Dare es Salaam you may get along with shorts (not too short) and trousers.


Tanzania cuisine is both unique and widely varied. Tanzania is made of the mainland (Tanganyika) and the Islands (Zanzibar & Pemba). Along the coastal regions (Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar & Pemba), spicy foods are common, and there is also much use of coconut milk. Regions in Tanzania’s mainland also have their own unique foods. Some typical mainland Tanzanian foods include, Rice (Wali), Ugali, Chapati (a kind of bread), Nyama Choma, Mshikaki, Fish, Pilau & Biryani, Ndizi-Nyama, Plantains, vegetables as part of diet ( Bamia/Okra, Mchicha/spinach, Njegre/green peas, maharage/beans, kisamvu/cassava leaves) etc.

 FAMOUS SNACKS: Brad rolls- Chapati, Maandazi, Visheti, Kashata, Kabab, Samosa (Sambusa), Mkate wa kumimina, Vileja, Vitumbua, Bagia & many others.

BEVERAGES: Many people drink tea (Chai) in Tanzania. Usually tea is drink in the morning, during breakfast with Chapati (Pancakes), Maandazi (bread rolls of various types), and at times at night during supper. Coffee is second, and usually is taken in the evening, when the sun is cool, and people are on the front porch, playing cards or Bao. Many drink coffee with Kashata (a very sweet snack made from coconut meat or groundnuts).

LOCAL BEVERAGS: There are also local beverages depending on the different tribes and regions e.g. Local Brew: For coastal regions, such as Tanga and Dar es Salaam, Mnazi/Tembo is widely consumed. Other brews include Wanzuki and Mbege among the Chagga, and Lubisi and Nkonyagi as well as Mbandule among the Haya found on the shore of Lake Victoria.


Muslim 35%, Christian 63% other (traditional, Sikh, Hindu, Baha’i) 2%


Attendance 73.2% mainland (primary), 71.4% Zanzibar.

Literacy females 67% mainland, 76.8% Zanzibar, males 79.9% mainland, 80% Zanzibar.


Community Volunteer Services-Tanzania (CVS-Tanzania) is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-religious and non-political organization located in Tanga city, Tanzania. It is a registered NGO with registration number 00002834 with a mandate to work countrywide.

We deal with Community Development projects like Women and Youth projects, Environmental conservation and Care and support of orphans and vulnerable children.

The Tanzania Global Contact Programme experience provides a unique opportunity to learn from the traditions, beliefs and customs of new community. Since most of the volunteers come from outside of the community, they are often seen as ‘ambassadors’ representing their countries and are able to use this opportunity of experiencing another culture while taking the time to absorb and respect new world views.

t is our sincere belief that intercultural understanding & the development of global citizens is essential to our increasingly connected global world. We are committed to proving you with an intercultural experience that allows you to make concrete contributions to a community resulting in a deeper understanding of your role in the community.

When you arrive in Tanzania you may experience culture shock, jet lag, and difficulty adjusting to the food and the different weather. But this is all part of a huge learning curve to a new and exciting way of life.
We will pick you up from the airport in Dar es Salaam. At the airport, be ready to stand in line for customs, which may also be the case in Nairobi. You will have to fill out immigration forms at nearly every stop. You can get a tourist visa at the airport in Dar es Salaam/KIA so it is not essential that you arrange this beforehand. A visa cost $ 50 for 3 months and you will need your passport as well.
We will take you to town to get money and food shortly after your arrival.

Upon arrival in Tanzania all volunteers will attend a 3-4 days orientation course arranged by CVS-Tanzania and local volunteers.

We have a lot of information for you to learn and agree on before you move to your placements.


  1. Prepare volunteers for the culture they will be living in by introducing them to                                                              Tanzanian and African issues of importance. (do and don’ts)
  1. Educate volunteers on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and how it affects their behavior in Tanzania in general.
  1. Conduct the Swahili introduction course.
  1. Introduce the volunteers to their placements.
  1. Facilitate a security briefing.


