Tanzania—its beauty and promise—distilled.
Some people dream of the wildlife. Others the service. Still others Kili. What’s your dream? What will you look forward to most? When you join a Field Studies Tanzania group, your dreams flow together, and the group very quickly shares one dream: to have the greatest three weeks possible in a beautiful, fascinating place.
We’ll explore the wildlife-filled Ngorongoro Crater and spectacular Serengeti. These are must sees on any trip to East Africa, but we’ll do more: we’ll take a number of hikes and experience the rugged simplicity of camping in beautiful natural areas off the beaten track. Our first week on safari is a great introduction to Maasai culture. Our Maasai guide will lead us through remote parts of the land. The days are long, but the rewards are great as we catch glimpses of giraffes and gazelles through stands of acacia.
In Arusha the focus is service. We’ll volunteer at an orphanage and primary school, teaching English to young children, playing games and helping with after-school chores. Every day, our group will take time to study Swahili with a native-speaker language instructor and learn about the geography, culture and history of Tanzania.
On Kilimanjaro we’ll challenge ourselves with a weeklong summit bid. At 19,341 feet Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the continent—a spectacular snow-draped volcano astride the equator.
Experiencing all of this—the Crater, the Serengeti, Arusha, Kilimanjaro—is the stuff of dreams. Field Studies Tanzania makes those dreams a reality—and let’s you share them in a fun and friendship-filled Overland group.
Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro was amazing! It felt as if we reached the ultimate goal as a group. We made lifelong friendships in an amazing place. Thank you!
- Audrey Berner, Dallas, Texas
Days 1-2: Trip Start
We will meet at JFK Airport in New York and board our flight to Tanzania. Upon arrival, a private shuttle will bring us to our accommodations in Arusha.
Days 3-8: Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti
Our adventure begins with a five-day trek through the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Highlands. Our guides will pick us up in Arusha, and we’ll head west to the National Parks, home to the most spectacular vistas and impressive wildlife Northern Tanzania has to offer. We’ll spend five days traveling through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti. This route gives us great wildlife viewing opportunities (wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, elephants and lions) and the chance to challenge ourselves with a number of day-long hikes off the beaten track: through the lush Ngorongoro Highlands, up Mt. Lemagarut (10,200 feet) and around the short grass plains of the Serengeti. At the end of the week, we will drive into the Ngorongoro Crater to observe wildlife at close range.
Days 9-13: Volunteering in Arusha and Swahili Lessons
In Arusha, we’ll spend five days volunteering at the Living Water Children’s Centre, an orphanage and primary school in rural Tanzania several miles outside of Arusha. We’ll spend our mornings studying the basics of Swahili with a native-speaker language instructor and learn about the geography, culture and history of Tanzania. In the afternoon, we’ll work with the children, teaching them English, playing games and helping with chores. We’ll cook dinner together before returning each night to our volunteer accommodations.
Days 14-20: Kilimanjaro
After two weeks in Tanzania, we’ll be ready to tackle Africa’s greatest hiking challenge–a weeklong summit bid on Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the continent. We’ll meet our guides at a mountain lodge to prepare for our summit attempt. Over the course of five nights, we’ll progress towards the summit of Kilimanjaro, hiking the Rongai route with our professional guides. We’ll move at a pace that will allow us to appreciate every moment and to adjust to the gains in altitude as we ascend towards the roof of Africa.
Days 21: Trip End
At the end of the trip we’ll head to Moshi and celebrate with a final dinner before boarding our flight home.
2 nights aboard a flight between New York and Tanzania.
3 nights in private rooms at lodges in Arusha and on Mount Kilimanjaro.
10 nights camping (with access to drinking water, primitive bathroom facilities and camp showers) while on safari and on Mount Kilimanjaro.
6 nights in a private volunteer residence at the Living Water Children’s Centre.
Things to know
- We travel light on Overland trips; please only bring items on your packing list.
- Please do not bring any electronics (including your cell phone). See FAQs for more information on our cell phone and electronics policy.
- Your group will have access to laundry periodically.
- Do not bring any type of knife or multi-tool (such as a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool).
- There are no reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen items.
- Please wear the navy Overland shirt that you will receive from the Overland office to your trip start location.
