5 Tanzania Tribes You Should Be Meeting in Your Tanzania Tour (2022)

5 Tanzania Tribes You Should Be Meeting in Your Tanzania Tour (1)

Located in the great lakes region of East Africa, Tanzania is the thirteenth largest country in Africa. It is bordered to the north by Kenya and Uganda, to the east by Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the south by Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia. This breathtaking country is home to some of the best safari attractions in the world, rich cultural heritage, and over 120 distinct Tanzania tribes and ethnic groups.

Here are some of Tanzania’s most diverse, unique and indigenous tribes:

5 Tanzania Tribes You Should Be Meeting in Your Tanzania Tour

1. The Hadzabe Tribe

This indigenous ethnic group resides in north-central Tanzania, dwelling near Lake Eyasi in the central rift valley and in the neighboring plateaus of the Serengeti. The impact of tourism and pastoralist encroachment has for many years posed a severe threat to the continuation of their traditional way of life.


The oral history of the Hadzabe’s tribes past is divided into four epochs, with each epoch inhabited by a different culture. The archaeological and genetic history of the Hadza’s reveals that they are not closely related to any other tribe, although their language was once classified with the Khoisan languages because it has clicks, there is relatively no evidence that they are related.

The Hadzabe tribe became part of the German East Africa but soon came under British control at the end of the first world war. Several attempts were also made by the British and the Tanzanian government to make the Hadzabe settle and adopt farming, but all their attempts failed as the Hadzabe people only settled to take advantage of the food provided, but leave and go back to foraging when the supply of food runs out.

What they are known for?

As one of the descendants of Tanzania’s aboriginal hunter-gathering population, the Hadzabe tribe has a division of labour that is split between foraging and hunting. While Hadzabe men usually forage individually, women are known generally to forage with at least one adult male accompanying the group. The Hadzabe women usually carry digging sticks, large skin pouches for carrying items like knives, shoes, clothing and various other items held in the pouch around their neck, with a grass basket for carrying berries while foraging.

Their diet consists mainly of honey, fruits, tuber, and meat. The availability of meat to their diet increases during the dry season when men often hunt in pairs hoping to shoot animals with their bows and poisoned arrows. They are highly skilled hunters and are known for their selective skills in hunting, foraging and their vast knowledge of plants, fruits, tubers, and wild animals.

Natural Habitat

The Hadzabes reside around Lake Eyasi, located just south of the Serengeti. Their lands are full of mostly baobab fruit trees and other bush trees that provide for their livelihood.

(Video) RAIDING A BABOON CAMP with Hadza Hunter-Gatherers in Tanzania


The Hadzabe’s are semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers that are culturally and linguistically members of the Khoi (Person) and San (Foragers) group. They have close affinities with the Sandiwe people who possess cultural connections with the Khoekhoe hunter-gatherers communities of Southern Africa.

Women are adorned with “Hangweda“ made of local pieces of skin, while the Hadzabe men are polygamists with a patriarchal social system.

Check out this video of tourists visiting the Hadzabe tribe!

2. The Datoga Tribe

5 Tanzania Tribes You Should Be Meeting in Your Tanzania Tour (2)

(c) Flickr

Known as the Mang’ati in Swahili, Datoga people are known as an agro-pastoral nomadic Nilotic speaking tribe, residing in Manyara and Singida region of north-central Tanzania near Mt Hanang, lake Basotu and Lake Eyasi. With well over 10 subtribes, its best subtribe is the pastoral Barabaig who also reside mainly in the northern volcanic highlands encompassed by Mt Hanang which is a sacred mountain to the Barabaig.


Their migratory history has been somewhat reconstructed through the study of comparative linguistics and oral tradition of the Datoga and its neighbors. They are said to be from South Sudan or Western Ethiopia highlands. As their ancestors gradually migrated southward, this resulted in settlements in the highland areas of Kenya and Tanzania by speakers of Nilotic languages, herding, and farming in the rich highlands by about AD 1500.

What they are known for?

The Datoga tribe consider themselves as the oldest tribe in Tanzania (other tribes like the Maasai and the Bushmen also claim this fame). They are characteristically known for keeping to themselves and are a tribe of proud people and fierce warriors known for their stealth ability. They are skillful and are also known for their blacksmith skills, beads works, brass bracelets, and necklaces, while also supplying arrowheads to the Hadzabe tribe. Though they are known to herd goats, donkeys, sheep and raise chickens, cattle are their most important domestic animals.