We would like you to come to us with any issues or problems so we can work together to resolve them. We want to ensure that you are happy while volunteering in Tanzania and we also appreciate a fresh perspective on ideas.
We can and do change things if good suggestions are made- so feel free.

The staff and some old volunteers will assist you in learning and understanding the Tanzanian culture through an experience sharing session.

Each and every CVS-Tanzania volunteer is in charge of his/her own expenses directly or indirectly. The package paid is limited to accommodation, orientation, logistics and does not include entertainment, travel, holidays, tours, gifts, tips and gratuities among other things.

You may decide that you would like to travel around Tanzania after your stay ends. Organizing excursions and trips from Tanzania is very easy and we have several reputable travel agents who we can recommend, however it often turns out to be much cheaper to book directly from the internet.
Flights/Ferries within Tanzania, for example to Zanzibar, can also be arranged through travel agents.

Please fill out a Volunteer End Evaluation Form before you leave and give it to CVS-Tanzania. We want the volunteer experience to be as fun and rewarding as possible and we are always open to new ideas which my help us improve the program for future volunteers.

Go to the doctor and get a check up. Most importantly, take a stool and urine sample.

Some clinics recommend a blood test and chest X-ray. You should insist on a good medical check up even if you do not have any symptoms as some diseases can hide for a while before causing serious health problems. It may also be advisable to take a simple course of worming tablets when you arrive home (Albendazole). It may also be wise to take a treatment of malaria with you when you return home as, if you get sick soon after you return home, Western Doctors may see it more much more serious than it really is.

Take time for yourself, relax and be patient with the transition and the integration of this incredible experience.

Reverse culture shock is often much worse than when you first arrived in Tanzania, you may suddenly realize how materialistic, fast paced and expensive your life back home is.


You need to make sure you have a valid passport for the entire duration of your stay. You need to ensure that you have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for your visa and entry/exit stamps.

You should photocopy your passport photo page before you come-leave one copy at home with your next of kin and bring one copy to Tanzania( keep it in a separate place to your original passport)- this makes replacing your original passport a little easier if you loose it.

You are responsible for your own visa and you need to make sure that you have a visa which is valid for volunteering in Tanzania.

As it currently stands: for 1-3 months placements, you need to have a Tourist Visa for the purpose of entering and visiting Tanzania. You can get this from the Tanzanian Embassy in your home country, but it may also be obtained from the Immigration Point in Dar es Salaam Airport or Nairobi when you arrive. This Visa costs $50. Try to carry it with you when you travel to Tanzania. This tourist visa lasts for 3 months but it can be extended for further months if you cross the border and return to Tanzania.

For placement of 3 months you need to have volunteer Visa which is also a Class C Residence Permit. This costs $ 550 and lasts for 3 months.

While in Dar es Salaam/Kilimanjaro you will be accommodated in a local hostel/Hotel in town.
During your period of volunteering you will be accommodated with a host family. The host family will also provide you with meals. You will normally be served with local Tanzanian dishes. Note that the diet will be quite different from what you are used to from your home country and may not sit your dietary requirements or preferences. Please take it as part of the unique experience of volunteering.

The kids are beautiful and Tanzania is a stunning country. Please be respectful of who you take pictures of in the street-it is an invasion of privacy and some locals do NOT like it. Other people will gladly pose for a photo-but might want a copy and some money for the ‘work’!

Mobile phone and SIM Cards can be purchased cheaply here to communicate with home or with other people in Tanzania. Text messaging is very popular and it is reasonably cheap to send text messages home. You will need to be discrete and not use your phone outside in public as this is showing people you have money and pick pocketers will be tempted.
Tanzania has a notorious postal system-parcels may arrive- they may not! Letters are generally more reliable. They can arrive within 3 days-but can also take a more than 4 weeks!

Email or internet messenger services are often the best way to communicate with home. There are a number of local Internet Cafes in most of the town centers that are easily accessible. Internet connections are much slower here than at home, so be warned that some attachments will take ages to load.

The placement and/or host family appreciate any spots gifts for the children. Some volunteers have suggested that future volunteers bring play items, such as playing balls, colors, toys, balloons, cookies, body paint and anything that can be used in the preschool for the children.

