TGL Tanzania 2017

Tanzania is a keystone trip for The Giving Lens - pairing once in a lifetime experiences with NGO collaboration and offering a different perspective on Africa all together.

The last four teams' adventures in Tanzania left all of our participants speechless. From the epic landscapes and wildlife of the Serengeti, to full immersion into a barely-touristed Maasai Village (and teaching in their school), to documenting and playing at local schools Moshi, to the food, music, and culture of East Africa - nobody returned home the same.

With that in mind, we are so excited to be offering up this chance to take a team of photographers back to volunteer in majestic Tanzania. Located in East Africa, Tanzania is home to the famous and bucket-list topping Serengeti, majestic Kilimanjaro, the beautiful Maasai people, as well as unexpected gems like the tropical island of Zanzibar, the bustling city of Dar es Salaam, and so much more.

While it is a country of amazing beauty and even more amazing people, it is still a country facing many issues and setbacks. A country of 44 million people, but 1 in 3 lives in rural areas (making access to clean water, education, and health care harder) and 1 in 4 lives below the poverty line – that’s 12 million people. The child mortality rate for children under 5 is dangerously high, only 1 in 2 rural-living people have access to clean water, and life expectancy is roughly 57. You can see that despite booming tourism and so much to offer, this African country still struggles.

We're thrilled to be partnering with Excel Education Fund once again, a small grassroots NGO whose aim is to get kids into school, and keep them in school! Education is key to eliminating the poverty cycle and setting the next generation up for success. We'll be helping establish and further a very small photography club in the schools EEF partners with, as well as working to document some of the issues at hand for EEF and the people they serve.

Within the peoples of Tanzania is the Maasai. The Maasai have been living on these plains as nomads for thousands of years. We will be both visiting, and staying in, a traditional Maasai village doing a two-fold project: documenting the lives of the Maasai for cultural preservation and documentation, as well as working in a school that is working to educate Maasai children who often have to choose between honoring their culture or partaking in mainstream education. The fact that the Maasai are nomadic by nature is a barrier to education. On top of this, Maasai girls are faced with even more barrier to education: only 50% attend primary school, and only 5% see secondary school. A school has been founded in this particular village to ensure the children have access to education.

Between EEF and their projects, and visiting the Masaai, we're leveraged to explore a side of Tanzania missed by nearly all tourists. We'll spend a night sleeping in the Masai village proper - that's right, mud huts and all (we promise, and other teams can pledge: it's SO worth it!) as well as camp in the wild plains of the Serengeti in excellent tents (mattresses and sleeping bags provided!) under a canopy of stars.

We're looking for adventurers, wide-eyed optimists, with a touch of reality in the mix. Africa is Africa. It has a rhythm that takes time to understand, and many luxuries are hard to come by. But is it also one of the most incredible experiences you will ever have, guaranteed. As a side note, we do help prepare people for what's to come as much as possible, so you're not completely overwhelmed - and we'll be right beside you in country to help you along!

