Between our busy schedules and stressful work days, we tend to forget that there are people out there that have never seen airplanes, skyscrapers or even ice cream! Photographers around the world decided to leave their daily schedules behind, grab their cameras and explore some of the world’s most isolated tribes. These stunning photos will leave you breathless!
The Hamar are hunter-gatherers located in the Great Rift Valley of Africa. This tribe is famously known for their unique custom of “bull jumping”, which ultimately initiates a boy into manhood. According to reports, 46,532 people in the ethnic group.
Mashco-Piro Tribe, Peru
This indigenous tribe of nomadic hunter-gatherers lives in the remote regions of the Amazon rainforest. During the dry season, the Mashco Piro tend to stay close to the Las Piedras River and during the wet season, the tribe retreats into the Amazon forest. Surprisingly, the Peruvian government attempted to make contact with the tribe for the first time in 2015.
Nenets Tribe, Siberia
The Nenets people of the Siberian Arctic are the guardians of a style of reindeer herding that is the last of its kind. This group, of about 10,000 nomads, move 300,000 reindeer on a 1,100 km migration around an area one-and-a-half times the size of France, in temperatures below freezing. Over the years, the Nenets have slowly adapted to the increasing contact with the outside world.
Chimbu Tribe, Papua New Guinea
Before making contact with the Western world in 1934, little was known about the Chimbu tribe. Besides living 7,800 feet above sea level in a remote mountainous New Guinea province, the Chimbu tribe is recognized for their skeleton-like body paint. Both the dance and frightening paint jobs were originally intended to intimidate enemies. Today, these distinguishing aspects are combined for an event called “Sing Sing”, where nearby clans gather to celebrate rituals and traditions.
Kayan Long Neck Hill Tribe, Northern Thailand
The Kayan women, also known as “giraffe women”, traditionally wear brass coils around their neck in order to give the impression that their necks are longer. The Kayan women wear these brass rings from childhood, starting at four or five, and add more rings each year. Surprisingly, the coils can reach a weight of 25 pounds, which pushes down on the woman’s collarbone and compresses her rib cage. These rings, which are worn even while the women are sleeping, show a sign of beauty and wealth.
Marquesan Islanders, French Polynesia
The Marquesas Islands group is one of the most remote in the world! Historically, there was no written language in the region so tattoos, or tatu, was used to show identity, status, and genealogy. Interestingly, tattoos are such a big part of the Polynesian way of life that women are said not to want to marry un-tattooed men. Men that are not inked portray a lack of wealth and lack of physical strength.
Yakutsk, Eastern Siberia
This freezing region is known as the second coldest city in the world! During the winter, average “highs” are around -40C and “lows” can reach a whopping -50C. Unsurprisingly, locals that decide to face the harsh climates are forced to walk around in fur-clad outfits.
Suri Tribe, Ethiopia
In this remote Ethiopian tribe, members undergo extremely painful rituals and pride themselves on the scars they carry. One unique ritual requires the female members of the tribes to have distinctive clay discs inserted into holes in their bottoms lips. In order to insert the disc, their bottom two teeth must be removed. Interestingly, this tradition is not only a sign of beauty, but the larger the plate, the more cows the girl’s father can demand in dowry when his daughter marries.
Himba People, Namibia
Interestingly, the Himba people are considered to be the last (semi) nomadic people of Namibia. The Himba women are easily recognized thanks to their unique hairstyles and otjize, or red ochre cream. The red paste is made by mixing together butter, fat and slightly heated smoke. Although the paste helps protect the women against the scorching sun, the tradition is done for aesthetic reasons.
Huli Tribe, Papua New Guinea
The Huli Tribe is better known as the Huli Wigmen due to their famous tradition of making ornamented wigs from their own hair. Interestingly, the males in the tribes are required to grow their hair out until it is long enough to be cut away and stitched together into a traditional wig. The wig is fashioned with various ornaments such as parrot feathers, dyes made from charcoal, red clay and pig fat.