- Medium-Sized Duffel Bag or Backpack
3,000-5,000 cubic inch (50-80 liters) backpack or duffel bag. Wheeled suitcases are discouraged.
- Navy Overland Shirt (1)
We will send students an Overland shirt prior to their trip, and we encourage students to wear their Overland shirt to trip start. We highly recommend this for students flying to their trip start location.
- Synthetic T-Shirt (5)
Please consider cultural sensitivity; you will be expected to have your shoulders covered.
- Synthetic Shorts (2)
- Pants (2)
One pair for traveling and walks through cities in towns. A second pair, synthetic, suitable for hiking
- Fleece Pants
Please do not bring cotton sweatpants (they are heavy and bulky and will not keep you warm if wet).
- Synthetic Long Underwear Top & Bottom
- Hat with Visor
For protection from the sun. Baseball hats are acceptable.
- Winter Hat
- Gloves or Mittens (pair) (2)
One pair of insulated, warm and waterproof gloves or mittens, and one pair of liner gloves for cool nights around camp.
- Athletic Socks (pair) (2)
- Wool and/or Synthetic Socks (3)
- Underwear (7)
- Pajamas (optional)
Students sometimes prefer to sleep in shorts and a T-shirt instead of bringing pajamas.
- Fleece Jacket or Pullover
Medium to heavyweight and reasonably compact.
- Waterproof Raincoat
Waterproof material required (not just water resistant). Rain coats provide protection from wind and rain and serve as an extra warm layer. Your jacket should be large enough to allow layers underneath. We recommend hoods and breathable materials. Gore-Tex is a well-known waterproof and breathable fabric but there are many other quality fabrics. Ponchos are not acceptable.
- Packable Synthetic or Down Jacket
Midweight, compressible, synthetic (Primaloft or similar) or down jacket. Full zip or 1/4 zip are acceptable.
- Waterproof Rain Pants
Waterproof material required (not just water resistant). Rain pants provide protection from wind and rain and serve as an extra warm layer.
- Day Pack
Basic two-shoulder backpack large enough to hold your lunch, two water bottles, snacks, extra layers and rain jacket. Use your day pack as a carry-on for your flight and for daily activities or hikes. A standard school backpack is usually fine (no satchels or shoulder bags).
- Sleeping Bag
A lightweight, compact sleeping bag rated to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less. We recommend either synthetic or treated down material. Your sleeping bag should compress into a stuff sack no larger than 20" in length.
- Sleeping Pad
Full- or ¾-length compact sleeping pad. We recommend closed cell foam that is thin and firm (e.g., RidgeRest) or self-inflating (e.g., Therm-a-Rest).
- Water Bottle
One 1-liter bottle. A Camelbak or similar water carrier is acceptable.
- Hydration System
One 1-liter hydration bladder (e.g., CamelBak or Platypus) is required.
- Bowl, Mug & Utensils
6" to 8" plastic dish or bowl with top, insulated plastic mug, spoon, fork and knife. These don't need to be special camping utensils (a Tupperware dish and regular utensils are fine).
- Headlamp & Extra Batteries
- Waterproof Hiking Boots
Choose comfortable boots designed for hiking with a pack (i.e., mid to high cut for ankle support). Boots should be waterproof. Break them in before the start of your trip.
- Sneakers (pair)
Comfortable shoes to wear on daily activities. Shoes should be supportive and have a good tread on the bottom for traction.
- Sandals (pair)
Flip flops or Crocs work well
A passport that is valid until at least six months after your trip end date
- Passport Photocopies
Make at least four photocopies of your passport and visa (if applicable). Leave one copy with your family and put photocopies in both your checked luggage and carry-on luggage for the flight, separate from your original documents.
- Single Entry Visa for Tanzania
More information on how to obtain a single entry visa is provided to enrolled students.
- Photo Identification
A current school or other kind of photo identification (if you have one).
All items should be travel size (if necessary, you will be able to restock during the trip).
- Notebook & Pen
To use in class.
- Community Donation Items
A few items of second-hand clothing for children or adults, arts and crafts materials such markers, paint brushes and construction paper or your favorite children's books.
- Synthetic Camping Towel
A medium-size synthetic camping towel (synthetic camping towels dry much faster than regular towels).
- Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags (5)
To organize and waterproof your gear and small items.
- Package of Moleskin or Molefoam
To protect your feet from blisters.
