A Morning with the Hadzabe Bushmen
The Hadzabe bushmen are one of the last remaining hunter gather tribe in Africa and during my recent trip to Tanzania I had the privilege of joining a group of Hadza bushmen as they went out on a hunt. The Hadza way of life is in danger of ceasing to exist – a tribe and an entire way of life may be about to disappear. With less than 800 of them remaining, this really was one of the most special experiences I have had in Africa.
We were dropped off at a meeting point where we were met by the tribe leader, a young looking man who had burn marks all up his arm. Our guide introduced us and told us that usually during the day the men go out hunting while the women and children gather berries and seeds but on this occasion the women and children were allowed to join the group. He then led us through bush to the rest of the group who we could hear singing in the distance.
There were about 20 Hadza, all dressed in cloths and beads. The men carried traditional bows and arrows and the women carried buckets of some sort. Not one of them spoke English so there were no introductions and before we knew it we were on the move.
We spent a couple of hours with the tribe, walking behind them as they looked for food. At one point we came across a bees nest and once they saw there was honey in it they all whooped and cheered.
One of the boys took an axe and cut it down and then they shared it out amongst the group. Our guide told us that this was a real treat for the women and children because usually when the men find honey whilst they are out hunting they eat it there and then so the females rarely taste it.
After a couple of hours they decided to have a rest amongst some shaded trees. A couple of the boys gathered some twigs and dry grass and built a little pile whilst another boy sharpened a stick with his knife. Within five minutes they had created a fire – unbelievable.
I was actually very surprised at what happened next, the two older ladies of the group started lighting their home made cigarettes off the fire!
This particular morning was the absolute highlight of my trip. It’s hard to believe that there are still cultures that live like this; it felt as though I was taking a trip into the past and observing how early humans lived. It was a very special experience which will stand out in my memory for years to come.