Mucawana Tribe, Angola
The Mucawana people are nomadic agriculturists who live in a remote part of southern Angola, completely isolated from the rest of the country due to deserts and mountains. Interestingly, due to this isolation, this tribe has been able to upkeep their ethnic individuality and culture, still living and dressing in strictly traditional ways.
Sentinelese Tribe, India
The tribe located on North Sentinel Island is known as one of the most dangerous tribes in the world! Don’t let their flat-bows and javelin fool you, these hunter-gatherers are fierce and have forbidden anyone to come within three miles of their island. Because of this, no one is sure how many Sentinelese tribesman there are but experts suggest that this tribe consists of between 250 to 500 members.
Although Bhutan has opened its doors to tourism, it’s still a remotely isolated country. The beautiful region is landlocked between Tibet and India and stands as the second least populous nation. In order to control outside influence in the country, entrance into Bhutan costs a total of $250. But, the expensive entrance costs isn’t the only reason tourists don’t travel to an incredible country. Bhutan is continuously ranked as one of the most dangerous airports in the world, with only 8 pilots qualified to land on its airstrip.
Awa Tribe, Brazil
The Awá, or Guajá, is a tribe made up of 350 indigenous people and is located in the eastern Amazon rainforest. Shockingly, most of the tribe members have never had contact with the outside world! Unfortunately, they are highly endangered due to conflicts with logging in their territory.
Yaifo Tribe, Papua New Guinea
The Yaifo Tribe is located in East Sepik, Papua New Guinea and is famous for their two different types of arrows – a multi-tiered arrow to catch fish and a long single-blade arrow to kill people. Unsurprisingly, the Yaifo tribe has made very little contact with the outside world. In order to continue staying out of the public eye, the tribe uses their women as spies against outsiders. The tribal women can almost become invisible among the trees and bushes.
Tofa People, Siberia
The Tofa people are the smallest ethnic group in the world! According to reports, during the seventh century, this tribe was driven deep into the Eastern Sayan Mountains by invading Turks. The Tofa ended up in a territory that is exceedingly difficult to reach; not a single road extends into Tofalaria and the rivers flowing out of the mountains are dangerously rough. Apparently, the only way to reach this remote tribe is with a one hour helicopter flight. The total number of members in this tribe is only about 700 people.
Ayoreo Tribe, Paraguay
There are only approximately 5,600 Ayoreo people in total! This tribe was traditionally nomadic hunter-gatherers, but due to missionaries, the group became more settled. Unfortunately, the few remaining uncontacted Ayoreo’s are threatened by deforestation and loss of territory.
Mursi People, Ethiopia
The Mursi, or Mun as they refer to themselves, are an ethnic group that are located in one of the most isolated regions of Ethiopia. The men in this unique tribe are known to be mighty warriors. In order to pass manhood, boys must prove that they are masters at using fighting sticks. Then, when a man is ready to get married, he must fight other men who may be interested in the same woman.
Maori Tribal Group, New Zealand
The traditional greeting for this iwi (tribal group) is known as the Hongi, or two people briefly pressing noses and foreheads together at the same time. During the Hongi, a ha (or breath of life) is exchanged between the two people. The Ha resembles both parties’ souls intermingling together.
Huli Tribe, Papua New Guinea
The Huli Tribe are known for their unique wigs and interesting death rituals. If a Huli woman becomes a widow, she transforms herself into a ghost-like figure, covering her whole body with white and grey clay and placing a net over her figure. This is done in order to hide from her husband’s spirit, out of the belief that if she is un-recognizable to her husband’s souls she will be able to find another man to remarry. Also, the widowed woman wears a necklace made of seeds. Each week she removes a seed until she is left with an empty necklace. This symbolizes the end of her period of mourning.
Turkana Tribe, Kenya
The Turkana tribe are the second largest nomadic pastoralist community, inhabiting the Turkana district in Kenya. They are pinpointed as being remarkable survivors, somehow capable of living in harsh and inhospitable terrain. Temperatures in the area can soar as high as 45 degrees Celsius (or 113 degrees Fahrenheit).
