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Herbal Medicine from Zanzibar Herbalist

It is also possible to book this course as online/remote one-to-one lessons via Skype! You can flexibly schedule your lessons. 10 hours are 200 EUR / 250 USD. Simply fill the Inquiry/Booking Form and mention "Online" in the comment box!

Zanzibar's No 1 "Madawa"

"Dawa" means "medication" in Kiswahili; "Madawa" means medicine man. The profession of a Madawa who produces medicine with traditional herbs, plants and spices, is locally regarded as equivalent to the practice of western doctors in e.g. public hospitals. In fact, doctors of normal hospitals send lots of patients, who do not get any better with western treatment methods, to the Madawas. For those patients, the Madawa often means "the last chance".
Mohammed Said is a traditional Madawa of fifth generation at Zanzibar, who is even well-known in the Arabian countries due to his extraordinary knowledge about medicinal plants and their medical utilisation. At Zanzibar, he is known as "Mr. Madawa", respectively "the No.1" of traditional healers on the whole island. Further, Mr. Madawa regularly receives foreign patients coming from countries such as the Oman. Said has lots of references of patients who have been successfully treated with his herbal medicines.
Mr. Madawa offers lessons for anyone who wants to gain knowledge in the Zanzibari herbal medicine.

One-on-one lessons following your particular interest

Said was taught by his father, but he continuously redefined and developed his skills and knowledge by himself. One of his sons, who studied medicine at the university, assists him and gives lots of new impulses for further development.
Mohammed Said cultivates his plants and herbs in his own garden at Bububu, which is located north of Zanzibar Town. His entire family (which consists of four wives and 38 children) assists in further processes such as drying the herbs and packaging the mixtures, which are going to be sold in a shop at Bububu and Zanzibar Town. There, Mr. Madawa runs his own clinic at which he offers consulting hours as well as stationary treatments. The clinic is fully authorized by the public health authority of Zanzibar and cooperates with the public hospital "Mnazi Mmoja". For numerous health related problems, Madawa knows the right mixture of curing herbal substances.
Besides medication, Madawa's "family-based manufacture“ produces natural soaps, lotions, teas, oils and culinary mixtures, made of e.g. lemongrass, cloves, basil, cinnamon and fennel. Mohammed Said does not only propagate the therapeutic effects but also the preventive usage of plants and spices at the preparation of daily meals and body hygiene.
Mohammed Said wrote down his broad knowledge in a book which is only available in Kiswahili at the moment. As a member of the "African Chamber of Commerce", he feels committed to fair trade with local farmers.
Mr. Madawa offers courses for everybody interested in Zanzibarian herbal medicine. The courses consist of: lessons about usage, cultivation and harvesting of herbs and spices, their effects, how to dry them in a hygienic way, further processes with dried herbs and spices, quality control, packaging and storing of herbs and spices and how to produce herbal mixtures for medical and nutrition purposes. In addition to theory, your work includes practically collecting herbs and spices, their processing and preservation, as well as their use in cooking and as a medicine. Mr. Madawa is highly flexible to adapt his lessons to your specific interests.

It is possible with the Madawa to:

Take one-on-one lessons (also small groups), 2 hours per day, Monday to Friday. During the other hours of the day you can assist him with treatments of patients. This are usually carried out in Swahili language, but Madawa who has a good command of English language can give you explanations.
Minimum Duration: 1 week
Maximum Duration: 4 weeks
Language Requirements: English
Location: Bububu (about 10 km, North of Zanzibar Town), Zanzibar
Accommodation: In Zanzibar Town (Shared Accommodation, Host Family, Hotel)
Report by Johanna:
We were met by an employee of the internships and volunteering organization "World Unite" at the airport in Zanzibar. Together with other interns, we were shown the Stone Town. Among others, we stayed in a volunteer house close to the center. On 15.10.2011 began the herbal course. Mr. Madawa, Mohammed Said, has a small shop in Bububu (about 5 km north of Zanzibar Town). There he receives patients, consults them, supervises and doctors them. His shop is simultaneously a kitchen and his office. He makes creams, ointments and oils, and mixes herb Chutneys and spice juices that he prescribes and sells to his patients and visitors. Mr. Madawa does not have a college education; he obtained his knowledge from his father and his grandfather. However, one of his sons studied medicine at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. He helps Mohammed Said in the care of the people and in the manufacture of drugs. The rest of the family is also involved with herbal medicine. Mr. Madawa has 4 wives and 46 children, and many more grandchildren. His sons help him to manage the spice plantations. In addition to his job as a medicine man, Mohammed Said, with the assistance of his family, provide spice tours for interested tourists. We got introduced to a different native plant by Mr. Madawa every day. Besides curry, basil, thyme, garlic, oregano and cumin, we got to know Aloe Vera, hibiscus, ginger and many other herbs and spices. Mohammed taught us ingredients, effects, preparations and applications. According to its mission statement, "Prevention is better than cure", he brings man closer to more consciously nurturing and integrating fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices in a versatile way in the daily diet, in order to prevent diseases. He showed us his large fields, where he gathers the ingredients for his medication. Here he cultivates, among others, cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, lemongrass and clove. When he invited us to his home to cook together and eat with his family, we got for the first time, a detailed insight into the lifestyle of the people of Tanzania. We experienced, while cooking and eating with the family, traditional roles, culturally determined manners of the people to each other, and gained insight into houses and gardens of the residents. Eating together was an especially exciting, interesting experience. While we as guests, ate together with the head of the family, men, women and children were seated separately on carpets around a large square plate. Before eating, a bowl with water was passed around, so that everyone could wash the right hand. Only with this hand was the food taken to the mouth, cutlery was not used. I received another invitation to visit the daughter of the medicine man for my farewell in Zanzibar. She painted my hands, arms and feet with traditional Zanzibari henna. We felt that Mr. Said and his family were very generous and courteous. Mr. Madawa and his son brought us to the ferry port, where we had a sad farewell.
Due to the many different acquaintances and encounters that I have had and seen over the course of the journey, I have gained important values ​​and indescribable experiences. Positive thinking, the courtesy and hospitality of the people in Tanzania are things I will never forget. The closeness to nature, the knowledge about the use of herbs, fruits and trees in everyday lives is a phenomenon that our society has almost forgotten. I have become more aware of the impact we have as industrialized nations through living in developing countries. We carry a plastic, for example, without solving the disposal problem and many rich nations do not participate in important climate related agreements, so that the glaciers of Kilimanjaro will soon melt and thus can not provide more water for the population. Through our often ill-considered use, many of us humans exploit the poor countries. A trip like I have experienced, can be informative and mediating in so many ways. I am very grateful for the experience. Thank you for your support.
Comment from Joke (Belgian):
I enjoyed the rides by daladala to Bububu and Madawa and his home! They always welcomed me so warmly with laughther and too fast Kiswahili! There was always food and drink presented at arrival and departures in which they shared generously their healthy way of living. When the 'Madawa' was busy, I was in the kitchen with the girls watching and learning Kiswahili and he just made time free for me later to go in his study and talk about all the spice and natural products of Zanzibar, share his receipes for living healthy and cure, the lifestyle, communicate and discuss the problems and highlights of his country and the world. We made a tour to his land of spice and showed me all the trees and plants that bring forth these very natural products.
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Option 1: Including accommodation in Shared Accommodation of average standards

1 week:
1 Person - 350 €
2 Persons - 290 € per person (in Double Room; Single Occupancy: + 20 EUR)
Each extra week:
1 Person - 140 €
2 Persons 90 € per person (in Double Room; Single Occupancy: + 20 EUR)

Option 2: Including accommodation with of high standards with host family

1 week:
1 Person - 410 €
2 Persons - 370 € per person (in Double Room)
Each extra week:
1 Person - 200 €
2 Persons 170 € per person (in Double Room)

Option 3: Including Hotel Accommodation with breakfast

1 week:
1 Person - 530 €
2 Persons - 400 € per person (in Double Room; Single Occupancy + 90 EUR)
Each extra week:
1 Person - 340 €
2 Persons 210 € per person (in Double Room; Single Occupancy + 90 EUR)
The price includes:
  • Private lessons with Mr. Madawa as described
  • Accommodation as booked
  • Info-PDF with details about Zanzibar
  • Transport from the airport/seaport of Zanzibar and transfer to your accommodation, as well as accompaniment to Madawa on your first day.
  • Cost for 10 seedlings of indigenous trees that we plant on the slopes of Kilimanjaro
The dates are freely selectable, but the availability of Mr. Madawa must be confirmed.

Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.