Trip Dates

August 13-23 2017

Cost

$3900 USD

Group Size

8-10

Difficulty

Advanced

This trip is physically moderate. Despite other harder aspects of the trip, physically this trip is not very difficult. There's some walking every day, but it's flat and not more than a few hours each day. Safari itself involves mostly sitting and enjoying the view. It should be noted though that the lack of amenities or the basic nature of accommodation might leave some more tired than normal. When we stay in the Masai village, it's not unusual for the team to sleep poorly, and thus the following day has some downtime to recoup. That said, in terms of physical exertion, there's no major hikes, no hilly villages or towns, and is pretty approachable.
The emotional demands of this trip are moderate to difficult. It is not unusual for the poverty found in Tanzania to be extreme, and overwhelming. While we do not actually visit the poorest parts of the country - which would be found in the slums around larger cities - the poverty is usually beyond what is expected. However, the atmosphere of the schools we visit is generally very upbeat, a chaos of joy and laughter and energy, and the Masai village while basic and with minor means of income, is so partially by cultural values, and can be equally as inspiring as it is tough. We will work hard to prepare you for what you might encounter, on all parts of the spectrum.
The standards of accommodation, quality of meals, and access to amenities of this trip are good to very good. Accommodation is very, very basic. We work hard to ensure all accommodation is safe, and clean, and enjoyable, but there's no avoiding that amenities in Tanzania are basic - at least, unless there's a hefty price tag attached (and even then, you'd be surprised what you get). Participants can expect semi-private rooms with 2 twin beds, sharing with a fellow participant of the same gender. In some cases bathrooms are en-suite, in other cases bathrooms may be shared between rooms. Beds will be basic but comfortable, with clean sheets, and towels are provided. Bathrooms will also be basic but western flush toilets for the most part. There is a chance you'll encounter a squat toilet - most certainly at the Masai village but possible when walking out and around in towns, as this is the more common bathroom for locals. Don't be scared - it is actually more sanitary as you don't have to touch anything! Showers will be available but heat, and pressure, simply can't be guaranteed. However, as we learn more and more about Tanzania, we'll grow grateful for what we do have, rather than resentful of anything lacking. It happens - every trip, every time. We hate to break the news, but majority of our guesthouses do not offer wifi, and even when they do, it's best not to rely on it. However, if you have an unlocked smartphone, it's possible to buy a local SIM card and get data internet for quite cheap. We'll make this an option during the first full day of the trip for anyone interested. Meals will be home-cookin' or taken in restaurants. Get ready for rice and beans! While amenities in the guesthouses will be basic, in and around the towns you can easily find: soft drinks, snacks, cold beer, restaurants, fresh fruit, junk food (chocolate bars, etc), and corner stores, as well as clinics, drug stores, and coffee shops. Even on Safari there are 2 pit-stops that offer snacks, hot coffee, cold drinks, and many "Western" treats to stock up on.
Level of safety in Tanzania is very good. We generally don't go out after dark, or at least, not alone. During the day, you'll find the atmosphere extremely pleasant and friendly. While camping on the Serengeti, you'll be briefed on precautions for dealing with any animals that may pass by - you must abide by the rules laid out at the time, especially as regards to food or wandering off alone. The camp is a permanent fixture, but it is possible for animals to wander by or pass through.
Tanzania is a keystone trip for The Giving Lens - pairing once in a lifetime experiences with NGO collaboration and offering a different perspective on Africa all together.
Tanzania is a keystone trip for The Giving Lens - pairing once in a lifetime experiences with NGO collaboration and offering a different perspective on Africa all together.

What is Included?

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    All Ground Transportation

    From the moment you arrive to when you depart, we have you covered. Taxis, buses, tours, you name it.

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    All Accommodation and Meals

    Rooms are double rooms with twin beds, paired by gender, and accommodation is always clean, comfortable, and safe. From dinner the arrival day, to breakfast the departure day, we will keep you well fed and hydrated.

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    All Entry Fees and Guides

    Entry fees, shooting permits, guides, passes, etc. If the team is going to shoot there, we'll get you in. We'll even be sure to tip any guides on behalf of the whole team.

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    All Photo Instruction

    You'll have 2 leaders available all day long to field as many questions as you can muster, provide one-on-one help, and offer group topics and instruction as required by the scene at hand.

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    A Donation to the NGO

    While there are a lot of factors involved that determine the exact amount - which we're happy to be completely transparent about - you can rest assured we make a substantial donation to our NGO partner post-trip.

What is Not?

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    Flights

    We're open to people from every corner of the world. This means we cannot possibly offer a flight that would suit everyone. If you can get yourself here, we'll take care of the rest!

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    Insurance

    We require every participant to have adequate travel insurance, and to carry copies of this insurance at all times.

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    Passport and Visa

    Each participant is required to ensure their passport is valid for the time of travel, and to research, learn, and meet all the requirements of an entry visa specific to their country. If there are fees associated with the entry visa, they're not included.

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    Alcohol and Souvenirs

    We do not provide alcohol for our participants, so that's up to you. As well, as much as we really really like you, we can't buy your gifts for you. Souvenirs are on you!

