The Hadzabe tribe – Cultural experience
Take a journey into the “Gods must be crazy” movie. The Hadzabe tribe of Tanzania is the last true nomads of Africa. All day Africa Adventures can take you on an amazing adventure with the Hadzas. You will join the men as they hunt for their daily subsidence using traditional Bow and arrows, or join the women as they forage for fruits and berries. This is not a show or a “tourist put on”. This is the real deal. A true African cultural experience, not for the faint of heart.
About the Hadza*
The Hadza people, or Hadzabe’e, are an ethnic group in central Tanzania, living around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau. The Hadza number just under 1000. Some 300–400 Hadza live as hunter-gatherers, much as they have for thousands or even tens of thousands of years; they are the last functioning hunter-gatherers in Africa. The Hadza are not closely related to any other people. While traditionally considered an East African branch of the Khoisan peoples, primarily because their language has clicks, modern genetic research suggests that they may be more closely related to the Pygmies. The Hadza language appears to be an isolate, unrelated to any other.
There are four traditional areas of Hadza dry-season habitation: West of the southern end of Lake Eyasi, between Lake Eyasi and the Yaeda Valley swamp to the east, east of the Yaeda Valley in the Mbulu Highlands, and north of the valley around the town of Mang’ola. During the wet season the Hadza camp outside and between these areas, and readily travel between them during the dry season as well. Access to and from the western area is by crossing the southern end of the lake, which is the first part to dry up, or by following the escarpment of the Serengeti Plateau around the northern shore. The Yaeda Valley is easily crossed, and the areas on either side abut the hills south of Mang’ola.
The Hadza have traditionally foraged outside these areas, in the Yaeda Valley, on the slopes of Mount Oldeani north of Mang’ola, and up onto the Serengeti Plains. Such foraging is done for hunting, berry collecting, and for honey. Although hunting is illegal in the Serengeti, the Tanzanian authorities recognize that the Hadza are a special case and do not enforce the regulations with them, just as the Hadza are the only people in Tanzania not taxed locally or by the national government.
Hadza men usually forage individually, and during the course of day usually feed themselves while foraging, and also bring home some honey, fruit, or wild game when available. Women forage in larger parties, and usually bring home berries, baobab fruit, and tubers, depending on availability. Men and women also forage co-operatively for honey and fruit, and at least one adult male will usually accompany a group of foraging women. During the wet season, the diet is composed mostly of honey, some fruit , tubers, and occasional meat.
The contribution of meat to the diet increases in the dry season, when game become concentrated around sources of water. During this time, men often hunt in pairs, and spend entire nights lying in wait by waterholes, hoping to shoot animals that approach for a night-time drink, with bows and arrows treated with poison. The poison is made of the branches of the shrub Adenium coetaneum.
The Hadza are highly skilled, selective, and opportunistic foragers, and adjust their diet according to season and circumstance. Depending on local availability, some groups might rely more heavily on tubers, others on berries, others on meat. This variability is the result of their opportunism and adjustment to prevailing conditions.
Traditionally, the Hadza do not make use of hunting dogs, although this custom has been recently borrowed from neighboring tribes to some degree. Most men (80%+) do not use dogs when foraging.
Read this National Geographic Hadzabe experience
The Datoga tribe – Cultural experience
Visiting the Datoga tribe will complete your cultural experience at Lake Eyasi. The Datoga are skilled farmers and craftsman. You will visit their habitat, and experience their culture first hand. Be prepared for the experience of a lifetime.
The Datoga people live in Tanzania. The most general name for this widely-dispersed ethnic group is Datoga, though it is sometimes spelled Tatooga. In the outside world they are often known by the Sukuma name for them, Taturu. Very few sources have information about the Datoga people. The best-known and most numerous sub-tribe of the Datoga peoples are the pastoral Barabaig, who reside chiefly in that part of the northern volcanic highlands dominated by Mount Hanang (3,418 metres). The sacred nature of this mountain makes it an important theme in Barabaig myth and song. In some people lists, the Barabaig are listed as a separate people, but as speaking the Datoga language.
There is little concrete history of the Datoga people. Their migration history has been reconstructed through comparative linguistics and study of oral traditions of the Datoga and their neighbors. The Datoga are linguistically and culturally classified as Highland (Southern) Nilotes. Their origins are thought to be in the Southern Sudan or western Ethiopia highlands, probably 3000 years ago. A gradual southward migration of their ancestral people resulted in a settlement of the highland areas of Kenya and Tanzania by speakers of Nilotic languages, herding and ultimately farming in those rich highlands by about AD 1500. These Highland Nilotes now fall into two groups, the Kalenjin cluster of peoples in Kenya, speaking several closely-related languages, and Datoga, whose language is more distantly related.
