May 2024

  • By Nkollo Tours
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Cultural Visits

We believe the cultural diversity of Tanzania is one of its greatest strengths. By meeting and understanding people whose views and values are very different from your own, you acquire new insights and perspectives that change your attitudes towards them, towards yourself, and the entire world. This new depth of perception and wisdom opens new horizons, opportunities, and flexibility in your future choices. You may travel to Africa to learn more about her wildlife, but through her people, you will learn more about yourself. This may well be the most valuable and lasting aspect of your safari with the tribal people of Tanzania.

Over 120 Tribes, Few Still Authentic

There are more than 120 different ethnic groups in Tanzania that have migrated over many centuries’ pastoralist Nilotic from the Sudan, nomadic, cattle-herding Cushite from Ethiopia, hunter-gatherer Khoisan from the Kalahari, agriculturalist metal-working Bantu from West Africa, and Arabian, Indian and Anglo immigrants. All these groups displaced, conquered, or assimilated each other over thousands of years to form the present Tanzanian population. Each of these groups had differentiated traditional religions, social practices, rituals, customs, art, music, and dance.


Rise of Swahili culture

The tribal communities of Tanzania wished to preserve and protect its identity and to pass on to its children the values that have preserved it throughout generations. However, with greater interactions, most tribes have been adopting practices of each other hence moving towards a now popular Swahili culture.

This is how it happens, young children are taken to schools outside their communities where they meet other children from elsewhere hence they interact with each other in Swahili and adopt a more common culture, examples over 20 years ago everyone could speak his/her native language meaning all 120 different tribesmen could speak their native language but over the years’ millennials only speak Kiswahili and the English, this is same to other practices and customs

However, few tribes are still authentic to their ways which have made them popular in and out of the country, Example the Masai & bushmen tribes are known all over the world in fact they are more popular than many countries in Africa. With globalization, development activities, and increased interactions we can’t say for how long these tribesmen will stay loyal to their practices these practices are dated ages back so if you are having a chance to visit them there is quite a few you could learn.

Tanzania’s popular & authentic tribesmen

Maasai Tribe:

Maasai Tribe is one of the most Popular Tribes in Tanzania and in Africa because of its extraordinary culture. They are set apart visually by their bright red robes. Despite their interactions with the outside world, they have somehow managed to keep their traditions and customs intact. The tribe still practices their age-old customs.

This tribe is also famous due to living close to many premier National Parks in East Africa where they have had some minor clashes with predators who sometimes hunt down their cattle but with clashes only restricted to predators who have preyed on their livestock we can say they have a peaceful coexistence with these wild animals if we consider what people elsewhere have done.

Those who fight lions that have preyed on their livestock are considered warriors in their communities given the risks involved with many Masai men getting injured and few deaths. However, with animals going extinct an intervention by the government made it illegal for Masai men to attack lions.

Note: To Masai cows are the single most important possession of their lives and come before everything else. According to them if a man is owning a good number of cattle and children then he is respected and considered wealthy.

On the Northern Safari Circuit of Tanzania, the Maasai can mostly be seen near the Ngorongoro region of Tanzania, where Over 40,000 of them live.

Tip: best to visit as a detour or stop on your northern circuit safari.


If you look back at the history of the Maasai Tribe, they originated from the Lake Turkana region, of Northern Kenya.

During the 15th Century BC, these tribal people started migrating toward the southern part of Tanzania near the borders of Kenya. So, currently, they can be found in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania.


Making, and maintaining the traditional rules and regulations of the whole tribe is handled by the elders who are in charge of making sure that the rules and regulations are followed by their people. The Maasai culture is predominantly patriarchal, their belief is monotheistic. Their deity is called Engai who has dual nature.

Maasai Songs are composed of love for their leader, god, and nature. The music for these songs is taken from the harmonies and sorrow. Their music is so melodic that you will just be lost in it while on Tanzania Safari.


Hadzabe Tribe:

Hadzabe who are hunter-gathers is one of the most distinct tribes of all because their style of living is quite different from others and they are also not closely related to any other people genetically. Their history and culture are rooted in the earth. These tribal people will make you remember the early humans on earth.


For over 50,000 years these tribal people have been living in Tanzania. But the strange fact about them is, only several hundred have survived and can still be found in Northern Tanzania.

Over the years, little has changed in their way of life, so they still live in the same way hunting wild animals and gathering wild fruits with no permanent shelters. Hadzabe people use bow and arrow to track.


The surrounding space of the Hadzabe Tribe is filled with bones, skulls, and skins of animals. They make their living by hunting animals.

The Hadzabe tribe has been migrating from one place to another near the rift valley of Tanzania. They mostly live near water bodies and feed on birds and big and small animals.


According to Hadzabe Culture, there are no rules and regulations, whatever they say is a rule for the time.

Mostly they spend their free time dancing and singing with each other. The adult males go for a hunt while the females take care of babies and make ornaments.


Datoga Tribe:

Datoga is pastoralist Nilotic people, like the Maasai they were also breeding cattle in the past but now they are subsistence farmers. In Swahili, the Datogas is also known as Mang’ati which means agro people.

These tribal people are divided into 10 subtribes, and all can be found near the Lake Eyasi, Lake Basutu, and Singida regions of Tanzania. The pastoral Barabaig are the best-known sub-tribe of the Datoga people.


Concerning history, the Datoga tribe has reconstructed the past by following its ancient rules and regulations. These tribes were living in Tanzania for more than 3000 years and currently, there are more than a million Datoga people.


They mostly can be found in the highlands of Tanzania near the Great Plains of Serengeti. They mostly live near the regions of Lake Manyara in central Tanzania.

Datoga believes that they are the oldest tribe of all that survived in the land of Tanzania. They make themselves the supreme people of all with maximum knowledge of history.


The Datoga people follow the ancient culture of following the soil they live. It’s being said that their soil is reddish colored so they make and wear the same colored dress and ornaments.

Moreover, there is another thing that makes them different from other tribes is their body tattooing and face painting.


Things you can do or learn on a visit to a Masai or bushmen village

Ethnic groups and there are plenty of cultural practices to learn, traditional foods to try, and fun conversations to partake in. You can expect to join and participate in traditional dances and songs

There is then the opportunity to learn about some of the customary practices, such as fire-making or beadwork, and to speak to the villagers in their homes. Questions are very welcome – with your guide happy to interpret as necessary. It is worth noting that it can be quite smoky in the houses if the fires are lit inside. During your visit, there is also the opportunity to purchase handmade leather and beadwork from the villagers.

Visitors to Tanzania have the opportunity to witness a hunting demonstration by these proud people, with early morning hunting excursions a fantastic opportunity to see just how these people have survived in the wilderness while other tribes have given in to pressure from the modernizing world.


Know before you visit Masai or bushmen

These tribes are not completely shut down from other communities, so they have a basic understanding of money and will probably try to sell their local crafts or ask for donations. These tribesmen have incorporated few modern practices.

Note: Expect to pay a little for entrance going to the village


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