As you plan your Tanzanian safari and specifically to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, don’t miss out a visit to the Maasai Villages. The Maasai is among East Africa’s most popular indigenous tribes and commonly visited; but it is still worth you having a visit.
The People & Culture
It is said that over thousands of years ago; the Maasai were Nomads moving from place to place with their cattle which they are till today, over 200 years ago they settled in Ngorongoro. Today over 42,200 Maasai pastoralists stay there with their donkeys, sheep, cattle and goats. During the dry seasons, the Maasai take their cattle on the mountain slopes and adjacent woodlands whereas during the wet season animals are grazed on the open grasslands. They are also allowed to graze the animals inside the crater where the animals get grazing land and more water but they are not permitted to cultivate or live there.
The Maasai are mainly nomads and warriors and among them men are responsible for herding and the women do the caring for children and the cooking. A man’s wealth is determined by the number of cattle he has. They have and follow strict traditions, and among them is drinking raw blood got from their cows and with this they believe the blood is good for the children, elderly and also gives them a strong body, other main foods they take are; milk and meat.
While on a visit in a Maasai village you can’t miss out on the Maasai bead work which is done by the women, through this it also brings out their culture as they make bracelets, headbands, and necklaces. They make them through use of bright hues which are always green, red and blue in color. Maasai women are meant to be submissive to their husbands and they have to live traditionally with on say, no education or a life of her own.
Also there is circumcision among the women especially those between ages 10 to 13 years and at this age they believe the girl is grown and ready for marriage; in exchange what the man’s side gives is usually cash or cows. It is customary for the wife to bear at least eight children in her marriage.
The Maasai Bomas
Upon arrival in the Maasai community visitors are always welcomed with singing and dances from the Maasai. There are two designated cultural Bomas of the Maasai; one near Sopa lodge and the other along the road to Serengeti. May be the other group was the Datoga who first stayed there 300 years ago but they were forced out by the Maasai so they stay in the Lake Eyasi basin and other areas.
Visiting the Maasai Bomas is an exciting experience as you get to learn and discover a lot concerning this unique culture, ensuring you take enough photos and also buy souvenirs from them to carry memories home. Also as you take photographs be sensitive since some people especially at the roadsides might not like it so if you need to ask for permission do so, if they refuse understand them.
Being a Warrior
As young men grow up; they are required to be warriors but of course eventually not everyone becomes one. Being a warrior needs you to be strong, courageous; one to be one needs to have an open circumcision and after he heals, he is sent to the bush to learn how to kill predators; though with caution they shouldn’t encroach on wildlife.
Elders are in charge of ruling the tribe and the younger men are to be warriors; they ensure safety of the tribe and also take cattle for grazing.
They are a monotheist tribe hence believing in just one god whom they regard to as “Ngai”. Their god is revealed in two forms represented by colors; red and black. Red is a representation of the angry side of their god called Ngai Na-Nyokie and Black shows the gracious and good side and is called Ngai Narok.
In conclusion; the Maasai have a smaller population compared to most tribes in Tanzania but one of the most famous in Africa. There is also another bigger group of the Maasai that lives in Kenya in the Mara. So if you have a safari to Tanzania ensure that you add the visit to local Maasai village on your itinerary, it’s an experience of local authentic culture. Make your bookings with us today.