The Maasai, who roam the maasai steppe in and near the Northern Safari Circuit, are the most popular tribe to visit. Traditionally, Maasai live entirely off of animals, tending goats and cattle. Their main diet is milk mixed with cattle blood (by nicking the jugular vein, they cause no harm to the animal) They roam with their herds to wherever the best grazing land is at the present time. Although known as fierce warriors, they are very friendly people who welcome visitors.
The Hadzabe is another very unique tribe to visit. While the women forage for edible vegetation, the males hunt by poison arrows any game ranging from mice to giraffe. The favored meat is baboon. Their shelters are so temporary that often when a large game is killed such as a clothing of the Hadzabe is also opportunistic, wearing anything from donated western style clothing to animal skins. Attempts by the government to change the lifestyle of the Hadzabe have to present failed but their available hunting grounds are diminishing and their lifestyle is in danger. The Hadzabe welcome visitors and males may also be invited to join in a hunt. Be forewarned that if the hunt is successful, as guests of honor, the visitors will be presented with the raw baboon liver.
The Meru people, or waMeru, are a Bantu-speaking people who settled at the base of Mount Meru over three hundred years ago. They settled in the forested area on the southeastern slopes of the mountain and developed a strong agricultural economy along with livestock keeping. It is believed that the waMeru practiced a traditional style of permaculture, and it is possible to witness some of these activities during a visit to the waMeru homeland.
Datooga / Barbaig Tribe
The Datooga are a pastoralist Nilotic people of north-central Tanzania south of Ngorongoro Crater. There are seven Datooga tribes, the Barbaig being one of them. The Barbaig people whose traditional culture is still unchanged and unspoiled, are highly-skilled in metalwork. The Maasai traditionally traded livestock with the Barbaig in order to obtain the metal tips they needed for their spears. A visit to Barbaig communities can include seeing metal workers in action and an opportunity to obtain beautiful jewelry, some of which is fashioned from discarded scrap metals such as keys.
The Iraqw are a Cushitic people of the Arusha and Manyara Regions of north-central Tanzania, near the Rift Valley wall and south of Ngorongoro Crater. The language is distinctive from their Bantu and Nilotic neighbors and resembles an Arabic sound. The areas surrounding Karatu town in Arusha region is Iraqw homeland and visitors can witness their locally developed intensive cultivation techniques.
Traditionally in conflict with the Maasai, Iraqw homesteads included underground tunnels – aasimo — in which to hide. Visitors can see these elaborate structures during a visit to the Karatu area (close to Tarangire/Manyara/Ngorongoro).
The Chagga are a tribe that inhabit the lower slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the surrounding villages. Their location makes for a great day trip from Moshi or Arusha. The Chagga are have assimilated into modern society in the cities well and hold many positions of leadership but they still keep many traditions in the small villages. A visit to their banana and coffee plantations the along with visiting one of the beautiful area waterfalls makes for a trip that you will remember fondly.