Tanzania’s people are among the friendliest on earth with diverse and unique cultures ready to be shared with visitors. It is a rewarding experience to leave your 4X4 vehicle behind and walk through scenic local resident villages with the greatest cultural landscapes in Africa. Various local communities run their own cultural programmes and welcome visitors to their homes, bringing income directly to the local community while giving local people an opportunity to showcase their way of life to the outside world. This creates mutual understanding and friendships between tourists and local people, offering tourists from all over the world the possibility to experience Tanzania’s cultural diversity and providing local people in various rural areas the opportunity to build sustainable livelihoods. In the pastoral areas of the North and Lake Zone, follow the Hadza, Maasai and Dagota track to explore almost unforgotten traditions and a way of life that is closely linked to nature and wildlife.
Major Culture Tribes on Safari: ◾ Maasai People: The Maasai tribe are one of the most recognized tribes in the world. The semi-nomadic warrior people, who once lived nomadically across the lands of East Africa, now live as pastoral herders. Maasai territory includes the more famous and protected safari lands of Tanzania the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. Maasai tribes are patriarchal with the men taking up the task of guarding and herding the cattle while the women undertake household tasks and take charge in building the Inkajijik (traditional huts). A combination of grass, sticks, mud, water and cow dung are used to create small, oval structures.
One of the most memorable scenes in Maasai culture is the “Adumu”, known colloquially as the ‘jumping dance’, Adumu is the act of young men jumping competitively. Nowadays, visitors to Maasai villages are treated to a special version of Adumo not part of the ceremony. They can even try their hand at the athletic jump and no doubt elicit some laughter from the seasoned Maasai pros.
Most of the guests on safari love to include a visit to a Maasai Boma (the homestead) in Ngorongoro.
Maasai Cultural Bomas:- Kiloki Senyati Cultural Boma: Situated on the main road to Serengeti, 7 km south-west of the Olduvai Gorge Information Center Loonguku Cultural Boma: Situated on the main road to Serengeti, 10km before the turn-off to Olduvai Gorge Irkeepusi Cultural Boma: Situated 2km north-east of Lemala mini gate, on the main road to Empakaai Seneto Cultural Boma: Situated just west of the Seneto Gate, within the Malanja Depression
◾ Hadza People: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 neighbouring Serengeti Plateau. The Hadza number just under 1000. Some 300 to 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 clicked, 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.
◾ Dagota People: The most general name for this widely dispersed ethnic group is Datoga, though it is sometimes spelt Tatooga. In the outside world, they are often known by the Sukuma name for them, Taturu, located around Lake Eyasi. There are very few sources of 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 separate people, but as speaking the Datoga language.
Historical Sites: ◾ The Olduvai Gorge: The Olduvai Gorge popularly referred to as “The Cradle of Humankind”, is the site where in 1959 Dr Louis Leakey discovered the skull of Zinjanthropus or “Nutcracker Man” believed to have lived 1.75 million years ago. It is located in the eastern Serengeti Plain, within the boundaries of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania. It is a steep-sided ravine consisting of two branches that have a combined length of about 30 miles (48 km) and are 295 feet (90 metres) deep. Later reclassified as Australopithecus boisei, this creature had a massive skull through small brained (500 cc) with huge teeth. Several months later Dr Leakey found another fossil hominid in the same layer of excavation, called Homo habilis or “handyman”, smaller than the “Nutcracker Man” but with a larger brain (600 cc) and capable of making simple stone tools.
◾ The Kondoa Rock Paintings: The Kondoa Rock Paintings in Kolo are located about 260 kilometres to the south of Arusha town, a 4 hours drive on the Great North Road and about 20 kilometres from the Kondoa District centre. This is a UNESCO world-class historical heritage site of ancient rock art, remarkable not just for their quantity but also quality. Human figures and animals (elephant, eland and giraffe) usually painted in dark red, and a few abstract designs can be seen on the face of the rocks and caves. According to researchers, these are the earlier rock paintings dated 5,000 to 10,000 years and are attributed to hunter-gatherer Bushmen, a click language tribe, who are said to be ancestors of the Sandawe tribe currently inhabiting the western part of Kondoa District.