Bringing “worlds apart” together
Learn about Tanzania – its people and places – from those who manage and depend on its precious natural resources. Search for breakfast with Hadzabe hunter-gatherers or join the Maasai to water and graze 100 head of cattle before sundown.transparent and allows for structured but un-staged encounter. The areas have a wilderness character so that visitors (and we ourselves) have the privilege of learning about wildlife, nature, and the land through a synergy of traditional and scientific knowledge.
Since its beginning, Dorobo has based its travel concept on the philosophy that our natural environments (and wilderness and wildlife) are intimately and irrevocably linked to people – both locally and globally. Based on a sound natural sciences background and a thorough knowledge of the peoples of East Africa, Dorobo has designed cultural travel for individuals and groups that provide stimulating educational experiences. African cultures are serendipitously met while on camping and walking safaris in wilderness areas of Tanzania. These special adventures engage participants in issues of ecology, culture and development.
Some of the cultures we have long-term relationships with include:
The Hadza, a small ethnic group of hunter-gatherers, are the earliest known inhabitants of the Yaida Valley, though no one can say for sure when they arrived or where they came from originally. Linguistic studies show that while their language is superficially similar to the Khoisan language group of the Bushmen and Hottentots, it cannot be placed in any of the recognized major ethno-linguistic groups.
The Yaida Valley Tourism Program began in the early 1990’s when the Hadzabe community invited a small, family-owned safari company to bring tourists to the Yaida Valley. The relationship between the Hadza (as they are called in English) and the Peterson family goes back some forty years, and it was of concern to both parties that tourism in the valley serve the Hadza’s needs and values. The Hadza’s invitation led to a series of powwows, resulting in a carefully monitored program.
The Yaida Valley Tourism Program is based on certain principles, among them:
The Hadza have valuable knowledge that the rest of the world has lost.
Hunting and gathering cultures, with their foundation of ecological prudence, have lessons to teach all people. What the Hadza would like you, as a visitor, to take home is an appreciation of their culture not as an antiquated tradition disconnected from the modern world but as a valid part of it. This approach to tourism bolsters self-identity among a people victimized by severe prejudice and discrimination across the board.
Community values and goals are paramount.
Because Hadza land is a communal resource and Hadza society is egalitarian, tourism is judged worthwhile only if it enhances community land and resource rights. In particular, tourism should not permit individuals to profit at the expense of the community. Tourist proceeds go primarily to community accounts, though smaller fees (structured by the community) may be paid to local individuals who take part in a given tourist visit.
Dorobo’s relationships with the Maasai goes back a long way. The Oldonyo Sambu wilderness area located on the Maasai steppe and adjacent to the eastern border of Tarangire National Park, was established in 1991 as a result of a community conservation project established between Dorobo and the Maasai Village of Emboreet. Relationships that led to tourism agreements were also established with other villages and in other areas such as Northern Maasailand on the Eastern edge of the Serengeti NP, within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and other villages near Tarangire NP.
Visits with the Maasai, as with most of the cultures we visit, are designed to provide a cultural experience within a wilderness context. All the areas we visit provide an opportunity to learn about the Maasai within their traditional environment, a glimpse into their daily lives rather than a portrayal for the “outside world” to see.
The Iraqw people inhabit the Mbulu Highlands south and west of the Ngorongoro Crater, where they have formed a very intensive agropastoralist livelihood. Deep valleys, terraced fields, houses perched on peaks or clinging to the edge of cliffs are typical to the enchanting landscape. Due to the high population density, most of the native forest has been cut-down for agriculture or to plant non-native trees for fuel and building material. However, within this complex of people and agriculture lies the Nou Forest, an isolated, little visited remnant of montane (highland) forest on the Mbulu plateau.
Dorobo has collaborated with the neighboring Iraqw villages and the regional forest department to use the area for tourism which also supports its main purpose – a watershed for the surrounding areas. Other controlled resource extraction from the forest for surrounding communities include building material, seasonal grazing and medicinal plants.
A visit to Nou integrates cultural interaction with walking and exploring this enchanted forest.