Visiting a Maasai Village in Masai Mara N.R.

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The Masai Mara is the traditional home of the famous Maasai people. They are relatively unaffected by western influence, unlike the major tribes in Kenya. They still dress in traditional garb, consisting of red cloth and beautiful bead jewelry. They have kept much of their culture, including their dances, where the men jump straight up into the air. If you’ve even looked into Kenya at all, you have seen Maasai. Unfortunately, here at the Mara is not the best place to see Maasai as they really live. Just as it seems like the wildlife is in a zoo, most of what tourists see of the Maasai seems like an act. For example, there is a “traditional” Maasai village just outside the Oloolaimutiek Gate which is opened to tourists. If you pay a small fee of KSh 350, you can walk around and take pictures. Of course this is nothing close to traditional, and you won’t get any peace from people bothering you to buy trinkets.

There are ways to see a real, uncontrived Maasai village, however. Find a different village that is not commonly visited by tourists, and stay with a Maasai family. Your guide or someone working for your tourist company can help arrange this for you. If you pay the family, they should be glad to welcome you into their home for a meal. Use one of your guides as a translator. Make sure you first arrange with the locals and ask their permission before you take pictures, as most will rightly want some sort of compensation.

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