In March 2016 my partner and I spent 2 weeks in Arusha and with Viva Tanzania. Firstly I’d like to highlight that the trip would never have been able to go ahead if it wasn’t for the help and support of Tizia during the planning process. We got in touch with Tizia on Facebook about 3 months before, as the volunteer programme that she offered seemed perfect for our preferences. From the word go she was always happy to help with planning and recommending things to do!

On arrival to the hostel we felt warmly welcomed by not only Tini and Tizia but also by all of the other guests (and the three gorgeous dogs!). The house felt very safe and was very spacious and homely, we especially loved the outside sitting area, where everyone would gather in the evenings to socialise and chat about their day. The food at the hostel was delicious and freshly cooked each night, and the monthly menu gave us the opportunity to taste Tanzanian food as well as other world wide dishes. Tizia and Tini were always happy to help with recommending other places to eat or get food if necessary. The hostel itself is off the main road down a bumpy dirt track, but during the day it always felt safe walking 10-15 minutes towards the main road, or getting a taxi motorbike down the dirt track for a couple of shilling. Walking down the dirt track each morning was always interesting as it gave us an insight into how some people live in Arusha.

One thing that we also truly loved was the tours and excursions that the hostel offered. If Tizia and Tini didn’t take you out personally then they would get their guide to take you out. He took us out on three excursions and was absolutely brilliant. He was passionate about his job and had so much knowledge about the area – he was great fun to be around, very kind and considerate and was a brilliant tour guide. I really recommend doing the town tour on one of your first days there as it really helped with transport routes and knowing how to get to and from the hostel into town. I would also recommend the Maasai markets for souvenirs and the waterfall hiking trip. Lastly I can’t thank Tini and Tizia enough for their recommendation on safari. We went on a five day safari trip while we were in Arusha and it was possibly the most amazing thing we have ever done. The company we went with (recommended by the hostel) was reasonably priced and was very professional. The tour guide was great fun and knew all the best areas in each of the four national parks to get a great viewing of all the animals and beautiful sceneries / sunsets / sunrises. We camped in tents and all food was provided (which was also delicious).

The volunteer programme was also another highlight of our trip. We spent five days working in a small school for 3-5 year old children called Vernance Care Foundation. It was set up by a man called Vernance who was also very passionate about enhancing the lives of these children and encouraging them to work hard in life. Despite it only being a small set up, Vernance and the teacher did a brilliant job at teaching the children on a daily basis with minimal teaching facilities. As volunteers, we were given the opportunity to teach the children and play with the children each day. It was absolutely brilliant listening to the children sing and dance during break time and also teaching them nursery rhymes and songs from our own country. I would really recommend taking a box of pencils, pens, paper, colour books, chalks, craft materials etc if you were planning on volunteering at somewhere like this, as they seemed to need all the help them could get with teaching facilities.

Finally I would like to say a massive thank you to Tini and Tizia for being so friendly, kind and

Bethan, 26Great Britain, 2016

I stayed at Viva Tanzania’s Hostel for four weeks. Tizia and her husband Tini welcomed me very heartfully and I directly felt home.
I did my volunteer at Mbwa wa Africa which is an animal shelter at the outskirts of Arusha National Park. It was sad to see how people treat the street dogs but great how happy they are in their new life full of hope.
Tizia organized my volunteering project well so that there were no problems. She also showed me the way to the shelter so that I felt save when driving there on my own.
I am glad to met all these nice people at the hostel and we all share beautiful moments.
When there were any questions, I just asked Tini or Tizia and they arranged everything.
Tanzania was a great experience I will remember my whole life and its sad that the time here is over now.
I can totally recommend Viva Tanzania if you want to learn about Tanzania.
P.S. Tini’ s cooking skills are awesome and he cooks great international and Tanzanian food. It was also nice partying with Tizia and the other guests.
Asante Sana!

Elena, 18German, 2016

I had an amazing experience here in Arusha, Tanzania. Not only are the locals exceptionally friendly, but Tizia and Tini are wonderfully helpful and kind hosts. Staying in their hostel is really more like being a guest in their home. They offer a clean house, a wide variety of excursions (I’m told they’re priced at a cheaper rate than most), breakfast, and dinner. At dinnertime especially, one again gets the feeling that you are a guest at this lovely couple’s house. Aside from the almost daily introduction of newcomers and the different cuisine, it feels like dinner at home with your family. I will miss them dearly.

Volunteering at Faraja was also very nice. I had the opportunity to spend some time working with the kindergarteners and teenage girls. I have a fairly strong background in volunteering with sex trafficking/domestic violence victims but almost no experience in child rearing. I learned the most while teaching the little ones. Although I was supposed to be teaching them their ABC’s and 123’s in English, they taught me all the names of various animals found in Tanzania in Swahili. A truly adorable and unforgettable experience.

