Cultural Tours with Equatorial Safaris

 

Apart from wildlife and beach tourism, cultural tourism has become popular with visitors to Tanzania. With 120 ethnic tribes, guests can find many opportunities to learn about the proud, rich traditions of the local people and the area they call home. Equatorial Safaris is proud to partner with the local cultural tourism programs at dozens of villages throughout the country. If you would like to include a cultural tour during your visit to Tanzania, we can easily arrange this for you. All money collected through this tourism stays in the villages where you will be visiting, usually used for schools, dispensaries and other important infrastructure.

Places to Visit

Longido Village is about 90 kilometers north of Arusha Town. Both the Maasai and Warusha tribes are based in this area. Visitors have a chance to see cattle being auctioned in the market and learn how the the buying and selling of cattle remains one of the main sources of wealth for these tribes.

 

The beautiful towns of Mamba and Marangu lie at the foot of Kilimanjaro.  These communities have set up cultural tours with local guides to support projects in their towns. These tours include walks and hikes through valleys with views of numerous waterfalls, coffee plantations, bird watching and important cultural sites of the Chagga tribe. Enjoy the panoramic scenes and natural beauty of Kilimanjaro and meet local families in the community along the way.

Cooking Pilau Rice for a large group of guests

 

Mulala Village: Just outside Arusha lies the picturesque village of Mulala, on the slopes of Mount Meru. A group of women in Mulala united to form the Agape Women’s Group, which helps local women start and maintain small businesses. One of these programs is the Mulala Cultural Tourism Program. Tours begin at Mama Anna’s farm and can include visits to other farms and businesses owned by local women. They also offer tours of the nearby rivers, hills and forest reserve. Views of Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro are possible on clear days! Income from tourist visits support the local primary school and dispensary.

 

Ng’iresi Village: This village lies on the slope of Mt Meru and the tour program includes local Warusha farms, a lunch prepared by a local women’s group and hikes around a nearby hill and village.

 

The Ruins of Engaruka: Guided by local Maasai warriors, walk through the mysterious ruined city of Engaruka and the surrounding scrubland. Located at the foot of the Rift Valley Escarpment, Engaruka remains one of Tanzania’s most important historic sites. Over 500 years ago a community of farmers developed a unique irrigation and cultivation system channeling water from the Rift Escarpment into stone canals and terraces. Although abandoned in the 1700s Engaruka illustrates a once highly specialized and integrated agricultural community which has been investigated by archeologists world-wide. This tour can also include a visit to a cattle market and to local farms.

 

Experience one of Africa’s most fascinating cultures, the Maasai, while visiting Longido Mountain in the heart of Maasailand. Spend a day walking around the extensive plains of Longido Mountain and visit local Maasai families along the way. This area is well known for bird-watching.

 

Northern Pare Mountains: The spectacular Northern Pare Mountains offer unique opportunities to experience the Pare culture of Tanzania. Visitors can see local farms, forests and mountains. The Northern Pare Mountains are situated 50 kms south-east of Moshi.

 

Southern Pare Mountains: Deep within the Southern Pare Mountains, about 150km from Moshi town are the Mbaga Hills. Rising from the plains, visitors will be led through winding roads into the mountains where you can experience some of Africa’s most spectacular scenery. A visit to the Southern Pare Mountains are ideal for people wanting to combine trips with the Mkomazi Game Reserve. With a strong history of German settlement, Mbaga is home to a backdrop of quaint stone buildings, landscaped terraces and mini-waterfalls.

 

Mto wa Mbu: Mto wa Mbu offers both walking and bicycle tours through some magnificent scenery. Conveniently located on the way to the Serengeti, and Ngorogoro Crater, Mto wa Mbu provides visitors with an excellent opportunity to stretch their legs and compliment their holiday with a cultural safari. Here you can see a mixture of different Tanzanian cultures while enjoying the tropical lush-green vegetation at the foot of the Great Rift Valley.

 

Usambara Mountains: The Usambara Mountains are situated in the northeastern part of Tanzania between Mount Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean. The mountains rise up steeply from the surrounding plains and can only be entered via a few roads. The only paved road in the area winds along a small river to Soni and Lushoto, the largest towns in the area. Because of its cool climate, the mountains were favored by the Germans and the English during colonial times, as is evidenced by the numerous government and mission buildings from that era. Cheese-making and wine-making are still practiced in the local Catholic missions and monasteries. Multiple tours are offered to visit the various parts of this visually stunning district.

Local Grandmother in Kibosho Village, Kilimanjaro

 

Babati and Hanang: Babati district is located along the Arusha-Dodoma road in the Rift Valley, south of Lake Manyara Park and west from Tarangire. The town boasts Lake Babati where floating hippos can be seen and which is rich in fish, both tilapia and Nile perch. Here commercial and farming tribes co-exist with conservative cattle herding tribes to provide a distinguished cultural contrast. In Hanang District close by the beautiful Mount Hanang (3418m), live the Barbaig people whose traditional culture is still unchanged after hundreds of years.

 

Ilkiding’a This village is at the foot of Mount Meru where the sounds of rivers, birds and people are in harmony. A cultural tour of Ilkiding’a will give you the opportunity to experience traditional Wa-arusha culture. Spend a day walking around the hills of Ilkiding’a and get some insight into the daily lift of this tribe.

 

Pangani Coast: Pangani is situated about 50km south of Tanga, at the extreme North-Eastern corner of Tanzania. Several historical sites serve as reminders for the strong Arabic influence and the later German, British colonial period in East Africa.

 

Mkuru Village: At the camel camp at Mkuru  you can make camel safaris to the plains between Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru and Lake Natron, and enjoy the friendly behavior of the “ship of the desert.” Mkuru is situated on the north side of Mount Meru, not far away from the irrigated fields of Engare-Nanyookye and the Momela gate of Arusha National Park. From a distance the area can be easily recognized through the remarkable shape of Ol Doinyo Landaree, the little mountain that looks like a pyramid.

These cultural tours are offered in conjunction with the Tanzanian Cultural Tourism Programs. These programs are supported by the Tanzanian Tourist Board. Each village manages their own program and the money from the program goes to build local public infrastructure like water pumps and schools. All of these are a real “grassroots” effort and the local villagers are proud to be able to show their village to people visiting from abroad. We at Equatorial Safaris are happy to be able to include one of these half day, whole day or multiple day experiences into the safaris we arrange for our clients. For more information, itineraries and photos of the specific programs, please visit their website.