Zanzibar Island - Tanzania

School Development


Itinerary Options

Let's go

Looking for something more flexible? Get in touch and we'll chat through options more suited to you.

Discover Tanzania

The Spices of Zanzibar Island.

Welcome to the ‘Spice Island’ and jewel of Tanzania - a melting pot of rich Swahili culture laced with an exotic mix of African, Arabian and Indian influences created from its history when the island was a key hub along the ancient trade routes between Africa and The Middle East. The perfect destination for your gap year in Africa.

Sitting in the Indian Ocean you’ll find palm-fringed beaches, white sands, crystal clear turquoise sea, locally-built sailing boats and plenty of smiling faces. With a population of 1.3 million the towns of Zanzibar are bustling hubs, but when you step away from these you’ll find idyllic beaches, mangroves and picturesque traditional villages. Trust us this is picture perfect.

After a night in Dar es Salaam to meet the rest of the team you’ll hop on the ferry over to Zanzibar to get stuck into your project work and island life.

Through this unique experience you will be able to be so much more than a tourist on this idylic island.

Program Itinerary

This program allows you to explore the exotic island of Zanzibar, whilst contributing to a dynamic community school.

The following is a sample itinerary.


Zanzibar Island

An island like no other

Here you will spend 2 weeks living on the stunning northern beaches of the island only a hop, skip and jump away from the historic Old Town with its winding streets, roof top living and amazing architectural history.

During your time off you will have the chance to explore Old Town - starting with the famous sea port with dhows still bobbing as they did 100's of years ago, the House of Wonders, cathedrals, Princess Salme's museum and the spice market...this town is a spectacle in every way and will keep you busy for hours. And of course the beaches - snorkling with turtles, scuba diving with dolphins and sundowners on ancient dhows...

This location doesn't get much better.


The team house is in Nungwi, a quiet town on the northern tip of Zanzibar, just a 10 minute walk from the beach.

Expect dorm-style accommodation with cold showers but a bucket of hot water will be provided.


3 meals a day.

Expect lots of rice, beans and pasta.

Wks 1 - 2

Mama Africa Development

A new start up project that needs help ...

Mama Africa is a new private enterprise school, relying on private funds and local manpower to keep it going.

Currently, Mama Africa educates twenty-five students between the ages of three and six years. Twenty of them are in pre-school and the other five in grade one. As it is still early days for this school they need assistance in any way possible from painting the classrooms, creating teaching aids, educational and recreational trips to the beach, playing and cooking.

Books and sports equipment donations go down particularly well. Lots to be done here.

Program Details & Costs

We have four departures to Zanzibar throughout the year: February, May, August and October for 2 weeks. You will be joining a team of leapers who are already out there, on our longer program, so easy to slot in and flexible to extend if you want to experience the African bush as well - Take a look.

March, May, Oct/Nov programs start on:

2019: 1 Mar, 30 May, 1 Nov

2020: 3 Mar, 29 May, 30 Oct


2 weeks
2 weeks Zanzibar
2019: £11292020: £1139

Summer July program starts on:

2019: 31 Jul

2020: 30 Jul


2 weeks
2 weeks Zanzibar
2019: £11292020: £1139

Dates Don't Suit?

Don't worry - we can work around this, just get in touch and we'll chat through options more suited to you.

Social Life

Guaranteed. You will travel and live with a tight team of volunteers throughout, so always someone to hang out with.

The Bigger Picture

All our projects are long term and you are part of the flow of volunteers needed to keep progress in motion.

Community Feeling

You will become part of the local community, experiencing real life culture.

Positive Impact

On the children being supported by this new local enterprise.

Monday to Friday

Every day will be different but expect to carry work 5 days per week for about 5-8 hours.


The weekends are yours to do as you please. You are welcome to stay and chill at the Leap house or head off for a change of scene. Masses to do.

Backpacker favourites:

  • Explore the Old Town.
  • Scuba dive, snorkel in the tranquil Indian Ocean.
  • Take an Island Spice Tour.
  • Safari in the Iozani Forest.
  • Visit the historic Changuu Prison.

It all started with Mathias, our program director...

We have worked with Mathias since the very beginning and he still inspires us at our very core.

Mathias is Tanzanian and has an amazing, life affirming back story…He was a local boy, at a local school with an intelligence which shone through, so much so, that he was picked up by a mentor who sponsored him through his education and consequently won a scholarship to finish his studies in America. He is now married to the lovely Mama Jo Jo, has a never-ending brood of children and has dedicated his life to enhancing the state education for Tanzanian children.

Over the years Mathias has become involved with many of the local state schools in and around Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar which are historically underfunded and overcrowded. Mathias knows he can’t change the big picture but with the assistance and hard work of the Leap volunteers he knows that he can make the schools a nicer place to be and therefore a more successful place to learn. A good education being paramount to changing their life’s expectations. Laying down concrete floors (reducing dust), building desks (comfortable) mending windows (ventilation) flushing loos (hygiene) and painting visual aids (inspire) are all simple projects but they can make all the difference to those who have limited horizons and little expectation.

