Serengeti: The Maasai

Day 5 – The Maasai tribe

Known for their colourful clothes, jumping exercise and their way of life, living side by side with the wild life of northern Tanzania, the famed Maasai tribe is the biggest and strongest among the 127 tribes in the country.

On our way to the Serengeti, about one hour from the main gate, we stopped by one of the Maasai villages for a fee of $50 per couple (a total of $150 for our group). They said that the money raised in visits like these would be used by the village to transport water from 100 kilometers away.

At first we found the fee ridiculous. But then again, if you are an outsider who wants to poke around my house, take pictures of me and my family and examine my way of life and discuss it among yourselves and I even have to dance and sing to entertain, you might not even get an invitation. At the end I realized, it was just fair.

The Maasai has a long and complicated history. According to Rogarth, our guide, their traditions and culture have never been written because there are just too many crevices that haven’t been explored. So I wouldn’t try to despite the notes that I written down when Rogarth was explaining to us the ways of his tribe.

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They performed for us, invited us inside their straw and mud houses and explained a bit about their lives. But we will always be outsiders who were just passing by to admire their unique culture. We might not be able to fully understand them especially their prejudices against women. To be able accept another’s culture, you have to prepared to accept the good and the bad without any biases.

So I leave you with the beautiful pictures that Robin and I took. The Maasai people have admirable traits. They respect the land, the animals and their elders. They follow strict rules and those who don’t obey are punished or disowned. They are not allowed to kill lions anymore to prove their manhood but they will still run towards a lion if ever they come face to face with one. I hope their tribe would not disappear into this modern world of ours.

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