Lake Eyasi

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The Maasai live in this region, as do the Datoga and Mbulu tribes. A visit with the bushmen is worthwhile and they will graciously show you where as well as how they live and hunt. They subsist entirely off the bush and by bow hunting. Everything they use is made from local materials, including their bows which are strung with giraffe tendon and their arrows which are coated in lethal poison. Their language resembles that of the Kalahari bushmen tribe (who were featured in the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’) using clicking noises, you will need to stop to have a translator join you in order to communicate with the Haadzabi Bushmen, one of the last truly nomadic tribes, before arriving at their camp.


Their small tribe was seriously threatened when Julius Nyere, a political anti-colonial activist in Tanzania, set out his Ujama policy in the Arusha Declaration of February 5, 1967. Ujamaa is Swahili for familyhood. This was Nyere's social and economic policy that centered on collective agriculture under a process called villagization, nationalization of banks and industry, and an increased love and self-reliance at both an individual and a national level.

The Haadzabe Tribe resisted these forcible settlement policies, however, and today most of their children have never seen a doctor or school. The earth provides for all their needs and is a classroom of wealth. They live entirely off the bush and hunting, generally small antelope and baboons. The string on their lethal bow is made from giraffe tendons and the arrows they hand-craft are coated with a strong poison of a tree. A few hours spent with the bushmen makes the unhospitable bush country much more welcoming and to watch their skillful hunting is a wondrous, unique privilege.

Lake Eyasi is a soda lake that is 1,050 km (400 sq miles) and is 1,040 m (3,400 ft) above sea level. A soda lake's geology and biodiversity is different than other lakes because its pH value is usually between 9 and 11, more than the usual measure of 6 or 7. They also have a high carbonate concentration, which is responsible for the alkalinity of the water. Soda Lakes are highly productive ecosystems, producing over 10 grams of carbon per sq meter per day, therefore making them the most productive aquatic environment on Earth, because of the availability of dissolved carbon dioxide.

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Geologic, climatic, and geographic requirements are necessary for a lake to become alkaline, and a topography that limits the outflow of water is essential as well. The microorganisms in soda lakes are good sources of food for animals like flamingo and other birds, such as the Fischer lovebird, African spoonbill, gray headed gulls, great white pelicans, pied avocet, and yellow-billed storks.

The scenery of Lake Eyasi differs dramatically to that of the surrounding areas. Compared to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Highlands, this area appears more tropical. Palm trees border the lake, and other trees in this area include the umbrella thorn acacia and sand paper bush. The weather is almost always very hot and intense, as the lake is located in the floor of the Rift Valley, the oldest rift in the world.

Lake Eyasi’s water levels vary greatly between the rainy and dry seasons. During the dry season the lake is virtually nonexistent and animals are forced to share what water is left, which makes it easier for wildlife viewing. The lake can get quite deep during the rainy season and it attracts hippos who like to cool off in its brackish waters.

Almost any time of year is a good time to visit Lake Eyasi with the exception of April and May due to the long rains, because the road conditions become impassable.

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