There are various tribes around the camp, of which our guests get an opportunity to visit and participate in their daily activities.
Scattered along the banks of the Lake Eyasi in Central Tanzania are small groups of indigenous people called Hadzabes. For the past 10,000 years, this simple tribe has called this area home, moving from camp to camp throughout the area and speaking to one another in their native tongue, a unique language filled with “clicks” and “pops” and unlike any other spoken today. Their entire population only numbers about a thousand, yet they continue to live and thrive as their ancestors did generations ago. A visit to a Hadzabe camp is like an intriguing step back in time to when civilization and modern conveniences were still yet unknown. And while their lifestyle is ancient and simple, the fact that it has survived virtually untouched is fascinating. Here are 5 interesting facts about the Hadzabe Bushman to consider.
- They are very friendly
Unlike some of the other ethnic tribes in Tanzania and surrounding areas who view foreigners as a serious threat, the Hadzabe people are a welcoming group. They love to share their bush homes with visitors and are eager to invite curious strangers into their day to day lives. It’s not uncommon for a male visitor to be asked to join the tribesmen on a hunting trip, or for the women to eagerly try to teach their distinct dialect to a guest.
- They live entirely off the bush
The Hadzabe tribe is among the last existing full-time hunter-gatherers on earth. They do not grow crops, nor do they raise livestock. Instead, they rely entirely on the bush for their existence. The women gather berries and pick baobab fruit while the men collect honey and hunt the ample local wildlife. The Hadzabe will eat just about anything they can bring down with their poisonous arrows, including birds, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras and buffalo. They particularly enjoy baboon, which is hunted at night in groups. They see no point in putting in the effort and time required to produce their own food, when they are surrounded by lush land that already offers them more than enough to survive.
- They don’t use calendars or clocks
For the past 10,000 years, the Hadzabe people have existed in the same small area, living in the same conditions and speaking the same language with little to no change. It’s as if they are trapped in time, completely unaware of the changing world around them. One of the reasons their lifestyle has managed to remain so eerily untouched is the fact that the Hadzabes do not measure time. They do not use calendars or clocks, therefore they do not measure months, weeks, days or hours. In fact, their language doesn’t even have words for numbers past four. If they need to time something, they simply note the stages of the moon. It’s a fascinating concept – time literally doesn’t pass for the Hadzabes because they simply do not acknowledge it.
- They have almost no possessions
Truly living the life of a nomad means not owning a lot of stuff. The Hadzabes change camps frequently in order to get the most out of the land from which they live. Having to pack up huge camps every time would be cumbersome. But that’s not the main reason the Hadzabe people don’t own much of anything. It’s simpler than that. They just don’t feel that they need to. They only own things that they truly need – cooking pots, containers for drinking water, a few tools, and a blanket to carry them in. Anything more would be a waste
- They don’t have leaders
There aren’t too many social groups that don’t have some sort of hierarchy. Even most native tribes adopt and adhere to some type of level of command. But the Hadzabe people believe instead in individual autonomy. They have no official leaders, and no one within the group has authority over any other. And although tradition holds that camps are named after an older male, the honor has nothing to do with power. Everyone in the Hadzabe tribe is equal.
What can be learned from a primitive tribe like the Hadzabe?
They’ve spent decade after decade carrying on simple traditions and basic ways of life, yet they have somehow managed to achieve a level of peace that the civilized cultures around them can’t seem to grasp. The Hadzabe people live in a world where time and wealth hold no value, where waste does not exist and where everyone is viewed with the same level of respect. It is a culture that is simple yet fascinating at the same time.