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General FAQ

We understand that some people are more private and the idea of living with a group of volunteers night and day for two weeks, although exciting, might also be a little daunting. Our main goal is to provide a rich and memorable experience for each volunteer: we make it a priority to be sensitive to each person’s individual needs, be it physical or emotional.

Currently we only host sessions in East Africa. But we are always looking for opportunities to expand our reach and give volunteers more options.

There is no specific language requirement in order to attend one of our sessions. And short of basic phrases and words, we don’t focus much on developing Swahili (the predominate language of both Tanzania and Kenya). But, there is something powerful that occurs when you can communicate with the locals that you meet, even at a rudimentary level. In short, if you feel so inclined, there are a myriad of free resources available to help you begin learning Swahili.

Feel free to contact one of our session representatives either by phone or by email. Just head over to our contact page.

Our volunteers typically range from ages 18 to 30, but most are from 21-26.

That is completely fine. As you’ve likely realized, many of our volunteers are students and choose to come on our program because they find a particular session that directly applies to their current major or potential career. But, we also value the experience that young professionals bring to our program as well. We welcome anyone to join us who has a desire to volunteer, learn about the world, and experience an entirely new culture.

Emergency international health insurance is included with the program. This covers major injuries and emergency evacuation costs. If you would like more comprehensive health insurance, first check with your provider to see what they cover. If you decide that the coverage provided by Marafiki Africa or your personal health insurance company is insufficient, there are a number of international health plans available on the internet.

This is an important question that many of our volunteers have asked or thought about. The short answer is, yes. Tanzania is very safe to travel to.

Tanzania is one of the safest countries in east Africa. In fact, average crime per capita in Tanzania is nearly the same as in the United States. We will be traveling to areas where crime and security concerns are very low, and we will be taking every security precaution to ensure that the trip is successful without incident.

Two weeks may seem like a long time, but it will fly by quickly. Since we will be doing laundry by hand (laundry detergent will be provided) a few times throughout the trip, we encourage you to resist the urge to bring lots of clothing. Not only does it take up valuable room in your travel bag, but you’ll realize more and more that everyone else is just as dirty as you are.

You will need a travel visa to enter Tanzania. We will give specific instructions on how to apply for your visa prior to your trip.

You are welcome to arrange fun travel plans after your session ends. Once you are in Africa, flights to Europe and other parts of the world can be very affordable. Feel free to make any arrangements you would like.

The total cost of the program (including the security deposit) is $2,250 before discounts. Most volunteers pay $2,000 on average after taking advantage of all available discounts.
This fee includes all of your costs once you arrive in the country (meals, transportation, a multiple-day Serengeti safari, etc…)

Costs you will be responsible for:

  • Round-trip flight
  • Visa
  • Immunizations
  • International health insurance

Your program cost is all-inclusive.

There are two additional times that you might need additional money. The first is to pay a small tip to your safari guide and chef ($10 to $30 is sufficient). The second is on our last day in the country to go souvenir shopping in the markets. You can access money via debit card, or by exchanging cash. Most banks charge around $5 to withdraw money abroad. You will need to contact your bank and let them know that you will be using your card abroad, and ask what fees they charge for international use.

While not required to travel to East Africa, the CDC recommends that you receive the following from your local health center prior to your trip:

Routine vaccines
Hepatitis A

We will also provide anti-malaria medicine for you when you arrive.


There are several ways for volunteers to decrease the cost of their program.

1. For every friend you refer, you get $100 off your program cost and your friend gets $50 off their program cost.
2. Pay half of your program cost early and you receive an additional $50 off.

Upon acceptance into the program you will also be sent a fundraising packet so that you can easily identify ways to raise the money for your trip. We’ll help you along the way!

In every program session we focus on creating sustainable impact through volunteer service. For every project we begin, our local Tanzanian staff will follow up with the beneficiaries of our service long after the volunteers have left to ensure that the impact is long lasting. If you are interested in seeing our annual impact report from last year, please send an email to info@marafikiafrica.org and we would be happy to send it to you!

Most of the communities in which we serve have a population with very low levels of education. Because our volunteers have all received primary education (through high school), they are actually more than qualified to teach basic principles of each program.

Relative to the other 53 countries in Africa, Tanzania is very safe. It is extremely rare to contract diseases in the areas we will be visiting during our program. We also take every precaution to reduce exposure to germs or other sources of disease. In addition, we supply volunteers with anti-malarial medication to take with meals as an additional safety measure. We have never had a volunteer or staff member become seriously ill, and we intend to keep it that way!

We have 24-7 emergency phone access, as well as limited internet access so that you may email home. We encourage volunteers to email home every three or four days to let parents know that they are doing well.

Our base camp is located in a village near a larger city called Arusha. Because of its proximity to the city, animals do not roam near our living space. We are also guarded by 24-7 security to ensure our safety and the safety of our belongings.

We would be happy to assist you in earning internship credit for your participation in our program. If you are required to intern for a minimum number of weeks, we can put you to work prior to the trip and help you gain experience in several areas of expertise. Simply indicate on your application that you will be seeking school credit and we will help you through the process.