If you have been travelling in Africa before coming to Tanzania, you’ll meet a somehow different culture and lifestyle here. You will meet a country without tribalism and rivalry like in the neighbouring countries.
Tanzania is full of history and culture; you might choose to visit the Stone Age findings in Isimila, Iringa, or the Kolo paintings, ancient rock paintings south of Tarangire National Park.
The people you meet, from one of the 120 tribes in the country, or from the small but economical significant numbers of Asians and Arabs, will all do they best to teach you the importance of greetings and respect, which for all Tanzanians are highly occupied with for all everyday life.
After only few days of your visit here or even hours, you’ll probably have some new “brothers” or “sisters” here – Tanzanians have a very extended, including and sharing family perspectives. You’ll find that although many are poor, few are starving, and the little they have, they will gladly share with you.
Handshakes are a part of greeting, and you’ll get a strange feeling in the beginning when your new brother keeps holding your hand throughout a good portion of your conversation.
The Maasai people
On your journey in Tanzania, you will most likely meet the tall, slender built and colourful dressed people of the Maasai tribe. This nomadic people still very much live by their old traditions, herding cattle and goats, and living on a diet based on milk, blood and meat from their herds.
In the north of Tanzania there are many established tourist culture villages, but many find them too touristic. We will always do our best to include the more genuine and authentic experience when we introduce you and your fellow travellers to these pastoralist and proud warriors, for many one of the most known ethnic groups in Africa.
Upon your wishes and desires, it is possible to set up your travel with us to include visits, even overnight, at a real Maasai “Boma” – their name for the family’s set of cow dung huts, to really get under the skin of their culture and lifestyle.
The Hadzabe Bushmen
In the areas around Lake Eyasi in Northern Tanzania, not far from the Ngorongoro crater, Lake Manyara and Serengeti National Parks, you can meet and spend time with the only Bushmen tribe still living as hunters and gatherers, and spend a day or two with them hunting small game by bow and arrow, or picking plants, roots or wild growing vegetables who they sustain their living on.
In Yeita valley on the southern side of the lake, somewhere between 500 and 2000 Hadzabe are living, sadly a more and more difficult life. You will hear their characteristically click-language, more known in the world from the Kalahari Desert bushmen, while you join them bee honey hunting in the forest!
The Makonde – woodcarvers
Ebony statues and animal figures – fantastic woodcarvings will meet you all over your Tanzanian Adventure. The Makonde tribe is one of the largest etnical groups in Tanzania, and originates from the Makonde Plateau in southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique.
Their handcraft skills are passed down from grandfather/father to sons, and their world famous art is the most popular tourist souvenir in the country.
The Makonde have their own mythical story of their origin, and the origin of their wood carving tradition:
“In the beginning, there was a male creature that lived alone in the bush, un-bathed and unshorn. The creature lived alone for a long time, but one day felt very lonely. Taking a piece of wood from a tree, he carved a female figure and placed it upright in the sun by his dwelling. Night fell. When the sun rose in the morning, the figure miraculously came to life as a beautiful woman, who of course became his wife.
They conceived a child, but it died tree days later. “Let us move from the river to a higher place where the reeds grow,” suggested the woman. This they did, and again she conceived, but again the child survived only three days. “Let us move higher still, to where the hick bush grows,” the woman said. And again they moved, and a third time a child was conceived, this one surviving to become the first true ancestor of the Makonde.”
But remember for your souvenir shopping, the Ebony/African Blackwood is endangered, so we strongly advice you to buy pieces made of one of the other marvellous hardwood types found.