Fall Semester | East Africa

An African adventure with NCOAE that combines wildebeests, medical training, culture and mountains.

Questions? Call NCOAE Support (910) 399-8090


Kenya’s location between the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria is a vast oasis for people from all over Africa and the Middle East, who have traveled and traded across it for centuries. Our 80-day Kenya expedition is developed to give you the skills you need to work professionally as an Outdoor Educator based within a diverse culture with many ethnic groups and languages. And, you get to stalk lions.

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80 days

Course Information

Adventure First

Africa is as raw and powerful as it gets.

The wide-open, golden savannahs of Kenya fill people’s dreams of Africa, and this is our classroom. Within this landscape, you’ll develop solid outdoor skills within the framework of the NCOAE wilderness curriculum. Join us to translate your passion for wilderness, adventure and travel into a set of skills you can use to inspire others.

Africa is as raw and powerful as it gets. Working with our local contacts, our classrooms will include the stunning summits and tropical alpine environs around Mt. Kenya and Mt. Elgon, two of the highest peaks on the African continent. With Africa as the backdrop, you’ll trek through the steep gorges and famous moorlands of the Aberdare Mountains, immerse yourself in the remnant tropical rainforest in the Kakamega Reserve, and camp within Maasai communities, one of the most revered tribes in the world.

The NCOAE Fall Semester – East Africa course is exceptional with its unique combination of adventure and skill development, including: wilderness medicine, cultural awareness, wilderness risk management, backpacking, climbing, backcountry cooking and living, high-altitude trekking, and expedition planning.

In addition, you’ll learn the skills you need to become a leader in your community and to better understand your individual role in the world. The NCOAE curriculum will provide you with lessons in environmental responsibility, cultural literacy, critical thinking, communication, leadership, decision-making and teamwork. Additionally, the international setting of Kenya provides you with the advantage of expanded perspective, knowledge, and awareness. These technical, intrapersonal and interpersonal skill sets will prepare you to instruct, teach, and lead others anywhere in the world — and become highly sought after on a global scale.

And at the end of this course — which is also available in Patagonia — you’ll be able use these newly developed skills to guide groups in the backcountry or pursue a summer job in the adventure travel industry.

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  • Duration: 80 days
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Tuition: $18,480.00
  • Credit Hours: 26 Credits

Education Always

  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer certification
  • Expedition planning
  • Wilderness Risk Management
  • Remote wilderness camp craft
  • Backcountry navigation
  • Expedition cooking and food planning
  • Experience best practices in environmental and civic responsibility
  • Teaching-level knowledge of the NCOAE core curriculum
  • Navigating international logistics and Swahili-language variables
  • Itinerary
  • FAQs
  • Credits
  • Outcomes
  • Downloads

Itinerary Highlights

  • Get face-to-face with a hippo on the banks of the Mara River, which lies across the migration path of ungulates in the Serengeti/Masai Mara game reserves.
  • Spend time with the Maasai, a semi-nomadic warrior tribe inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Witness their lifestyle, a powerful adaptation to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands.
  • Attempt to summit Mount Kenya, the African continent’s second tallest mountain.
  • Relax as you enjoy vistas of glaciated valleys surrounded by rare alpine tropical plants and animals, including colorful and endemic bird species.
  • Go on safari to the famous wildlife reserves in Amboselli and Maasai Mara, where you will encounter zebras, giraffes, leopards and powerful kudo with their spiral horns. You also might see the adorable, tiny furry mammal called a rock hyrax, said to be the closest living relative to an elephant.
  • Make a difference in the world while you participate in community service projects alongside the Maasai people.

Why Take This Course

  • Become an expert at teaching the best outdoor education curriculum
  • Receive your Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification
  • Learn international expedition planning
  • Build the skills and confidence to work as an outdoor education pro

Where You’ll Be

  • Maasai community land near Amboselli National Park
  • Maasai Mara Game Reserve
  • Amboselli National Park
  • Mt. Kenya National Park
  • Aberdare Mountains National Park
  • Mt. Elgon National Park
  • Loita Hills, Maasailand


Is Africa safe?

Nothing is guaranteed “safe.” However, think of Africa as you think of the United States. There are rural places in the United States where you probably feel at ease leaving your items unattended and walking alone. In some urban areas, on the other hand, you wouldn’t want to be outside after dark, and you would need to rely on someone you trust and who is familiar with the area to identify potentially dangerous areas. East Africa is the same way. We will be in a variety of environments during our semester, with various levels of risk associated with each environment. Our NCOAE instructors and local guides will do their best to ensure you are knowledgeable about the local terrain and cultural differences. By understanding the risks, you are able to travel with our group in Africa with an increased level of confidence and awareness.