You may have from 20kg up to 46kg of luggage allowance on your International Flight- but be warned- You can pay for excess baggage. We recommend you bring or purchase an umbrella (especially in the rainy seasons of March to April and September to October).

Bug/Mosquito Repellent: Bring enough to get you through your time here. Good quality repellent is not always available in Tanzania.

Torch due to unstable power supply.

Sunscreen & sunglasses and hat; It is hot here and if you sit outside in the sun –you will burn.

Address book-to keep in touch with family and friends back home.
Pictures of family, friends and home scenes: People in Tanzania are interested in your life and it is nice to have a reminder of home.

First Aid Kit: Band-Aids, antibacterial cream for wounds, bandages, paracetamol, medical tape, ring worm cream, gauze pads and a thermometer. Most medicines can be bought cheaply in Tanzania, but it is good to have supply from your own country.

Malaria pills

All medicines can be bought over the counter (including malaria prophylaxis, all antibiotics and the contraceptive pill). These are very cheap but the brands you require may not always be available-check with CVS-Tanzania before you rely on this.

You need to have your own adequate travel and medical insurance to come to Tanzania. This should cover any costs and evacuations incurred in case of an emergency and repatriation of your body/remains in case of death.

The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling. Daily exchange rates can be calculated at www.oanda.com

Visa card can be used in most cash machines in Dar es Salaam and other major cities.

US Dollars, followed by Euros, are the most convenient foreign currencies and get the best rates, although other major currencies are readily accepted in major centers. Note that $ 50 and $ 100 note bills get better rates of exchange than smaller denominations. US bills printed before year 2006 are not accepted anywhere.

The major hotels will exchange money, as will the banks. It is not advised to bring traveler’s cheque , as it can be very difficult and time-consuming to cash them.

Local currency cannot be imported except by residents of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Local currency cannot be exported. Foreign currency can be imported and exported without limit


You will probably spend more money at the beginning of your trip than towards the end. It takes time to learn how to live simply. Everyone’s budget is different according to what type of souvenirs you want, how you want to get somewhere, and how long you will stay.

Please bring some spending money to use for costs beyond those covered by the CVS-Tanzania.

1. Extra Baggage.

2. Safaris and Holidays

3. Taxi

4. Phone and Credit

5. Food at restaurants/hotels

6. Accommodation

There are few international banks and many local banks in Tanzania and quite a few cash machines which accept Visa cards to get money (you need a pin number). The bank machines that accept Master Cards are very few so do not bring Master Card as your main source for money.

There will be a transaction fee with your banking institution at home and it is advisable to notify your own bank that you will be traveling so they do not think your card has been stolen and close your account.

Sometime the bank machines can be temperamental, but there is almost always one working in the town centre.

A normal Debit card that is not a visa will not work.
Banking hours are from 0830am to 0330pm Monday to Friday to 1200am Saturdays.

The public transport system mainly consists of mini buses (called daladalas) that can get you almost anywhere in town you wish o go. They have the name of the first and last stop of their route painted on the front. A trip costs between 300 and 500 shillings (between 10 km and 25 km).

Always take small notes or coins with you to pay for your ride as the drivers will not have change.
After dark it is advisable to take taxi rather than Daladalas, which are available in the main centers. There is no metering and it is essential that you agree on fare before departure.

Fruits and vegetables are adequate in the local markets. Bread and other goods can be bought in supermarkets and local shops too.

In Tourist Souvenir Shops many people will see a; ‘Mzungu’ (Westerner) and see how much they can get out of you. Bargain (aggressively) for a good price- don’t be surprised if you pay half the price of what was originally asked. Talk to the Coordinator or other old volunteers to get a good frame of reference before buying.

Tanzania on the whole is a safe and friendly country. From your very first day here will notice that Tanzanians are very welcoming and friendly people.
There are few areas in Tanzania that are not safe (more for reasons of poverty-related crime rather than for religious or political reasons).