The Datoga tribe resides in the Singida and Manyara region of north-central Tanzania close to the Mt Hanang, Lake Eyasi, and lake Basotu.

(Video) Eating with Africa’s SNAKE TRIBE!! DANGEROUS Dining in Tanzania!!


The Datoga’s through the color of their outfits, blend in with their environment with a reddish brown color soil outfit, reddish patched leather dresses, beadworks, bracelets, and necklaces. Another cultural identity and feature of theirs that distinguishes them from other tribes is their decorative tattooing around their eyes in circular patterns.

3. The Sonjo Tribe

5 Tanzania Tribes You Should Be Meeting in Your Tanzania Tour (3)

(c) geminiresearchnews.com

The Sonjo people are a Bantu people and their primary way of life is based solely on herding and agriculture. They are known to use traditional irrigation systems when farming.


The Sonjo people are said to have lived in northern Tanzania for centuries secluded within the Maasai territory. They are believed to have migrated to East Africa 400 years ago from Central Africa.

What they are known for?

The Sonjo tribe is known for their agricultural way of life which was believed to be the major reason their migration took place little by little over thousands of years in search of fertile and well-watered land to cultivate their crops.


The Sonjo tribe reside in northern Tanzania, in the Ngorongoro district about 30-40 miles west of Lakes Natron.


Music plays a forestanding role in the Sonjo culture. Music shapes their entire way of life and is a widely practiced art in the entire community. It is used for several ritual purposes, rainmaking ceremonies, healing ceremonies, marriages, and other festive or civil events.

4. The Maasai Tribe

5 Tanzania Tribes You Should Be Meeting in Your Tanzania Tour (4)

(Video) TOP 5 Famous Women in Tanzania East Africa l Africa Influential Women

(c) Campi ya Kanzi

An indigenous group of semi-nomadic people that settled in northern Tanzania and Kenya. The Maasai tribe are internationally known and are among the most popular ethnic groups due to their distinct traditions, clothing, and their close residence to the many national parks in East Africa.


According to oral history, they originated North of Lake Turkana (north-west of Kenya) in the lower Nile valley. In the 15th century, they began migrating south and arrived along a land stretching across Tanzania and Kenya border, covering the Great Rift valley and adjacent lands from Dodoma and Mt Marsabit.

What they are known for?

The Maasai tribe are known for their brightly colored outfits and traditional lifestyle concentrated on cattle which make up the primary source of food. The wealth of a man is measured in terms of children and cattle but is also considered poor if he has many cattle but not children. Though they use spears and shields, they were most feared for their ability to expertly throw the orinka(club) from up to 70 paces(100 meters approximately).


The Maasai tribe resides north of Lake Turkana (northwest Kenya) in the lower Nile valley and northern Tanzania.


Firmly patriarchal in nature, most major disputes and matters are sometimes resolved or determined by retired elders and elder Maasai men. They are monolithic in nature and believe in their god called Enkai or Engai. The Maasai music comprises traditionally of rhythms rendered by a chorus of harmonies sung by vocalists while the olaranyani(song leader) sings the melody.

5. The Chagga Tribe

5 Tanzania Tribes You Should Be Meeting in Your Tanzania Tour (5)

(c) flickr

The Chagga people (also known as Wachagga, Jagga, Dschagga, Waschagga) are a Bantu speaking indigenous and the third largest ethnic group in Tanzania tribes.


The Chagga tribe were divided into small autonomous chiefdoms traditionally belonging to different clans ruled by Mangis (chiefs). The system of chiefdom was practiced until it was abolished throughout the country after Tanzania’s independence in 1961.

(Video) Tanzania Tribes With Most Hottest Women

What they are known for?

The Chagga tribe are known for their sense of enterprise, politics and strong work ethics. They engage in small scale businesses, while the young workers are clerks, teachers, and administrators.


The Chagga tribe resides on the southern slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro which has two peaks namely Kibo and Mawenzi.


Greetings are an important part of Chagga culture. Their marriage ceremonies were usually a long process traditionally, beginning with betrothed proceedings that continue long after the couple was married.

