Lake Eyasi – Safari Into the Past

Hunter from a tribe in Lake Eyasi shooting a bow and arrow

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Say the words, ‘hunter-gatherer’ and time-worn images come to mind, of people in a far-off place, foraging the land thousands of years ago. But at Lake Eyasi in today’s northern Tanzania, you’ll find several hunter-gather tribes, living as they have for millennia, seemingly untouched by modern technology.

Taking some time off from your African safari adventures, a detour to the lake will bring you into the villages of the Hadzabe people, who survive by bow-hunting and gathering local fruit and honey as they have for 10,000 years.

So too, the Tindiga bushmen who also live along the shores of this large saline lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley. And then there are the Datooga, excellent craftsmen who trade their carefully crafted spears with the Hadzbe for meat and animal skins.

Let’s take a cultural pause to leave the traditional safari trail and visit with these bush people, visiting their villages, exploring with them on foot, and seeing up close how these hunter-gathers expertly apply their survival skills.

A Welcoming People

The Hadzabe enjoy welcoming visitors to their villages, showing off their lifestyle, gathering local fruits and you are absolutely welcome to join them. You can stay overnight in the area and take part in their daily activities, even trying a step or two in their ritual dances.

You’ll be invited to visit their cave homes and observe the lifestyle of the last of the world’s hunter-gatherers. Though the concept of farming has been introduced to them many times, first by the British and later by the Tanzanian government, the Hadzabe have always reverted to their more pastoral lifestyle, living off the land.

Boys from a tribe native to Lake Eyasi

Hunting is vital to their existence – they craft powerful bows using giraffe tendons as the bow’s string. You’ll be invited to join them on the hunt, getting a window into how our ancestors interacted with the surrounding wildlife.

Drinking tea on the banks of Lake Eyasi

A Most Unique Language

The Hadzabe people speak in a language that is unrelated to any other in the region and is punctuated by a unique clicking sound.

Meeting them, you’ll be in the company of a very special society, one where animal ownership is not a well-defined concept. If a Hadzabe hunter spots an animal, he will consider it literally fair game. These are truly an egalitarian people – there are no chiefs nor any status differences amongst them, either by age or gender.

A day or so spent in their camp is certain to have an eye-opening, joyful, and calming effect on visitors.

Take An Easy Walk

You’ll soon fall into the rhythms of this peaceful society. Go for a walk to the various camps and along Lake Eyasi’s shoreline, where an abundance of colorful birdlife will complete this idyllic scene.

Refreshed, you’ll continue your northern Tanzania safari with a new perspective on the land, the wildlife, and the fascinating people of the area, which offers us a lesson about the best of our species.


Hunter-gatherer tribesman in Lake Eyasi
Watching elephants from an open top safari jeep while on a safari tour with Africa Kenya Safaris

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Help us create your perfect Safari! Tell us about your travel choices, any unique experiences you desire, and upcoming special occasions.