They grow no food, raise no livestock, and live without rules or calendars. They are living a hunter-gatherer existence that is little changed from 10,000 years ago. What do they know that we’ve forgotten?
A CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
The Hadzabe tribe of Tanzania is the last true nomadic tribe of Africa. Zama Tours & Safaris can take you on an amazing adventure with the Hadzas. You will join the men as they hunt for their daily subsidence using traditional bow and arrows, or join the women as they forage for fruits and berries. This is not a show or a “tourist put on”. This is the real deal. A true African cultural experience, not for the faint of heart.
About one hour’s drive south west of Karatu (on the outskirts of the Ngorongoro Crater), lays Lake Eyasi, one of the rift valley lakes that are situated in Tanzania. It is a shallow seasonal lake that fills with water after rains and subsequently playing host to a myriad of bird species and providing water for the Hadzabe Bushmen tribe.
The Hadza are the last functioning hunter-gatherers in Africa. Their language is similar to the Southern Africa’s Bushmen who speak the click language and their language is believed to still have the clicks and pops like no other “click language” up to the now.
It is believed that about 10000 years ago the more hostile tribes of the Maasai and Iraqw (Mbulu), displaced this small African Bushman tribe from the Ngorongoro Crater and the Crater highland forests and they settled to their present day land around Lake Eyasi. The tribe is comprised of very few inhabitants of the Lake Eyasi area; estimated at about just one thousand. These African Bushmen do not rear cattle or produce farm produce at any time and rely fully on hunting and gathering of fruits and berries for their up keep.
With their strong bows whose string is made out of giraffe tendons they are able to bring down small animals like dik diks, baboons, monkeys, large and small birds, to large game animals like zebras, giraffes, and buffaloes. The arrows are treated with a poison extracted from a tree well known to them.
Hadza men usually forage individually, and during the course of day usually feed themselves while foraging, and also bring home some honey, fruit, or wild game when available. Women forage in larger parties, and usually bring home berries, baobab fruit, and tubers, depending on availability. Men and women also forage co-operatively for honey and fruit, and at least one adult male will usually accompany a group of foraging women. During the wet season, the diet is composed mostly of honey, some fruit, tubers, and occasional meat.
The contribution of meat to the diet increases in the dry season, when game becomes concentrated around sources of water. During this time, men often hunt in pairs, and spend entire nights lying in wait by waterholes, hoping to shoot animals that approach for a night-time drink, with bows and arrows treated with poison. The poison is made of the branches of the shrub Adenium coetaneum.
One of their ancient skills is how to make fire from rubbing some wood, the Commiphora tree. Other uses of some trees include using the same Commiphora tree to extract the sap that is believed to be a mosquito repellent. They use the Sansaveria tree to make a snake bite cure and the aloe vera is used by the African Bushman as a treatment for cut wounds. The Baobab fruits are used for making a nice drink.
What has kept the Hadza at the same place for so long is believed to be they habit of not using calendars and not counting time. The Hadzabe Bushmen are said to use only the different stages of the moon to count time. They do not own belongings other than what they need for survival like the bows and arrows and some pots for cooking. These hospitable tribal men are equal and there is no one superior to the other in their society.