Cultural Experience in Northern Tanzania

8 days / 7 night

PHILOSOPHY OF THE TOUR

 

This itinerary is made to explore the remote regions of northern Tanzania, including Kondoa region – the only place in Africa that hosts the family tree of African ethnic groups (Bantu, Nilotics, Kushitics and Khoisan).

 

We will cover the tribes, the population of which is in a rapid decline in recent years. This tour focuses on creating cultural experiences to interact with the tribal communities that live in a conscious and genuine way. We will also attend local markets and participate in the daily life activities of the local communities. We will stay in local guest houses and inside the local villages. This is a flexible itinerary that will be adjusted on the way to get the best experience out of it. We will aim to attend local ceremonies and festivals and make sure that we don’t rush. Our guests will be able to talk with our guides and decide if they want to stay longer in some place or move on.

 

This special itinerary is for open minded people who want to participate actively in getting to know different ways of life.

 

* The tribes we will visit are: Irangi. Sandawe, Hadzabe bushmen, Iraqw, Barabaig

 

Day 1

Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport

 

Our driver will be waiting for you at the airport to transfer you to your lodge in Arusha before your safari starts the next morning. A tour around Arusha can be organized if time allows.
A member of our team will meet you upon arrival at your lodge to give you the briefing and all the necessary information regarding your tour and answer all the questions that you might have.

Accommodation for the night: hotel in Arusha city center.

Day 2

Arusha –> Kondoa

 

In the morning, we will head towards Babati – a small town in Manyara region in central Tanzania. We stop for a hot local lunch in Babati. After the city tour, we will go to Lake Babati for canoeing. Once we finish it, we will continue to Kondoa town passing Kolo village. In Kondoa town we will make a stop in the local hotel and go for a tour around the town with a stop for dinner.

Kondoa is lovely and very special town with 99% Muslim population and having very distinctive features. When you arrive there, it feels like you go back in time. The town has its own vibe and its own unique way of life, far away from our globalized world. No matter where you go – whether it is a shop, market or a cafe it has preserved the authenticity of its own kind.

We will walk around the street with our guide, passing by the market to the local cafe. We will then return to our hotel for rest.
Accommodation for the night: hotel in Kondoa town.

Day 3

Kondoa –> Kolo Rock Art –> Irangi Tribe

 

In the morning after breakfast, we will drive to Kolo village to hike up the hill to see the Rock paintings.
The Kondoa Rock art is a series of ancient paintings on the rock formations in Central Tanzania. Red elongated people, giraffes, hunting scenes – these are just some of the subjects of the little known UNESCO world heritage site. The paintings (approximately 1500 years old) are believed to be done by hunter-gatherers of the Sandawe tribe.
From the hills we will enjoy the Kondoa region from above, hear the stories about the rock sites from the local guide and then go down the hill to make the tour to one of the seasonal rivers of Kolo to see the local people fetching water from under the sand. The experience will take you to meet the local people on your way busy with their daily activities.

After that, we will proceed to one of the remote Irangi tribe villages near Kolo for cultural experience and the delicious local lunch.
The Irangi tribe is the ethnic group of Kondoa. They practice Islam and have their own native language. In the past, Kondoa was a stop on an ancient caravan road, so it has a big non-irangi minority, but to get to the core of Kondoa culture we will focus on Irangi tribe in particular.
The people in remote villages usually are extremely curious about guests as they’re not used to them at all, so our guide will also be your translator and you will be able to talk and discuss your experience with your host family.
Late in the afternoon we will go back to Kondoa and have traditional local dinner at a local cafe (rice and beans, chapati – african pancakes or ugali and sardines) while observing the busy night life of the town.
Accommodation for the night: hotel in Kondoa town.

Day 4

Kondoa –> Sandawe Village –> Mount Hanang & Barabaig Tribe

 

In the morning we head towards another highlight of the tour – Sandawe tribe and Mount Hanang. On the way to Hanang we will make a stop in the Sandawe tribe Village to spend the morning with this indigenous and extremely rare ethnic group.
Sandawe (just like Hadza people, which we are going to visit later on the way) – are the decendants of the original people of Africa. Visiting this group and spending time with them adds an incredible value to this trip!

Sandawe – is a small group living in North-Central Tanzania in Kondoa district and is considered a tribe in extinction. They are genetically different from the surrounding tribes. They have lighter skin and are smaller, they also have distinctive facial features which make them look a bit similar to East Asian people. The Sandawe language includes click sounds and is totally unrelated to other languages around them, which makes it very difficult to learn. They love singing, dancing and telling stories, they worship the moon and stars, and they practice witchcraft.