Jarawa Tribe, India
This ancient tribe was isolated from the outside world for over 55,000 years – up until now. Since 1998, the tribe started making increasing contact with the world outside their forest, the most dangerous being tourists. Currently, unfortunately, there are only about 270 Jarawa people remaining. On a daily basis, they are threatened by the Andaman Trunk Road, which runs directly through the Jarawa territory.
Kalash Tribe, Pakistan
In the back country of Pakistan you can find a unique ancient tribe that is made up of members who have blonde hair and blue eyes. The Kalasha people have up kept their ancient cultures and tribal rites for over 2,000 years. The ethnic group are protected by a fierce tribal leader who enforces strict policies and keeps a watchful eye over his tribe. Unfortunately, there are only about 3,000 tribal members left.
Jujurei Tribe, Brazil
This infamous photo of the Jujurei Tribe seeing cameras pointed at them for the first time illustrates just how uncontacted this ethnic group really is. The tribe is made up of only ten people and are located in the Parque Nacional Pakaas Novas in Brazil.
Huaorani Tribe, Ecuador
Despite only having 4,000 members of the in the tribe, the Huaorani have their own language. Reports show that their linguistic isolate is unlike any other language. Unfortunately, they are constantly threatened by oil exploration and illegal logging practices.
Wodaabe Tribe, Niger
These nomadic cattle herders found in the Sahel, a semi-arid region in the south of the Sahara Desert, have extremely unique cultural practices. The Wodaabe are known for the tradition of Gerewol, a prestigious festival in which men compete for love. The Wodaabe men paint their faces in bright colors, wear colorful clothes and perform a series of dance routines to attract women. The dance is performed for hours at a time in front of ‘female judges’, who are responsible for choosing the most beautiful men. Wodaabe women are interested in tall, white-teethed, symmetrically-faced men.
Miao Tribe, China
Miao people are easily recognized thanks to their beautiful shiny silver alloy accessories, such as hats, vests, hairpins, beads, and plaits. Maio people have unique marriage customs. When couples are ready to start the process of marriage, the man and woman exchange rice cakes in order to show their affection. Another way to show love? Mandarin ducks.
Asaro Tribe, Papua New Guinea
Asaro Mudmen refers to the mysterious and enigmatic tribe that cover their bodies with white clay and wear extremely heavy masks. Legend has it that this tribe was attacked by an enemy tribe and forced to flee into the nearby Asaro River. After waiting for the enemy to disappear, the tribe rose out of the muddy waters. The enemies saw them, and due to the mud, believed the Asaro people were spirits. Most tribes in the area are afraid of spirits, so they fled in fear, and the Mudmen were born.
The Kazakhs, Mongolia
These eagle hunters can be seen racing through the mountain ranges of Western Mongolia on horseback. The Kazakhs are famous for using eagles to hunt foxes, marmots and wolves. From the age of 13, young Kazakhs must prove they can handle the weight of a golden eagle. While there are around 100,000 Kazakh members, only 250 of them are eagle hunters. Interestingly, because men eagle hunters are being drawn away, females are starting to break into the masculine-dominated activity.
Maasai People, Kenya
These semi-nomadic people from East Africa have a reputation of being strong warriors who hunt for food and live closely with wild animals. They are easily recognized thanks to their bright red Shuka cloth and colorful beaded jewelry. Interestingly, due to the increasing Maasai population, loss of cattle to diseases and lack of available rangelands, these warriors were forced to develop new ways to sustain themselves. Although it was viewed negatively, many Maasai began cultivating maize and other crops.
Hmong Hill Tribe, Vietnam
Although the Hmong culture is patrilineal – allowing the husband’s family to make major decisions – the Hmong women have traditionally carried a large amount of responsibility in the family. From a young age, girls learn all the necessary household skills from their female elders. But, besides the work around the house, women are responsible for planting and harvesting the fields.
Raramuri Tribe, Mexico
The Raramuri, or Tarahumara, are an indigenous group living in Chihuahua, Mexico, and are renowned for their long-distance running ability. Their population ranges between 50,000 to 70,000 people, but only a few still practices a traditional lifestyle, which includes inhabiting natural shelters and raising cattle.
