The Datoga Tribe Adventuriety

After our morning with the Hadzabe we stopped to visit a family of the Datoga Tribe.  The Datoga tribe has a much larger population than the Hadzabe and place great importance on cattle in their culture.  A man becomes a Datoga chief when he marries his first wife.  The first wife then chooses the second and the husband must buy her with cattle.  The second wife choose the third and so on.  Tall, fair-skinned woman cost the most cattle and the husband must purchase the woman his wife chooses regardless of the cost.  Therefore, a man with many wives is wealthy because he must have many cattle to afford his wives.


The chief of this group was a very charming gentleman.  He is standing between Grant and Scott.  The woman on the far left is the chief’s oldest son’s wife.  To her right is one of the chief’s daughters.  She wears black to indicate that she is ready to be married.  One of the chief’s four wives is standing between Ashley and I.


This family was a lot of fun to visit with; they are authentic and curious and charming.  We chatted with some of the women and were able to ask them questions through the interpreter.  That was interesting, but the best part was when Scott asked them if they had questions for us.  The first wife wanted to know how we ground our grain.  The daughter dressed in black wanted to know the relationship between Scott and Ashley and I.  She had thought that maybe Ashley was a second wife.  She also suggested that she would like to become one of Scott’s wives.  They wanted to know how many cattle Scott paid for me and were surprised when we explained that multiple wives were illegal where we lived,  he had  asked me to marry him and I had a choice.


These people are skilled metal workers.  They collect scraps of metal, melt it down and create arrow heads which the Hadzabe trade for and jewelry to sell to visitors and the local craft markets.



I asked Ashley if she would like a bracelet and her answer was an emphatic, “no.”  She had left Obama’s Masai family experience from the day before with some of the same feelings that I did ( There’s a lot to discover between Tarangire National Park and Lake Eyasi ).  I told her that we needed to buy something to thank them for their time and hospitality.  The kids and I each chose a bracelet and Scott chose a sharp object like the one in this picture.  We did a little good natured haggling and reached a fair price.  I couldn’t help but contrast our experience with this Datoga family and the Masai family from the day before, I was still unsure of how all of the pieces fit together in my mind, but I was realizing that regardless of the outcome of my musings, I was learning new things about the world around me and myself.


Surprisingly, it was only lunchtime after we had visited with the Datoga family.  We drove back to the camp by Lake Eyasi to pick up our bags, have lunch, and rest before driving back along the dusty and bumpy road towards our next adventure, the Ngorongoro Crater.  Ashley and I went for a swim in the pool and then we enjoyed the view from the observation deck.   Ironically, we watched some Masai cross a dry part of the lake bed with their cattle.








  1. Donna Lawson Says: October 20, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Now I know how expensive you and Ashley must seem to this tribe!! I love the interaction you had with them, and that You took the time and effort to understand their customs. Such learning experiences!

    • It was so much fun to interact with this family. The ladies were authentic and as interested in our customs are we were in theirs. The chief did ask Scott as we left how many cows he would sell Ashley for…”not all of the cows in the world” he replied.

  2. That’s all so interesting. I laughed out loud about the gal suggesting she would like to be another of Scott’s wives! No offense Scott! Just that it would be a crazy culture shock for her!

    • This gal was interesting in that she had such a sense of humor about it all…she was part of this culture so different from ours and yet she had the communication skills and confidence to make light hearted jokes about our obvious differences. I have no doubt that she would be a great wife! I got the sense that she is one of those people that are just successful in life, she was a joyous person.

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