Hadzabe Tribe

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Hadzabe Tribe, Tanzania

The Hadzabe are considered to be some of the last true hunter-gatherer tribes left in Africa. There are approximately 1,300 tribe members left living in Northern Tanzania. Due to their hunter-gather lifestyle and nomadic way of life, the Hadzabe have no livestock and prefer to live completely off the land, carrying everything they own on their backs as they move.

They live primarily off plant-based food but supplement their diet with honey they have foraged and meat they have hunted using bow and arrows. Their language, known as Hadzabe, consists of clicking, similar to that of the San Bushmen of Southern Africa, but also includes popping sounds and more familiar sounds. There have been several attempts to introduce the Hadzabe to Christianity and farming practices, but these have been unsuccessful as the Hadzabe prefer to live their traditional way of life. Through storytelling, it is thought the Hadzabe have lived in the areas around the Serengeti for thousands of years. They have been pushed out slightly by invading Maasai, and nowadays encroaching farming and tourism practices are threatening their lands once again.

Within the Hadzabe community, the tribes are organized into bands or camps of around 20-30 individuals, although camps of over 100 can form during certain times of the year. Within the camp, there is no hierarchy and both women and men are equal. Decisions are made through discussion and if a conflict does arise, one of the parties will voluntarily move to another camp. Within the communal setting both males and females, related and non-related look after the children.

The camps move periodically throughout the year for various reasons. It could be due to conflict, season, whether someone within the camp falls ill or dies or if the hunters have killed a large animal that cannot be carried back to camp.

Stanley Safaris’ preferred lodges and camps that include Hadzabe experiences. Due to their remote location around Lake Eyasi, there are only a couple of camps or lodges that are close enough to be able to offer guests the chance to learn more about the Hadzabe by visiting one of their camps. The other option is a 2-night mobile camp departing from Manyara – see below.

Mwiba Lodge
Mwiba Lodge is a luxury stone lodge overlooking a permanent spring in the vast 130,000-acre Mwiba Wildlife Reserve. It is only 1 of 2 lodges and camps on the reserve, guaranteeing guests the utmost of exclusivity during their northern Tanzania safari. The 10-luxury stone and canvas rooms as well as the main area and pool are built in amongst the boulders overlooking a spring that attracts wildlife throughout the day and night.

The Mwiba Wildlife Reserve is a concession that is dedicated to the balance between wildlife and communities. Being part of the greater Serengeti ecosystem, the Mwiba Wildlife Reserve offers exception game viewing through its varied habitats. Woodlands, grasslands, mountains, valleys and springs means the game experience is varied. Being private means guests can enjoy morning, afternoon and night game drives as well as walking safaris, fly-camping and helicopter excursions.

The balance of wildlife and communities means the Mwiba Wildlife Reserve is home to 2 different tribes that still etch out a traditional existence on the concession. The Hadzabe are allowed to move freely through the reserve, gathering fruits, berries, tubers and other plant material used for food or medicine. They are also allowed to continue hunting as they have done for thousands of years. Being hunter-gatherer people, the Hadzabe only take or kill what they actually need, and nothing goes to waste. Spending time with them is a life changing experience as they have very few possessions and can move from camp to camp with ease.

2 Night stay with the Hadzabe
This is a completely immersive experience, getting guests right off the beaten track and straight into the heart of Hadzabe country. You are collected from Manyara Airstrip and driven through the Ngorongoro highlands down to Lake Eyasi. The drive takes about 4 hours which means you arrive late afternoon on day 1. The basic camp is setup ahead of your arrival, so you have the chance to freshen up after the long journey.

Day 2 starts early as you had out with the Hadzabe as they set out on their hunt. You will be accompanied by your local guide as the Hadzabe do not speak any English. Hunting excursions are often mixed with foraging of berries, tubers and honey. If an animal is seen, then the Hadzabe go into hunt mode and will often run after their prey using a bow and arrow to kill it. In the afternoon you head to the Hadzabe village where you will get a chance to meet the elders and women and have a chance to learn more about their traditions and culture. You may head out with the women to gather berries, baobab fruit, tubers and the men will look for honey.

On day 3 after breakfast you return to Manyara Airstrip where your journey can continue to the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti National Park.