Kalam Tribe, Papua New Guinea
The Kalam tribe are settled in a village high in the mountains of Simbai, which can only be reached by helicopter. Due to its hard-to-reach location, this tribe has maintained its original culture. The Kalam tribe’s ritual dress includes headdresses decorated with bird feathers and massive necklaces made of pearls and wildflowers. Interestingly, the young Kalam boys transition into adulthood by piercing their nose.
The Arctic Chukchi live on the peninsula of the Chukotka and face extremely freezing climates. Interestingly, due to these harsh climates and difficulty of life, hospitality and generosity are highly prized among the tribe. There are around 15,000 Chukchi!
Manduri People, South Sudan
The Mundari, like other Nilotic tribes, are extremely cattle-oriented. For the tribe, cattle serve as food, a form of currency and a mark of status. In fact, the Mundari herdsmen guard their cattle with their own lives! According to members in the tribe, marriages are arranged by prospective grooms offering cattle to the bride’s family.
Drokpas Tribe, India
The Drokpa people live in small tribes along the Indus River in northern India and are most famously known for their traditional wife-swapping ways. According to members of the tribe, “public displays of affection are normal and encouraged in the Drokpa community, as was the concept of wife-swapping”.
Yali Tribe, Indonesia
In the midst of the Jayawijaya mountain range, one can find the Yali, or Lords of the Earth. In regard to clothes, the Yali men simply cover their front important body parts with a sheath, or Koteka, held by rattan rings around the waist. The men also cover their heads with hair nets. Yali women also opt to keep their top half exposed, stringing together reeds to form a skirt.
Loba Tribe, Nepal
The Upper Mustang is populated by the Loba tribe, ethnic Tibetans who still believe the world is flat. The Loba’s speak a Tibetan-Burman language and have no written language. They have traditionally been distinguished from other groups by the fact that the Loba’s don’t wear shoes.
Rabari Tribe, India
The Rabari are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle and camel herders that live throughout northwest India. Interestingly, the Rabari women have a significant role in the tribe, responsible for looking after the cattle, bringing potable water and collecting fuel for cooking.
Korowai Tribe, Papua New Guinea
Although the Korowai Tribe were only discovered in 1974, they were living in the trees of Papua New Guinea many years prior. The tribe is famous for their tree house community, which sits 140 feet in the air in order to protect their members against rival tribes that surround their remote village. Interestingly, tribal members believe that white individuals are possessed by demons. Due to this fear, Korowai kill people that enter their village in order to prevent demonic forces.
Samburu People, Kenya
A sub-tribe of the Maasai, the Samburu people, are semi-nomadic pastoralists. This tribe stands out among the desert landscape thanks to their colorfully traditional Shukka, or cloth that they wrap around their bodies, and beautiful beaded necklaces. Interestingly, they are forced to relocate every 5 to 6 weeks in order to ensure their cattle can feed themselves.
Tsaatan Tribe, Mongolia
The Tsaatans are one of the last groups of nomadic reindeer herders in the world! They have survived thousands of years, depending entirely on their reindeer. Some Tsaatans even say that if their reindeer disappear, so will their culture. Unlike other reindeer-dependent tribes, the Tsaatans do not use their animals for meat.
The Gauchos, Argentina
Gaucho literally means ‘cowboys’! The Gauchos are nomadic horsemen that roam the prairies in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, and Chile. They hunt wild cattle, are free spirits and are strongly bound to their horses.
Ainu People, Japan
Although there are unofficially 200,000 Ainu, only 25,000 of them acknowledge their ancestry. Yes, many Japanese themselves are unaware of the existence of their own country’s indigenous people. Why? Well, for hundreds of years, the Ainu have been ignored, discriminated against, or forced to assimilate with mainstream Japanese culture. The government only officially recognized the Ainu as Japan’s indigenous people in 2008!
Ladakhi Tribe, India
Just like their region, the Ladakhis are strong and beautiful people. Although they are located in India, their features look more like those of Tibet and Central Asia. Also, due to the altitude of the place, their skin tends to get rough patches on their cheeks and hands.
