When was the last time you did something for the first time? As in, really stepped out of the familiarity of your comfort zone and franticness of your daily routine and tried something new? Often, it’s during these much-needed time-outs that you actually start to learn … about yourself and about others.
Earlier this year, I spent quite a bit of time up in East Africa and every time I visit I am awestruck by the dramatic, ever-changing landscapes, the sheer volume of incredible wildlife and the countless bucket list experiences on offer. Yet all that aside, many will agree that it’s actually the people of East Africa, with their warm, genuine smiles and unforced local hospitality, that really steal your heart.
Just outside of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area, close to Lake Eyasi, live the few remaining members of the ancient Hadzabe tribe. These self-sufficient hunter-gatherers still proudly adhere to their traditional unchanged way of life and continue to live in obvious harmony with the earth.
Guests visiting &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge can now venture out to the unknown (accompanied throughout by their &Beyond ranger of course) and spend a memorable and insightful day with the Hadzabe people, gaining a fascinating insight into their untouched culture. It is the perfect way for guests to reconnect, not only with an ancient land but also with the time-honoured traditions and simple way of life of its people. It really is a moment of discovery that will broaden your horizons.
You’ll depart the lodge early, with freshly-baked mandazi (Swahili donuts) and crunchy cashews, for a comfortable 90-minute drive. As you approach the temporary homestead of the Hadzabe (they are nomadic after all), a local guide, fluent in Hadza, will join you and provide an interpretive, engaging experience. The Hadzabe will greet you enthusiastically and teach you all about their survival skills, hunting techniques, food preparation, traditional dance and beadwork, and cultural norms.
A veritable step back in time, this cultural journey not only reveals the untold world of the Hadzabe, but it also reminds us to be mindful and protective of our bountiful, yet fragile earth. They say that what we learn with pleasure, we never forget. And I certainly won’t forget my time spent with the Hadzabe. Though we couldn’t understand a word each other was saying, there was a certainly a connection and an understanding on a human level. It was humbling to see how they live and how they have successfully maintained their culture and respect for the land.