Lake Eyasi is a fairly large, approximately 400 sq mile, lake with a mild soda content, situated in the Great Rift Valley south-west of the Ngorongoro Highlands in northern Tanzania. Like most East African soda lakes, the water level varies greatly throughout the year. Greater and lesser flamingos may be seen, sometimes in great numbers. Storks, pelicans and other birds may also be found bobbing in the lake’s waters or on its shores. Lake Eyasi is not a prime wildlife destination, although monkeys, antelope and hippos can be found in the area.
The lake is probably best known for being in the home territory of the Hadza tribe, also known as the Watindiga or Wahadzabe, who live in the bush around the northern shores. They are hunters and gatherers who formerly inhabited the Serengeti, but were forced away by stronger and more aggressive tribes.
The Hadza live in traditional ways hunting game such as dik-diks, collecting honey and growing onions and a few other variety of vegetable. Their huts are simple, built in a few hours and as easily abandoned. Like other people of hunters and collectors, including the San of the Kalahari in southern Africa, the Hadza speak a click language. Another tribe of this area is the Datoga people, who also once inhabited the Serengeti area, but were forced to leave by the Maasai arriving from the north more than a hundred years ago.
Lake Eyasi is an off the beaten African safari track destination. The shortest way is from Karatu Town on the main road between Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro. The roads from Karatu to the lake are poor bush roads and you can expect some uncomfortable driving, but the huge baobab trees that line the lake and the chance to interact with these two incredible tribes is an experience not soon forgotten.
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