Dani Tribe, Indonesia
Deep in the highlands of Western New Guinea, Indonesia, lives one of the world’s most isolated tribes, the Dani people. This tribe is known for their simple body covering, a Koteka, which is a sheath covering their bottom half. Another unique feature is the women’s tendency to cut off the end of their own fingers to overcome the loss of a relative.
Maori People, New Zealand
Many don’t know that Maori culture is one of the youngest in the world! In the 13th century, the first Maori traveled, in a large canoe, from East Polynesia to New Zealand. According to this legend, the Maori culture is only 700 years old!
Himba Tribe, Namibia
Due to their regions harsh climatic conditions and lack of potable water, Himba people are unable to wash their bodies with water. But, the tribe found a way to combat this issue. The Himba women apply red ochre to their skin and partake in daily smoke baths in order to maintain their personal hygiene.
Aghori Monks, India
The Aghori monks of Varanasi are feared across India due to their extreme practices. The mysterious tribe search for enlightenment by feasting on human flesh and residing near cremation sites. The Aghori believe that by immersing themselves without prejudice in what others deem taboo or disturbing puts them on the road to achieving complete enlightenment.
Yagua Tribe, Peru
Deep in the jungles of Peru lives a tribe of only 6,000 members. The Yagua people are known for their blowpipe skills, which are used to hunt monkeys, pacas, sloths, birds, and other small animals. Interestingly, although the Yagua people have become influenced by western clothes, they still retained their traditional garments. Traditional outfits include men wearing skirts from Mauritia palm fiber and women wearing skirts made of red cotton.
Ruc Tribe, Vietnam
Surprisingly, the Ruc tribe was first discovered by North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam war. After a bombing raid caused locals to flee out of the jungle, the Ruc people were spotted by the outside world. Today, the isolated tribe still lives in caves, using a complex system of tunnels.
Wapishana Tribe, Brazil
The Wapishana, who only have about 7,000 members total, are extremely distrustful of outsiders. Wapishana people farm, hunt, fish and mingle only with other members of their tribe.
Surma Tribe, Ethiopia
Surma people live in an ultra-remote part of southwestern Ethiopia and South Sudan, and are known for their complex agricultural and pastoral culture. Although they were known to westerners for decades, their first contact with the outside world was in the 1980’s with a group of Russian doctors.
Batak Tribe, Indonesia
The Batak people are one of the biggest tribes in Indonesia! They are located in the highlands of Sumatra and continue to hold onto their ancient traditions. Batak people mostly farm rice and other horticultural products.
El Molo, Kenya
The centuries-old El Molo ethnic group is the smallest tribe in Kenya, and unfortunately, face extinction from every direction. Due to constant threats, the El Molo people have completely isolated themselves, fleeing to the remote shoreline of Lake Turkana. Interestingly, “El Molo” means ‘those who make their living from other than cattle’.
Cahuilla Indians, USA
Southern California is known for it’s Hollywood stars, surfers, traffic and…Cahuilla Indians. Surprisingly, the Cahuilla people have lived near the Coachella Valley for over 3,000 years. Unfortunately, the Cahuilla population has dwindled to about 3,000 people due to disease, the Gold Rush and persecution.
Spinifex Tribe, Australia
The Spinifex, or Pila Nguru, are a group of Aboriginal people who have lived in the Great Victoria Desert for at least 15,000 years. Due to the Spinifex living in one of the harshest inhabitable climates, they were mostly left alone. Unfortunately, in 1953, the British and Australian governments decided to use the Spinifex’s land for nuclear testing, causing most of the tribe to be relocated.
Sherpa Tribe, Tibet
Although many Everest-enthusiast know ‘Sherpas’ as mountaineers carrying the heaviest loads, there is much more to this unique ethnic tribe. Sherpas are a Nepalese ethnic group numbering around 150,000. Due to their dangerous location in the mountains of Nepal, they have become renowned for their climbing skills and superior strength and endurance at high altitudes.
