Tanzania is a country of great diversity, having over 120 tribes. Each has its own native language and culture. The country has done an admirable job of creating unity from so many groups while encouraging preservation of each culture. Below are the most popular tribal tours in northern Tanzania. The Chagga and Maasai tours can be done as a day trip. Any of the tribes can be easily incorporated into a safari itinerary. Contact us for further options andd ideas.
The Chagga tribe resides in the lower slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Many of the people you will meet in Moshi are Chagga and have adapted their live to a modern Tanzanian lifestyle but in rural areas, their traditions still exist. There are numerous options for viewing traditional Chagga life including visiting coffee and banana plantations. Two other popular options are outlined below.
Situated at the southern part of Mt Kilimanjaro this area is historic in the battles of the Chagga and Maasai. About a century and half ago there used to be a frequent raids and looting of Chagga property by the Maasai and fighting among factions of the Chagga themselves in the course of territory expansion. After suffering many hardships, idea was adopted by the Chagga was to utilize the hidden underground called “Chagga bolt hole”. Where by Chagga bolt hole a special hole which was dug and partitioned into different chambers for the purpose of hiding women and children as well as storing food and livestock. In addition to the excellent hiding spot, this area served as a vantage point to see how the flow of battles were progressing.
Mountain climbing enthusiasts will be advised to visit the home and memorial of the late Yohano Lauwo, a Marangu native who accompanied Dr. Hans Meyer on the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1889(The first European to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.) You can also learn about the Chagga culture by visiting a traditional Chagga house with straw roof. You can visit the Chief Mangi area where the first court and primary school built in the Northern Region of Tanzania are still functioning. You will be able to pass historical sites of clan wars where the Chagga used large caves to hide themselves when the fought with Maasai.
Situated adjacent to Lake Manyara National Park. In Mto wa Mbu (although the name literally means river of mosquitoes, it really is not as bad as the name makes it), it is the only point in Africa where 4 language families meet; the Nilotes, Cushites, Bantu and Hamites a unique cultural feature in the world. A point in Tanzania where anthropology is most diverse. Visit a Maasai boma, dancing, market, schools and community project will be offered. View rice farming and see how local beer is made. Maasai village visit to foster the true experience of most complex cultural experience in Africa is a gift will be hard to forget in your entire life. Hike the Rift Valley wall and view the Lake Manyara. This trip can be easily added onto any Tanzanian Northern Circuit safari.
Of the large number of tribes in East Africa, the Maasai tribe is easily the most popular for tourists. Known as fierce warriors, this nomadic tribe is actually very friendly and open to visitors. Many of them still live a very traditional lifestyle and are easy to spot by their distictive clothing. On this tour, you can expect to learn about the Maasai religious beliefs, culture and lifestyle. You will have the opportunity to enter into one of their traditional dwellings and hear them sing and dance (and join in if you wish) and see their famous jumping abilities. This trip also offers the opportunity to buy Maasai crafts direct from the tribe. This trip can be easily added into any Northern Tanzanian or Southern Kenyan safari itinerary.
The Hadzabe are one of the few true hunter-gatherer tribes left in the world. They live in simple temporary shelters and live by hunting by bow and arrow, using poisoned arrowtips for large game. They hunt for anything from mice to giraffe, with baboon being their preferred game. If they are successful in killing large game such as giraffe, often the tribe will simply relocate to the kill site rather than transport the game. They also forage for roots and berries and are experts at herbal medicine. They create fire by rubbing sticks together in an amazingly short time. Their clothing is also based on availability, wearing animal skins, nothing or donated clothing. Attempts to bring the Hadzabe into a more modern existence and give education to the children by the government has failed. They truly love their way of life but their hunting grounds are diminishing making their existence tougher. They reside near the shores of Lake Eyasi as do the Nilotic-speaking Datoga tribe. A tour will include the opportunity to go along on a hunt, experience their singing and dancing. This is an amazing tour of a vanishing lifestyle. This tour can be added to any safari that is near Ngorongoro Conservation Area.