Brianna, 20United States of America, 2017

My three weeks in Arusha were some of the most amazing in my life. Staying at the hostel and living with Tizia, Tini, other volunteers and travelers from different countries around the world has been exciting and lots of fun. All the people were incredibly friendly and helpful and made me feel at home.

The volunteer work was also rewarding. I had a wonderful time at the Venance Care Foundation and it was an experience that will always stay in my heart. Venance, Angelita and the children welcomed me warmly and I really enjoyed working with them. Besides teaching and playing with the children I supported Venance in establishing an investment plan for the future. It was a privilege to be part of the preschool and be able to support such an important project. I will miss every single child and hope I will be able to come back someday.

Jennifer, 23Germany, 2016

Once there, any time again!

I will never forget the time with Viva Tanzania! Because I came to Arusha alone, it was important to me to get connection as soon as possible. For that I was in the right place with Tini and Tizia! The two helped me any time with words and deeds. Whether it was about getting my internship visa arranged, a day trip, a safari or bringing clothes to the tailor.

Since I stay in a 4-bed room, it was easy for me to get to know other woman! The fact that the terrace and living / dining room offers alternatives, everyone found a place to be by themselves at any time or to get together if they wished.

Tini is an excellent cook! The different dishes were delicious! The day trip to the hot springs was very nice and I would recommend it even only because of the landscape. With Viva Tanzania I really felt welcome not as a tourist or visitor but after a short time as a friend, thank you for this feeling and the nice time.

My experience at the “Special Needs Primary School” in Arusha:

At first I was very insecure and restrained. Because I did not understand or could speak Swahili I could not communicate well with the teachers nor the students. Over the weeks the teacher involved me more and more in the everyday school life. The more vocabulary I learned, the better it worked out with the students. The teachers were happy that I mastered at least the greeting without problems after a few days. I can only recommend warmly to everyone to make the same or similar experiences. Dare it! The children appreciate your affection and presence and the teachers take every assistance with thanks!

Jule, 23Germany, 2016

I spent two months in Tanzania working as teacher in a primary school. It has been a fantastic experience, and I’m grateful to Viva Tanzania to have made this possible.
I chose this project because I wanted to try a teaching experience and also because I was very attracted by the environment in the north of Tanzania, and I have to say that all my expectations have been totally fulfilled.  Tizia has made the preparation of my trip simpler by giving me many useful tips, and the same applies for the duration of my stay. The impact with Tanzania was great, and I have to thank Tini too who came twice to pick me up at the airport (due to the huge delay of my flight). I spent the first month in the hostel and the second one in the volunteer house, both very nice places where I could meet many people. Food was also good, especially because we could try different local dishes.

The school is in a really nice context, and all the staff has been extremely friendly and helpful with me. At the moment I arrived, one of the teacher had just moved to an other school, therefore I had the feeling that my help was especially important in that period, and this also gave the interesting opportunity to do all the lessons on my own. I was mainly teaching English, mathematics and French. Although it was my first experience in teaching to children, I got used quite quickly. Probably the only regret I have is to have been too close to the local teaching system (which is quite a lot of copy-paste from teacher’s book to blackboard to students’ book), while I could have tried to find more interactive ways of teaching. The pupils were really nice, although very agitaded and excited (as most of the kids are!), and I will remember their enthusiasm when I said that I wanted them to teach me some Swahili.

Arusha is a pretty cool place to stay, and there are plenty of incredible sites to visit around (forests, waterfalls, mountains, springs, parks…). I really enjoyed travelling in the region, and I would definitely recommend to take at least two or three weeks after the volunteer period to see the country.
All in all, it has been a very rich and exciting experience that I would redo again and again if the opportunity comes.

Marco, 32Italy, 2017

I currently am a volunteer, staying at the hostel with Tizia and Tini for four months. I found their organization Viva Tanzania while looking for affordable and serious volunteer opportunities in Tanzania. Since Tizia and Tini cooperate with several small NGOs and organizations, I had no problems to find a project that suits my wishes. Tizia and Tini both offered great support not only in finding a suitable project, but also in settling down in Arusha after my arrival. In the kindergarten I am volunteering in I actually have the opportunity to help, not only in teaching, but also in building a Website, raising sponsorships etc. Viva Tanzania does not only offer accomodation and volunteering / internships etc., but you will live in a familiar atmosphere and enjoy a lot of free time activities with people from all over the world. You will not only gain a lot of experiences, but also built friendships, learn Swahili, get to know the Tanzanian culture and not to forget: have a lot of fun.