During our visit, we will sing and dance with them, we will see how they hunt and we will interact with them in their daily activities. This is a unique opportunity for you due to the outstanding uniqueness of this tribe, it will give you insight into the life of one of the only original people of Africa.

After spending half of our day with Sandawe, we will drive towards Mount Hanang to meet its residents – the Barabaig/Datooga tribe.
The Barabaig is a nomadic tribe of the Datooga people based in the northern volcanic highlands near Mount Hanang. The Barabaig are one of the Nilotic peoples who migrated south to East Africa from the Nile Valley in North Africa more than a thousand years ago. Cattle are central to Barabaig life. They provide milk, meat and blood for sustenance, skins for clothing, horns as drinking vessels, dung for building and urine as a cleanser. It is believed that Barabaig tribe preserved their culture and traditions in the most authentic way compared to other neighboring tribes. During the visit, you will be introduced to a family in one of the remote villages on the slopes of mount Hanang. You will spend the rest of the day with the locals and will be invited to share the dinner with them. Upon request and with prior arrangements, you will be able to see the rituals held by this tribe (such as worshipping at a special tree, or calling on the rain or their ancestors, all of this is accompanied by the hypnotic singing). We will spend the night putting our tents near the Barabaig tribe huts to be able to share our evening together with the native people of this land.

Accommodation for the night: camping in the local village.

Day 5

Mbulu Town –> Iraqw Tribe

 

Today we will drive to Mbulu, a town in Mbulu District. Here we will visit a waterfall on the Guwang’w mountain and will enjoy a stunning view on Lake Manyara and the Eastern African Rift Valley. We will then continue our way to visit the indigenous tribe of this region.

Mbulu town is inhabited by Iraqw tribe and is the core of the Iraqw people, who speak a Cushitic language. We will visit the tribe to see how they go about their daily life and their traditions.
Iraqw are an agrico-pastoral people, No comprehensive ethnography has been written to date about them, although various aspects of their culture have been studied by anthropologists. While it is not exactly known when the Iraqw came to Tanzania, there are an estimated 200 clans of Iraqw tribes thriving today that have blended together a magnificent group of people and cultures over history!

During our visit we will sing, dance and will play several traditional games, such as playing with sticks in a tactical way to score points or the game of making traditional fire. At the end of the day, we will make a stop at the local guesthouse for rest.

Accommodation for the night: local guesthouse in Mbulu town.

Day 6

Mbulu –> Lake Eyasi –> Hadzabe Tribe

 

Today we will head to the spectacular lake Eyasi, the most culturally diverse region of Tanzania with the high concentration of indeginous tribes living hand in hand with each other, but still keeping their own unique way of life.
We will drive toward Kilimapunda (“The Donkey Hill”) to enjoy the magnificent views of Lake Eyasi, a rare point for visitors. From there we will step off the car for an incredible and long hiking experience going down the hill through the jungles, thick trees, various acacias and thorny bushes. We will meet plenty of beautiful birds on our way. Be ready, the forest is thick! Hadzabe bushmen will meet us halfway and we will continue walking the rest of the trail with them in the direction of the beautiful Lake Eyasi.

Hdzabe tribe – is the ancient hunter-gatherers and one of the last tribes to stay true to their tribal history, existing far from the crowds and globalization. On your way down the hill, the bushmen will take you on a hunt, a great opportunity to see how these people have survived in the wilderness and have not given in to pressure from the modernizing world. You may stop on the way to rest and have a bite of the Hadza daily meal – their hunting trophies. Upon arrival to the Hadzabe village, if time allows, you will go to fetch water and dig the root plants. If time allows (depending on your hiking speed) we will proceed to the lakeshore to appreciate the sunset, passing through the big local market, normally crowded. It is a great opportunity to see the local way of life. We will spend the night putting up our tents beside Hadzabe huts to spend the evening with the tribe and wake up early for sunrise.

Accommodation for the night: campsite with Hadzabe Tribe

Day 7

Lake Eyasi –> Lake Manyara National Park

 

Today we will get up early to see the sunrise at the lake and enjoy the fresh transparent air and beautiful landscape. Upon request a boat can be organised for a sunrise ride. We will then come back to the campsite for breakfast and get ready to drive to Lake Manyara national park for a day of wildlife viewing. The perfect activity to spice up our cultural tour tracking the likes of giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, baboons and catching the sight of the most colorful birds! Lake Manyara is truly a gem among the national parks of Tanzania with its diverse landscape and heavily wooded areas. The park is famous for its tree-climbing lions, the beautiful lake that attracts thousands of flamingos and the herds of elephants! While on the drive in the park, we will make a stop for a picnic lunch.

Late in the afternoon we will start our drive back to Arusha for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation for the night: hotel in Arusha city center

 

Day 8

 

Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

 

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