Why Volunteer in Zanzibar

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Why Do People Love Zanzibar

Zanzibar, or the Spice Island, as it’s commonly named, is famous for its unique blend of cultures, beautiful beaches, and rich history. A leading tourist destination to Tanzania, and a place where volunteers can make a real difference in local communities, these are only a few of the reasons to volunteer in Zanzibar.

You only truly appreciate what makes Zanzibar special and more than just a tropical paradise when you come to discover it for yourself. And if you wish, extend your stay! We’re here to guide you through some of the reasons why you should consider volunteering on this island, including the benefits of affordability, supporting local needs, and exploring the unique beauty of Zanzibar. But first, let’s take a step back and pinpoint our way through a map of Zanzibar.

Where is Zanzibar?

You might be asking yourself, “Where is Zanzibar on a map?” Imagine a tropical island, a secluded escape from the rest of the world, with its own unique history and culture. Well, that is Zanzibar! It’s a semi-autonomous archipelago located off the coast of Tanzania, in East Africa. It is made up of two main islands, Unguja (also known as Zanzibar Island) and Pemba, as well as several smaller islands.

Now, getting to this beautiful island requires a bit of strategic planning ahead of time. U.S. airlines don’t fly directly to Zanzibar, but there are a number of other options to consider. If you fly into Dar es Salaam, you can take a short flight to Zanzibar or take the ferry that connects to the mainland with Stone Town. You can also connect through Middle Eastern airports, such as Doha, Qatar; and Dubai, UAE; or through Johannesburg, South Africa. Once you land in Tanzania, you can follow our do’s and don’ts guide while volunteering in Zanzibar.

9 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer in Zanzibar

Now that you know where Zanzibar is, go ahead and read on to learn why you’ll want to add Zanzibar to your “must-see” list of African countries to visit and volunteer in!

1. Affordable to Explore

Most people think that Zanzibar is expensive because they see a tropical paradise, but we’re here to break that myth! The cost of living on the island is relatively low compared to most African countries, making Zanzibar an incredibly affordable place to visit (another reason to love it)! Suitable for the independent traveler or family-friendly group, volunteers can stretch their budgets further, which makes island living all the more appealing.

crystal clear beach in Zanzibar

2. Immense Local Need

Zanzibar has a population of around one million people, and the majority of this group lives in unfortunate circumstances of poverty. Tourists and volunteers who visit the island have the valuable choice of making an impact while traveling. Some of the ways to get involved include helping to create more employment opportunities for Zanzibaris or supporting the local communities by donating time to a meaningful cause. Volunteering on a program in marine conservation or teaching and childcare can also help support local community needs, from coastal conservation efforts to education initiatives and community building.

3. Safety Isn’t an Issue

Similarly to any other travel adventure in a new city or country, the safety in Zanzibar is another important component to think about when choosing a volunteer program abroad. Considered one of the safest African destinations, Zanzibar has statistically low crime rates and the locals are always extremely friendly and welcoming, making it a volunteer destination with minimal safety issues to worry about.

4. Fascinating History & Vibrant Culture

While volunteering in Zanzibar, feel your explorer side switch on as you follow along the cobbled alleyways in Stone Town, which are the perfect start for exploring in your free time. The cultural heart of Zanzibar, this lively and historic trading town, will offer you insight into the intriguing mix of different influences where Africa meets India and the Middle East. The architecture and delicious food on offer, shows just how vibrant and diverse the cultural history of the island is.

5. Famous Exotic Spices

Zanzibar’s spices attract all kinds of enthusiasts from all parts of the world. On your volunteer adventure in Zanzibar, you can also visit some of the most well-preserved spice plantations to learn about the process and history of spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, bulls heart, turmeric, lemon grass and many more.

6. World Class Snorkeling & Dive Sites

It’s no surprise that Zanzibar is a prime destination for any volunteer who loves being in the sea! Marine conservation volunteers will have opportunities to see some of the world’s most beautiful diving sites. If you’re joining one of the other volunteer programs in Zanzibar, you can still experience the long list of outdoor water activities in your free time, from scuba diving and deep-sea fishing to kayaking and sailing on traditional wooden dhows.

a landscape photo of houses near the sea in Zanzibar

7. Paradise Island Environment

As you live the tropical island dream in Zanzibar, you’ll be swept away by the peaceful beauty of the island environment. This great habitat has a range of unique flora and fauna varieties, and you can visit some of the places, like the Jozani Forest Reserve, the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre or Kizimkazi Mkunguni, that are preserving these indigenous species.

8. Local Markets & Fresh Seafood

After having your pick at some of Zanzibar’s local markets and restaurants, you’ll become obsessed with seafood if you aren’t already. In your free time, you can savor the moment and try new flavors and traditional dishes. Start with fresh fish cooked on open fires on the beach, then move on to a delicious culinary experience of Lobster Thermidor at one of Zanzibar’s many hotels.

9. Beautiful Beaches

As Zanzibar grows to become a sustainable tourism hotspot, more tourists and volunteers who visit year-round are realizing that, as mesmerizing and beautiful as it is, the beautiful beaches on this island are not all that Zanzibar has to offer. Make your adventure to Zanzibar even more rewarding by joining a marine conservation volunteer program that supports the local economy and promotes more sustainable practices in dolphin tourism. You’ll get to see all the best beaches, but better yet, you’ll make a positive impact on the aquatic environment.

How to Volunteer in Zanzibar

Now that you know all the best reasons why volunteering in Zanzibar is a great idea, it’s time to make a decision about which volunteer program you’d want to be a part of and how to apply! Here’s our step by step process to help you figure out how to volunteer in Zanzibar for all the right reasons.

a group of volunteers working together with their laptops

Step 1: Research Volunteer Programs

It’s time to find out which volunteer opportunities in Zanzibar align most with your interests and passions, so that you can enjoy a great holiday abroad with a purpose! African Impact represents the world’s top volunteer experiences that incorporate sustainable measures into every program, from marine conservation and wildlife to TEFL Teaching, and teaching and community upliftment.

Step 2: Apply to a Program

Once you’ve found a volunteer program in Zanzibar you’re interested in, the next step is to apply!

Find our application form on the program page and follow these easy steps:

  1. Fill out details that outline your preferred travel start date
  2. Select a duration and price that suit your preferences
  3. Enter more personal information and contact details
  4. Hit apply!

Step 3: Prepare For Your Trip

It’s important to find out what your volunteer organization is responsible for during this part of the process. Their support could be crucial to the success of your trip and its preparation. With African Impact, you’ll always have a designated Journey Coordinator by your side, who will help you through every step of the process. Their assistance includes giving advice and guidance about obtaining a visa in Zanzibar, as well as, arranging travel costs, and making sure you have followed all the necessary protocol regarding vaccinations and medical insurance.

a volunteer standing on a terrace of an accommodation

Why Choose African Impact Volunteer Programs in Zanzibar

Combining various sustainable practices, we encourage all volunteers who join our programs to immerse themselves in the local culture and gain a deeper understanding of the island and its people. Our volunteer programs in Zanzibar focus on community development, education, and healthcare, all essential areas of support for the local communities we work in.

So, Do You Know Why You Should Volunteer in Zanzibar Yet?

Zanzibar is one of the most interesting and beautiful places on earth! That’s quite a bold statement, but once you’re there, you’ll wish you never had to leave. The island has a vibrant energy about it with bright, colorful communities, picturesque architecture, and aged buildings. The Dala-dalas putter along the worn streets as food market vendors fill the air with delicious aromas, and the dhows return from a day at sea with their catch. This is why you will love being a volunteer in Zanzibar!

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