Datoga, Hadzabe, and Maasai Tribes – A Step Back In Time – Tanzania, Africa

November 12, 2011 – Lake Eyasi

We arrived at Lake Eyasi in the afternoon, and we all immediately commented on what a cool place it is. They have many natural springs, and the owners have dammed them rather than let them drain into the lake. They pump the water up hill to a village, and this supplies an entire village with water! The food here is fantastic, everything is fresh because the owners have a farm, so everything they cook is farm to table.

Late afternoon we visited the Datoga Tribe. They are amazing blacksmiths, they make arrow heads out of nails, they make different tools, and they also make jewellery – amazingly it’s all done using spare parts!

The Chief had his children there and one of the little girls sat beside me and she kept touching my arm and my hand, it was like she was fascinated with the colour of my skin. The kids were so fun to be around and they weren’t shy at all.

We visited one of their homes and the Chief’s wives sang and showed us how they crush maize. We all took turns and tried this but it sure is harder to do then it looks! I think Cheryl was able to really get the maize finely crushed. They live in very small huts made out of a wood frame and mud walls, they all sleep in one small corner of the house, and the cooking is done by fire in another corner of the house.

We each bought a bracelet that they made while we watched. Gord traded the Chief a leatherman for an arrow head that we watched him make, what a nice souvenir! 

On our way back to the camp we stopped at a market that the locals have once a month, this is where they buy clothes, various household items, and by the looks of things also where they party. Some of the locals tried to get us to try some of their home made brew and we all took a sniff and unanimously say “no thank you”.

We headed back towards our camp and stopped at a beautiful spot where we hiked up a rock overlooking the camp and the lake, and took in the beautiful sunset.

We were fed a glorious dinner and even spent some time sitting in the little bar. We had the place to ourselves which felt really personal and nice. Life is good!

November 13, 2011 – Lake Eyasi and Nogorongoro Conservation Area

Today we woke up very early to go hunting with the Hadzabe Tribe. They are one of the few hunter-gatherer tribes remaining in Tanzania. They truly live off the land and are untouched by western ways. Their language is so unique, they speak with a series of click sounds. They showed us how to make a fire with sticks but Gord was the only one that could do it.

They all gathered in a circle and smoked a little weed before the hunt which apparently is a tradition for them. One thing we found really interesting was how they would lathe the arrows with their teeth. 

After they were done smoking, off we went hunting, we were quickly hot on the trail of a mongoose. The mongoose hid under a huge mound of thorns but the tribe members were very persistent and chopped away at the thorn tree until they finally caught it, but it definitely took some time. A short while later they caught a partridge type bird. 

Then we spent a couple of hours walking through a very beautiful dried up river bed to continue hunting. It was incredible to see a tribe member dig on the river bed to access the water table so he could have a drink! The tribe members wear baboon skins to protect them from the thorns on the acacia trees and it was funny because all of us kept getting hung up on those trees and our guides always had to unhook one of us.

After our hunt, we returned back to where the Hadzabe live and they tossed the mongoose on the fire without gutting or skinning it. Once the hair was burnt off the mongoose, they did pull some of the insides out and continued to cook it for awhile longer. They were quick to offer all of us a taste but we politely declined for fear of tummy turbulance (in the middle of the african savannah that might not be so much fun)!

They showed us their homes which are make shift shelters made out of sticks and a bit of tarp or plastic over top, they are nomadic and move around with the animals. Their was a big difference between the Datoga Tribes homes and the Hadzabe Tribe, the Hadzabe are definitely more primitive and nomadic.

At the end of our visit Gord presented the Chief with a leatherman knife, you can tell that this gift makes him very very happy because all he says is “wow” “wow” “wow”! Then Gord bought one of their arrows and the Chief presented a second arrow as a gift to Gord.

Before leaving, the tribe invited us to dance with them in celebration of the hunt. It was fun and we all learned a few new moves!

We aren’t sure what the discussion was about regarding the logo on our safari vehicle but they would point at it and laugh. 

After a long morning of hunting and getting hung up on the acacia trees, we headed back to Ksimi Ngeda for brunch and to check out. I loved the entrance sign to the camp. 

After check out we game drive all the way to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and at one of the viewpoints, Gord spots our first Rhino! Yay the ‘Big Five’ is complete!! 

We took a short rest after checking in to the Sopa Lodge and then we visited a Maasai Village. We learned a bit about their culture, that they have many wives and many children. We visited their bomas (homes) which are pretty well built in comparison to the Datoga and Hadzabe tribes. It was also interesting how they built a large fence around the entire village to protect it from lions and other dangerous animals. 

We also learned that the higher they jump, the better men they are. Gord jumped with them and he’s a pretty good man!

Check out our cultural video featuring these three tribes. 


After a fun visit with the Maasai, we head back to the hotel for dinner and an early night. Modi tells us that we will have a very early morning going into the crater.

Where we stayed: Ksimi Ngeda Tented Camp 👍

Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel



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2 Responses to Datoga, Hadzabe, and Maasai Tribes – A Step Back In Time – Tanzania, Africa

  1. Lorraine says:

    Is an awesome great memories. Each group were all so nice. Great pictures and very informative.

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