The Masais are one of the oldest Nomadic tribes of Africa and are a kind of human fossil , still holding on to most of its cultures and beliefs.
They live in one of the harshest conditions with an absolute scarcity of water in the vast Savannahs and thus are mostly dependent on their cattles for meat, milk, dung and the minimalistic farming that they do.
Usually known for their fierceness, the Masais are also a colourful people and it is possible to be friends with them once they build their faith around. They have been depicted in numerous movies and programmes from around the world.
I have been fortunate to become one o their freinds and to know and learn about them.
Presently me and my friend Kaai Neoli is working on a program called " BACK TO THE BASICS: LIVE LIKE THE MASAIS" and would be interested to showcase to the world their life, society and culture.
Anyone who is interested can contact me directly at "firstname.lastname@example.org "
It is a long tradition with the Maasai warriors to jump. It is said to be a sign of manhood and strength, and is a great competition amongst the young men.
I was absolutely amazed at hoe high they could jump, this guy must be about three feet off the ground from a stand-still position.
We discussed this at length and came to the comclusion that over generation of practicing this art, extra strong muscles must have developed to enable then to carry out such feat!
We learned this the hard way:
Thinking we were doing a good thing, we arrived at our first (and last) Maasai village laden down with gifts for the children.
To our delight (and theirs) we were instantly mobbed by dozens of kids screaming with anticipation as they grabbed every pen and candy we produced out of our back-packs.
Suddenly, we heard this commotion, followed by yelling and a "swishing" sound!
From out of a nearby hut area, an elder (supposedly the Village chief", appeared, waving a large stick.
The children quickly dropped to the ground, all in single file the candy we held was confiscated from us and the elder, while waving a stick in the air, made the children hold out their hands while HE distributed the "gifts".
To dsitribute needs certain permission from the elder. It then must be given to HIM for distribution and sharing thus ensuring him as the leader!
Major Faux Pas on our part...
The Maasai manyatta or village, is built to strict guide lines. Around the outside is a thick fence made from cut branches to keep the wild animals out. The number of openings in the fence corresponds to the number of families living in the manyatta - each family has their own gate. At night, a barrier is put across the gate to prevent predators getting in.
Each family will have their own dwelling around the outside of the circular central area.
The cattle is driven into the centre courtyard each evening, while the smaller livestock such as chickens, have their own little pen.
The women will decorate their ear lobes with bead jewellery and gradually over the years they will increase the size of the opening in the ears, until it becomes quite huge, such as this older lady's.
Even more incongruous is the fact that you have travelled 20 km in a hot air balloonover the African plains. By the time you have climbed out of the ballon and walked across the grasslands - there is a chef standing there cooking your eggs to order and producing the most delightful and paper thin pancakes!
After any balloon flight it is customary to toast the captain with champagne, and this flight was no exception. Here is the captain pouring the campagne for us to celebrate a safe landing in the Masai Mara National Reserve!
We wre given a choice each day of how we would like to do our safari. Did we want a morning and evening safari, or all day out in the reserve. If we chose a morning safari, did we want to come back for breakfast, or take it as a picnic.
I would recommend spending at least one whole day in the park, as you get the opportunity to travel that much further, and see more areas which you otherwise would have missed.
The nights can be quite chilly here on the African plains, and I was very pleased to find that as aprt of the turn-back service in the evenings, a hot water bottle was placed in our beds. It was certainly very welcome!
The camp had built a couple of elevated viewing platforms which look out over the Masai Mara reserve. When we visited both there was no game to be seen, but other reported they'd spotted monkeys and giraffes from the hides.
Although Siana Springs Camp is enclosed by an electric fence to keep large predators out, smaller game roam freely inside the compound, such as this bushbuck. They are quite habituated and appear almost tame, but they are not!
Other wild animals found in the grounds include vervet monkeys, bushbabies, mongoose, tree hyrax and lots of birds.
In keeping with the new ‘green movement’ of Kenyan tourism and a focus on conservation, Siana endeavours to uphold the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility in one of Africa’s most progressive ecological partnerships. The camp enjoys very close ties with its Maasai landlords, who share in the venture and make up more than 60% of its workforce. The vision for the continent is twinned with the economic future of the Maasai’ people’s nomadic existence. The local Nkoilale Primary School was built with support from Siana, which continues to fund the school’s development. The camp is also supporting an initiative to develop a local conservation area, which will protect the area’s rich game and limit degradation by livestock grazing. The camp itself is run on strict eco-principles with water heating fuelled by waste charcoal dust, biodegradable waste composted and all waste water recycled through the camp’s extensive wetland system
Seen as a tourist trap by some, but I rather enjoyed the visit regardless of if its 100% representative of village life today.
The women of the village build the houses, it takes them a couple of weeks or so. The houses are expected to last around five years, after which time the family will move on to new pastures.
You'd often see hyenas lying down in pudles in the middle of the tracks. They do this to cool down from the heat of the midday sun. Of course, when they get up they have a dirty bottom!