Safaris, Kilimanjaro Climbs, Day Trips, Watersports

budgetsafaribannerAs "Budget Safari Tanzania" we are arranging cost-effective yet high-quality safaris, Kilimanjaro climbs, excursions, and watersports activities in Tanzania and Zanzibar. You will group with other World Unite! participants and further travellers.
As a World Unite! participant, you get a 15% discount on all offers of Budget Safari Tanzania. We will share a Discount Code with you that you can use with the online booking of your safari, Kilimanjaro climb, excursion or watersports activity.

Learning Swahili in Sansibar!

Swahili TeacherIt is always helpful to know Swahili while doing your project here. Swahili is a relatively easy language to learn. With our one-to-one teacher, after a short time, most learners are able to do basic conversation. You can choose the intensity of the lesson. If you are volunteering or doing an internship, we recommend a maximum of ten hours per week. 
The cost for Swahili lessons: 1 Student - 10 EUR
Groups of 2 or more people can join language lessons with an NGO at a rate which is a little cheaper per person!
Please check "Language Training Required" in the registration form, specifying the desired duration (minimum 20 hours).

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a liability and travel cancellation insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get an immediate booking confirmation.
Travel Health Insurance

Check out our video on Zanzibar Town!

This video shows a day in Zanzibar Town with the volunteers Sabrina and Uwe from Hamburg. They show their placements at the Cultural Arts Centre and Vikokotoni environmental group, their accommodation, visit their host family and explain various interesting aspects of their daily life in Zanzibar.

Zanzibar - Spice Island in the Indian Ocean

Zanzibar is a tropical island in the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar is about 2 hours away from the Tanzanian mainland by boat or 20 minutes by plane. When you research “Zanzibar”, it usually means the main island of Unguja. Unguja was very rich in the past, because the island was a major trading port along the sea routes between Africa, Arabia, India, East Asia and Europe. This can be seen today in the mixing of cultures, the Arab- Islamic influence, but is relatively liberal in Zanzibar. Today, tourism is the main source of income of Zanzibar, besides the cultivation of spices and tropical fruits.
Stone Town, the historic core of Zanzibar Town is the only intact historic coastal trading town in East Africa. Within the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets full of small shops, souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and hectic smaller places, it feels like one is in a dream of the "Thousand and One Nights”. Fantastically, there are also the heavenly white beaches and crystal clear waters with colorful coral reefs, which compete with the Caribbean or the Maldives in catering to wealthy tourists. Zanzibar Town, in addition to Stone Town have plenty of other neighborhoods like Kiembe Samaki, Mwanakwerekwe, Mbweni and others, in which many organizations have their offices and are active.
In addition, there are many villages along the beaches and in the interior of the island.
The biggest problem of the island is the overwhelming poverty of the population, whose only employment consists of cultivation and fishing for their own and thus, have no money, cannot afford education for their children, medical care, etc. A lack of education means that the following generations can hardly escape the vicious circle of poverty. Population growth, which is mainly due to immigration of people from mainland Tanzania, results in the exploitation of nature.

Things to do in Zanzibar

In Zanzibar, there is a wide range of excursions: day and half day trips include a visit to a spice plantation, the Jozani Forest National Park, the mangroves of Mungooni and Uzi, beach resorts such as Nungwi, Paje and Jambiani, a "Safari Blue”, sailing through the Menai Bay Conservation Area, Prison Island, the Island Chumbe Coral Park and a city tour of Stone Town, where there are lots of interesting souvenir shops, bars, cafes, regular concerts and even a handful of "clubs" and events.
In your spare time, you can also take music and dance lessons, yoga classes and interesting workshops by the Cultural Arts Centres participants in Zanzibar.
Many participants also travel to the mainland of Tanzania to do a safari or to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. You use our accommodation Moshi, Kilimanjaro at affordable prices to stay as a base for activities in northern Tanzania.

