For the average tourist, a visit to Tanzania usually involves trekking up to Kilimanjaro, safari to some of the world famous national parks and reserves, or fly off to Zanzibar for a couple days of beach leisure. But Tanzania is so much more than that. With a wide variety of indigenous tribes, travellers have possibility to learn about the natives lifestyle, and to meet the local people and experience the real Africa.
Although there have been many attempts by the government to »tame« the Maasai people by taking their land and turning it into national reserve parks and crop production land, they have maintained their customs and habits, traditional rituals for different rites of passage, when they shave their heads and dance in circles.
They have remained cattle breeders, eating mostly meat and milk that they produce themselves. Traditionally, the Maasai people are recognizable by wearing sandals, black, blue and red clothes, which they wrap around their bodies.
Women spend their spare time doing bead work and these accessories usually ornament their bodies, together with wooden bracelets and pierced earlobes. The Maasai have a patriarchal society and are divided into male groups, where elders usually decide on the important issues of the community.
The warriors are one of the most respected groups of the Maasai and are known world-wide. They have many privileges, since they are the only ones that can wear long hair.
The Maasai believe in one God, called” Engai”, though it has two natures; kind and vengeful. They have a “Laibon”, who is their spiritual leader. However, he doesn’t have any higher position in their community, just prophetic or healing powers.
The Hadza, or Hadzabe, are an indigenous ethnic group in north-central Tanzania, living around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau. There are, as of 2015, between 1,200 and 1,300 Hadza people living in Tanzania, although the increasing impact of tourism and encroaching pastoralists pose serious threats to the continuation of their traditional way of life.
Genetically, the Hadza are not closely related to any other people. While traditionally classified with the Khoisan languages, primarily because it has clicks, the Hadza language appears to be an isolate, unrelated to any other. As descendants of Tanzania’s aboriginal hunter-gatherer population, they have probably occupied their current territory for thousands of years, with relatively little modification to their basic way of life until the past hundred years.
Since the 18th century, the Hadza have come into increasing contact with farming and herding people entering Hadzaland and its vicinity, the interactions often were hostile and caused population decline in the late 19th century. The first European contact and written accounts of the Hadza are from the late 19th century. Since then, there have been many attempts by successive colonial administrations, the independent Tanzanian government, and foreign missionaries to settle the Hadza, by introducing farming and Christianity. These efforts have largely failed, and many Hadza still pursue virtually the same way of life as their ancestors are described as having in early 20th-century accounts. In recent years, they have been under pressure from neighbouring groups encroaching on their land, and also have been affected by tourism and safari hunting.
The Chaga (also called Wachaga, Chagga, Jagga, Dschagga, Waschagga, or Wachagga) are Bantu-speaking indigenous Africans and the third largest ethnic group in Tanzania. They traditionally live on the southern and eastern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru and near Moshi. Their relative wealth comes from the favorable climate of the area and successful agricultural methods, which include extensive irrigation systems, terracing, and continuous organic fertilization methods practiced for thousands of years. They were one of the first tribes in the area to convert to Christianity. This may have given them an economic advantage over other ethnic groups, as they had better access to education and health care as Christians.
The Chaga descended from various Bantu groups who migrated from elsewhere in Africa to the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, a migration that began around the start of the eleventh century.
The Chaga area is traditionally divided into a number of chiefdoms. Their way of life is based primarily on agriculture, using irrigation on terraced fields and oxen manure. Although bananas are their staple food, they also cultivate various crops, including yams, beans, and maize. In agricultural exports, they are best known for their Arabica coffee, which is exported to American and European markets, resulting in coffee being a primary cash crop.