The Datoga themselves blend in with their environment, their dress being the color of the reddish brown soil. Only on closer inspection will they appear colorful with their reddish, patched leather dresses, bead work, and brass bracelets and necklaces. A prominent decoration is tatooing of circular patterns around the eyes. This people are part of the broad Nilotic migration from the Sudan along the Nile River centuries ago. They were cut off from other Highland Nilotes by later migrations of Bantu and Plains Nilotic peoples like the Maasai. The Highland Nilotes are distantly related to the Plains Nilotes like the Samburu, Maasai and Karamajong-Turkana and the River Nilotes like the Luo. They were herders, but have diversified to include agriculture in recent times. The Datoga are proud people, with a reputation as fierce warriors. Traditionally, young men had to prove themselves by killing an “enemy of the people,” defined as any human being not a Datoga, or one of the dangerous wild animals, such as elephant, lion or buffalo. Other Tanzanians and outsiders consider the Datoga primitive, because they resist education and development. They live in low standards of hygiene, and have high infant mortality.
The Datoga language, with its dialects, is a Southern Nilote language, related distantly to the Kalenjin languages of Kenya. About 20% also speak the language of their Southern Cushitic neighbors, Iraqw. A language closely related to Datoga is Omotik, the speech of another small northern Tanzania people. The Omotik are close in cluture and language, related genetically and linguistically to the Datoga. More distantly related to the Kalenjin cluster of Nilotic peoples, the Omotik show clear signs of being linguistically influenced by Kalenjin languages in recent history. (The Omotik are one of the groups commonly called Dorobo.) Only about 5% speak Swahili, the national language of Tanzania. This further accentuates their isolation. The Barabaig dialect is spoken by over half the Datoga. Their literacy rate is only about 1% and there is very little available in their language. Schools available are conducted in Swahili.
The Datoga have basically been bypassed in modern political developments. They were not active in the colonial period and have lived in the small circle of their contacts with neighboring peoples, mostly in a belligerent relationship.
The Datoga keep goats, sheep, donkeys and a few chickens, but cattle are by far the most important domestic animal. They resemble the Maasai in culture. The meat, fat, blood, milk, hide, horns, tendons and cow dung of every animal have either practical or ritual purposes. They were formerly nomadic, depending largely on milk products for their diet, and moving whenever the needs of their cattle dictated. Now, however, many farm a plot of maize and sometimes beans and millet. They live a very difficult life, in semi-arid areas, where water is hard to obtain and often unclean. The ideal family situation is polygamous, with wives ranked in order of marriage. Marriage must be outside the clan. Funerals are extensive ceremonies, lasting up to a year. Power centers in a neighborhood council of elders. Group pressure is the primary social control, but elders can impose fines and curses. Men drink honey beer as a sacred drink on ritual occasions.
The Maasai tribe – Cultural experience
While on your northern route safari, All Day Africa Adventures recommends visiting a maasai village. The maasai play a crucial role in the preservation of land in the north. All Day Africa Adventures can bring you to a real maasai village where you will be exposed to all aspects of their lifestyle and invited to participate in a traditional dance. All Day Africa Adventures we will take you to a real remote village. You will also be able to purchase many hand crafted articles directly from the tribe. These are genuine artifacts.
About the Maasai*
The Maasai are an indigenous African ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa, they are among the most well-known African ethnic groups internationally. They speak Maa, a member of the Nilo-Saharan language family that is related to Dinka and Nuer, and are also educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania: Swahili and English. The Maasai population has been variously estimated as 841,622(2009) in Kenya and 8000,000 in Tanzania (2011). Estimates of the respective Maasai populations in both countries are complicated by the remote locations of many villages, and their semi-nomadic nature.
Although the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, the people have continued their age-old customs. Oxfam once claimed that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands.
Maasai’s society is strongly patriarchal in nature with elder men, sometimes joined by retired elders, deciding most major matters for each Maasai group. A full body of oral law covers many aspects of behavior. Formal execution is unknown, and normally payment in cattle will settle matters. An out of court process called ‘amitu’, ‘to make peace’, or ‘arop’, which involves a substantial apology, is also practiced.
A high infant mortality rate among the Maasai has led to babies not truly being recognized until they reach an age of 3 moons. For Maasai living a traditional life, the end of life is virtually without ceremony, and the dead are left out for scavengers. Burial has in the past been reserved for great chiefs, since it is believed to be harmful to the soil.
