Geoparks Africa
World Heritage Sites

Eyasi Escarpments: Where Geology Meets Anthropology

Any geologist, who has keen interest in anthropology, should definitely visit the Eyasi Escarpment, located in Northern Tanzania.

The area is essentially a semi-arid, savannah, a windswept precinct where occasionally one gets treated with water in the adjacent Lake Eyasi if it is not dry yet.

Some archaeological findings, precisely ancient stones and tools have once been discovered in Eyasi.

It is believed that the area does still have more ancient treasures under its sun-scorched surface but few researchers have shown interest to thoroughly study the vicinity.

In fact, the Eyasi escarpment as well as the nearby onion farms of Mang’ola falling onto the Karatu District of Arusha Region, Northern Tanzania, is part of the Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark.

But a geologist with an interest in anthropology will also get to meet some of the Hadza people (singular Hadzabe) who have been leading Stone Age lifestyle for ages and enjoying their nature walled, bohemian existence.

So, what is the geology of Eyasi? The Eyasi Escarpment extended from south of Lake Eyasi north to the Kenyan border.  It is now only seen where it runs along the western side of Lake Eyasi.

It was formed during a rifting event similar to that which formed the Great Rift Valley but predates the Great Rift Escarpment by somewhere between 15 and 20 million years. 

As for its Anthropology:  The Hadzabe (Hadza) people are indigenous hunters and gatherers living around the Lake Eyasi area. 

Of course the Hadza can also be found in the Yaeda Valley in Mbulu District of Manyara as well as in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, but they also exist within Eyasi.

They are believed to be linguistically related to other ‘tongue-clicking’ language speaking peoples of southern Africa, including the Bushmen of the Kalahari. However other researchers argue that they are not.

Hadza people whose population is less than 3000 are as endangered as their closely related Sandawe found at Kondoa Irangi, near Dodoma.

But those in Eyasi could have been living in the precinct for thousands of years.