Polarized sunglasses that wrap around to protect from glare are ideal.
- Sunscreen (SPF 15+) & Chapstick (with SPF protection)
- Personal Journal or Book
- Camera, Charger & Extra Batteries (optional)
A digital or disposable camera and, if necessary, a charger and large enough memory card to accommodate your pictures (4 to 8 GB).
- Spending Money
$30 per week in local currency or a debit/ATM card (please notify your bank of international travel before trip start).
- Health Insurance Card
Please bring an original or copy of your health insurance card.
- What is the weather like on Field Studies Tanzania?
The weather on Field Studies Tanzania is generally warm days and cool nights. Afternoon temperatures are usually between 70 and 80 degrees, but vary greatly depending on altitude and location. Temperatures on Kilimanjaro, for example, may fall below freezing. Our packing list takes these variables into consideration and layering is the best strategy. Please follow the packing list.
- What are the arrival and departure airports for child’s trip?
You will need to arrange transportation for child to and from JFK International Airport (JFK) in New York. Overland will coordinate group flights between New York and Tanzania. We will provide more specific travel information once we have placed your child on a program.
- Please tell me about safety at Overland.
Safety and risk management are at the forefront of our decision-making–from trip planning to leader training to supporting our groups in the field. We cannot guarantee absolute safety–no program can. All recreational activities include inherent and other risks. Therefore, we strive to manage the risks that we can, knowing we cannot eliminate them. We work hard to recruit, train and support our trip leaders so they can create the kind of trips that have made us successful for over 30 years. Please click here to read more about our approach to risk management and our accreditation by the American Camp Association.
- Does my child need to have previous experience?
While no previous experience is required, we have high expectations of our students. We expect your child–with your help–to select a trip that is appropriate for his or her interests and abilities. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the specific program and help your child understand what to expect. We also expect our students to prepare ahead of time: to review the packing list, gather clothing and gear and complete whatever training the trip requires (for recommended training please see the Before You Go tab). Once the trip begins, your child should be ready–and excited–to contribute to a wholesome and enthusiastic group where each group member feels welcomed and valued.
- Please tell me about Overland’s admissions process.
For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.
When we receive child’s application, if the first choice is available, you will receive a phone call and an email containing a link to our Overland Portal where you will find our Admissions Review Forms. We will accept your deposit to hold your child’s place in the program pending a favorable Admissions Review. If the first choice is not available, we will call you to confirm that the second choice is acceptable. If neither the first choice nor second choice are available, we will call you to discuss options. For those students placed on our waitlist, we will notify you as soon as a spot becomes available.
We seek to admit students who have demonstrated that they possess the personal qualities and experience necessary to succeed on an Overland trip. While Overland is always supportive and nurturing, an Overland program is unlike a traditional camp in that our small groups–12 students and 2 leaders–travel, live and work as a group, making all of their own meals, helping each other and cooperating in ways big and small, and they do all of this far from home. As a result, every student must be able to thrive in an environment that places equal emphasis on:
1. Teamwork and Shared Responsibilities.
2. Independence and Self-Reliance.
3. Support of Others and Consideration for Others.
- What are Overland’s policies on phones, electronics and communication?
To maximize independence and self-reliance, we do not permit phone calls, emails or text messages to or from our campers (the exceptions to this are: your child will call home on arrival and departure with our phones and assistance, and in the case of an emergency). If your child brings a phone for use while en route to Overland, please do not send him or her with an expensive smartphone; instead bring an inexpensive prepaid cell phone. All phones will be collected on arrival and returned at departure. While we will take reasonable steps to prevent damage, theft or loss to phones, we take no responsibility for phones and we will not make any reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen phones.
Cameras are welcome but please do not bring any other electronics (e.g., iPods, iPads, Kindles or other readers, GPS or similar devices). All electronics (except cameras) will be mailed home on arrival (at your risk and expense).
We are committed to providing extraordinary support to you and your child; to that end, the Overland office is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week during the summer (outside of office hours our answering service provides emergency coverage). Our leaders in the field are in touch with our office regularly; they carry cell phones (and in some cases satellite phones). Anytime a camper is treated for an injury or illness by a doctor or medical personnel, parents are notified by our office. A director will call the parents to explain the nature of the injury or illness, the sequence of events leading up to the injury and/or the steps leading to the treatment. Parents are typically able to speak with the medical personnel, with the leaders and with their child.