Traditional Maasai lifestyle centers around their cattle which constitutes the primary source of food. The measure of a man’s wealth is in terms of cattle and children. A herd of 50 cattle is respectable, and the more children the better. A man who has plenty of one but not the other is considered to be poor. A Maasai myth relates that God gave them all the cattle on earth, leading to the belief that rustling cattle from other tribes is a matter of taking back what is rightfully theirs, a practice that has become much less common.
As a historically nomadic and then semi-nomadic people, the Maasai have traditionally relied on local, readily available materials and indigenous technology to construct their housing. The traditional Maasai house was in the first instance designed for people on the move and was thus very impermanent in nature. The Inkajijik (houses) are either loaf-shaped or circular, and are constructed by women.
The structural framework is formed of timber poles fixed directly into the ground and interwoven with a lattice of smaller branches, which is then plastered with a mix of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and urine, and ash. The enkaji is small, measuring about 3m x 5m and standing only 1.5m high. Within this space the family cooks, eats, sleeps, socializes and stores food, fuel and other household possessions. Small livestock are also often accommodated within the enkaji. Villages are enclosed in a circular fence (Enkang) built by the men, usually of thorned acacia. At night all cows, goats and sheep are placed in an enclosure in the center, safe from wild animals.
The Iraqw People
The Iraqw or Irakw (also known as the Wambulu amongst Swahili speakers) are a Cushitic-speaking ethnic group inhabiting the Great Lakes region of East Africa. They live in the Arusha and Manyara regions of north-central Tanzania, near the Rift Valley wall and south of Ngorongoro Crater.
The Iraqw have traditionally been viewed as remnants of a Neolithic Afro-Asiatic peoples who practiced plant and animal husbandry in the Great Lakes region — a succession of societies collectively known as the Stone Bowl cultural complex. Most of these early northern migrants are believed to have been absorbed by later movements of Nilotic and Bantu peoples. In the Kerio Valley of Kenya, among other neighboring areas, there are vestiges of the Neolithic tillers’ civilization in the form of elaborate irrigation systems. Although these particular structures are today maintained by the Marakwet subgroup of the Nandi Kalenjin Nilotes, the latter aver that they were the work of a northern people of peculiar language called the Sirikwa, who were later decimated by pestilence. According to the Marakwet, the Sirikwa “built the furrows, but they did not teach us how to build them; we only know how to keep them as they are.
Additionally, the Iraqw’s ancestors are often credited with having constructed the sprawling Engaruka complex in northern Tanzania. The modern Iraqw practice an intensive form of self-contained agriculture that bears a remarkable similarity to the ruins of stone-walled canals, dams and furrows that are found at Engaruka. Iraqw historical traditions likewise relate that their last significant migration to their present area of inhabitation occurred about two or three centuries ago after conflicts with the Barbaig sub-group of the Datog Nilotes, herders who are known to have occupied the Crater Highlands above Engaruka prior to the arrival of the Maasai. This population movement is reportedly consistent with the date of the Engaruka site’s desertion, which is estimated at somewhere between 1700 and 1750. It also roughly coincides with the start of the diminishment of the Engaruka River’s flow as well as those of other streams descending from the Ngorongoro highlands; water sources around which Engaruka’s irrigation practices were centered.
According to the Maasai Nilotes, who are the present-day occupants of Engaruka, the Iraqw also already inhabited the site when their own ancestors first entered the region during the 18th century.
In 2001, the Iraqw population was estimated to number around 462,000 individuals. Current estimates suggest the population of Iraqw people to the region of 1,000,000.
Their core area of inhabitation is Iraqw’ar Da/aw (or Mama Issara) in the Mbulu Highlands. It has long been known for its intensive cultivation, and referred to as an “island” within a matrix of less intensive cultivation.
The areas surrounding Karatu town in the Arusha region are also predominantly settled by the Iraqw.
Several PhD studies and books have been written about Iraqw culture. A large number of scientific articles on Iraqw culture can be found in a bibliography that has been compiled on the Mbulu area of Tanzania.
According to Börjeson (2004), the Iraqw have assimilated many foreign groups into their culture. Most of the latter peoples are of Nilotic (especially Datog) and Bantu origin. Of the estimated 150 to 200 total Iraqw clans, only three are believed to be of Iraqw descent.
Comprehensive anthropological analyses of the ethnic Iraqw by Ikeda et al. (1982) suggests that they share significant affinities with other Cushitic-speaking populations and “Caucasoids” generally. However, due to intermarriage with the surrounding Tanzanian populations, the Iraqw also have some morphological ties with local Bantu groups.
The Iraqw speak the Iraqw language as a mother tongue. It belongs to the South Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family.