I have a bit of a love hate relationship with overseas school trips. Done badly they can feel a bit like poverty tourism with a group of disinterested teenagers getting dragged to places that are somehow going to make them better, more rounded individuals. Done well they can be amazing cultural experiences for teenagers, teachers and expedition leader alike. Thankfully my recent trip to Tanzania was the latter with a great group of boys and two teachers from Victoria College in Jersey. From the very start the team was interested and engaged and made the absolute most of a challenging itinerary in a challenging country. While these trips are definitely work I am continually amazed that I get to visit places like these and get to experience the beauty of a country like Tanzania.
Indian ocean on our second night in country. As ever the photos dont really tell the full story – this had been a long stressful day for me and a couple of the group, changing money, buying a local sim card and 5 days of food for 12 people along with all our cooking supplies. Its all worth it when your day ends somewhere like this!
Local post office. The level of bureaucracy in Tanzania was mind blowing. To accomplish anything to do with tickets, visas etc took an amazing amount of time and involved a multiple people doing a job that could easily be accomplished by one. I estimated that we passed one police road block for every 30mins of driving and were stoppped at about 25% of them.
We spent a week camping near Iringa working at a local school every day. The majority of the work was diggin foundations for teacher accommodation and painting the school. We had to stop work at 230 every afternoon as it was so hot.
Getting my camera out at school meant I would be instantly surrounded. The kids were fascinated by any technology and soundly beat the Victoria College boys at football despite being 4-6 years younger and playing barefoot.
We then headed further west to Mbeya for our final trek and an ascent of Mt Rungwe, Tanzanias third highest peak. Above – another shopping expedition to a local market. The only thing we struggled to buy was dairy produce as cheese was about US$18 a kilo.
The safari had been one of the main reasons I had agreed to go to Tanzania in the first place – we ended up staying at Tandala tented camp – one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. With unlimited coffee and the animals strolling through camp it’d be hard to beat. One of the teachers, Matt unable to tear himself away from the elephants.
The safari was amazing with good clear sightings of lion, elephant, buffalo as well as numerous others.
While the long bus journeys on horrible roads got pretty tiresome I loved Tanzania and Zanzibar and it was great to travel with a keen, motivated group who absolutely made the most of their time there. Now its back to the wild scottish weather for a bit.