Eco and Cultural tourism are some of the fast growing segments in Tanzania tourism. It involves mostly learning more about the culture of different tribes more than 120 in the country. Today many sites have been opened to meet the demand of the tourist they include the Museums, waterfalls, traditional music, food and clothes among others.
Tanzania is home to some of the most incredible tribal diversity in Africa. The country includes all of the major ethnic and linguistic groups on the continent – an amazingly varied population to inhabit a single country. Home to approximately 120 tribal groups, most of these comprise small communities that are gradually being assimilated into the larger population due to changes in land use and the economic draw of city life. Tribal diversity is prized and far from being a source of division, Tanzanians place a high value on their country’s multicultural heritage. Over the past few years, cultural tourism has become an increasing attraction for visitors from around the world and visits to tribal villages are often a highlight of safari itineraries.
The Masaai are perhaps the most well known of Tanzania’s tribes and inhabit the northern regions of the country. Pastoralists who fiercely guard their culture and traditions, Masaai tribal life revolves around protecting and caring for their herds of cattle and finding ample grazing land in their region. The tribes live in circular enclosures called manyatas, where small mud huts surround a secure open circle where their cattle and other herd animals sleep protected during the night. Woven thorn bushes form a thick fence around the enclosure to protect the herds from attacks by lions and other predators. Because good grazing land fluctuates according to the seasons and yearly rains, Masaai settlements are temporary and easily relocated to where grazing and water access is best. Tribal tradition separates men and women into different age groups: the youngest herd sheep and goats while the young male warriors, or moran’s, job is to protect and care for their family’s cattle. Male elders hold a position of respect in Masaai society and once a warrior becomes an elder, he may marry to begin a family of his own.
The ‘Spice Islands’ of the Zanzibar Archipelago, Pemba, Mafia, and the entire Tanzanian coast is home to the Swahili people, a vibrant mix of Arab, Indian and Bantu origins who historically based their livelihoods around Indian Ocean trade. The Swahili Coast, as the region is called, is a predominantly Islamic region with old mosques and coral palaces found throughout the area. Swahili culture centres around the dhow, a wooden sailing boat powered by the seasonal wind. Historically, the boats connected the Swahili Coast with Arabia and India and allowed trade between the regions to flourish. Fishing remains a mainstay of coastal income in small villages throughout the area, and coconut and spice plantations continue to form an important source of export. These days, life on the Swahili coast is tranquil and even-paced. Women cloaked in long robes called bui bui walk through meandering streets to the local market, stopping to chat outside tall houses hewn from coral and limestone rock. In the villages, the call to prayer rings out clearly over the palm trees and once they have finished their religious duties, the men gather in the square to drink spiced coffee from brass braziers. From the warrior moran of the fierce Masaai to the tranquil rhythms of Swahili town, Tanzania offers a unique glimpse into African life as it has remained for centuries.
-Mkuru and Ng’iresi Village camel-back tour
Mkuru village is located on the northern part of Mount Meru, near the irrigation scheme of Engare Nanyookye and Momella Gate. The area is dominated by Maasai people and Wa-Arusha.
Visitors have the opportunity to see Maasai Bomas, traditional dancing and food. Apart from cultural tour, the camel-back tour between Kilimanjaro Mountain, Mount Meru, and Lake Natron is the one that attract many to come this far. Other alternative indulge in bird watching around the Mkuru plain or near Lake Natron and climbing the pyramidal-shaped mountain Ol Doinyo Lendaree. Camping is possible at Mkuru Camel Camp.
On the other side of Mount Meru lies Ng’iresi Village, which is mostly populated by Wa-Arusha tribe. The Eco Tour enables community to shows tourists various facets of their daily life and culture.
It is an opportunity to see the initiatives of local people in several community development programs; development projects from the villagers’ initiatives such as school, farms, soil conservation, irrigation scheme, and cattle crossbreeding program. The visit will also involve walking on banks of the Marisha River harbour the tropical birds and playful monkeys. It is better to start from Moivaro Lodge.
Above all there is a possibility of combining cultural tour with hiking in Kiresi and Lekimana Hills, which are all covered with natural forest. A visit to the traditional healers, who are still using the same ancient method of curing people.
