Unbreak your mind on an existential journey to the High Atlas Mountains and feel the inspirational energy of the surrounding scenery flow through you. The Amazighs have long walked these lands. Farming. Trading. Living. And long delivered their goods beyond the Sahara desert to the cities of North Morocco.
Discover the Island Madagascar is a real heaven for nature lovers keen to go trekking! One first example: the Lokobe nature reserve is a protected area that shows the remains of the rainforest that previously covered the whole Island. The volcanic lakes are the perfect habitat for crocodiles, and the hills and mountains are the incredible backdrops of this unique place. More: there are approximately 950 hectares of Mangroves that host a rich community of crustaceans and mollusks. Here also lives the smallest frog and the smallest chameleon in the world! Even the state road has a high natural value: is known as the “Avenue des Baobab” and connects the municipality of Morondava with Belo Sur Tsiribinhina with it’s is 198 km length. It is known all over the world for the breath-taking Baobabs living along its path, which are centuries old and considered as a Natural Monuments. Moreover, UNESCO enlisted in the world's heritage list two of Malagasy natural patrimonies: the Rainforests of the Atsinanana and Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve. The bay of Antsianana is the second largest in the world. That said, if trekking is not your cup of tea, the Madagascan famous white sand beaches are worldwide recognized, and Nosy Be could be the right location for you. Madagascar, however, is not only famous for its outstretched white sand beaches and palms, lemurs, orchids, and baobab trees: it is also home to some of unique tribes in the world, with at least 18 different indigenous groups. Wrapped around legends, myths, and traditions, the Mikea, the Antandroy, and the Sakalava are part of the intangible heritage of this exceptional country. They are today the living memory of millennial traditions and the Madagascan folklore. In this article, you will learn some curiosities about these three tribes that you can visit with Nomadic Tribe and better prepare your trip! Discover three Malagasy tribes. Folklore and Resilience to keep traditions alive. MIKEA - The secret to life is hidden deep in the desert’s ground Mikea people, a group of Malagasy-speaking horticulturalists and foragers, inhabit the Mikea Forest, mixed spiny forest and dry deciduous forest area along the coast of southwestern Madagascar. Curious about Mikea way of life and their temperament? Let’s discover something together! The Mikea people live in what is considered one of the most hostile environments in the world, a desert. Due to these conditions, they were sure they could live in peace; far away from cities and urbanization and continuing their traditional lifestyle**.** "Mikea" literally means "who doesn't want to be sued". That is why The Mikea concept is a flight from modernity and its constraints. It's a rebellion against civilization. During the 60s, researchers, and anthropologists tried to approach the communities, pushed by their curiosity, and encouraged by the numerous legends regarding them. They discovered friendly people that adapted entirely to the territory and the harsh weather. The Mikeas are known to be hunter-gatherers who have become breeders and farmers: every day, and they're going through about 10 km on foot for food. Mikea people could go on for days (or even weeks!) without drinking any water, thanks to a yam called Baboho, which grows in the sand of this desert at 2 meters deep in the ground. These have plenty of water in them, and they are prepared in different ways from jelly jams or even raw, giving the hydration that the Mikea need to survive. Music plays an important role both in their social and spiritual life. They still use traditional musical instruments such as the musical bow on the gourd, the seven-stick xylophone and the rattle. The Mikeas are known to make masks, that is rare in Madagascar, using human teeth and hair. Quite scaring no?! Read more about Mikea tribe in our tribes section. ANTANDROY - Ancestors dictate the community’s laws and everyday life The Antandroy are a traditionally nomadic ethnic group of Madagascar inhabiting the arid southern part of the Island called Androy. They are well known for their taboos called “Fady”, which are prohibitions imposed by the ancestors, but also the “Fombas”, obligations and traditional customs to follow to avoid insulting the ancestors. These can be considered as a sort of “laws” and moral values. Some Fady and Fombas are observed to this day, and it is common courtesy for visitors to follow them. Let's dive right in and discover some of the most curious ones that you can quickly adapt (and surprise your host family!) Some specific places are considered fady: these are generally sacred, and it is forbidden to build on its ground. Turtle isn't on an Antandroy menu, since eating them is considered insulting to the ancestors. Stories about why this is forbidden are numerous, and each community has its version! This also applies to snakes, cats, dogs, cows without horns, and onion. Curiously enough, some fady apply to bananas. In some villages, the fruit is considered sacred. The legend states that a family found an abandoned baby sleeping in the trunk of a banana tree, floating down a river, and bringing luck to his adopting family. Astronomy plays to this day a vital role to determine if a baby will be born on a lucky or unlucky day. Some babies have been abandoned in the past; however, this is not the custom anymore. Fady also applies to some weeks' days, Monday is usually a rest day. Comparing someone to a dog is not only an insult but a potent "fombas". If someone compares a person to a dog, a cow will probably be sacrificed to cancel this insult. Read more about Antandroy tribe in our tribes section. SAKALAVA - Spirit possession to seek guidance The Sakalava are one of the smaller ethnic group of Madagascar, constituting about 6% of the total population. They live in the western and northwest region of the Island, in a band along the coast. Their name means "people of the long valleys.". What about their traditional customs? The cult of possession started within the Sakalava monarchical systems is known as Tromba. The king had divine rights, had life and death powers over people together with healing powers. After death, he became even more powerful, as he was destined to return to his people through Tromba possession. Today’s Tromba, are generally considered to be the work of an ancient ruler’s spirit possessing someone to bestow blessings, advice or remedies for diseases. Most frequently, the possessed are generally women, often single or with fertility issues. Usually the possession is preceded by a state of trance, or even it manifests itself through a dream. After these first signs, some public ceremonies are organised to allow the spirit to express itself. The possessed will be blessed and officially appointed by the village's medium to learn the use of medicinal plants. Other ancient customs are called "Doanys", where bones of deceased kings of the Sakalava are kept. The mortal remains are brought back into the circle of the living in a ceremony called Fitampoha, the annual purification of a dynasty's sacred relics. Relics are washed in the river and brought back to Doany*.