Rahel, 24, German, 2016

I volunteered in Afrikan Wear Design through Viva Tanzania for 3 months. I found my experience there fascinating. I had a main job during the week but nevertheless, I was looking for a volunteering experience too for the weekends. Tizia figured it out quickly, putted me in contact with Justin and Marilyn and did all the proper arrangements. My main tasks were to bring ideas about advertising, marketing, selling and made them come true. I got so involved in the project that even during my job’s lunch break during the week, I would go with Justin and Marilyn to keep helping and even share a delicious meal.

Tizia and Tini provided for a very heart welcoming accommodation and gave me tips to move around the city independently.

What I enjoyed the most during my volunteering was learning a lot about Tanzanian culture during the meetings with Justin. Marilyn and him would listen carefully to what I would say (Justin is very fluent in English) and we worked together smoothly.

A typical day would consist in working with my laptop at Justin’s office regarding product description, preparing the launch of a proper website, making calls and bringing clients to the business, learning how every product is created, planning wardrobe collections and even modeling for photo shoots with their products! At the end of each day, Justin was so kind to provide and pay for my transport back to the hostel.

Knowledge of Kiswahili is not really required since Justin and Marilyn speak English, but it always comes handy.

They are true statements of entrepreneurship and creativity and this experience with them made me realize that everyone has an entrepreneur inside ready to be successfully developed.

No matter your profession (I am about to become a lawyer), this place is excellent to make a difference and even develop useful skills like talking to clients, management, accountability, and creativity.

David, 24Mexico, 2016

I recently had the great joy to stay at Tini and Tizia’s place for about 10 weeks during my time in Tanzania. And what can I say – it was awesome. Tini and Tizia are great hosts who will always do their best to make your stay a pleasant one. It’s a great feeling to have someone you can rely on when going to a foreign country, and you can definitely rely on the two of them.

They will provide you with a lot of useful tips and help you getting started in Arusha (which can take a bit of time). Note: How great is it to have numbers of (reliable!) Toyo drivers (motorcycle) and Taxis?! This alone saves you a lot of effort during your first days and a good headstart will definitely make your first days so much more pleasant. Also, being able to ask questions whenever they come to your mind is great, as you will have A LOT! And as you’re living in the same house with Tini and Tizia it’s not like they can escape your myriad questions (sorry again guys 😉 ).

But the hostel isn’t only a hostel: Tini and Tizia also do a great job at finding you the right place to volunteer or work as an intern → make sure you check out their website ( http://viva-tanzania.com/ ) if that’s what your looking for (if you haven’t already and that’s why you’re reading this review – in that case just contact them. You won’t find a better place!).

I for myself followed my girlfriend to Tanzania and tried (by myself) to find an internship in Arusha in advance. But if you have ever tried, you might know that finding a volunteering or internship place in Tanzania sends you into a jungle of expensive organisations and … more expensive organisations. Having been there and met people who went to Tanzania with some of those organisations, I can just give you one advice: don’t do it! No, really. Please, please don’t do it. Yes, I get that your parents want you to go with a global (or at least expensive) organisation because that way “you’ll be safe in dangerous Africa” and the more expensive the organisation, the more care and safety you get… Bla bla bla. It’s always the same arguments. And I’m not trying to say that these organisations are always bad (although some of them are) and that you are going to have a bad time (although with some of them you might; and your wallet definitely will), but they are just crazy expensive and you will definitely not be getting as much as you get if you’re staying at Tini and Tizia’s place. They find you a place for free and provide you a great place to stay (not free but very reasonably priced;) ) and are always there if you need something.

Now, after I digressed heavily (SERIOUSLY, don’t do it!), let me get back to what I was trying to say: After my fruitless attempt to find an internship in Arusha I finally contacted Tizia, asking her if she could find something for me – and a few days later she had found me a company in Arusha that would have me as an intern. Shortly after arriving I started working there and I can only say that it was a great time and an amazing experience!

Working in Tanzania is very different to working in Europe – the different culture, way of working, and concept of time make it a valuable and very interesting experience but also take some time getting used to. But it is definitely worth it if you’re open and accept the differences. There’s a lot to learn of you keep in mind that your way of doing work is certainly not the only one – and maybe not even the best one (which might be hard in the beginning; but once you accept the Tanzanian way of doing things you’ll have a great time – at least I did).

All in all, staying a Tini and Tizia’s hostel was a great time. They are great hosts, Tini is an AMAZING cook (and luckily food is included – and you definitely won’t go to bed hungry), and we had the fortune of having an amazing group of people at the hostel at the time I was there – which really made the hostel home away from home. It’s just a great place to stay for both a short visit or a longer time, as there are always great people around and you’ll spend some great days there (and nights!).

