The Maasai are one of the best known tribes in Tanzania. By nature, they are nomadic livestock herders and move to greener pastures as need be. Cows play an extremely vital role in their day to day lives and the Maasai believe that God gave the them all the cattle in the world and that cattle represents a sacred bond between man and God. There is a strong hierarchy amongst the Maasai and each individual has his or her place within the community.
Recently on a cultural tour on the slopes of Mt. Meru, I got the chance to learn about the Wa-arusha tribe and how they live. The tribe were of Pare origins who used to live in the Kilimanjaro area. They first arrived in the now Arusha area in the 1830’s. Most of the people at the time there were Maasais. The Wa-arusha tribe took on a lot of the Maasai traditions but they are still very different.
The Chagga tribe originates from the foothills of the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Like many other tribes they have a unique tradition and that is mbege. Mbege is an alcoholic drink made from ripe bananas and sprouted millet powder. Some call it banana beer but it has a more wine-like taste to it. Mbege is traditionally only brewed by women and it is a time-consuming and very hands on process.
Red elongated people, giraffes, eland and hunting scenes. These are just some of the subjects in a little-known UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tanzania. In central Tanzania near the little village of Kolo (250km southwest of Arusha) are the Kondoa Irangi rock paintings.