How intense is the coursework?

Our NCOAE coursework is experiential. That means you engage in hands-on learning. For example, when we visit the Maasai, you’ll have lots of questions: What do they eat? What is their culture? How has their way of life been influenced by the outside world? At this time, you’ll have readings and background to prepare you to better understand the Maasai and their social organization, and that will give you the context to interact successfully with local Maasai.

Who will be in my group?

Our students “self-select” for these courses. That means that as they read the course description, something about Africa draws them to discover more about it. You’ll find yourself with a diverse group of people who have picked Africa out of a love for something new and different, and picked NCOAE because of our commitment to professionalism and adventure travel.

Am I strong enough?

Only you can answer this question. However, you can do many things to prepare, both mentally and physically, for a semester in Africa. You can exercise and train for the physical component, and you can mentally prepare yourself by learning as much about East Africa as you can. During the semester, you’ll find yourself on the move and in an environment that is constantly changing. While that can be exhausting, the smiles you’ll have at the end of a day of adventure are like none other.

Do I need many immunizations?

NCOAE adheres to the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding immunizations required for those traveling in East Africa. Their website has all of the information you need on vaccines and travel, as well as a list of local travel clinics where you can get the vaccines you need prior to the semester. Visit the Travelers’ Health page on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional information.

Will I see wild animals?

Wild animals are unpredictable. We will be traveling in environments where visitors often see lions, zebras, and giraffes, but we cannot guarantee the amount of wildlife you’ll see. Africa’s national parks are home to a great diversity of wild animals, but in rural areas, many wildlife populations have diminished due to hunting or their natural territory has been encroached upon by human settlement. Injuries from animals are rare in Africa, and are often the result of poor human judgment; for example, getting too close to a wild animal while trying to take a photo of it. But, we feel fairly confident that you’ll be able to have a safe selfie with an elephant before the semester ends.

Will there be a service component?

Every international NCOAE course includes a commitment to giving back to the local community. We do this by working with our network of friends in East Africa and asking where we can help most. We often don’t know the nature of our service ahead of time, but wait to understand where and how we can truly make a difference. That could be volunteering in a local orphanage, cleaning up a community center, or painting a playground. Whatever it is, you can rest assured that NCOAE will make it an experience to remember.

Academic Credit

You are eligible to receive  a maximum of 16 credit hours from the list below during this semester program. You will need to align any of the listed academic credits/courses with your degree program. Please call NCOAE with questions on applying for transferable credit hours.

Your work during our Fall Semester – East Africa may be eligible for college-level credits through Keystone College:

  • ANTH 2110 — Peoples & Cultures of Africa: 2 credits
  • COMM 3135 — Small Group Communication: 3 credits
  • EXPL 2110 — Experiential Learning: 3 credits
  • GEOG 3110 — Cultural Geography: 2 credits
  • LEAD 1110 — Foundations of Leadership: 3 credits
  • LEAD 2110 — Team Building: 3 credits
  • PHED 1125 F2F 001 — 1st Aid/Safety: 2 credits
  • SRM 1018 — Hiking and Habitat: 2 credits
  • SRM 2110 — Program Development and Planning: 3 credits
  • SRM 3135 — Facilitation of Leadership Activities: 3 credits

Course Outcomes

A semester in Kenya is for you if you are inspired by the thrill of an international trekking expedition. Through your immersion and experiences with the Maasai people, you will gain new tools for connecting and building mutual understanding with people whose worldview differs from yours.

Where do you want to go (physically, mentally, socially, academic, etc.)?

Kenya and its people will challenge you to learn and absorb more than you thought possible in 80 days. You will gain proficiency in wilderness camping in an extraordinary diversity of environments, as well as connect with people you’ve only dreamed of meeting. Finally, you will gain the confidence to respond to unexpected challenges and emergencies, particularly in a foreign country.

How will NCOAE help you get there?

NCOAE will help you to find your voice as a leader, understand how to manage a group through challenging circumstances, and teach you to address and facilitate a myriad of group dynamic and interpersonal issues.

Additionally, personal connections with people from another culture will open your mind to new possibilities for engaging in the world at-large and helping to make it a better place. As a result, you will gain the know-how and professional-level competence to guide less-experienced explorers on high-altitude backpacking trips in diverse environments.

This Fall Semester – East Africa course and academic adventure is only offered through NCOAE, which is why we’re excited to offer it in Kenya.

Upcoming Dates / Reserve Your Spot

This Fall Semester – East Africa course and academic adventure is only offered through NCOAE, which is why we’re excited to offer it in Kenya.

Enroll today and start living the life you dream about!