The Hadzabe Tribe: Ancient Hunter-Gatherers
December 31, 2010
While many visitors to Africa are familiar with the Masai people, the Hadzabe of Tanzania's Lake Eyasi region are no less fascinating or representative of African culture.
Still leading the same hunter-gatherer lifestyle that has sustained their people for generations, the Hadzabe make use of locally made poisons and ingenious camouflage to hunt.
Visitors to Tanzania 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.
About the Hadzabe
With an estimated population of less 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.
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. As this is their only source of food, they are the only tribe permitted to hunt in the Serengeti.
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.
An interesting facet of Hadzabe culture is their language. Believed to have some kind of relation to the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, the Hadzabe language is a distinctive tongue of clicks that is similar to that of the famous Bushmen. Despite this and their similar physical appearances, DNA testing has shown no relation between the two groups.
Hunting with the Hadzabe
Visitors to Tanzania have the opportunity to witness a hunting demonstration by these proud people, with early morning hunting excursions a fantastic opportunity to see just how these people have survived in the wilderness while other tribes have given in to pressure from the modernising world.
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.
Featured image courtesy of Anja Pletsch