As people, we really are all the same in that we laugh, cry, love, hate, sing, dance... and some would say our lives our universally intertwined. The physical differences we see are to be celebrated and the people of Tanzania have found themselves (knowingly or not!) in widely published travel magazines, books, art work, photographs - everywhere!
Tanzania's heart pulses with the blood of almost 120 tribal groups, in addition to Asian, Arab and European minorities. Every tribe is fairly small, whereby with almost 100 of them combined, they account for only one-third of the total population. As a result none have succeeded in dominating politically or culturally, although groups such as Chagga and Haya (who have a long tradition of education) are often disproportionately well represented in government and business circles.
Just to give a little bit of background... About 95% of Tanzanian people are from Bantu origin. These include different ethnic groups, such as the Sukuma (13% of the whole population) living around Mwanza and southern Lake Victoria; the Nyamwezi around Tabora; the Makonde in southern eastern Tanzania; the Haya in the Bukoba area and the Chagga around Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Maasai, often the most 'well known' tribal group, plus several smaller groups including the Warusha and the Samburu, are from Nilo-Hamitic or Nilotic origin and all live in northern Tanzania. The Maasai are known for their 'jumping dance' where the males will follow this ritual - whether in relation to celebration or courtship. The ladies of the Maasai tribe will wear a type of neck jewellery that 'jingles' when they start to dance creating a hypnotic sound. Some of these adornments represent marriage.
The Iraqw, who live in the area around Karatu and the northwest of Lake Manyara are Cushitic, as well as the tiny northern-central tribes of Goroa and Burungi.
The Sandawe and the Hadzabe (around Lake Eyasi) are considered to belong to the Khoisan ethno-linguistic family. The Hadzabe Tribe have grown to be known as the 'last remaining bush men' and taking time to visit them in their surroundings is a truly enlightening experience!
About 985.000 people (3% of Tanzania total population) live on the Zanzibar archipelago, with only one-third on Pemba Island. Most African Zanzibaris belong to either the Hadimu, the Tumbatu or the Pemba group. Members of the none-African population are primarily Shirazi and consider themselves as descendants from Shirazi in Persia (Iran).
At Original Tanzania we celebrate people and include time in our tours for you to mix, observe and absorb life in Tanzania which is shown in such vibrancy through its people. We hope you have time to visit our photo gallery focusing specifically on People and Eco Tourism.