Lake Eyasi is a very scenic soda lake found on the southern border of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a couple of hours drive from Karatu. This less visited lake lies at the base of the Eyasi escarpment on the western Great Rift Valley wall, bordered by the Eyasi Escarpment in the northwest and the Kidero Mountains in the south.
This is a hot, dry land, around which live the Hadzabe people, often associated with the Khoisan languages in Southern Africa because of their click language. The Hadzabe are believed to have lived here for nearly 10,000 years and continue to follow hunting-and-gathering traditions. Also in the area are the Iraqw (Mbulu), a people of Cushitic origin who arrived about 2000 years ago, as well as the Datoga also Cushitic, the Maasai and various Bantu groups including the Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, Chaga and Meru. The area is Tanzania’s main onion-growing centre, and there are impressive irrigation systems along the Chemchem River drawing its water from natural springs.
The Hadzabe, a hunter-gatherer tribe, live close to the shores of Lake Eyasi, as do the Nilotic-speaking Datoga tribe who are pastoralists. Visits to these tribes are possible on half day or full day excursions which would include a visit to their homesteads, learning about their way of life, medicinal plants, and even animal tracking with bows and arrows with the Hadzabe hunters.
Arusha – Ng’iresi village of Waarusha tribe
Ngi’iresi Village is located about 07 kilometres from Arusha town on the lower slopes of Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania (4566m). The inhabitants of the village are farmers of the Wa-Arusha tribe. The Wa-Arusha are relatives of the Maasai, but have gradually shifted from pastoralism to mixed farming with agriculture being the main activity. There is the opportunity to gain an insight into the culture of the
Wa-arusha tribe: listen to age-old stories, visit traditional houses, (optional – indulge in a delicious lunch and / or dinner prepared by the Juhudi Women’s Group). One can take a half day or full day guided tour to this village on the foothills of Mount Meru, visiting some farms and several development projects in the village including soil conservation, irrigation, cross breeding, bio-gas production; coffee and tea can be served at Mzee Loti’s farm. Walk to the nearby “bomas”, to see the various styles of traditional Maasai and Wa-Arusha houses. Climb Lekimana hill, from where you can have a beautiful view of Arusha town and the surrounding Maasai plains, on a clear day Kilimanjaro is visible from here. The tour can include a climb to Kivesi Hill, an old volcano with a natural forest at the summit.
Arusha – Mulala village of Wameru and Waarusha
Mulala village is a typical rural setting on the southern lower slopes of Mount Meru, located about 30kms from Arusha town off the Moshi / Arusha highway near Usa River. Mulala Cultural Tourism Program is run by the Agape Women’s Group who offer a tour of traditional activities of about 1-2 hours where one can visit farms and learn about farming methods and various economic activities they have started including cheese-making, bread-making, preparing flower seeds, chilli growing and sewing.
Another tour is the Marisha River Tour (2 hours) where a local guide will show you common medicinal plants used by the villagers, then take you on to the Ziwa la Mzungu (White Man’s Lake) where a big colony of fruit bats thrives; or perhaps take the Lemeka Hill Tour (2 hours) where you can walk through the coffee and banana plantations and head up Lemeka Hill for breathtaking views of both Mounts Kilimanjaro and Meru and of the Maasai Plains and on the way back a visit to the traditional village healer. There is also a place for overnight camping and simple traditional meals for those wishing to spend a night. The Mulala Cultural Tourism Programme is the only one completely launched, developed and implemented by women as a means to self-sufficiency.
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