The Hadzabe are the last tribe of hunter-gatherers left in Tanzania that still live traditionally in small, relatively isolated family units.
The men hunt with bows and arrows (for bigger game they smear the poison of the desert rose on their arrow shafts) and the women forage daily for fruits and roots. Honey is also an important part of their diet. They are nomadic and move often so they don’t build permanent houses but only shelters out of interwoven twigs and grass as protection from the rain. During the long dry season they prefer to sleep outside where the wind cools them and keeps the mosquitoes at bay.
The Hadzabe are friendly and welcoming. They have no chief and no social hierarchy. Unlike women in other African tribes, Hadza women are equal to the men and they are generally strong willed. They bring home more than 80% of the food, the hunting being mostly a supplement to their diet.
The visit to the Hadzabe is better done at dawn, especially if you wish to follow them on their hunt. They start hunting at day break when they are more likely to find game. When hunting with guests the men won’t go as far as they normally would and focus their efforts on animals that can be cornered up a tree such as squirrels, monkeys, bush- babies and birds. Anything that runs will hear the hunting party way before and look for cover.
Western sensibilities might be offended by the killing but it helps to bear in mind that these people do not hunt for sport or pleasure, but to satisfy a basic need. Nothing is wasted in a kill. If one can leave aside modern preconceptions, the experience is fabulous. Think of it as a trip into the past, a magical glimpse into the life of early humans. For those who still prefer not to see animals being fired at, following the women during their daily foraging is just as interesting. They will pick seasonal fruits, dig roots and show you their medicinal plants.
The hunt might last as long as four hours, the men walk fast and the terrain is often rocky and peppered with thorn bushes. Make sure you wear strong, closed shoes and clothes that you are not too fond of as they might get ripped. It can be chilly in the early morning during the winter but it will soon get hot, so it is better if you dress in several layers that you can peel off along the way. Make sure you take sunscreen, a hat to cover your head and plenty of water.