Hadza Ethnic Group, Tanzania
This indigenous ethnic group live in north-central Tanzania along Lake Eyasi. One distinctive aspect of the Hadza society is their language, speaking entirely through clicks. At present day, there are only about 1,000 Hadza people left! Unfortunately, tourism in the area is increasingly impacting the continuation of the Hadza’s traditional ways of life.
Moken Tribe, Mergui Archipelago
The Moken Tribe are semi-nomadic, spending most of their lives on wooden boats off the shores of the 800 islands claimed by both Burma and Thailand. Unsurprisingly, the Moken people depend on the sea for food, but due to water pollution, their food supply is shrinking, causing them to fear extinction. Although they prefer to stay peaceful, the Moken people defend their tribe through spears and other weapons.
Kawahiva Tribe, Brazil
The Kawahiva tribe, otherwise known as the “short people” or the “redhead people”, have remained isolated thanks to “having no peaceful contact with outsiders.” According to Survival, “very little is known about them…they hunt, gather and build complex ladders up trees in order to collect honey.” Unfortunately, there is also about 30 left and they have been forced into a nomadic lifestyle due to deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.
Dassanech Tribe, Ethiopia
There are approximately 20,000 members in this tribe! The Dassanech survive in their semi-arid environment by cultivating crops when the rains arrive and when the Omo river floods. Unfortunately, over the years, the severe and sustained droughts have resulted in the death of over 100 Dassanech members.
Batak Tribe, The Philippines
Researchers believe that the Batak tribe arrived in the Philippines about 50,000 years ago as they are the first group to cross between mainland Asia to the archipelago. Reports show that there are just around 300 members left. This tribe suffers from low rice yields due to the government banning most of their work.
Dayak Tribe, Borneo
The Dayak Tribe is known for being Borneo’s original heirs, traditionally specializing in slash-and-burn farming. They are nomadic hunter-gathers that live next to rivers or mountainsides. The Dayaks have acquired a reputation for their head-hunting practices, otherwise known as Ngayau. Interestingly, there are over 50 ethnic Dayak groups speaking more than 170 languages!
Stieng People, Vietnam
The Stieng people, or in Vietnamese, the Xtieng, are an ethnic group located in Vietnam and Cambodia. According to reports, there are approximately 6,000 Stiengs in Cambodia and nearly 50,000 in Vietnam. They speak two distinct dialects: Budip and Bulo. Stieng people rely heavily on hunting and live in traditional houses made from palm tree leaves.
Bahnar People, Vietnam
The Bahnar ethnic people are famously known for their traditional costumes. Through their costumes, onlookers can understand the tribes cultural and religious beliefs. The Bahnar people grow cotton plants and spin the fibers into a thread in order to create their costumes. One of the most typical features is the sleeves, which highlights the gracefulness of wearers.
Cham People, Vietnam
The Cham people live on the coast of central Vietnam and possess a culture strongly influenced by the Indian culture. Besides eating rice and fish, Cham’s greatly enjoy betel chewing. The majority of Cham build their own houses and adhere to a specific floor plan: the sitting room, rooms for the parents, children and married women, the kitchen and warehouse and the nuptial room for the youngest daughter.
Coushatta Tribe, USA
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana is one of three federally recognized tribes of Koasati people. Their reservation, which is made up of approximately 400 people, is located on 154-acres in Allen Parish, Louisiana. According to reports from 2000, the Coushatta tribe is the only Indian tribe in Louisiana that has retained its historical Indian language and an estimated 200 people speak the Koasati language.
Koho People, Vietnam
The Koho are the oldest ethnic group in the southern central highlands of Vietnam. This tribe lives mainly in high mountains, helping the Koho people stay isolated and maintain their traditions and customs. They are well-known for practicing a nomadic lifestyle. Interestingly, during their agricultural festivals, the Koho’s set up a neu bamboo pole to invite God to come and participate in their festivals.
Tunica – Biloxi Tribe, USA
The Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana is a federally recognized tribe made up of Tunica and Biloxi people. The tribal members live in central Avoyelles Parish, just south of Marksville, Louisiana. According to the 2010 census list, there are approximately 950 Tunica-Biloxi members. Today’s Tunica-Biloxi’s speak mostly English and French.