BUT it goes way beyond tangible… while you are busy working – the kids will buzz about guaranteeing impromptu English lessons, football matches and immediate friendships will emerge.

Leaper's Highlights

Have a read of what our Leapers have been up to...

Hot springs, teaching and wild beasts Rosie O'Donnell

The second week started off similarly to the last week with a few of us still being ill. While the boys stayed home, the rest of us girls proved our strength by carrying buckets full of cement to finish off the foundation of the school building. Once that was done we were allowed to help teach the children. It was an incredible experience to compare schools here to the ones at home. It was lovely to see just how excited the kids were to learn and how greedily they take in everything they are taught

Saturday, the girls left on a day trip to Tarangire National Park. We spent hours spotting different animals in their natural habitat. Since rhinos are poached in this area, we only got to see four of the “big five”. It was very exciting to not know what animals we were going to see around the next turn of the road. We were able to spot giraffes, zebras, elephants, a lioness, wildebeests, antelopes, ostriches, warthogs and also a very fast monkey stealing our food.

Sunday had a very bumpy start with a flat tire on our way to the hot springs. Nevertheless it was worth the prolonged journey, once we got there and saw the picturesque setting of the hot, springs. It felt like a little oasis in the middle of nowhere. We spent the day enjoying the clearest blue water surrounded by palm trees. The view was magnificent.

We can’t wait to see what the next week holds for us!

Wide smiles and incredible people Laura Clark

On Tuesday morning we travelled to Jane Olevolo’s Orphan Centre. Here we began work planting a vegetable garden; this involved hoeing the soil, picking out weeds, creating shallow holes and putting ground nuts into each hole. It was a messy process but also truly rewarding, especially when we saw how deeply our work would be appreciated in providing a sustainable food source. Sarah also planned to allocate some of the funds she’d raised towards providing a fresh source of drinking water.

On Friday, we spent the morning finishing off the gardening by watering our freshly planted beds. There we were introduced to a seventeen-year old boy named Lucas, an orphan who had grown up in Jane’s care. For some reason, Lucas’ difficult life struck a resonant chord with me. Lucas was an incredibly friendly and vibrant individual with an enviable work ethic. In his position, it would be easy to resent a group of privileged individuals such as ourselves. Yet he showed no signs of hostility or even indifference towards us, greeting us with a wide, genuine smile. He is a huge credit to Jane’s orphanage, proving it to be a caring and nurturing environment, but he is also an admirable character who we could all do well to learn from.

Bella had brought some gifts for the women of the orphanage- reusable cotton sanitary items. For many women, periods are an unnecessary burden, and are so stigmatised that it is rarely discussed. Consequently, many women have no access to basic sanitary products. Again, seeing their immense gratitude for these gifts made me seriously rethink my own privileges, in taking such things for granted.

African style communion, internships and Masaai meetings

Naku penda!

In the last blog I promised to report back about the communion we were invited to. Well I can tell you it exceeded expectations. There was about 200 guests, big party tents, a DJ and huge speakers that were bumping all night long. It was such an incredible experience being able to see such a big and important event in the culture here. They had this cake ceremony where all the important couples fed each other pieces of cake and two of the leapers got to go up and feed each other too!

This week we started our internships, I am doing the care internship which brings me to Jane Olevolos Center for Orphans. My responsibilities are a dream come true: three two-year-olds with endless smiles and beautiful little laughs. I know I’m biased, but I think my internship is the best. They taught me how to say “I love you” in swahili: Naku penda! Probably my favourite term I’ve learned here.

Four of my fellow leapers are on the business internship and they’re currently learning the ropes of forming safari itineraries for travellers. They have to do everything the safari companies have to do in order to organize their client’s adventures. This includes learning the migration patterns of safari animals, determining the “hot spots” of animal viewing in the parks, and calculating costs. Then they learn how to relay all of that to the clients.

The last four leapers on the trip are doing the teaching internship. They teach side by side teachers at the school that we are building the floor for. They teach pretty much every subject from maths to english. The kids can’t get enough of them.

This weekend we got to see the Massai tribe and climb this mountain that was behind the village. It took hours of sweat and dedication but the views were breath taking! We will all most definitely be sore tomorrow!

Got a burning question?

Got a burning question you can't find the answer to? Filled with panic about organising your gap year? Or maybe you just fancy a friendly chat and some advice about your options? We're here to help.

Or give us a call on +441672 519 922

And chat with one of our (very friendly and knowledgable!) team

Opt in below to help us keep track of your gap year planning so each time you talk to us you can pick up where you left off.

Yes please, let's keep life simple!