If you want, you can also join Tini on one of the tours they offer – I shouldn’t be had to find something as they offer a nice selection for reasonable prices, ranging from trips around Arusha town to safari in Arusha National Park (and don’t miss out on the trip to the Maji Moto Hot Springs! We had to go there twice as it’s just so amazing there).

Thank you, Tizia and Tini, for the great time and unforgettable experience(s)! Hopefully we’ll meet again – if not in Tanzania then at least in Germany 😉

Jörg, 24German, 2016

The hospital, Mt. Meru district hospital, where I volunteered at, taught me a lot about the practice of western medicine. Even though the hospital could not afford many of the high-cost equipment and medicines, I learned that they instead make do with creative workarounds. For example, gloves are used at tourniquets. The stay was also very hospitable. Tizia and Tini are kind and welcoming. I would recommend this trip to anybody looking to get a brief introduction to medicine in developing countries.

Chase Ying Yuan, 19 United States of America, 2017

I volunteered with Mt. Meru District Hospital through Viva Tanzania for four weeks. When I first arrived, Viva Tanzania helped me get my volunteer visa set up and introduce me to the hospital. Volunteering with the hospital is organized much as it would be in ‘Western’ hospitals. The hospital let me choose what area I wanted to work in, and I then met with their volunteer coordinator who had me write a statement of intent for what I wanted to learn and experience throughout my time there. The staff was very friendly, and I was even invited to a nurse’s home for dinner. The volunteer coordinator and the Viva Tanzania staff regularly checked in with me to make sure I was having a good experience. There are many jobs that both people with professional degrees, students, and others can do – as professional staff often are involved in cleaning, decorating, etc. The nurses were very excited to teach me how to mop because, obviously, Americans do not know how  to mop. I also observed and aided in other duties. Although I spent the majority of my time volunteering in the Reproductive Health Clinic, I was also able to observe major and minor surgeries. (I did help some. I adjusted the surgeon’s headlamp as the power was out.) Knowledge of Kiswahili would be useful but not required. This would be great place for an internship or rotations for a medical or nursing student.

Emily, 22United States of America, 2016

With Viva Tanzania I felt comfortable from the beginning. Tizia and Tini are two absolutely open-minded, hospitable, helpful and reliable people. They provide good food, lots of entertainment and realize it without any problem, that you can actually feel at home. The contact with each other is very familiar with, which felt so good for me, being a stranger in the country. In case of any questions you can contact one of the two at any time.

Tizia and Tini organized a three weeks volunteering in the kindergarten. The request, and subsequent transfer (everything official – confirmation form with stamp kindergarten etc.) and ultimately the implementation have worked without difficulty. The two took great care of me, were always reliable in this respect, and helped me with any problem.
I had a really great, very intense time in the volunteer hostel and would recommend to anyone who is in Arusha, to spend a few nights or even longer there.

Maren Marx

Maren, 26Germany, 2016

My 2 weeks in Arusha, working at Meru District hospital was some of the most amazing time of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Tanzania with Love Volunteers and their local partner. They are a fantastic organization; so welcoming, professional, and they really care for their volunteers and make you feel like family.

During my time there, I worked with the local staff to assist and help improve nursing care to the patients. Before leaving, I could already see what positive difference I have made with the care they provided to the patients and understanding of medicines and diseases.

The local staffs are very welcoming and made you fit in as if you were a part of the family. It was very intimidating at first in a new country alone, but you soon make lasting friendships and get accustomed to the different lifestyle.

Viva Tanzania Hostel I stayed was lovely. They made you feel like family and ensured you were always safe. Sitting down around the table each night talking about your day was always really nice. The hostel was clean and had a good variety of food available. It was central with only a 20min walk into Arusha town centre. Tizia and Tini are welcoming and help you out with any concerns you may have and arrange anything for you.

If you are thinking about volunteering in Tanzania, I would say do it! Whatever your interests and your passions, there are projects for you to get involved with and make a real impact. The team are open to new ideas and would welcome you with open arms. You won’t forget it!

Michelle, 26Australia, 2016

From Januar to March, 2016 I’ve been in Arusha to do my volunteer work with Viva Tanzania.

From the first moment I felt super comfortable, got picked up from the airport and was cordially received. Already beforehand I had email-contact with Tizia and we talked about possible projects.

When I was in Arusha I even decided that I want to see a second project which was no problem and super easy. Before I visited them, the projects where informed and was brought there the first day. I felt perfectly looked after the whole time. Also the accommodation was very good, all the guests got breakfast and a very delicious dinner. At the weekends or at the time we weren’t in our projects, we went on trips or in the city together.

All in all I had a great time, and a super stay in Arusha. I would defenetly go there again and can recommend Viva Tanzania to everybody who want to visit Tanzania.

Tabea, 23, Germany, 2016