Day trip to the Lake Eyasi National Reserve
Lake Eyasi, home to the Bushmen tribes Datoga and Hadzabe, is one of the few places in Africa where indigenous tribal life is still preserved without being affected by modern lifestyle. The tribes zealously preserve their lifestyle as iron smiths and hunters and maintain ancient rituals and customs like their African ancestors. The natives are neither English speaking nor Swahili. How do they communicate? They use unique consonants known as ‘clicks’.
· Datoga Tribe- The Datoga people are iron smiths, farmers and skilled craftsmen. They produce hunting tools, jewellery, and a variety of metal accessories for their personal use, and for trade with neighbouring tribes. The tribal women wear colourful clothes made of reddish skin and adorn themselves with bracelets and chains with their beaded and metal crafts. The skin around their eyes is decorated with tattoos in circular patterns. Their houses are cabins made of mud, cow faeces and bamboo.
The Datoga tribesman are considered an “isolated nation”, as they do not believe in formal education, and only about 5% of the Datoga tribe speak Swahili. Although they do have connections with neighbouring tribes, their traditional tribal existence and distance from a modern lifestyle isolate them from the rest of the country.
· Hadzabe Tribe– is a tribe of hunters. In their early morning hunting trips for monkeys and poultry, they gather honey and anything else edible. This tribe is even more indigenous than the Datoga tribe, as they have no running water and electricity. Their houses are made of open-sided bamboo roofs, and some tribesmen prefer to sleep under the baobab tree.
Their most interesting ritual is called “The Epeme Dance”. After dark, on moonless nights, the men wear belts, feathered headdresses, and sing and dance at the same time, encouraging the women to sing and dance around them.
Their religion is unique, with no punitive actions. While they do not believe in the spiritual afterlife, there is a common belief that their ancestral spirits protect them individually and not necessarily as a society. They believe that death can be a “contagious curse” and therefore distance themselves from a dying person and abandon a camp where sudden death has occurred.
The Hadzaba tribe members are careful to differentiate themselves from the surrounding tribes; however they continue to trade. The hunting tools are provided by the Datoga tribe who, in return, receive part of the hunting goods.·
Maasai village near NgoroNgoro
The Conservation area is located on the southeast side of the Serengeti National Park, near Lake Eyasi. Its main attraction is a large volcanic caldera, which created a 300-square-metre crater, millions of years ago. The crater area is breathtaking and considered a natural wonder, where elephants, zebras, buffalo, hippos, black rhinos, lions and more, roam freely in the reservation area.
The Maasai village lays on the mountainous terrain in the NgoroNgoro region. It can be reached either by walking approximately an hour and a half or by jeep- which will take you across the hills and straight into the village. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the villagers up-close, learn about their unique lifestyle, join in with their joyful singing and lively dancing, and learn about their tribal customs (fire lighting and beadworking).
Unlike the Hadzabe hunters, traditional Maasai lifestyle centres around cattle in their territory, which constitute their primary source of food. They consume large numbers of sheep and many litres of cattle
milk and perform rituals based on animal blood. Their clothes are made from animal skin, and the piles of faeces is collected to construct their housing.
Their most well-known ceremony, which is considered the essence of their tradition, is the “Initiation from Childhood to Adolescence Dance”. Young men stand straight and leap high into the air, symbolizing their agility and strength.
The Masai tribe circumcises both men and women before marriage, as they believe that this act will facilitate in avoiding death amongst tribal women during childbirth. Surprisingly, Masai women, who are considered a man’s possession and handle all household chores, may choose lovers for themselves. If this topic interests you, feel free to discuss this with the villagers in their homes, with the help of our guide who will translate for you.
· Iraqw Tribe, also known by the locals as “Mbulu”, are farmers who live in the north-central regions of Tanzania, near lake Eyasi and Munyara south of Ngorongoro Crater. Not much is known about this unique tribe. It is widely believed that their origin is in Ethiopia since their spoken language is similar to the ancient Ethiopian language.
Their traditional culture encompasses literature and oral poetry. Even though historically, they were considered “outsiders” by other Tanzanians, much of their poetry conveys a message of peace with fellow neighbours, health, and the ability to recover from any illness.
Additionally, “Ti’íta” (Night Stories) are passed down through generations; these stories depict characters of animals such as lions, hyenas and rabbits that live in the region.
· The drive to the Mto Wa Mbu village will provide you with an unforgettable cultural experience. Approximately 120 tribes reside in the village, thus creating a melting-pot of exotic cultures, languages and tradition.
The village has a very active cultural program which provides visitors a glance into their traditional way of life, alongside a variety of community projects. You will be requested to pay a small fee for each activity which is used to support important projects such as the production of energy-efficient ovens and the development of irrigation systems. If one is looking for a great taste of Tanzanian culture, this is the place! The villagers will gladly provide information about Tanzania, their daily lives, politics, history, culture, wildlife, legends and more.
Recommended attractions in the village:
o Village tour – quench your thirst with a delicious banana beer, visit a village house and learn about the art of traditional carving, Makonde carving.
o Enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal.
o Visit a local farm and learn about the various agricultural crops grown by the villagers.
o Explore the true scents and smells at the bustling local market- a weekly market held on Thursday afternoons and also on the 22nd of each month.
o Balaa Hill – Hike up the Rift Valley Escapements for spectacular views, an ideal spot for bird watching.
o Take a trip to the Miwaleni lake and waterfall, where the ancient baobab trees grow abundantly. Enjoy a swim in the freshwater surrounded by a beautiful waterfall.
o Maniara Lake – Experience cycling like never before! Cycle to the shores of the lake with local wildlife surrounding you.
Tanzania has a plethora of tribal culture. If it’s authenticity you’re looking for; the Anthropology Day Trips undoubtedly provide an incredible opportunity to witness first-hand history, heritage and traditional identity.
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