Today, Christian couples are married in churches with great importance placed on giving birth to a son to continue the lineage. At the age of 12, a rite called Kisusa is carried out for every child performed to curb unruliness, and after a month, a purification ceremony is celebrated, and a goat is sacrificed.

Want to learn more about these tribes or schedule a safari visit to Tanzania, get in touch with us today by calling or filling our out contact form.

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What tribes are there in Tanzania? ›

In fact, Tanzania is the only African nation whose tribes represent all four of the continent's major ethnolinguistic groups—Bantu, Cushitic, Nilotic, and Khoisan.

How many tribes are in Tanzania? ›

There are more than 100 distinct ethnic groups and tribes in Tanzania, not including ethnic groups that reside in Tanzania as refugees from conflicts in nearby countries. These ethnic groups are primarily of Bantu origin, with small Nilotic-speaking, indigenous, and non-African minorities.

What is the main tribe in Tanzania? ›

Today the majority of Tanzanians are of Bantu descent; the Sukuma—who live in the north of the country, south of Lake Victoria—constitute the largest group.

How many tribes in Tanzania and their names? ›

There are so many tribes in Tanzania including the Hehe, Haya, Digo, Ngoni, Meru, Iraqw, Mbulu, e.t.c. All 120 and more tribes speak a different language and have their own way of dealing with matters alongside with beliefs.

What is the biggest tribe in Tanzania? ›

Sukuma tribe Tanzania

The Sukuma are the largest group in Tanzania, since their population reaches over 5 million and still grows. They are scattered around the country and live not only in rural areas and plains, but also in cities, mostly in Mwanza and Shinyanga.

Which is the oldest tribe in Tanzania? ›

The Datoga tribe consider themselves as the oldest tribe in Tanzania (other tribes like the Maasai and the Bushmen also claim this fame). They are characteristically known for keeping to themselves and are a tribe of proud people and fierce warriors known for their stealth ability.

What is the full meaning of tribe? ›

Definition of tribe

1a : a social group composed chiefly of numerous families, clans, or generations having a shared ancestry and language. b : a political division of the Roman people originally representing one of the three original tribes of ancient Rome. c : phyle.

Who named Tanzania? ›

Tanzania Culture

Tanzania is formerly known as Tanganyika, a name that was given to the country by a British civil servant in the early 1920's (Tanga meaning sail and Nyika meaning arid plain). The previously known German East Africa became known as Tanganyika Territory.

Which tribe is the richest in Tanzania? ›

Chaga, also spelled Chagga, Bantu-speaking people living on the fertile southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. They are one of the wealthiest and most highly organized of Tanzanian peoples. Chaga land and cultivation methods support a very dense population.

How many tribes are in Africa? ›

With around 3,000 tribes and 2,000 languages and dialects, Africa is a continent with fascination around every corner. Other continents of the world lack Africa's natural diversity.

Is Bantu a tribe? ›

Approximately 350 million people speak one of the Bantu languages, which number over 500. Some of the larger Bantu tribes include the Shona of Zimbabwe, the Hutu of Rwanda/Burundi, and the Zulu of Swaziland. The Bantu are Indigenous African People.

What language is spoken in Dar-es-Salaam? ›

Languages of Tanzania
OfficialSwahili and English (de facto)
RegionalArabic (in Zanzibar), Chaga, Makonde, Sukama, Datooga
SignedTanzanian sign languages
Keyboard layoutQWERTY

Which tribe is in Arusha? ›

Arusha had a population of more than one and a half million people mostly made up of members of the Iraqw, Wameru, Sonjo, Chagga, Pare, Nguu and Maasai tribes. Arusha is smack bang in the center of northern Tanzania's safari and game drive tracks.

What are Tanzanians called? ›

United Republic of Tanzania Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania (Swahili)
GovernmentUnitary dominant-party presidential republic
• PresidentSamia Suluhu Hassan
• Vice-PresidentPhilip Mpango
47 more rows

Which tribe is Diamond Platnumz? ›

Nasibu Abdul Juma Issack (born 2 October 1989), popularly known by his stage name Diamond Platnumz, as well as other artistic names Simba, Chibu Dangote, is a Tanzanian bongo flava recording artist, dancer, philanthropist and a businessman of Ha heritage. He was born and raised in Tandale, Dar es Salaam.

Is Tanzania safe? ›

Is Tanzania a safe country? Yes, Tanzania is a reasonably safe country. In fact, it's regarded as one of the safest African countries , both for locals and tourists. According to the 2019 Global Peace Index, Tanzania is the seventh safest country in Africa.