- What vaccinations and medications does my child need in order to travel abroad with Overland?
Overland strongly recommends that families of students traveling abroad consult their child’s doctor and visit a travel clinic well before the start of the program to discuss options for travel-related vaccinations and medications. These are in addition to your child’s routine vaccinations and regularly prescribed medication.
You and your doctor are encouraged to generally review information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, the World Health Organization (WHO) or other sources, in addition to the specifics of your selected program, to consider health issues and determine what, if any, travel-related vaccinations and medications are appropriate for your child. Overland will provide a “Travel Vaccinations & Medications” form to assist with this process.
- Can my child get credit for service hours?
You should check with your child’s school about whether or not Overland's service hours meet their requirements. The approximate number of hours of service are listed in the sidebar. We will provide your child with proof of participation after completion of his or her service work.
Explore, volunteer and hike in Tanzania while engaging with local communities.
Students going on Field Studies Tanzania should prepare for:
- 10 days of hiking with an average of 6-7 miles per day
- 5 days of volunteer service for an average of 5 hours each day
- Traveling internationally
- Travel to and from the trip
- An Overland experience
We expect you to arrive to your trip fully prepared for all activities.
Preparing for Hiking
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a strenuous physical activity and requires proper training. Your group will be accompanied by professional guides and porters who will carry the majority of your group's gear. You will carry a day pack with additional layers of clothing, water, snacks, a camera and lunch.
Before your trip, we strongly advise you spend time breaking in and adjusting to your hiking boots. We expect you to prepare adequately so you can keep up physically and participate in all of your group's activities. Please follow our guidelines as you prepare for your program.
- 5 weeks before your trip: wear your boots for 15-30 minutes a day. Walk around your house or neighborhood so your boots begin to conform to your feet.
- 4 weeks before your trip: take three 30-minute hikes or walks in your boots.
- 3 weeks before your trip: take three 1-hour hikes or walks in your boots.
- 2 weeks before your trip: take three 1½ -hour hikes or walks in your boots.
- 1 week before your trip: take two 2-hour hikes or walks in your boots.
Groups typically take multiple breaks throughout the day while hiking—for water, snacks, lunch, to adjust packs, etc. During some days on Kilimanjaro you might arrive into camp in the afternoon and take an additional hike to acclimate to the altitude.
Preparing for Service
Trips involving service work require a positive attitude and willingness to work hard as a volunteer. You should arrive eager to participate in a variety of service projects. You and your group might do chores or play soccer with local students, or read with and teach elementary school students. The projects your group work on will depend upon the availability of service opportunities and the needs of the local community.
Preparing for International Travel
International travel requires planning and preparation. You must have a valid passport and the necessary visas, travel vaccinations and travel medications. We will provide additional instructions regarding international travel preparation once we have placed you on a program. More information is also available in the FAQs.
Preparing for Travel to and from the Trip
Families are responsible for arranging flights to and from the designated airport during a specified window (please do not purchase flights until you have received an email confirming our review of your health forms and school reference). Overland staff will be at the airport to welcome you at the start of your trip and to assist with your departure. You may also be dropped off and picked up at the airport. If you are flying to and from your trip, we will have you call home upon arrival and before departure. We will provide more specific travel information once we have placed you on a program.
Preparing for an Overland Experience
Overland programs are wholesome, structured experiences with high expectations of each student’s behavior. You are expected to be supportive of your trip mates and your leaders, enthusiastic, positive and helpful. We ask that you leave your cell phone and electronics at home (cameras are always welcome), so you can fully engage with your group and your trip. You will have the opportunity to send letters and receive mail at designated mail stops, which are shared in the spring.
All trips have a range of challenges. You should come prepared and recognize that some days will be more difficult, more challenging and longer—in terms of hours hiking or volunteering—than others. Changes occur due to a wide range of variables beyond the control of you, your group or your leaders. Service projects can change at a moment’s notice due to weather or the varying needs of local communities. You, or someone in your group, might develop blisters while hiking, or encounter another issue that could delay your group.
Arriving ready for a challenge—and prepared to contribute to an enthusiastic group—will go a long way toward creating a successful trip. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss preparing for your Overland program.