In sub-Sahara East Africa, cultural tourism has become a way to have personal and interpersonal interactive experiences with traditional tribal-based communities in their natural habitats. Cultural tours involve learning how human culture adapts to the natural geographic conditions in their environment. Interactive and non-scripted cultural encounters can stimulate the re-examination and clarification of values systems, raise self-awareness, evoke self-discovery, impact cultural perspectives, stimulate intellectual, emotional, psychological, spiritual growth and strengthen identity. Ultimately, cultural encounters encourage guests to question their own cultural assumptions and beliefs and better understand themselves better. Through this, both guests and hosts feel greater proximity to one another as human beings.
What Takes Place During Cultural Visits
To better understand what takes place during Zohar interactive cultural visits, read these blogs:
- Chants Encounters with the Hadzabe Bushmen
- Into the Bush: My First Visit with the Hadzabe Bushmen
- Maasai: Facing an Uncertain Future: The Maasai Prepare a New Kind of Leader
- Maasai: A Great Example of Cultural Adaptivity
There are very many cultural attractions, remote traditional bush communities and other related activities in Tanzania that are crucial for travelers who have cultural interests. Zohar is on the frontline specializing in cultural travel events. Dr. Ken Firestone designs and facilitates a unique kind of cultural encounter. They are rich with hands-on interactive activities that are unscripted but well planned, spontaneous but well-organized, and informal but educational and experiential.
By focusing on the daily activities of the peoples’ visited and guests being able to participate in aspects of the host communities’ way of life, guests and hosts have the unique opportunity to interact in personal ways. Everyone gets to experience the other. Unlike cultural villages where inhabitants do not live, Zohar cultural visits take place in a living community. Unlike cultural performances that are often disconnected from the daily lives of the performers, Zohar cultural visits meet people within the context of their daily lives.
Cultural visits are designed for people of every age group. They are multigenerational cross-cultural events. Adventurous older students and adults who may have more time on their hands can live with indigenous communities for a period of time or just stay overnight to allow for more in-depth cultural experience.
There are few safari tour operators providing the quality immersion experience Zohar offers. In this way, Zohar has developed its own market niche for travelers seeking more of an in-depth cultural experience. This niche is also looking to stretch them to reevaluate their own cultural identities and value systems.
Some of the Tanzania’s best known cultural locations and peoples
Lake Eyasi in the Rift Valley and its surrounding area is home to some of the last hunter-gatherers in Africa, the Hadzabe Bushmen who have made the area around Lake Eyasi their long time hunting grounds. The day-trips or longer with the Hadzabe give the curious traveler a chance to experience a way of life that has long since vanished elsewhere in the world. Near Lake Eyasi are the traditional Datoga and Iraqw peoples whose way of life is based on herding and agriculture and are distinctive in their way of life, clothing, and language.
The cultural tours include the most celebrated peoples in all of East Africa, the Maasai. Traditional Maasai land crosses the borders of Tanzania and Kenya. Include the Maasai provide travelers with the opportunity to see how the Maasai among the last of the world’s semi-nomadic pastoralists, the Maasai are adapting to the 21st century in their own way and their own time. The famous places for the travelers to familiarize themselves with Maasai people are Engaruka- the lost city, Longido, Engikareti and Oldonyo Sambu, Lake Natron, Monduli Mountains, and West Kilimanjaro. In Mkuru near Arusha National Park, short camel treks with local Maasai give tourists a glimpse into nomadic culture, as they climb nearby Oldonyo Landaree. These are just a few of the many places to visit the Maasai in Northwestern-Tanzania.
The Meru area, located close to central Arusha, is where travelers can meet traditional healers, learn about animal husbandry and agriculture, or buy carvings and foodstuffs from local handicraft co-operatives or women’s businesses. It is a place where the transition of Meru people’s progress to a modern world of science can be witnessed firsthand.
Elsewhere, especially along the Eastern coastline, are historical sites in places like Bagamoyo (historically an outlet of the slave trade) Kilwa, Zanzibar, and Tanga, all of which are rich in arts and crafts. Zanzibar is particularly well endowed culturally with Stone Town as its main city. Stone Town was a slave trade capital for buyers from Arabia and India who purchased them at its auction markets until the practice was outlawed in the mid-19th century. Evidence of this period still remains in various places throughout Zanzibar.
Equally famous is the Olduvai Gorge in the Serengeti Plain, the site of the oldest mankind fossil finds from 1.8 million years ago, and where the skull of “Australopithecus Zinjanthropus” was discovered by Dr. Leakey. The finds of hominid fossils is of importance to the study of physiological and anthropological/cultural development of man. There are also a number of important stone-age sites in Tanzania many of them remarkably rich in rock paintings.
To benefit from all these cultural attractions with inclusion of other unique attractions such as rock paintings, pre-historic sites, mosques, ancient towns, old palaces, together with the folklore and artistry of some tribes that provide the richest of African tapestries to foreign tourists, Zohar will take you there.