The Maasai people are iconic – no visit to the Mara is complete without meeting these guardians of the Kenyan plains…
The Maasai people are iconic – known all over the world for their enduring culture, berry-red robes, spear throwing and distinctive dance. They’re as much a part of the Maasai Mara as the African Big Five and sun-blessed savannahs spotted with flat-topped acacia trees. No visit is complete without meeting these guardians of the Kenyan plains. When you stay in the Mara, a chunk of your tourist pounds goes straight back to the Maasai people, the area’s native landowners.
These days, most tented camps and lodges in the Mara employ local Maasai people who’ll guide you on nature walks in conservancies. Experts in the resident animals and flora, their experienced eyes will be able to spot hidden porcupine dens and medicinal shrubs used for generations. They might even pick you a souvenir from the Maasai toothbrush tree. Often, you’ll also get the chance to visit a local village, which will give you a unique, unforgettable glimpse into Maasai life.
The sound of women singing is the first thing you’ll hear when you arrive, accompanied by a traditional dance display. Usually, there’ll be a cultural talk explaining the Maasai way of life, from their history as nomadic pastoralists to what food they eat and how they look after their sacred cattle. The chief may show you around, stopping to watch traditional Maasai beadwork and have a go at fire-making and spear throwing. It’s an immersive, cultural experience like no other.
No doubt you’ll also learn about how the Maasai way of life is slowly evolving. Now, rather than killing lions to become warriors, communities understand the importance of conservation. Tourism has become a vital part of the puzzle in the Mara, with camps and visitors helping to fund schools and health clinics, providing education, jobs and vital healthcare for the Maasai communities. If you have a chance, visit and get involved with your lodge’s community schemes – it’s a great way to give back while you explore Kenya.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Annette, who's travelled extensively in Kenya. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife in the Mara, the village chiefs who'll give you a genuine insight into local life and the camp managers who can recommend the very best spot for your sundowner.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656