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Tuesday
Aug212012

Project of the Week: Tanzania Savannah

Track some of Africa’s smaller wildlife, learn a multitude of surveying techniques, and get involved in an African bush community all on Frontier’s Tanzania Wildlife Tracking and Community Adventure.

The spectacular landscape around Frontier's project camp

Why Tanzania?

Tanzania lies on Africa’s east coast and hosts a wealth of biodiversity, from small mammals to Africa’s big 5. As one of the oldest known inhabited areas on Earth, Tanzania has an immense cultural legacy, and with the project camp situated in the heart of the small village of Igota, volunteers have the perfect opportunity to experience the country’s great heritage and learn the locals’ traditional way of life.

The sunrises here are of a kind not found anywhere else; the Lion King did not do it justice.”

Frontier’s project

Accommodation

You’ll be staying in an African bush camp located between the world famous Selous Game Reserve and the wilderness which is the Udzungwa Mountain Range in the Kilombero Valley. Camp life echoes the traditional community lifestyle, with lodgings consisting of a thatched, teak-walled banda and open kitchen. Volunteers will learn a basic way of life, cooking over an open fire and collecting water from pumps located within the village, but are rewarded by this simple way of life with the knowledge that they are as close to experiencing wild Africa as they can get

“There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction gained from chopping down your own wood, building your own fire and then cooking dinner on it.”

Life on camp is simple but rewarding

Camp life

A typical week on camp:

Survey - Time spent on teams surveying techniques                                                                        
Lecture - Every/every other Monday an ARO will give a long lecture on a science topic      
Day Out - May not happen every week (e.g. Hippo Watching)                                       
Social - Night out - possibly themed - e.g. Kanga Party                  

“Lounging in the river is hands down the best way to escape the scorching afternoons, just keep an eye out for the hippos!”   

Volunteers encounter a multitude of Africa's smaller wildlife

Conservation

Volunteers will learn a multitude of surveying techniques such as pit fall trapping, transects, butterfly netting, quadrats, socio-economic surveys, and habitat disturbance, with the chance to track larger game from footprints. There will also be the opportunity to handle a range of small mammals, birds, and amphibians, getting truly hands-on with some of Africa’s lively wildlife.

Volunteers will use the knowledge they’ve learnt to help address the conservation issues that face the local community and area; for instance they will look for signs of elephants as part of the project’s work to help reopen the elephant migration route that has been recently closed off in the valley. For those interested in conservation as a career, volunteers are able to gain a vocational qualification in Tropical Habitat Conservation which is available at an additional cost.

“I will never forget the morning we found a malachite kingfisher in our mist net and I was able to stroke its crest, it’s one of the most spectacular birds around.”

Volunteers have the opportunity to see some of Africa's iconic wildlife

Local community

When not carrying out research, volunteers can dedicate some of their free time to teaching in the local community. Teaching anything from English to Biology, Frontier volunteers will have the chance to truly get to know rural Tanzanian culture and people as well as learn some Swahili along the way. The Frontier project also aims to engage the community and its younger generation this way with the conservation and development issues that will affect their way of life. By working closely with the local community the project aims to help people in the area create solutions that exceed Frontier, giving back a sense of responsibility to the native people of Tanzania.

“Tanzania has still got that community feel lost in much of England, people are so friendly here they will do anything to help.”

“The locals are always so impressed even with our minimal Swahili skills - there is no greater motivation to learn.”

Volunteers can get involved with teaching in the local community.

Planning your trip

The project is available to volunteers from 2 to 20 weeks with prices starting from £795. There is a UK residential briefing weekend and free game drive and safari included for those volunteers staying 10 weeks plus, with both available to all other volunteers at additional cost. Food, accommodation, and bus transfer to the project site is incorporated into the project price, although volunteers have to pay roughly £18 for an airport pick-up and first night hostel accommodation when in-country.

If you'd like more information on Frontier's Tanzania Wildlife Tracking and Community Adventure, or any other opportunities to volunteer abroad, please visit the Frontier website.

By Maria Sowter

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: TJSmgLop
    The Gap Year Blog - Into the Wild - Project of the Week: Tanzania Savannah
  • Response
    Fantastic Web-site, Carry on the useful work. Thanks a ton.

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