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.
Overland is a finely-tuned machine that has enhanced Alex's life—first because of the trip experience and then because of the friendships he established and has maintained after all of his trips. Thanks to everyone who works so long and hard to makes Overland the finely-tuned machine that it is.
- Karen Falk, Williamstown, Massachusetts
Three incredible weeks in East Africa.
Day 1: Arusha, Tanzania
Upon arrival, a private shuttle will bring us to our accommodations in Arusha. We’ll spend our first day getting organized.
Days 2-6: Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater & 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 7-11: Volunteering in Arusha & 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 12-17: 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 18-19: Trip End
At the end of the trip we’ll head to Moshi and celebrate with a final dinner before boarding flights home from Kilimanjaro International Airport.
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.
5 nights in a private volunteer residence at the Living Water Children’s Centre. Itinerary may vary by group and is subject to change.
We travel light at Overland.
- Medium-Sized Duffel Bag or Backpack
3,000-5,000 cubic inch (50-80 liters) backpack or duffel bag. Wheeled suitcases are not acceptable.
- Navy Overland T-Shirt (1)
We will send every student an Overland T-shirt prior to the trip. Please wear this T-shirt to trip start.
- 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 and towns. A second pair, synthetic, suitable for hiking.
- Fleece Pants (1)
Please do not bring cotton sweatpants (they are heavy and bulky and will not keep you warm if wet).
- Synthetic Long Underwear Top & Bottom (1)
- Underwear (7)
- Athletic Socks (2)
- Wool and/or Synthetic Socks (3)
- Gloves or Mittens (2)
One pair of insulated, warm and waterproof gloves or mittens, and one pair of liner gloves for cool nights around camp.
- Winter Hat (1)
- Hat with Visor (1)
- Bandana (optional)
- Pajamas (optional)
Students sometimes prefer to sleep in shorts and a T-shirt instead of pajamas.
- Fleece Jacket or Pullover (1)
- Midweight Synthetic or Down Jacket (1)
- Raincoat (1)
Waterproof material (e.g., Gore-Tex, or similar) is required. Your jacket should be large enough to allow layers underneath. Ponchos are not acceptable.
- Waterproof Rain Pants (1)
- Day Pack
1,300-2,000 cubic inch (20 - 30 liters) two-shoulder backpack with a hip belt and chest strap 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. 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
¾-length or full-length closed cell foam (thin and firm) or self-inflating.
- 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).
Please bring an extra battery/batteries.
- 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.
- 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.
Comfortable shoes with good traction.
Flip flops or Crocs work well.
- Synthetic Camping Towel
A medium-size synthetic camping towel (synthetic camping towels dry much faster than regular towels).
- Travel Size Toiletries
- Sunscreen (SPF 15+) & Chapstick (with SPF protection)
- 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.
- 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.
- Notebook & Pen
- Camera, Charger & Extra Batteries (optional)
A digital or disposable camera.
- Personal Journal or Book (optional)
- Health Insurance Card
Please bring an original or copy of your health insurance card.
Please bring 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.
- Spending Money & Miscellaneous Expenses
Each student should bring a debit card, an ATM card or a prepaid Visa card to cover spending money and miscellaneous expenses. Some prepaid cards do not work internationally (notably, Visa); please ensure you purchase one that does. Spending Money: While all meals and activities are included in the trip fee, we recommend $25/week for spending money (for example: for souvenirs or an occasional drink or snack beyond what is provided to the group as a whole). Miscellaneous Expenses: Most Overland students will incur some expenses while traveling (for example: an equipment repair or baggage fees at trip end). Please add $100 to the debit/ATM/Visa card (in addition to spending money), to cover these expenses.
Things to know
- We travel light at Overland; please only bring the items on this list.
- Your group will have access to laundry periodically.
- Please do not bring any electronics (including your cell phone). If your child wishes to bring a cell phone for travel purposes, please purchase a pre-paid disposable phone. Due to the nature of travel in Tanzania, there is elevated risk of damage, loss and theft. Overland takes no responsibility for phones, and we will not make any reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen phones. See FAQs for more information on our cell phone and electronics policy
- 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 schedule expensive items—phones, cameras, bicycles, etc.—on your homeowners insurance policy.
Questions? Call us: 413.458.9672.
- What is the weather like on Field Studies Tanzania?
You can expect typical summery weather with lots of sunshine, some rain, warm days and cool nights. Temperatures on Kilimanjaro may fall below freezing.
- What are the arrival and departure airports for child’s trip?
Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha, Tanzania
- Please tell me about the currency on this trip.
Tanzania uses the Tanzanian Shilling. Leaders can help students withdraw Shillings using a debit card as well as exchange US dollars upon arrival in Tanzania.
- 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 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 their interests and abilities. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the specific trip 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.
When we receive your application, if your first choice is available, we will: (1) call you to acknowledge our receipt of your application, (2) send you an email with a link to our enrollment forms, and (3) charge a deposit of $795 to your credit card. If your first choice is not available, we will call you to discuss options. For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.
- 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. 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 an expensive smartphone. Instead, an inexpensive prepaid cell phone will do. All phones will be collected on arrival and returned at departure. While we will take reasonable steps to prevent damage, theft or loss, 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 other 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.
- Can I send mail to my child during a trip?
Getting a letter, card or postcard while on an Overland trip is always exciting. Please keep in mind that sending mail to your child on an Overland trip is different than sending mail to a traditional camp because your child will be on the move. Our experience has been that mail often does not arrive on time, and, sometimes, even when it does, post offices, campgrounds and other mail stops do not reliably deliver mail to our groups. For these reasons:
1. Please do not send anything valuable – please send letters, cards or postcards only. If mail is late, lost or misdirected, Overland’s leaders and staff are not able to return to the post office (or other mail stop) to collect it.
2. Please use the US Postal Service first-class mail only; do not use UPS, FedEx or DHL (many of our mail stops accept US Postal Service mail only).
3. Please do not send overnight letters: many overnighted letters arrive before or after we arrive and are then sent back. For this same reason, please do not send mail that requires a signature upon delivery.
4. Please allow one week for postal delivery to U.S. mail stops.
5. Please allow two weeks for postal delivery to international mail stops.
Students going on Field Studies Tanzania should prepare for:
- Full days of outdoor activities led by two caring Overland leaders
- A week-long, supported trek with camping
- 5 days of volunteer service for an average of 5 hours each day
- A fun, supportive and wholesome Overland experience
We expect you to arrive to your trip fully prepared for all activities.
Preparing for the Hiking
On Field Studies Tanzania, you should be prepared for day hikes, as well as a week-long trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. During the trek, 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. In the month before your trip, you should break-in your hiking boots (wear them a lot!) and complete the pre-trip training (see below). Once on your trip, you'll find that enthusiasm and a positive attitude will help to make the trip a success for you... and for everyone in your group.
- 4 weeks before your trip: three 30-minute hikes or walks in your boots.
- 3 weeks before your trip: three 1-hour hikes or walks in your boots.
- 2 weeks before your trip: three 1½ -hour hikes or walks in your boots.
- 1 week before your trip: three 2-hour hikes or walks in your boots.
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 an Overland Experience
Overland trips are wholesome, structured experiences with high expectations of each student’s behavior. You are expected to be enthusiastic, positive, helpful and supportive of your trip mates and your leaders. 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. 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 trip.