We talk all the time about how unspoiled Tanzania is; its landscapes and its wildlife aren’t just a window onto a different world, they’re almost like a window onto the past, and life as it was in a pre-modern time.
But though Tanzania is still developing, it’s by no means a pre-modern place, anymore. In the South, Dar es Salaam is a bustling city, filled with the same honking car horns, masses of people chatting on cell phones, and popping in and out of chic restaurants, high-end clothing stores, and internet cafes you’ll find in any major city the world over.
Though the Northern part of Tanzania—which includes the Serengeti ecosystem, Kilimanjaro, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area—has always been more rural than Dar es Salaam, it, too, is a land in the process of changing.
It’s no longer surprising to see a Maasai warrior in traditional dress on a cell phone (like in the photo below), or to spot a Hadza (a tribe of traditional hunter-gatherers) sporting a Nike t-shirt. The various peoples who call Northern Tanzania home are proud of their different heritages, but they’re not frozen in time; they’re working to respect their cultural traditions while living in an ever-more-modern world.
Some visitors to Tanzania are a little disappointed when they see the pervasive creep of “flat earth” globalism spreading through these beautifully unchanged lands, but we think it’s a positive sign; thanks in large part to the money and exposure to different cultures that tourism brings, Tanzanians of all backgrounds are increasingly getting access to a better quality of life.
Our Maasai friend, Johnson, chatting on his cell phone