What to expect when visiting the Hadzabe?

Jul 23rd, 2007, 02:44 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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What to expect when visiting the Hadzabe?

Hi All - My husband & I will be spending 2 days at Kisima Ngeda in September. We are doing the hunt with the Hadzabe and also visiting the Datoga tribe - both in the same day.

For those of you who have done this, what should we expect? Someone mentioned the hike is LONG - how long is it? Is it a very strenuous hike? Do you have to be careful of animals, snakes, etc during the hunt? Any advice in terms of what we can expect would be appreciated...

Also, how do you interact with the Hadzabe? Are they friendly?

Also, as mentioned, we are there for 2 days, but at present, we have the hunt & the Datoga visit in the same day. What do you recommend doing on the other day (in this case, it is our first day)?

One person on this board recommended booking a guide named Momoya - we contacted him and have done so...I heard some of the local guides that Kisima Ngeda arranges don't speak English and we really wanted an English speaking guide...

Any info you can provide on how the day "works" would be appreciated...Thanks!

P.S. One last logistics question - we heard you should bring food/groceries to the Hadzabe camp. However, if we buy groceries on our way into Kisima Ngeda, we will have to leave them in our tent which I don't think is recommended (I heard you don't want to leave any food in your camp). We will be leaving really early for the Hadzabe hunt and I'm sure we won't have time to stop at a market in advance that morning. Any suggestions? Also, did you also bring something for the Datoga? Are the Datoga friendly? Thanks! Sorry for the long post
lmavolio is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2007, 03:28 PM
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I'm the one who mentioned the LONG hike. For us, it was about 6 to 8 miles, all before our boxed breakfast (about 2 1/2 hours.) We crossed a river twice and often walked in sand, which was hard. They slowed down for us, but our six women were strung out through the bush. We also had our two guides and the Datoga translator along. He translated from Hadzabe to Swahili, then our guides translated it into English.

I don't think there are many large animals in that area and the ground was fairly open, so I don't think you would have a problem with animals. They successfully hunted a spurfowl and mongoose. They followed baboon tracks, too, but didn't catch up to it. I'm not in shape by any means, but I managed to do the hike. We were all in our 40s, 50s, and even 60s.

If you are spending two nights at the camp, you'll probably arrive in the afternoon and spend one night. Then, you'll go out early with the Hadzabe. After your visit, you'll go to on the Datoga visit. After spending a second night there, I suppose you'll continue on with your safari. We came from the Ngorongoro Farmhouse (about 2 to 2 1/2 hours on a bad road.)

The Hadzabe were a bit reserved at first. We were only in the village about 15 minutes before we went out on the hunt. The guys were too busy hunting to be chatty. Once back in the village, we ate our breakfasts, then gave them the fruit from our boxes, which they appreciated. I think fruit would be a good choice. Porridge (oatmeal) might also be something they can use. I imagine the camp could lock up your provisions whereever they store theirs. The Hadzabe make jewelry for sale and use strands from plastic bags. Perhaps you could bring them something more substantial they could use (whatever we use in this country to string bracelets & necklaces, for instance.)

Once we started shopping, they began to interact more with us. The men brought out bow and arrow sets for us to look at and purchase, if we wanted. No one did, what with the flight restrictions, but one person bought their decorated walking stick. They then sang and danced with our group. It was quite lively! By the end of our visit, we were much more comfortable with each other.

The Datoga boma we visited had blacksmiths at work. We watched and tried our hand at that, then shopped (of course.) Afterwards, we visited their home and talked to the husband, wives, and children. We asked questions of each other, as we did with the Maasai.
As I mentioned in my trip report, the women were smoking pot. The kids didn't look too healthy, either.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2007, 03:28 PM
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Momoya does speak english.

The Hadzabe women were very shy. The men are a bit used to outsiders - although Momoya intepretted for us, we somehow managed to have a few hand signal laughs together.

We shared altoids after the hunt and they kept the tin container. seemed like they thought it was a good find.

I've heard of all different hike times/durations depending on what you arrange and how far you want to go. We spent most of the day until they scored an antelope.

Our hike was pretty strenuous as we hauled thru the bush trying to keep up with these guys who can actually run as fast as an antelope. Wear pants (watch for prickly bushes) and good hikers (mine were light tennis style hikers).

Don't know about bringing food. We left $$ instead.

The Datoga tribes people who we met, were very friendly despite the language barrier. As everywhere, playing and cooing their beautiful babies is a door opener. No gifts for them either - we left a village/tribe contribution and bought a couple braclets (although they don't push their goods on you - we asked)

cybor is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2007, 07:20 PM
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Looks like Shaytah and I posted at the same time.

Unlike Shaytay's Hadzabwe, ours were nomads and did not come from a village. They basically followed the game.
They had only portable mud huts and did not sell anything.

We saw 3 sets of Datogas. One in a village with healthy looking children and a school house. Some of these people owned property and small farms. the rest owned businesses or worked in the coffee and vegtable fields which we visited.

The second group had a small boma village. And the third was at the blacksmiths' where they made us bracelots from melted brass locks.

Our hike with the Hadzabwes was an all day affair early am to almost dusk.
cybor is online now  
Jul 24th, 2007, 07:57 AM
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The Hadzabe we visited were nomads, as well. I only used the term "village" to designate the simple stick shelters they had built at that current location. One of the reasons you need a local guide is that they have a general idea of where the Hadzabe are at that point in time, as they do move regularly.

The Datoga village we were at may have been the third one you visited, Cybor, as they had the blacksmiths and the metal jewelry for sale.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 24th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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Thanks Cybor & ShayTray! This is terrific feedback...

You bring up some other good points as well. What should I wear during my hike? Long pants, sneakers, long sleeve shirt, sweater? (not sure if it's cold in September) - also, not sure if the terrain requires boots, etc. I just have some regular sneakers I was going to wear..

Also, my current itinerary has me arriving at around 12-1PM on my first day at Kisima Ngeda. Since I will have almost 2 full days at Kisima Ngeda, does it make sense for me to visit the camps on both days (to spend more time with the Datoga and Hadzabe) and then also do the hunt on the 2nd day? Or is 1 day sufficient?

It sounds like I should prepare myself for a VERY long hike with the Hadzabe. I am 32, I'm not in great shape in that I don't exercise, but I just went to the gym this morning in hopes I can build up my endurance some more to enjoy the hike and not be exhausted!! I hope I will be ok...

Also, how about the snakes? I have seen too many Animal Planet's talking about the venomous snakes of Africa and the black mombas!!

I may have more questions but have to get back to work now - thanks so much! I don't know what I would do without this board...
lmavolio is offline  
Jul 24th, 2007, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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I wouldn't worry about snakes, especially in Sept, when it will be dry. It is rare to ever see one.

I'd concentrate on the gym or doing walks and increasing the length of the walks over time. Not only do you want to be able to complete the walk/hunt with the Hadzabe, you don't want it to take too much of a toll on you. Who wants to spend the rest of the safari with sore legs?

You should have a great experience.
atravelynn is offline  
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