Tanzania is a union of over 120 tribes, each with their own language and traditions. We are highlighting some of the most frequently visited tribes which can be easily added to an itinerary based out of Moshi or Arusha. In addition, we have included Olduvai Gorge, an important archaeological destination for those interested in fossils of early mankind. Other cultural options in Zanzibar (the birth place of Swahili) are available and are listed in the Zanzibar section. But these are by no means the only options available. Please contact us for more options.
The Maasai, who roam the Maasai Steppe in and near the Northern Safari Circuit, are the most popular tribe to visit. Traditionally, Maasai live entirely off of animals, tending goats and cattle. Their traditional diet is entirely animal based, with the bulk of their diet being milk mixed with cattle blood (by nicking the jugular vein, they cause no harm to the animal) They roam with their herds to wherever the best grazing land is at the present time. Although known as fierce warriors, they are very friendly people who welcome visitors. During a visit, you will get the opportunity to go inside one of their dwellings, participate in their song and dance, see their legendary jumping abilities, and learn about their traditional culture. The Maasai are well known for their love of ornamentation. You will get a chance to help the tribe and purchase jewelry straight from the women who make it. This trip is an easy addition to a safari or can be done as a day trip from Moshi or Arusha.
The Hadzabe is another very unique tribe to visit. They are few in numbers now and live near Lake Eyasi (near Ngorongoro Conservation Area). they are one of the few true hunter-gatherer tribes left in the world. While the women forage for edible vegetation, the males hunt by poison arrows any game ranging from mice to giraffe. The favored meat is baboon. Their shelters are so temporary that often when a large game is killed such as a giraffe, the tribe will relocate to the kill site rather than attempt to transport the game. The clothing of the Hadzabe is also opportunistic, wearing anything from donated western style clothing to animal skins to nothing at all. Attempts by the government to educate and modernize the lifestyle of the Hadzabe have to failed because the tribe truly love their way of life. But their available hunting grounds are diminishing and their lifestyle is in danger. The Hadzabe welcome visitors and may also be invited to join in on a hunt. While hunting is a daily event, the majority of their diet is foraged roots and berries. They are expert honey gatherers, and have an excellent knowledge of natural medicines. With civilization encroaching ever closer, it is driving away much of the larger game that was once hunted, making this lifestyle ever more difficult. A visit to this tribe can be added to a safari near Ngorongoro.
The Chagga is a tribe that inhabits the lower slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the surrounding villages. Their location makes for a great day trip from Moshi or Arusha. The Chagga have assimilated into modern society in the cities well and hold many positions of leadership but they still keep many traditions in the small villages. There are many interesting stories about the Chagga and their religion, their existence during WW1, and their past wars against the Maasai. A visit to their banana and coffee plantations along with visiting one of the beautiful area waterfalls and surrounding rain-forest, a traditional Chagga meal (perhaps including local banana beer) makes for a lovely and memorable day-trip from Moshi or Arusha.
This much researched area is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world, stemming back nearly a hundred years ago from the research and discoveries made by Dr. Louis Leakey and his wife Mary. The archaeological site of Olduvai Gorge is located in the Eastern Serengeti in Northern Tanzania within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The gorge is a steep sided 48 kilometer (30 mile) long ravine, which forms part of the Great Rift Valley. It is situated on a series of fault lines which, along with centuries of erosion, has revealed fossils and remnants of early humankind. It is often referred to as the “cradle of mankind”. There is a museum and regular interpretive talks about the history of the gorge and is well worth a visit if traveling to the Serengeti. Spending a few hours in this area is usually sufficient to take in what is open to the public.