The highlight at Lake Eyasi is the cultural visit to the Bushman tribe (Wahadzabe) in this area. There are few members of this tribe left in in the world, so it is a rare glimpse of this fading culture.
It is best to do this trip with 1 night at Lake Eyasi and then start the visit with the Bushman Tribe at 6:00am.
This is a 1 to 1.5 hour drive west from the Karatu road.
The Bushman Tribe
The Bushman (also known as the Wahadzabe tribe) still maintain their traditional hunter-gatherer way of life.
A visit to the village will be led by a local guide who will describe their lifestyle. The Bushman will make fire from sticks and will show you their very few belongings. They will take you on a simulated hunt in the area with their bows and arrows, and visitors can try a little target practice. The visit concludes with a traditional singing and dancing.
In the rainy season, they live in caves, and in the dry season, they live in the trees and bushes. Homes are marked by upright sticks in a semi-circle. Beds and floor mats are hides from kudu and impala.
The men hunt for wild animals and birds with bows and arrows. There are different arrows for different types of animals. Poisoned arrows are used for large animals. They also eat honey, tubers out of the ground, and fruits from the Baobab tree. In the dry season, they must dig down in the dry river bed to find water.
Men and women socialize in very separate groups. Small children and babies stay with the women and boys of 7 and older group with the men.
The Bushman are monogomous. The dowry to get married to a woman is 2 big baboons and many liters of honey.
Men wear shorts and animal hides. Women wear colorful cloths wrapped around them. Jewelry is made from beads, porcupine quills, fur, and hide.
Arrows and jewelry can be purchased from them with TZ shillings or traded (baseball hats, etc.).
The Wahadzabe (or Hadza) are an ethnic group living around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau. They number just under 1000. Some 300–400 Hadza live as hunter-gatherers, much as their and our ancestors did for thousands or even tens of thousands of years; they are the last functioning hunter-gatherers in Africa. The Hadza hunt, forage for berries and for honey. The Hadza generally have no concept of linear time, hierarchy or money and are the only people in Tanzania not taxed locally or by the national government.
In this area, you walk along the edge of Lake Eyasi to see the varied birdlife.
You can also walk through the onion fields where 80% of the onions in Tanzania are grown. This lush garden is a sharp contrast to the dry, barren landscape that surrounds it.
If school is in session, you can also visit a local school. Donations of school supplies are greatly appreciated.
Visit the blacksmiths of the Datoga Tribe. The Datoga are thought to originate from Southern Sudan or western Ethiopia highlands, probably 3000 years ago. They are pastoralists closely related to the Kalenjin peoples in Kenya.