Lake Eyasi - Hudzabe Bushmen Visit
Still leaving the same hunter-gatherer lifestyle that has sustained their people for generations, the Hudzabe of Tanzania’s Lake Eyasi region are no less fascinating or representative of African culture as the renowned Masai people. Our guests can not only visit with these traditional people but also witness a thrilling sunrise hunt to see just how these hardy people have survived in the sometimes harsh Tanzanian wilderness for thousands of years.
Traditional Hunting Experience
Hadzabe – Bushmen tribe of Lake Eyasi:
With an estimated population of fewer than 2,000 individuals, the Hadzabe are one of the last tribes to stay true to their tribal history. Existing far from the crowds and globalization that inevitably follow tourism, they exist much as they always have. The Hadzabe people live in caves near Lake Eyasi, and their isolation and shrinking numbers have allowed them to avoid the HIV epidemic and other diseases that have spread due to intertribal marriages.
Men typically hunt and bring home honey to feed their families, while women and children gather fruits, berries, and roots with which to supplement their diet. The men are particularly adept hunters, and their daring and inventive hunting style is a sight to behold. Using parts harvested from other animals, they cunningly lure and put down game. They use locally made poisons and ingenious camouflage to hunt.
Whether overnighting in nearby lodges or travelling across from Karatu, visitors can join an early morning hunting demonstration before exploring the lake Eyasi region by car or on foot. A distinctive feature of Hadzabe culture is their language. The Hadzabe language is an idiosyncratic tongue of clicks. It is similar to that of the famous Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. Despite this and their similar physical appearances, DNA testing has shown no relations between the two groups.
Datoga tribe of Lake Eyasi:
The Datoga, like the Maasai, are pastoralists. However, unlike the Maasai, these pastoralists are also skilled silversmiths who supply the Hadzabe with iron tips, knives and spears in exchange for honey and fruits. Their origins lie in the Horn of Africa and they are thought to have immigrated some 3,000 years ago. They wear traditional dress decorated in colored beads and the women often have facial scarification for beauty. The Datoga blend in with their environment with outfits that are a reddish brown color, similar to the soil, with reddish patched leather dresses, necklaces, beadwork and bracelets. Another cultural feature that distinguishes the Datoga from other tribes is the decorative facial scarification with circular patterns around their eyes.
Exciting Activities At Lake Eyasi
- Early morning hunt observing the Hadza men in action with their bow & arrows.
- Lessons from the Hadza men and boys on using the bow and arrow.
- Purchasing beaded items from the Hadza women and mini-spears and jewelry from the Datoga
- Visiting a traditional Datoga homestead run by the women.
- Visiting the traditional Datoga Silversmiths in their outside workshop.
- Sundowners at the lakeshore
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