Eco/Culture Tours -Machame Village
Machame is the best place for acclimatization before climbing Kilimanjaro. Lies at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, its unique situation happened to attract many climbers who use Machame route. The has beautiful valleys, rivers, waterfalls and farms. The Safari start with a visit to the Machame Cultural Tourism Programme Office at Kialia:- A one-day tour to Nronga Women’s Group, which involves hiking through natural forest towards Nronga village. The purpose is to be familiar with physical nature of the area and the climatic conditions.
Hiking takes almost 1½ hours to the Nronga Women’s group. Getting insights to the women’s activities and having taste to their dairy products; if it is Monday or Thursday, then you will visit local market and see Chagga women drop in from all directions with their baskets of produce, especially banana
Short Visit to Kalali Women’s Group, specialists of cheese production. Local women group can prepare the delicious local food. You will get an opportunity to lean/know the life-styles of the local people around Kilimanjaro.
The last thing at Machame is to get a nice and clear view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Eco/Culture Tours -Amboni Caves
These are natural limestone underground caves formed during the natural Jurassic age around 150 millions ago.There are 10 caves, with fascinating chambers, the longest is about 900m long. One of the caves is used for guided tours,some are up to 13 meters high. They form the most extensive cave system in East Africa.
The caves have religious significance to the local people who pray and make offerings in one of the shrines.The caves are very dark inside and potentially lethal. There have been reports of fatalities incidents when people made the tour unguided.
Several stories about the cave are told on the cave tours. There is for example the story of two European ex-army officers. After World War II they tried to explore the caves, with heavy equipment and accompanied by a dog. They never returned, but their dog was found a few months later outside another cave. The dog was identified by its ID tag. What makes the story a spooky legend is the place where the dog was found: 400km away at the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro
Eco/Culture Tours -Usambara Mountain
Amani Forest Nature Reserve is one of the latest Nature Reserve establishedby the government to protect flora and fauna of eastUsambara. It harbors some of the animals only seen in Usambara such as Nduk eagle owl. It was first established in 1902 as an agriculture research station by the Germans, and was turned into a nature reserve in 1997. Amani Botanical gardens, the second largest botanical garden in the world lies in this reserve. Today the area continues to play a significant part in medical research hosting the Amani Medical Research Centre . The Nature Reserve has now been turned into an eco tourism attraction with greater emphasis on walking and hiking. It is located in Tanga region.
Walking and hiking through the forestry is the main attraction. Well-established walking routes are present. While walking you have an opportunity to see black and white colobus, blue monkey, and the nature’s main attraction, Nduk eagle owl, a specie found only in Amani. You will also see nine species of African violet garden flowers and colorful butterflies some of them found only in Usambara . Other birds include green headed oriole, Amani sunbirds, Uluguru violet backed, forest warbler . To sum up the area has wonderful birds, butterflies, animals and plants some of them found only in this area.
Three routes have been established :
- Kwamkoro – Potwe – Gereza – Kwagunda – Ubiri – Amani
- Amani-Zirai-Kizara-Kwamkole-Mzia-Mashewa-West Usambara
- Amani-Zirai – Kizara – Lutindi – Magoma – West Usambara
Eco/Culture Tours -Pangani Village
The name Pangani owes to the river that runs through northern part of the Historical Town. Pangani is a very old town, it is believed to be established before 6th Century BC and played an important role during the slave trade era; It was a trading port dealing mainly with slaves and ivory.
Several historical sites in and around the town serve as reminders for the strong Arabic influence and the later German, British colonial era in Tanganyika Nowadays it is mainly a fishing town with a lot of coconut trees, providing nice beaches for quiet vacation. Pangani is situated about 50km south of Tanga on the mouth of River Pangani that flows from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro
Attraction: Pangani Falls, a water fall that provides electricity for Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Moshi. Pangani River hosts birds and crocodiles. Maziwi Island is a nature reserve which provides ground for snorkeling opportunity and dolphins tour. Walking tour in the town to see some of old buildings that are more than 200 years old, Visits to a former slave labor camps and slave market site.
All in All, The beach resort here is fantastic, really cool and calm.
