It was my first Workaway since Albania. Traveling through thirteen countries in two months didn’t give me a lot of time to spend in one place. I tried to work for the hostel when I slowed down for two weeks in Krakow, Poland but they weren’t accepting volunteers at the time. Krakow taught me it was nice to slow down a bit in my travels, so while there I set up working at a campground in Latvia for a week.
I arrived in Latvia on September 8th, stayed for a couple days with a great couchsurfing host and then went to the campground on September 10th. I signed up to do some carpentry projects before the next high season. Normally they would only accept someone for at least two weeks of work, but because I had a specialized skill to offer they accepted me for just a week.
When I arrived, I met my host Zane, her husband and two kids. They showed me around the amazing property and quickly accepted me into their family. Zanzibara campground has a large field for pitching tents, and also has three floating bungalows on the stream beside the campground! There is a full playground, two squash courts, pond and several other features including my personal favorite: a slack line. They also have dogs, cats and rabbits running around the property.
My first assignment was to build ten Adirondack chairs. After two prototypes with scrap wood, we were unable to decide on the perfect design. With only half a week remaining, I helped with other tasks, including installing wires for the grapevine above the patio to climb and constructing a large sandbox for kids coming to the campground. Another volunteer was already working at the campground and we teamed up on several of the tasks.
Our accommodations were really comfortable. We shared a small camper trailer together. Nighttime got down to freezing temperatures but it was still comfortable, although a little small. Meals were home-cooked and very delicious, traditional food. Our host was a wonderful cook. Mealtimes were similar to the Mediterranean countries, meaning dinner tended to be late at night after the work was done.
I arrived just after the end of the season so there weren’t a lot of guests. A couple times the patio and pond area were reserved for a company party from Riga, which is popular at the campground. From what I heard, the camping spot was pretty popular with the locals, and even people I met in town were familiar with it.
I would definitely recommend visiting the Zanzibara Campground when you make it to Latvia, either as a guest or as a volunteer. As a guest, you can either just camp or stay in one of the three floating bungalows. As a volunteer, go for a few weeks and fall in love with the campground and countryside. You will never want to leave. I certainly didn’t, even after only a single week.
To get there, go to the central bus station in Riga (across from the Origo shopping center) and take the 6844 bus for a whopping €1 to the last stop in Kekava. Walk down the street 2 km (or arrange for them to pick you up at the bus stop) and you’re there. Instructions are on their website for arriving by car.
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