Discover The Unexpected

Meet the Tanzania Tribes and Know More About Them

Located in the great lakes region of East Africa, Tanzania is the thirteenth largest country in Africa. It is bordered to the north by Kenya and Uganda, to the east by Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the south by Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia. This breathtaking country is home to some of the best safari attractions in the world, rich cultural heritage, and over 120 distinct Tanzania tribes and ethnic groups.

Here are some of Tanzania’s most diverse, unique and indigenous tribes:

5 TANZANIA TRIBES YOU SHOULD BE MEETING IN YOUR TANZANIA TOUR

1. THE HADZABE TRIBE

This indigenous ethnic group resides in north-central Tanzania, dwelling near Lake Eyasi in the central rift valley and in the neighboring plateaus of the Serengeti. The impact of tourism and pastoralist encroachment has for many years posed a severe threat to the continuation of their traditional way of life.

HISTORY

The oral history of the Hadzabe’s tribes past is divided into four epochs, with each epoch inhabited by a different culture. The archaeological and genetic history of the Hadza’s reveals that they are not closely related to any other tribe, although their language was once classified with the Khoisan languages because it has clicks, there is relatively no evidence that they are related.

The Hadzabe tribe became part of the German East Africa but soon came under British control at the end of the first world war. Several attempts were also made by the British and the Tanzanian government to make the Hadzabe settle and adopt farming, but all their attempts failed as the Hadzabe people only settled to take advantage of the food provided, but leave and go back to foraging when the supply of food runs out.

WHAT THEY ARE KNOWN FOR?

As one of the descendants of Tanzania’s aboriginal hunter-gathering population, the Hadzabe tribe has a division of labour that is split between foraging and hunting. While Hadzabe men usually forage individually, women are known generally to forage with at least one adult male accompanying the group. The Hadzabe women usually carry digging sticks, large skin pouches for carrying items like knives, shoes, clothing and various other items held in the pouch around their neck, with a grass basket for carrying berries while foraging.

Their diet consists mainly of honey, fruits, tuber, and meat. The availability of meat to their diet increases during the dry season when men often hunt in pairs hoping to shoot animals with their bows and poisoned arrows. They are highly skilled hunters and are known for their selective skills in hunting, foraging and their vast knowledge of plants, fruits, tubers, and wild animals.

NATURAL HABITAT

The Hadzabes reside around Lake Eyasi, located just south of the Serengeti. Their lands are full of mostly baobab fruit trees and other bush trees that provide for their livelihood.

CULTURE

The Hadzabe’s are semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers that are culturally and linguistically members of the Khoi (Person) and San (Foragers) group. They have close affinities with the Sandiwe people who possess cultural connections with the Khoekhoe hunter-gatherers communities of Southern Africa.

Women are adorned with “Hangweda“ made of local pieces of skin, while the Hadzabe men are polygamists with a patriarchal social system.

Check out this video of tourists visiting the Hadzabe tribe!

2. THE DATOGA TRIBE

Datoga African culture - Tanzania Tribes

(c) Flickr

Known as the Mang’ati in Swahili, Datoga people are known as an agro-pastoral nomadic Nilotic speaking tribe, residing in Manyara and Singida region of north-central Tanzania near Mt Hanang, lake Basotu and Lake Eyasi. With well over 10 subtribes, its best subtribe is the pastoral Barabaig who also reside mainly in the northern volcanic highlands encompassed by Mt Hanang which is a sacred mountain to the Barabaig.

HISTORY

Their migratory history has been somewhat reconstructed through the study of comparative linguistics and oral tradition of the Datoga and its neighbors. They are said to be from South Sudan or Western Ethiopia highlands. As their ancestors gradually migrated southward, this resulted in settlements in the highland areas of Kenya and Tanzania by speakers of Nilotic languages, herding, and farming in the rich highlands by about AD 1500.

WHAT THEY ARE KNOWN FOR?

The Datoga tribe consider themselves as the oldest tribe in Tanzania (other tribes like the Maasai and the Bushmen also claim this fame). They are characteristically known for keeping to themselves and are a tribe of proud people and fierce warriors known for their stealth ability. They are skillful and are also known for their blacksmith skills, beads works, brass bracelets, and necklaces, while also supplying arrowheads to the Hadzabe tribe. Though they are known to herd goats, donkeys, sheep and raise chickens, cattle are their most important domestic animals.

