During a recent stay at Selous Impala Camp in the Selous Game Reserve, Matt was lucky enough to spend some time with one of the region’s finest guides – Gerard Mwakila. They took some time to discuss the area’s uniqueness and the importance that tourism plays in protecting the wildlife. Here’s what Gerard had to say…
The Hadza tribe
Also known as the Hadzabe, the Hadza are a traditional hunter-gatherer tribe native to northern Tanzania.
Believed to be one of Africa’s most ancient tribes, the Hadza are some of the last remaining hunter-gatherers on Earth. They have been living sustainably in northern Tanzania for over 50,000 years, and continue to lead a lifestyle that has hardly changed for generations. There are fewer than 1,000 individuals in the tribe today, the majority of whom live around Lake Eyasi in the Rift Valley and in the neighbouring Serengeti Plateau. The Hadza language, which uses click consonants, is isolated and unrelated to any other, and is believed by some linguists to be one of the oldest languages still in use.
The Hadza are highly proficient foragers and hunters, who have passed down their skills and techniques for finding food through many generations. Their diet is made up of wild game, birds, honey and fruit. They never hunt or forage for more than they need to survive on any given day, and they do not store food for future consumption. They are a nomadic tribe who live in temporary huts and relocate from time to time, primarily in response to the seasons, in order to base themselves where hunting grounds are best, water is most abundant or berries are in harvest.
The Hadza people live communally in groups of 20-30 people. They treat one another as family, and children are cared for to a very high standard by both related and unrelated members of the camp. They often move camp when a member of the commune dies, as they begin to associate the old camp with death and misfortune. There is no tribal hierarchy in the camps, and when conflicts break out they are usually resolved by one or more individuals relocating to a new camp. This simple lifestyle, free from possessions and a permanent home, has worked successfully for the Hadza people for thousands of years, but modern developments constantly pose a threat to their traditional way of life.