Getting To Zanzibar

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Several airlines fly directly or with an intermediate stop at Zanzibar (ZNZ). Remember to book your flight and share with us your flight details. From Zanzibar airport, we will pick you up and bring you to your accommodation in Zanzibar.
If the flights to Dar-es-Salaam (DAR) are much cheaper, you can also fly there. From Dar-es-Salaam, you can travel to Zanzibar by a connecting flight or take the ferry. We can arrange a transfer for you from the airport to the ferry for 30 EUR/35 USD. The ferry ticket costs 35 USD and the ferry takes about 2 hours. We will take you in this case from the airport to the seaport. In Zanzibar, you will be picked up at the ferry terminal and taken to your accommodation. A connecting flight from DAR to ZNZ only takes 20 minutes and costs 50-80 USD.
If your placement is on Pemba Island, you can either take a daily flight from Zanzibar to Pemba, or you can take a ferry (Azam Marine), which however doesn't have daily departures. In Pemba you will be picked up from the airport or ferry port and brough to your accommodation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. We can pick you up from the airport even at night.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Zanzibar is a relatively small island, and you can use public transport during the weekends to travel throughout the island; such as to the beaches of the north and east. In Moshi and Zanzibar, we ourselves often offer day trips, such as to Kilimanjaro or the national parks, for which you can join other volunteers and interns when you travel there. We share these trips with you in our monthly subscriber list and you can book them. Participants often organize on-site travel together. In Moshi and Zanzibar, you can stay at the same low rates as our Zanzibar or Moshi participants in accommodations provided by us. If you plan to travel during your volunteering/internship period, you should seek permission in advance. We recommend that you plan your travel after your volunteering/internship. For this, you can also stay longer in your accommodation at affordable rates.
Is it safe to travel in Zanzibar alone as a single female traveller?
Approximately 80% of our participants are female and many of them, only about 20 years old. Not a single instance of a serious security breach has occurred. Our coordinator will advise you on how you should conduct yourself in order to avoid problems - your dressing style, valuables, and in dealing with local men. Our preparation materials elaborate on this matter. If you follow these basic rules that apply equally to many other places, the risk in Zanzibar is not great.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Zanzibar?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Zanzibar, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so. Zanzibar Town is a small town, where you walk around quite a bit. In addition, there are well-known places such as the Forodhani Gardens, where you actually meet other participants. If you are in a different place (Nungwi, Mungooni, etc.), the probability is higher that there are more participants from us. You can access these places relatively quickly by public transport from Zanzibar Town, if you want to meet other participants of your country over the weekend. We also have regular meetings with all participants and you will get a list of participants who are in the country, with their contact information. You need not be concerned that you are "alone" in Zanzibar, nor must you stay away from the locals because you spend all your time with other foreign participants.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info-PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where do I live?
Please find details in the tab "Accommodation".
Can I choose my accommodation?
We give you choices (Most popular!, Comfort +, Adventurer) and you can tell us if you prefer a shared accommodation or homestay; we will then seek an accommodation for you. We organise accommodation, taking into consideration the distance from your work site. However, since Zanzibar is not a very big town, is relatively easy to reach locations in other parts of the city by public transport ("Daladala") or by bike.
How free or bound am I in my accommodation with the host family?
With the host family, you can have your freedom, and do not need to join them during meal times or have any other obligations. If you will return late in the evening, you need to let them know in advance, so that they can unlock the doors for you (which are locked at night for security reasons). Bringing home casual acquaintances is taboo. They look to integrate our participants into their family life, but you can determine to what extent you want to be part of it.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
In Tanzania, Internet is accessed via the mobile phone networks. With smartphones, you can use the Internet. For laptops, there are USB modem sticks for about 10 EUR. There are no flat rates; you use data packets, depending on your needs. You might consume 2 GB of data in a week, which costs about 4.50 EUR. In the centers of cities (Moshi Town, Dar-es-Salaam, Mwanza, Zanzibar Town, Karatu, etc.), the connection is good, the speed is satisfactory and sufficient for Skype phone calls. In the suburbs and in the country, there is connection, but usually almost impossible or very slow and unreliable. We will provide you information on the use of mobile Internet in Tanzania.
How can I do my laundry?
In general, laundry is washed by hand in Tanzania. You can ask your landlord or host family if they have someone who can wash your clothes. Usually, someone offers that to you for a small fee. Please ask your local supervisor, what the appropriate thing to do is.
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Host families are familiar with participants who are vegetarians and prepare appropriate food. In some restaurants in Zanzibar Town, there are vegetarian options. In the market, there are a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Special dietary needs (e.g. Vegan, allergies to certain foods) can be specified to the host families.
What language skills do I need?
You should be able to make yourself understood in English. The national language of Tanzania is Swahili, but knowledge of English is widespread, especially among people who have a better education or work in tourism. In everyday life, there is usually no problem to be able to communicate in English; if you should come across someone who can not speak English, you can almost immediately find someone who offers to translate in English. If you are in a social project for a longer duration, you will have to deal with people who have little or no education. For this, it is useful to acquire at least a basic knowledge of Swahili before your arrival through any book (or audio CD). You can also take basic Swahili lessons while on site. We also have vocabulary lists with useful words that can help you.

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