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    Internet

    Some hotels have wifi, others do not, or sometimes it simply doesn't work. When wifi is available for purchase, it's up to you if it's worthwhile. Some participant opt to purchase a local SIM card and data plan - a great option that we don't cover.

Behind the Scenes of TGL Tanzania

The NGO: Excel Education Fund

Excel Education Fund was founded in 2013 by two Tanzanian women from the town of Moshi, located in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. They have worked in the public education system for many years and also have administrative experience. Although a public education is available in Tanzania, families are required to pay significant fees to access this education for their children. These women are very aware that too many children drop out of school early due to the lack of financial resources and family support for education. They have also witnessed how a proper education and exposure to career opportunities can dramatically change the life of a child.

The children that we aim to support lack the family structure and resources to provide the fees and many lack adequate food and living necessities. Often, the school provides the only adequate meal a child will get, and if fees are not paid, children do not eat. Excel has chosen children who have the most potential to take advantage of the scholarship opportunity. They don’t have to be at the top of their class, but they need to demonstrate a commitment to do their best to fulfill the requirements of their grade level, and to participate in the extra curricular opportunities that Excel offers. Not only will fees be paid for these children, but Excel will also offer tutoring and mentoring and will give them exposure to the kinds of occupations that may be available through education.

By opening up their worlds to these possibilities, the women of Excel hope to motivate and encourage the children to persevere and commit to completing requirements for a high school diploma and beyond.

Tanzania is a keystone trip for The Giving Lens - pairing once in a lifetime experiences with NGO collaboration and offering a different perspective on Africa all together.

Who Are Your Leaders?

Daniel Nahabedian is a freelance professional photographer, specializing in Travel, Culture and Landscapes (maybe also sunsets). He is a photography instructor, teaching in group and private workshops about basic and intermediate photography, as well as post-processing in Lightroom. He is an Armenian-Lebanese-French guy, raised in the UAE and living in Spain. His goal is to contribute to making the world a more friendly place by sharing his travels, knowledge acquired, and glimpses into cultures and traditions from around the world. He has an award-winning travel blog, Canvas of Light. This will be Daniel's 5th time to Tanzania, and 3rd trip with us!

Sebastian Beun is a thirty-something Belgium-based travel photographer, especially interested in landscape, nature and cultural photography. Photography, for him, is a lifelong and everlasting passion. It is what makes him feel emotions, breathe, live. Photography challenges him to share his life, thoughts, and perception of the world that surrounds me, with others; and to share in their lives as well. From the waterfalls of Iceland, to the mountains of the Alps, the Palazzi of Venice, to a small Maasai village in Tanzania, to watching his children grow, photography is the rhythm to which he lives his life. As a photographer he specializes in travel, especially landscape and portraiture. He love to take take photographs for a good cause; this is the why most of his travels are linked to NGO’s or non-profit organizations that try to help people locally, which is how he came to participate with The Giving Lens. After 4 trips with us, we’re thrilled to officially welcome Sebastien to our leader family. He is fluent in English and French, and have travelled across Europe, Africa, Asia, America, and Cuba.

TGL Testimonials

Betsy S.

As a teacher who loves to continue to learn, TGL is the perfect balance of challenge, self-growth and experiential learning, all with purpose. I’d love to make this an annual goal, and perhaps grow into a TGL leader. My language skills and photography need work and I’m more inspired than ever to improve and grow.

Yasmin T.

I feel honored that I was chosen as 1 of 7 women for the inaugural all-women’s trip to Thailand to work with COSA. The chance to give back to an NGO working with young girls of the sex-trafficking industry was really an eye-opening and rewarding experience. It has ignited a fire in me to continue ... Read More
Yasmin T.

Brian H.

I loved the entire TGL: Peru experience! It scared me; it challenged me; it motivated me; it pushed me to explore and expand my own comfort zone. The people, both the leaders of the TGL, as well as the travellers chosen to participate are genuinely good people. I would absolutely recommend this trip to anyone ... Read More
Brian H.