HABITAT

The Datoga tribe resides in the Singida and Manyara region of north-central Tanzania close to the Mt Hanang, Lake Eyasi, and lake Basotu.

CULTURE

The Datoga’s through the color of their outfits, blend in with their environment with a reddish brown color soil outfit, reddish patched leather dresses, beadworks, bracelets, and necklaces. Another cultural identity and feature of theirs that distinguishes them from other tribes is their decorative tattooing around their eyes in circular patterns.

3. THE SONJO TRIBE

Sonjo African culture - Tanzania Tribes

(c) geminiresearchnews.com
The Sonjo people are a Bantu people and their primary way of life is based solely on herding and agriculture. They are known to use traditional irrigation systems when farming.

HISTORY

The Sonjo people are said to have lived in northern Tanzania for centuries secluded within the Maasai territory. They are believed to have migrated to East Africa 400 years ago from Central Africa.

WHAT THEY ARE KNOWN FOR?

The Sonjo tribe is known for their agricultural way of life which was believed to be the major reason their migration took place little by little over thousands of years in search of fertile and well-watered land to cultivate their crops.

HABITAT

The Sonjo tribe reside in northern Tanzania, in the Ngorongoro district about 30-40 miles west of Lakes Natron.

CULTURE

Music plays a forestanding role in the Sonjo culture. Music shapes their entire way of life and is a widely practiced art in the entire community. It is used for several ritual purposes, rainmaking ceremonies, healing ceremonies, marriages, and other festive or civil events.

4. THE MAASAI TRIBE

Maasai african culture - Tanzania Tribes

(c) Campi ya Kanzi
An indigenous group of semi-nomadic people that settled in northern Tanzania and Kenya. The Maasai tribe are internationally known and are among the most popular ethnic groups due to their distinct traditions, clothing, and their close residence to the many national parks in East Africa.

HISTORY

According to oral history, they originated North of Lake Turkana (north-west of Kenya) in the lower Nile valley. In the 15th century, they began migrating south and arrived along a land stretching across Tanzania and Kenya border, covering the Great Rift valley and adjacent lands from Dodoma and Mt Marsabit.

WHAT THEY ARE KNOWN FOR?

The Maasai tribe are known for their brightly colored outfits and traditional lifestyle concentrated on cattle which make up the primary source of food. The wealth of a man is measured in terms of children and cattle but is also considered poor if he has many cattle but not children. Though they use spears and shields, they were most feared for their ability to expertly throw the orinka (club) from up to 70 paces(100 meters approximately).

HABITAT

The Maasai tribe resides north of Lake Turkana (northwest Kenya) in the lower Nile valley and northern Tanzania.

CULTURE

Firmly patriarchal in nature, most major disputes and matters are sometimes resolved or determined by retired elders and elder Maasai men. They are monolithic in nature and believe in their god called Enkai or Engai. The Maasai music comprises traditionally of rhythms rendered by a chorus of harmonies sung by vocalists while the olaranyani (song leader) sings the melody.

5. THE CHAGGA TRIBE

chagga african culture - Tanzania Tribes

(c) flickr
The Chagga people (also known as Wachagga, Jagga, Dschagga, Waschagga) are a Bantu speaking indigenous and the third largest ethnic group in Tanzania tribes.

HISTORY

The Chagga tribe were divided into small autonomous chiefdoms traditionally belonging to different clans ruled by Mangis (chiefs). The system of chiefdom was practiced until it was abolished throughout the country after Tanzania’s independence in 1961.

WHAT THEY ARE KNOWN FOR?

The Chagga tribe are known for their sense of enterprise, politics and strong work ethics. They engage in small scale businesses, while the young workers are clerks, teachers, and administrators.

HABITAT

The Chagga tribe resides on the southern slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro which has two peaks namely Kibo and Mawenzi.

CULTURE

Greetings are an important part of Chagga culture. Their marriage ceremonies were usually a long process traditionally, beginning with betrothed proceedings that continue long after the couple was married.

Today, Christian couples are married in churches with great importance placed on giving birth to a son to continue the lineage. At the age of 12, a rite called Kisusa is carried out for every child performed to curb unruliness, and after a month, a purification ceremony is celebrated, and a goat is sacrificed.

