Environmental & Animal Projects

Mbwa Wa Africa

Mbwa wa Africa!

The Project

Mbwa Wa Africa (“Dogs of Africa” in English) was launched in 2013. It was created due to a need for animal care and education in Arusha.

There are always at least 40 dogs and a handful of cats at the shelter. About ten of the dogs live there permanently because they only have two legs due to accidents or abuse. Dogs with paralysis and other special needs are also given intensive care. In addition, there are usually up to 15 puppies that are raised and then given up for adoption. The shelter has a cat kennel, dog kennels and quarantine kennels where injured dogs and new arrivals receive care.

The two German founders, Sandra and Jens, work at the shelter. In addition, there is an animal keeper from Austria and three Tanzanian employees. Mbwa Wa Africa has recently expanded the shelter by renting an additional site where they are able to care for more dogs, and perform in-house spaying and neutering. Only in this way can the population be permanently reduced and fewer animals suffer. At this new site there is usually a volunteer vet and nurse available to perform emergency surgeries.

dog shelter Viva Tanzania

Your Work

Volunteer experience video:

Mbwa Wa Africa volunteering with dogs


Working hours are arranged on an individual basis. Lunch is not provided for volunteers.

Daily activities include:

– walking and training the dogs
– playing with the dogs and cats
– caring for the animals who have special needs
– searching for people to adopt a dog or cat

Optional activities:

– marketing and fundraising
– cooking lunch for the founders, staff and volunteers

Mbwa Wa Africa works closely with the World Wide Veterinary Service and Mission Rabies, and participates in occasional vaccination and spaying and neutering campaigns. During these campaigns extra help is appreciated.

No previous experience necessary

Volunteers do not need any prior experience. But a basic knowledge of English is necessary, as well as a love of animals. Also, you should not be afraid of dogs, or getting a little dirty. All volunteers need to be vaccinated against rabies.


This project is located 34km (21miles) from the hostel, on the edge of the Arusha National Park and can be reached by public transport.

Please note

The project requires a donation of US$100 for up to four weeks and US$25 for each additional week. This donation is not included in the program fee, and is paid direct to the shelter. It is used to support expenses such as dog food, veterinary bills and staff wages.

The donation is not included in the registration or program fee and needs to be paid directly in cash to the project on your first day.

“I stayed at Viva Tanzania’s Hostel for four weeks. Tizia and the team 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 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 safe 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 the staff 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. P.S. The food is awesome and there is great international and Tanzanian food. It was also nice partying with Tizia and the other guests. Asante Sana!”

Chase Ying Yuan, 19, United States of Africa

Founder’s interview:

Mbwa Wa Africa volunteering in Tanzania
Mbwa Wa Africa volunteering in Tanzania
Mbwa Wa Africa volunteering in Tanzania
Mbwa Wa Africa volunteering in Tanzania
Mbwa Wa Africa volunteering in Tanzania
Mbwa Wa Africa volunteering in Tanzania

Project price

2 weeks:650€
3 weeks:850€
4 weeks:1.050€
Every additional week:200€

Please note: The project requires a donation of 100 US-Dollar for up to four weeks and 25 US-Dollar for every additional week to support different expenses of the dog shelter like food, veterinary bills, staff etc. This donation is not included in the program fee.


You can choose between a single room or four-bed room in the hostel.

Project length

The minimum stay is two weeks. Due to visa regulations you can spend a maximum of two years as a volunteer in Tanzania.

Let your adventure to start

Book your place now

Are you interested in the project? Fill out the registration form and we will start planning your stay.
Start your volunteering experience in Tanzania and get the lifetime experience!