East Africa Discovery
Due to high demand and interest, we run two East Africa Discovery trips in the summer. Take your pick!
PROGRAM 1: MAY 24 – JULY 7 (Applications Closed!)
PROGRAM 2: JULY 15 – AUGUST 25
- Volunteer in Maragoli, a village in Western Kenya that has seen the best and worst of development, and where you will learn to look at aid in Africa through a whole new lens.
- Visit Kibera, East Africa’s most populous slum, and work with internationally recognized artist and peace activist Solo7
- Take a different kind of safari by bicycling through Hells Gate National Park marveling at giraffes, zebras and wildebeest.
- Learn about the realities of the genocide in the misty hills of Rwanda
- White-water raft the mighty rapids at the source of the Nile in Uganda.
PROGRAM FEE: 2,650
EAST AFRICA… THE WAY WE SEE IT
So you want to learn about East Africa in a few paragraphs?
Kenya often evokes mental images of Masai Mara warriors, exotic wildlife in national parks and acacia trees on the savannah. These images still ring true today, but there is so much more to Kenya than going on a safari.
Uganda and Rwanda are so often associated with their bloody histories: the dictatorship of Idi Amin in Uganda and the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda. But conflict is just one layer of an incredibly complex history. Both countries have have lush green forest valleys, red-brown dirt roads and aqua blue waters of rivers and lakes. Kigali, especially, is a hip metropolis booming from a successful telecommunications industry.
It only takes a moment to realize that these countries can’t be summed up in a few lines. The lessons we have learned here would take a lifetime to write. Hopefully though, you will find these truths for yourself.
Independent Travel Time is your opportunity to go out there and explore on your own terms!
- Climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Visit Zanzibar Island’s Stone Town and relax on the beaches of the Indian Ocean.
- See lions, elephants, rhinos and other big game animals on safari at one of East Africa’s many national parks.
WITH OG YOU LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS.
Traveling as much as we do on the East Africa program, there will be a number of different styles of accommodation. Whether it’s at a youth hostel in Nairobi or under the stars in Lake Naivasha, you can expect to be cooking together and learning to make chapatti with the team. In addition to guesthouses and camping, we will be staying with host families in Maragoli, Kenya and Kimironko, Rwanda, which will allow us to delve into local culture and integrate into the communities we visit.
*This itinerary is based on our previous experience with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.
Just click on the headers to learn more!
After getting picked up at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the group will have an in-country orientation in Nairobi. Participants will acclimatize by trying local cuisine, picking up the basics of the local language, and acquainting themselves with the city. Welcome to the fast-paced rush of life that is metropolitan Africa!
The team will then head to Lake Naivasha, diving into the beautiful landscape and amazing wildlife Kenya has to offer. A day long bike ride through Hells Gate National Park between huge cliffs riding beside giraffes and wildebeest will be a huge breath of fresh air from the bustling streets of Nairobi. A few days of adventure before you settle in and get your hands dirty…
From there, we will begin our volunteer projects in Western Kenya. The nature of the projects depends on the requests of our community partners. Some examples of projects we have done in partnership with the people of Maragoli are: constructing a local bridge, building latrines for a technical school, working at a resource center, and running an intercultural women’s political group. We work with the needs of the locals in determining the projects through a community meeting called a baraza.
From Kenya, the team will move west to Jinja, Uganda where the source of the Nile flows from the massive Lake Victoria. Here the team will stop for an unforgettable white water rafting experience, navigating through Class 5 rapids at the base of the Nile.
From Jinja, we will head to the bustling capital city of Kampala; taking time to learn about the history of development in the region.
From Uganda, we will weave our way through the misty hills of Rwanda, where we will open our minds and take some time to consider the realities of the Rwandan genocide and the impact it has left on the recovering nation. Our time in Rwanda is a crucial part of the program.
Participants will then head off on their own for a week of Independent Travel Time (ITT), a staple of all OG trips. Participants may choose to visit Zanzibar or Dar Es Salaam on the coast of Tanzania, climb the epic Mount Kilimanjaro or see wildlife while traveling through the Maasai Mara lands. This will be an opportunity for participants to use the knowledge and skills acquired over the past month to navigate East Africa on their own or in small groups.
The group will reconvene for a trip debrief known as the ‘Disorientation’ prior to flying home. Following ITT, the team will meet up in Watamu, a Kenyan coastal paradise on the Indian Ocean for disorientation. We will re-live memories of the trip, summarize our experiences, discuss how to stay connected and collaborate on projects in the future before tearful goodbyes at the airport and our flights home.
MEET YOUR TRIP LEADERS
Get ready to spend six weeks with some of the raddest people on earth…we’re not even exaggerating! Just click on their name to read more about them.
Now, this is a story all about how Kate’s life got flipped-turned upside down And it’ll only take a minute Just apply right here
We’ll tell you how Kate got committed to an East African affair. In Western Canada born and raised On the campground she spent all her holidays Canoeing out, climbing, hiking all cool And all teaching some children inside of a school When a couple of nuns Who were up to lotsa good Startin talking bout Rwanda in her neighborhood She got one little diploma and her mind got endeared, It said ‘You’re going with OG to some countries far from here.’ …other than having a hopeless love with 1990s Will Smith, Kate does in fact also love East Africa. In the process of becoming a teacher she also completed a diploma in Global Leadership, focusing on East Africa. While she had ample experience backpacking Europe and North America and leading multiday backcountry trips (via hiking boots, crosscountry skis, kayaks, you name it!) anywhere from the Yukon to California, going to East Africa was nothing but a dream. That is until one day she met some nuns who had survived the Rwandan genocide and convinced her she had to go the first chance she could get. Kate explored Rwanda the first chance she got: she buckled up with OG in 2012 and it’s been an East African affair ever since!
Tyler is all about experiencing life in all its amazing variety. After going for two-week long hiking trips for many years growing up, he decided to transcend his experiences outside of Canada. This led him to pursue a degree in International Development with great emphasis on the ethical conditions surrounding cross-cultural exchange. Throughout this he eventually stumbled across OG and was hooked. Tyler participated in OG’s 2012 East Africa Discovery & Development trip and was immediately drawn in by how conscious OG was with its impact on communities. After experiencing a trip that blended travel, fun, and cross-cultural learning, he knew he needed to play a role in the organization. He currently lives in Guelph, Ontario where he takes any chance he gets to strap a board to his feet, rock climb or throw on a pair of hiking boots and go camping. When not planning amazing trips to East Africa, he can be seen growing a big red beard and reading any book that comes his way!