Friday, 28 September 2012

Hunting with the Hadzabe Bushmen

Today we got up extra early (5am) as we were going to go hunting with the Hadzabe bushmen out in the bush.  I was amazed that our driver could find his way as we were driving on nothing more than cow paths and dry river beds.  I did ask how he knew which way to go and was told that he was informed of a sighting of the bush men and it was delivered to him last night.  Now we were traveling thru the bush looking for them so that we may join them for a hunt for their breakfast.   The Hadzabe our the last known true African hunter/gathers, and are similar ethnically and lingustically to the San bushmen of southern Africa.  They have shun all modern conveniences and prefer to live completely off the land.  We were told that at one time the Tanzanian government tried to bring the bushmen into the towns but they would not stay as they preferred their wandering lifestyle.
here we are leaving our car behind and walking into the bush looking for the bushmen's camp site

We found the bushmen and were greeted with this lovely view.  Baboon skulls

The bushmen gathering around their morning fire.  We were told they were planning their hunting strategy

The women of the camp were sitting around a different camp fire as is the custom of the tribe

Dik Dik meat hanging from the trees to dry

dead Dik Dik waiting to be skinned and the meat dried

Off we go following the bushmen further into the bush.  I will admit for a very brief moment I wondered how wise we were to go even further into the bush on foot with unknown people. Our guide also went with us and help interpret what was happening

bushmen wearing Baboon skin.  We were told that normally they wear loin cloths but the Tanzanian government insisted that they wear shorts or trousers, and it was law.
A Baobab tree.  We were told the bush women gather the fruit and make a sweet paste from it.

Inside of the Baobab fruit.  The white pieces are what are eaten.  I tried it and it is a taste you need to grow up on I think

After watching our guide break into the Baobab fruit Little Man gave it a try.  Neither child would try tasting the fruit inside but loved opening the fruit.

the bushmen could walk/run very fast so it wasn't long before we lost sight of them

Here our guides are whistling trying to locate the bushmen (who are probably laughing about the slowness of the white people)  eventually the bushmen whistle back and we were on our way again.

Taking a break while waiting to see what direction the bushmen went.
The first kill which we missed as we were too far behind.  This is a small bird

then things got a little exciting as the hunters spotted a squirrel in the trees.

We watched as they planned their attack and tried to catch the squirrel

This particular squirrel was feisty and in addition to using their arrows they threw branches into the tree trying to flush the squirrel into sight

Here a bushmen is climbing a tree and cutting branches to make more arrows

Success at last!  I kinda felt sorry for the squirrel

Little man wanting to have a closer look.  I was surprised my kids weren't more upset over the dead animals but both were very matter of fact about the need to kill in order to eat
The bushmen starting a fire using wood from the Sandpaper tree.  The leaves of this tree really feel like fine sand paper

Blowing on the spark

Putting the catch of the day on the fire. While the bird was striped of its feather the fur of the squirrel was left on and then scrap off after cooking

Eating breakfast.  We were not asked to join in, thankfully

Returning to camp we saw two Dik Diks (which are very small antelopes) hanging from the tree

Observing the women making beaded necklaces

Next we were given the opportunity to try out their arrows.

I hit the target and surprised the bushmen who loudly clapped.  I have shot a bow before:)  I don't think they expected a women to know how to shot a bow let alone hit the target!

Our driver having a turn at the bow.

One of the children of the camp with a Baobab fruit beside them.

Animal skins nailed to the tree

Baobab shells decorated with beads

One of the shelters made by the bushmen

Another room made in the bush, we were told the Hadzabe move location whenever game is scarce to find

pots for cooking and a shelf made of Oldupai (also known as Sisal) branches

another make shift shelf

Storage of newly made arrows.  We were told the bushmen also use poisen arrows to bring down some of the bigger game they hunt.
I have to say this was an absolutely amazing experience!  Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we would participated in something like this.  


  1. Amazing and so cool! What an experience to remember and cross off your bucket list! The pics and info was great! That's interesting about the government telling them what to wear, but maybe for you sake, it might be good this rule was made and followed when you visited :) Clicked a vote for you!

    1. LOL, yes Lion clothes would have been a little too much;) The government is also trying to make the children of the tribe go to school but so far failing in making that happen. There are only 2-300 Hadzabe members left in this area.

  2. I am speechless. This is an adventure to top them all. You definitely got the opportunity to meet and spend a day with people living in a far different culture. England is different, and Germany is different, but this is like another world. I think I would have been quite uneasy and a little scared. Wow!

  3. Wow, I am just so amazed at this one. I really think you need to make a book with all of your adventures. The photo's are incrediable. I am sure you could get it published. This was a once in a lifetime adventure. Loved reading about it and your children are so blessed to have parents that provide these kinds of experiences.
    Blessings and hugs!

  4. What an amazing adventure! Definitely once in a lifetime. Thanks for sharing it with us!