Eco/Culture Tours -Saadani
It has been recently upgraded from game reserve to become the 13th National park in Tanzania. Saadani is Tanzania’s only coastal wildlife sanctuary, the national park transformed from old Saadani Game Reserve, Wami River Delta and the South Mkwaja Ranch, which was bought in 1997 and donated to the Tanzanian government. The park has now the total area of almost 1,000 sq. kilometers. It is located 50 kilometers north of Bagamoyo Town. Mkwaja Saadani National Park contains a distinctive and rare habitats, (unique in East Africa) is the beach with salt grass flats along the Indian ocean.
At least 24 species of large mammals are found here, including the rare Roosevelt sable antelope, furthermore the beach areas contain one of the last significant East African breeding beaches in for the green turtle.
At the Wami River mouth, there is large and still well preserved mangrove swamps. The northern part, where was a cattle ranch, is dominated by coastal lowland mosaic, presenting an exceptional variety of habitats, woodland, forest, coastal thicket, semi-arid scrub, grassland, wetlands, salt marshes, mangroves and beaches. this vegetation has a considerable number of elephants, buffaloes, large antelopes, and the rare Giant brown bat. On the coast of Indian Ocean, the park, have unique land form, which includes several pristine sand dunes with interesting vegetation types.
The main and much recognizable natural feature of the park is the Zaraninge Forest, 200 square kilometers (50,000 acres) of closed canopy tropical forest. It is one of the larger coastal forests in Tanzania, and part of the “Eastern Arc and Coastal Forest for Kenya and Tanzania Hotspot. The forest dominates the western part of Mkwaja Saadani National Park. this is a part of the park host new species of reptile (dwarf gecko), amphibian (Hyperolius parkeri), an endemic snail and many other species of invertebrates, 8 bird species, and large mammals.
African buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, and several antelopes species and lions. are all found in the southern portion of the national park, which dominated by Wami river and its delta. Mkwaja Saadani National park with its complex ecosystem hold a large number of water birds including the greater flamingo, high concentration of cetacean and important population of crocodiles and hippos
Eco/Culture Tours -Bagamoyo
General History: This small town has played various historical roles in Tanzania. Apart from being a slave and ivory port, it was also a German headquarter in 1891. Explorers such as Burton, Speke, Grant, Livingston and Stanley all passed in this town. The name Bagamoyo comes from Swahili words “bwaga moyo” (throw down your heart), a despair expressed by people who were captured as slaves of knowing that they face a long uncertain future. Lies 75 kilometers north of Dar es Salaam
The Bagamoyo Church: It was was built in 1868 and considered to be the first church in East Coast of Africa . A cemetery, where the early missionaries were buried and a small shrine which was built by freed slaves in 1876 are all seen. “We are told that between 1934 and 1991, 35 Dutch priests worked here” The last of this long line of priests from the Netherlands was Father Frits Versteijnen who stayed in Bagamoyo for 30 years and started the first museum in the old Fathers’ House in March 1968.
The second Fathers’ House in Bagamoyo, constructed close to the Mother of all Churches in East Africa, has also fallen victim to the corrosive effects of the coast region’s relentlessly humid climate. Its ground floor was built in 1873, the first floor in 1877 and the second floor in 1903.
Bomani: The German Colonial administration headquarters, as a memorial site for the first German East African Capital.
Chuo cha Sanaa. (College of Arts): Is the only major arts college in the Tanzania, teaching various fields: dancing, music, drama and painting. It is situated along the Kaole road, close to Kaole ruins. During the weekends student give free performances allowing visitors to acquaint themselves with traditional dances. It is also possible to learn to play various local music instruments with the college, but this has to be arranged and negotiated in advance. Bagamoyo Museum: It is a small museum, which displays Bagamoyo history in relation to its contact with foreigners. It has old photographs, documents and relics from slave trade. On the same compound there is a small chapel know as Anglican church of Holly Cross. The church is famous for being a place where the remains of David Livingstone were laid before taken to Zanzibar en route to Westminster abbey for burial.
Mwembe Kinyongo: The place that people who found guilty of misconduct, during the German colonialism in Tanganyika, used to be hanged. German Grave Yard: the historical place where the German soldiers were buried. Ruvu River Delta: well know as Ruvu River basin, an ornithological paradise with a lot bird species, Hippo’s and other reptiles can be seen here. It is only reached by boat.