Want to learn more about these tribes or schedule a safari visit to Tanzania, get in touch with us today by calling or filling our out contact form.

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LoveTravel259094
LoveTravel259094
August 8, 2023
Asante Gosheni and espacially Hassan Nous tenons à recommander Hassan car nous venons de passer un séjour mémorable avec lui. Grâce à son expérience, sa connaissance parfaite du monde animal et des parcs, Hassan nous a permis de voir de nombreux animaux en étant extrêmement bien placé.
Bien évidemment les big five (même le rhinocéros!), la traversée de la rivière par les gnous et bien d'autres animaux.
En faisant un safari avec Hassan vous trouverez tout ce que vous êtes venus chercher.
A l'avenir si nous décidons de refaire un safari, nous voudrions repartir avec Hassan.
Myriam D
Myriam D
August 8, 2023
Hassan is the best guide !!!! Nous avons eu la chance de faire un safari de 8 jours dans les parcs nationaux du nord de la Tanzanie avec Hassan comme guide. Hassan est un guide très expérimenté.
Grâce à lui et sa grande expérience nous avons découvert et appris énormément de choses sur la Tanzanie, les animaux, les végétaux etc. Hassan est un véritable passionné qui aime transmettre son savoir.
En plus de ses connaissances, Hassan a un véritable œil de lynx et sais débusquer le moindre animal caché.
Grâce à Hassan nous avons eu la chance de voir beaucoup d’animaux et tous ceux du « Big Five ».
Parmi tous les véhicules présents lors des safaris, Hassan sait se frayer un chemin pour nous permettre d’avoir toujours le meilleur point de vue.
Hassan sait où se placer pour nous permettre d’avoir une vue sans égal sur les animaux, en les observant de très près.
Hassan est également un excellent conducteur. La route n’a aucun secret pour lui.
C’est également un guide très attentionné, toujours aux petits soins pour nous et d’une extrême gentillesse.
Nous recommandons Hassan les yeux fermés et si nous devions refaire un safari, nous demanderons d’être guidés par Hassan sans hésitation.
Merci encore à Hassan pour ces merveilleux moments qui resterons gravés dans notre mémoire !!
bonny l
bonny l
August 6, 2023
amazing Safari experience wiz gosheni nice trip wiz our amazing guide Samir We saw all the wild animals during Safari
thx a lot for the thoughtful and excellent service
highly recommend
FENG Y
FENG Y
August 6, 2023
愉快的非洲之旅 幸运的选择了gosheni Safari,我们的向导samir服务非常好,小朋友们都很喜欢他,非洲五霸除了犀牛没有看到外,其他都替我们找到了,寻找动物经验丰富,在超远的地方就能看到目标。可以在众多的车子中抢到一个很好的观赏位,办事灵活。
Vladimir T
Vladimir T
August 6, 2023
Great experience! Great experience! Starting from the trip planning the communications were very clear and smooth to organize the tour and select itinerary. In the end we opted for 5 days/4 nights route including the Tarangire, Serengeti and Lake Manyara nations parks as well as a visit to the Ngorongoro crater. The tour itself was excellent and very punctual, here kudos to our guide Wilson who is very experienced and knowledgeable about his job and also went well beyond his duty and gave us a nice summary of country’s history. It was really a pleasure to spend time with him and we managed to see the big 5:) Accommodations were superb: great camps, an amazing farmhouse close to Ngorongoro, meals were also good and picnic lunches well organized.
In summary the experience was highly satisfying, I sincerely recommend Gosheni Safaris and to ask for Wilson as a guide.
Allison B
Allison B
August 5, 2023
Great Taste of Tanzania Had a great 5-day tour. Our guide James was very dedicated to making sure we saw amazing sights. He asked us our favorite animals to see and made it his mission to help us spot them. The food was good, the lodging was very pleasant, and enjoying a glass of wine on lunches was a nice touch. Favorite lodging was definitely the Farmhouse by Ngorongoro. Beautiful landscapes along the entire tour, covered a lot of ground and got a great introduction to Tanzania.
Sukhraj S
Sukhraj S
August 5, 2023
Gosheni number 1 What an unforgettable 6 days, courtesy of Gosheni Safari and our guide/driver Zadock!!!
I booked this holiday back in 2020 but then had to cancel due to Covid. That was after a lot of research of tour companies and finally picking Ghosheni. The time was right to get this once in a lifetime trip set up again, so working via email with William at Gosheni we compiled the agenda…he was so helpful and we settled on one day in Tarangire, one day in Lake Manyara, three days in Serengeti and one day in Ngorongoro Crater…I’m now on the way to Zanzibar after an amazing experience, Gosheni took care of the whole package for my wife, three teenage sons and I.