Only few places have witnessed major crimes, but pick pocketing can occur in market areas or heavily populated areas.

It is not advisable to carry too much cash around with you on a day-to-day basis. Carry only the cash that you know you will need and do not ‘flash’ it around. Tanzania is a poor country and if people see an opportunity- they may take it. Do not be seen to use mobile phones, cameras or take outwards of money in public.

Please understand that while we will take every precaution to ensure your safety and enjoyment of your Tanzanian experience, we do not- and can not –accept any responsibility for safety issues that may arise during the time you are working in Tanzania.

Please take care not to leave expensive possessions out on display- poverty can cause even a friend to be tempted to steel.

Women should follow the example of women in the host community in terms of culturally appropriate dress and demeanor. Plan to dress modestly (for example, not very short shorts, bikini, tops or other revealing clothes). Trust your instincts. If you do not feel safe in a situation or someone’s behavior is making you uncomfortable get out of the situation immediately. Firmly say “NO” to any invitation you do not want and turn away. Ignore persistent overtures.

More foreigners die in Africa through car accidents than through any illness. Drivers here are not always qualified, they may drink and drive and have no road sense whatsoever. Please be carefully about who you drive with. Do not let down your reserves and dispel your principles just because you are in a foreign country. Make sure you are happy with the person driving the car- or get out and find another option. Please for any journey you planed to make contact CVS-Tanzania coordinator for your best company of it.

Tanzania does not have much nightlife, but in the big cities like Dar es Salaam and Arusha it is possible to find. There are a few good hotels to eat out, beaches, some of which are also local ‘bars’ and stay open late with music. There are also many local restaurants which are exceptionally cheap to eat at.

You can get most varieties of food in Tanzania including Indian, Chinese, Tanzanian and Continental.

Malaria is rife in most parts of Tanzania and almost everyone gets it at some time. It is not serious if it is caught early and treated quickly. IT IS LIFE THREATENING IF IGNORED! We advise all volunteers who feel even slightly ill, to go for a quick and simple malaria test. It is better to be safe than sorry. You may choose to take a Malaria prophylaxis before you come and while you are here. You travel doctor will provide the most up-to-date information about his issue.

Prophylaxis can be bought very cheaply in Tanzania-beforehand please make sure that the brand you want is available.

No Malaria prevention is 100% effective. The best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent and wearing long clothing at night. Check your windows and doors and any gaps in floorboards to see whether the room is secure against mosquitoes. It is very important to sleep under a mosquito net. Check your net often to ensure that there are no holes in it- and please report it if that is the case.

There are many other ‘nasties’ which you can catch in Tanzania-including Typhoid, Bilharzia, Hepatitis, Food Poisoning etc. In order to reduce the chances of catching these wear mosquito repellent, don’t swim in lakes and eat in reputable restaurant.

The rate of HIV infection in Tanzania is currently estimated at somewhere between 7%-10%. But in reality it is much more than this. Do not put yourself at risk by having unprotected sex! Condoms can be purchased at most local pharmacies, supermarkets, local bars and lodgings and are purchased across the counter. In case of any sexual harassment, report to the nearest health centre or ask to be taken to the Regional hospital. Also, get in touch with CVS-Tanzania as soon as possible for further necessary action. Volunteers are advised to refrain from any careless sexual activity and exercise high integrity bearing in mind that careless behavior may be generalized to complicate other volunteers.

Practicing unsafe sex here is irresponsible and dangerous.

There are large numbers of street children, prostitutes and Leprosy sufferers in some parts of Tanzania all of whom you will see begging. Unfortunately, the problem is only worsening. These people are harmless, especially the children and they are very grateful for the odd coin or loaf of bread.


Do not drink tap water anywhere in Tanzania. You need to boil and then filter all water before you drink.


After volunteering with us, we can arrange best rates for doing Safari in national parks, climbing mountains and visiting other tourist attractions around Tanzania example Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti. In collaboration with one tourist agency, we do give discount for our volunteers. We are happy to organize and book a full safari, we collaborate with the best in safari planning to make your stay in Tanzania unforgettable!



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