BootsnAll Travel Network

Going back in time……. way way back in time

We started our safari off not by going to see the animals straight away, but to see the Hadzabe tribe which is one of the last hunter gatherer tribes in East Africa. This means that they basically roam around out in the bush and eat whatever they can catch with bow and arrow or pick from the plants around them. They only remain in an area for a few weeks before they move on keeping in rhythm with the seasons, migrating animals, and the weather.

We camped within 10 miles of where the tribe was “stationed” at that time and the following morning we headed out with a local guide to their temporary hut site. When we arrived, the only thing we could see was a few primitive huts made out of branches and about 6 people huddled around a fire. When we walked up to their campsite, people emerged out of the other huts and came to greet us. The Hagzabe tribe doesn’t speak the national language which is Swahili, they speak there own language which involves a lot of weird clicking noises they make. They used to only wear traditional clothes of animal hide/skin and fur, but over the years have been introduced to some western style clothing so most just wore a pair of old used shorts and thats it. Some still wore traditional head pieces and the typical leather loin clothe.
The guide told us to look around and even go into their huts. We were amazed how little these people had. they slept on the ground, had no clothes besides what they wore and had…. well pretty much nothing besides their bow and arrows and a couple of small instruments they used to play music. The reason we got to the camp so early was to catch them before they went off hunting, and lucky for us, we got to go hunting with them. So we set off into the bush with 3 of them and their bow and arrows. We walked for about an hour following them as they searched around for something to kill. This part of Africa we were in is not where all the big game is, so we didn’t have to worry about coming face to face with a lion. After about an hour they heard something in a tree and high tailed after it. We completely lost them for about 15 minutes until they emerged triumphantly with their trophy-a gunnea fowl with an arrow right through the middle of it. I was really excited since i thought there was no way we would see them catch anything. And the fun was just beginning.

One of the hunters found some dried cow dung and picked it up and started crushing it into a little pile on the ground. Since we couldn’t speak a word of their language, we had no idea what they were doing. Then they grabbed a couple of sticks spun it in their hand and viola, we had smoke and then fire. They built up the fire with some twigs and then grabbed the guinnea fowl and threw it in the fire. Christy and I were just sitting there with our mouthes wide open watching a caveman experience. They burned the chickens feathers some and then took it out of the fire, plucked all the feathers ripped the thing in half with their hands and then threw it back in the fire. within a few minutes, we had some meat that would have made Colonel Sanders proud. They came over, grunted a few things to us and gave us a piece which we felt obligated to try. It was actually pretty good. They devoured the whole thing and we were then off back to camp. It was an experience we will never forget.

When we returned to camp we then were led back out with the women so they could show us how they dig up roots to eat. Not quite as exciting as the hunting, but it was still neat seeing them know exactly where to dig. The roots tasted like celery and wasn’t too bad. The crazy thing is, that is all they eat-whatever they can kill with their bow and arrow, roots and occasional berries that they find.

We finished our visit off with a dance that they did for us where the whole tribe sung a few songs while dancing in big circles. It was one hell of a National Geographic experience.

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