Our guide and driver was Zadock, a humble, honest, genuine, proud and generous man. He did absolutely everything for us, answered every question and took us to all the places to see the big five up close, hunts and more.

The food was served every lunch time as a picnic, with plates, blanket, wtc whilst others had lunch boxes. The Jeep was cleaned daily, and was extremely comfortable along the difficult rough terrain…a credit to Zadock.

Zadock had so much knowledge not only of the animal kingdom’s hundreds of species but also the history of Tanzania, Africa, politics, and social customs, we felt as though he was part of our family.

Thankyou Zadock and Gosheni, I very rarely write reviews after holidays and I have travelled extensively around the world, but these guys are special and have made this so memorable for my family and I….I recommend to everyone if you are unsure about who, how, what, these guys will sort out the whole trip and at a very reasonable price.

Well done William, Gosheni and Zadock, and I really hope you get to be recognised as the number one tour company in Tanzania!
Eric W
Eric W
August 4, 2023
Extraordinary Safari with Gosheni I am so glad to have Gosheni as our tour operator. They provide excellent service starting from arranging the tour till the end of our safari.
As our city had quarantine arrangement due to COVID-19, we were so worry about our trip. Luckily, Gosheni is so considerate and try their best endeavors to rearrange our scedule. With their assistance, everything is set and we feel comfortable for all of their kind arrangements.

During the safari, we have a terrific tour guide, Edward! He takes care of all the stuff and administration including liaison with hotels, lunch packing, other add-on safaris so that we can fully enjoy the trip.

Not only Edward spots a lot a lot of animals and birds for us, including the top 5 in the trip, he also introduces us the habitat and features of the animals and birds. We are very impressed by his rich knowledge and do enjoy listening the "stories" of the animals.

Edwward is definitely experienced and propose the best programme during the safari, e.g. he tries to maximise our time for the game drive in different locations and tribe visit. We fully trust his expertise and professionalism.

We are very happy with Edward and Gosheni. We will absolutely consider them in our next Africam safari.
Priyank S
Priyank S
August 4, 2023
Amazing Safari with Gosheni and Ombeni Our guide, Ombeni, was the best part of our trip. He is really knowledgeable, friendly, and we trusted his expertise for the whole 9 days across Tarangire, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro. We were lucky to see some amazing things on our game drives. Having grown up in Kenya, I have been lucky to go on many safaris, and this is one of the best I've been on.
The food was excellent, and even on the all-day game drives we had a cooked, sit-down meal for lunch which was a big plus point. All the accommodation was excellent as well.

We had a bespoke itinerary which we planned in advance with William from Gosheni, and he was extremely helpful in answering our questions and accommodating our requests.

I would highly recommend Gosheni and especially Ombeni for future travels.
Banu
Banu
August 4, 2023
Dreams come true!!! Thanks to best guide Hassani I have been dreaming Serengeti Safari tour for a long time and Gosheni Safaris made my dreams come true. We completed our 5 days safari at the end of July and it was wonderful. We visited Central Serengeti, North Serengeti and Ngorongoro.
The company is very professional from beginning to end. Peter the owner of Gosheni Safaris helped us a lot about planning our itinary. I asked too many questions and he replied all of them everytime. Sometimes he can be in the bush and has no internet connection but be sure he always will reply your questions. Just be sure that you are in safe hands and Hakuna Matata☺️

Our guide was Hassani who is a perfect guide, safari driver, friend and everything. He always did his best to show us as much as possible. We always felt safe and witnessed lots of amazing moments by help of Hassani. Beside being a perfect safari guide, he prepared very nice lunch tables every afternoon. He is very funny person and makes lots of jokes during the safari. I higly recommend Gosheni Safaris which is best one and Hassani who is a very good guide. I want to thank Hassani in person for making our safari perfect and looking forward to meet again🙏🏻

Tips: I recommend ‘Morning Hot air Balloon safari’.

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