A Sand Dams Worldwide expedition is a transforming experience. Depending on the expedition you join, they can last between one and four weeks. It’s hard work, but during your time you will work closely with a community in rural Kenya to build a sand dam; creating the opportunity for people to work their way out of poverty with dignity.

Such an investment usually raises a few questions from our volunteers. Here are some of the most common...

Is the trip for me?

Most travellers to Kenya don’t get the chance to take part in a trip like this. If you want a first-hand insight into the life of a rural community, or to get a taste of development that really transforms people’s lives, and you don’t mind a bit of hard work, then this experience is definitely for you.

What will my group be like?

The group size will be between 5 and 14 people. We welcome diversity, so anyone over 18 is welcome, with no upper age limit, as long as there is no medical reason for them not to participate. You’ll be accompanied on the expedition at all times by a Sand Dams Worldwide representative.

What does the work involve?

You will be helping to dig trenches, shovel sand, mix cement, lift rocks and carry buckets of water. All the work is done by hand using basic tools such as shovels. There is no heavy machinery involved.

How fit do I need to be?

You don’t need to be an athlete to build a sand dam. However, the hot climate and the nature of the work can be tough so it is important that you work at your own pace and take breaks when you need to. Most people feel pretty exhausted after a day of dam-building but everyone who returns from our expeditions tells us it is worth it.

What do I need to bring?

You don’t need any specialised kit. However you will need a pair of work gloves and some comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy. A comprehensive kit list will be supplied once you are registered.

What will the weather be like?

The areas around southeast Kenya where expeditions take place are usually dry at the time of year with temperatures between 15-26˚C. Temperatures in the evening and early morning can often feel cooler.

What will my accomodation be like?

You will stay in a bed and breakfast. The rooms are clean and basic; each one contains a bed with a mosquito net, a private shower and toilet. You'll be situated in or around a market town and twice a week there is the opportunity to buy clothes, blankets and other souvenirs for the people back home.

What is the food like?

Seasonal produce is sourced locally and prepared in the traditional Kamba style by the compound cook. Typical meals consist of rice, chapattis, ugali (ground maize a little like polenta) with lentils, beans and vegetables such as kale, spinach, tomatoes and potatoes. We think it’s delicious!

Can I stay on in Kenya for longer?

Absolutely! Sand Dams Worldwide will collect you from Nairobi International Airport at the start of the expedition and drop you off at the airport at the end of the expedition. However, you are free to plan your own travel itinerary before and after the expedition.

How much does it cost?

You need to pay a registration fee of £600. This covers the cost of your food, board, local guides, field transport and airport transfers. We also ask you make a donation of £500 towards our work, or even better, spend some time between now and then fundraising to cover it. Don’t worry, we’ll give you lots of advice and ideas on how to fundraise – and have a lot of fun while you’re at it!

What is included in the cost?

Your registration fee covers the cost of your accommodation, all food and water and local travel while on expedition plus return airport transfers.

What is not included in the cost?

Flights, travel insurance, visas, vaccinations and malaria tablets, alcoholic drinks, spending money and any onward travel or accommodation either before or after the expedition.

How much will flights cost?

Flight costs are typically between £500 and £900 return depending on the airline. You can check skyscanner.com for the latest costs but we advise you don’t book flights until your place has been confirmed.

Where will the sponsorship money I raise for Sand Dams Worldwide go?

Your donations will help us support more rural dryland communities build sand dams, providing access to clean water and the opportunity to grow more food for themselves and their families. Your support will have a significant impact on people in drought-prone areas, helping them to adapt to the effects of climate change and build a sustainable future – something you’ll be able to see for yourself on the trip.

Will I be able to contact people back home?

There is WiFi in the bed and breakfast and mobile phone signal. Although it might not always be possible to make a call, instant messaging services such as WhatsApp are good ways of keeping in touch. 

How long is the expedition?

The total length of the 2022 September expedition is 10 days. This includes time for dam building, visiting projects in the area and meeting the communities who have benefitted from them, some time for sightseeing in Nairobi, as well as travel.

What are the entry requirements for Kenya?

We advise you to check the UK Government Foreign travel advice website to check the latest information regarding entry requirements for travel to Kenya. NB Your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive, and you should have at least two blank pages in your passport on arrival. As Covid restrictions end around the world, there are still countries with restrictions or entry requirements (such as pre-departure tests) that you must adhere to in order to travel without any issues. We urge all travellers to check their eligibility to travel to Kenya on the day of departure to ensure their safe entry into the arrival country. You can check up-to-the minute restrictions here.

Do I need a visa for Kenya?

You need a visa to enter Kenya. Kenyan entry visas are exclusively issued electronically, with passengers required to obtain their e-visas before departure (please note visas can no longer be obtained at the airport on arrival in Kenya). Please see the UK Government Foreign travel advice website for the latest information, including how to apply for your visa.

Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in the expedition?

Yes, it is both a requirement for entry into Kenya, plus Sand Dams Worldwide’s policy that all participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in order to help protect the health of community members in Kenya and other expedition participants. For further details regarding entry requirements for Kenya, please see the UK Government Foreign travel advice.

Do I need to wear a mask on the plane?

Although mask restrictions are ending around the world, many airlines still require you to wear a mask for the duration of your flight. Please check with your booked carrier before departure.

How can I apply for the next expedition?

That's easy, just email [email protected] and we'll be in touch!