* No surprise if Malagasy tombs are always better built than homes! The Sakalava tribe don't build tombs but bury in uniquely graves decorated with erotic wooden sculptures. They believe that, when the wood disintegrates the soul, is finally free to govern the living again. Read more about Sakalava tribe in our tribes section. NOMADIC TRIBE TEAM Cover photo Traditional fishing village, Madagascar iStock.com/vale_t
Have you ever heard about the Newar people? They are the original inhabitants of Kathmandu valley in Nepal and the creators of the historic heritage and civilization of this beautiful region. Let’s discover together where they live, what they eat and some curiosities about their traditional habits. You will, for sure, consider the idea of visiting them and experience a life-changing journey! Newars and their wonderful habitat The Newari are a mixed ethnic minority of Tibetans and Indians who, for centuries, have inhabited the beautiful hills near the Himalayas. Their stronghold is the Kathmandu valley, but the Newars are careful to distinguish themselves from the other peoples of the hills. Although they are an ethnic minority, their majority presence in the valley has allowed them to exercise a strong cultural influence. Social distancing is nothing new for Newar people We sadly become familiar with the concept of "social distancing", recommended for all of us in the current emergency circumstances… but Newars used to practice this since centuries: among their unique rituals and traditions is the practice of imposing "isolation" upon newcomers to the valley. Newar girls and the unusual marriage The tradition of Newar people wants girls to be married three times: the first one with a bael fruit, also known as wood apple, to protect them if the future husband dies. The second one to the Sun and finally they get married to a man. The Newari girls also go through the Bara ceremony or ( Gufa rakhne) as a symbol of ascension to womanhood. Hindu or Buddhist Newari? Newari religion is exceptionally diversified and complex: individual Newars may identify themselves as either Hindu or Buddhist, depending on their historical origin. This fact will only make little difference in their fundamental doctrines or practices. Beyond religion, kinship roles are significant to Newars and reinforced by elaborate life-cycle rituals and annual feasts and festivals. The importance of 77, 1000 months, 88, 99 and 110 years Jankhu is a traditional ritual done when a person reaches the age of 77, 1000 months, 88, 99 and 110 years to celebrate her or his survival. The real reason why these specific years must be asked directly to them. After death, a ritual called Shraddha is done. During this ritual death is mourned by the dead person's relatives for 13 days by wearing white clothes: this will help him to remain pure. In the Upper Mustang and Dolpo, sky burial is carried out and the body left to be eaten by vultures and crows. Newari cultural heritage: stone sculptures, temples, pagoda-style roof and UNESCO World Heritage Sites Buddhist stupas (shrines) dating to the 3rd century bc are all that is left of the early cultures of the Kathmandu Valley. However, numerous magnificent stone sculptures survive from the subsequent Licchavi period, and you will see superb woodcarving, metalwork, and stone sculpture belonging to Mallas period in temples, palaces, and courtyards throughout the Kathmandu Valley. More: a Newari architect introduced in the late 13th century the valley's distinctive pagoda-style roof into Tibet: This kind of architecture was spread later to all the rest of East Asia. Also: in Kathmandu Valley, we can find seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 2,500 temples and shrines. These places deserve to be admired closely! Folk art crafts and hobbies Many of the traditional handicrafts of the Newar are based on religious objects and carved into stone and wood, such as statues of deities, prayer wheels, thankas (painted scrolls), Nepālī khukhrīs (curved knives), and paper maché dance masks. More utilitarian crafts include weaving, pottery, and basketry. Rice, meat and liquor to celebrate festivals Inter-caste celebrations are the main festivals of the Kathmandu Valley. These include many Jatras, when images of the deities are carried through the streets in procession, while rituals often include the sacrifice of buffalo or goats. All the Newari festivals used to be accompanied by a significant consumption of rice, meat, liquor, and home-made beer. Newari love indoor sports and board games The majority of Newari sports and games tend to be indoor, and many include gambling. One example: Kupi, which involves betting on a coin tossed in a scoop. Cards appeal to both adults and young people, while upper classes love chess and other board games. Outdoor sports such as soccer are practised in Kathmandu and other big cities. Current and past entertainment and recreation Newars have access to the modern amenities offered by the city of Kathmandu and other neighbouring cities, such as theatres that mostly show Indian films. At the same time, government-controlled radio and television programs are only available to those who can afford the receivers. It has to be said that many Newars still devote themselves to religious festivals and rich folk traditions including song, music and dance. NOMADIC TRIBE TEAM Read more about Newar tribe in our tribes section. Cover photo Newar couple iStock.com/Zzvet
Copyright - Konso Cultural Centre. Find out more checking out the Konso people in our tribes section. A presentation of the cultural landscape inscribed in the world heritage list by Unesco.
During my trip with Nomadic Tribe to live with the Nenets in Siberia I discovered that the clothes made by the tribe protected me more from the cold - around minus 30 degrees C - than the toughest adventure clothing I had brought from home. In the photo wearing the Malitsa, which is a Nenet coat made of around 4 reindeer skins -the fur being closest to the skin on the inside and the blue fabric on the outside-. @The Nenet #siberia #adventure