What is Tanzania known for? ›

Tanzania is home to some of Africa's most famous national parks and natural attractions, including majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Consequently, the most popular things to do in Tanzania and the reason many people visit the country, are the safaris and wildlife-related adventures.

Which tribe is the oldest? ›

Collectively, the Khoikhoi and San are called the Khoisan and often called the world's first or oldest people, according to the biggest and most detailed analysis of African DNA.

Which African tribe is oldest? ›

The San Tribe, or Bushmen as they are commonly called, were the first indigenous residents of South Africa over 30,000 years ago. They are believed to be the world's most ancient race; because they are direct descendants of the first humans on earth. They were originally known for their unique hunting skills.

Which country has the best culture in Africa? ›

A visit to Africa's rich cultural destinations will have you experiencing colour festivals, eating exotic meals, knowing myths, and learning legends.
  1. South Africa. The "Rainbow Nation," South Africa, located in southern Africa, is one of the best Cultural destinations on the continent. ...
  2. Namibia. ...
  3. Tanzania. ...
  4. Morocco. ...
  5. 5 Senegal.
Jan 6, 2022

What is a tribe Class 6? ›

A tribe is a group of people who live together, share the same language, culture and history and stay outside towns or cities. Forest products and the land is the source of their livelihood.

Who are called tribes? ›

In general terms a tribe is a human social group which mainly live in a forested region and survive by hunting animals and by carrying out shifting cultivation. They have their own culture, religious beliefs and traditions which are completely different from mainstream practices.

What is a tribe 100 words? ›

A tribe is a group of people who live and work together in a shared geographical area. A tribe has a common culture, dialect and religion. ... A tribal society is a group of tribes organized around kinships. Tribes represent a part in social evolution between bands and nations.

Which is the best tribe in the world? ›

Meet eight incredible indigenous tribes – and see what makes them unique.
  • Huli Wigmen, Papua New Guinea. Huli wigmen, Papua New Guinea. ...
  • Dogon, West Africa. ...
  • Chimbu Skeleton Dancers, Papa New Guinea. ...
  • Nenet, Siberia. ...
  • Asaro mud men. ...
  • Himba herders, Namibia. ...
  • Kazakh golden eagle hunters. ...
  • Bayaka, Central African Republic.
Jul 2, 2021

Who Found Africa? ›

Portuguese explorer Prince Henry, known as the Navigator, was the first European to methodically explore Africa and the oceanic route to the Indies.

What is the smallest tribe in Africa? ›

The shortest tribe are the Mbutsi people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with an average height of 1.37 m (4 ft 6 in) for men and 1.35 m (4 ft 5 in) for women, with some groups averaging only 1.32 m (4 ft 4 in) for men and 1.24 m (4 ft 1 in) for women.

What does Tanzania mean in English? ›

British Dictionary definitions for Tanzania

Tanzania. / (ˌtænzəˈnɪə) / noun. a republic in E Africa, on the Indian Ocean: formed by the union of the independent states of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964; a member of the Commonwealth.

Is Tanzania poor? ›

In terms of per capita income, Tanzania is one of the world's poorest economies. The economy is primarily fueled by agriculture, which accounts for more than one-quarter of the country's gross domestic product.

How do you speak Tanzania? ›

GET STARTED! | SWAHILI For Beginners | Free Lesson! - YouTube

Which tribe is the richest in Tanzania? ›

Chaga, also spelled Chagga, Bantu-speaking people living on the fertile southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. They are one of the wealthiest and most highly organized of Tanzanian peoples. Chaga land and cultivation methods support a very dense population.

What tribes live in the Serengeti? ›

These are ancient lands with a long history of habitation. The Serengeti area is home to various local people, the most famous of them being the Maasai. The Maasai mostly live in harmony, sometimes in conflict, with nature. You are bound to visit your hosts when visting the area on your Serengeti safari.

Why were the Wanyamwezi called so? ›

The term Nyamwezi is of Swahili origin, and translates as "people of the moon" on one hand but also means "people of the west" the latter being more meaningful to the context.

What type of people are the Maasai? ›

The Maasai tribe are an indigenous ethnic group in Africa of semi-nomadic people settled in Kenya and northern Tanzania.


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