Eco/Culture Tours -Longido Maasai Village Hiking
The Longido is about 90 kilometers north of Arusha Town. It is one of the places to visit and see Maasai and other tribes like Wa-Arusha. Visitors have a chance to see cattle being auctioned in the market and how local people (Maasai and Wa-Arusha) conduct that business traditionally. the Maasai are benefiting from ‘green’ tourism by organizing tours of the mountains and plains near their community.
The tour guides fill visitors with fascinating information about history, culture, and the natural world. And visitors get to enjoy a traditional meal prepared by Masai women. A portion of the tour fees go into a village fund that finances local development projects. Longido offers a guided tour hiking to Kimokouwa, along with Maasai cattle trail, that winds over the slopes to the summit of Longido mountain. there is a chance of viewing wildlife such as the elephant and buffalo. It is also famous for camel-back safari, which can be arranged as an optional in your safari package. the tour can take half a day to a week, depending on your wishes.
The safari takes you through the plains that are home to different species of birds; mountains around the area (Longido and Ol Doinyo Lendaree) with beautiful terrain that allows hiking to take place. Depending on a person’s physiology, hiking can be done just for one day to the top. Once at the top you have a good view of mount Meru and Kilimanjaro Mountain as well as Maasai plain in Kenyan Side on a clear day.
Get a Chance to see and learn a little more about the pride of Masai Pastoralists in Tanzania.
4 Days Walking with Hadzabe combined with safaris
Walking with Hadza in Lake Eyasi.
Day 1: Lake Manyara Game Drive.
Spend full day in the lake Manyara National Park; game drive, viewing hippos in the pool, giraffe, elephants, buffaloes and flamingos in the lake, then drive to Lake Manyara Hotel/Figi Lodge (budget) for dinner and overnight
Day 2: Lake Eyasi Hadza Culture Tour.
Breakfast and then drive to Lake Eyasi on a very rough trail for 2 hours drive; the road circumnavigates the Ngorongoro crater and head south west to Mongola Village; have a contact to local tribesmen and impression of Barabaig /Hadza/San tribes. Camping at Chemchem (water spring) near the village of Mongola. It is fairly basic.
Day 3: Walking with Hadza in Lake Eyasi Bush.
Very early morning (0545am) you’ll drive to the dwellings of the famous Hadzabe tribe in the bush for cultural interaction (These are the same group as the South African Bushmen); get an opportunity to walk with them and watch the way they hunt or collect honey and insects. Return late afternoon for dinner and camping at Chemchem
Day 4: Drive back to Arusha.
After farewell to the village tribesmen; start driving back to Arusha with short stay at Makuyuni/Mto wa Mbu.
Eco/Culture Tours -Longido Mountain Trekking
2 Days Maasai Tour.
Day 1: Longido Bird Watching & Maasai Boma Visitation.
Drive to Longido Village meet the Maasai guide, after registration start with bird watching safari on the Maasai plains from the boma of Oi Tepesi. The Maasai guides will help you to spot many colourful birds and also show you trees and plants that are used for making food/liquor and medicines. At Oi Tepesi, which is the Maasai word for Acacia tree, the guides will invite you into a Maasai boma and show and explain vividly their traditional way of life. Late afternoon return to the campsite or Longido guest house (it is possible to camp inside the Maasai Bomas on request). On Wednesday you can extend your stay with a visit to the bustling colourful cattle market.
Day 2: Hiking Longido Mountain & Photographic Walking.
Guided by Maasai warriors, leave the campsite early in the morning and follow narrow footpaths through a dense natural forest. After three hours you will be at the marvelous DAWA YA SUPU (medicine soup) view point. From here you will follow trails created by buffaloes to reach the top in another two hours climb. With loud cries the Maasai warns the buffaloes that people are coming to avoid dangerous encounters.
The views from the top are simply unbelievable. On clear days you can see for more than 200km and view all the mountain of Northern Tanzania (Mount Meru, Lengai and Kilimanjaro). Descend to campsite, have a rest and then walk for another hour and half to reach the jeep road where a car is waiting for you for the trip to Arusha, accommodation at Le Jacaranda Hotel/The Out Post Lodge.