Kenya’s safari tours enable both visiting tourists and native Kenyans to enjoy the country’s wildlife, while also exploring the Maasai’s rich cultural heritage by visiting their homes and attending Maasai cultural shows. These tours are held in Kenya’s game reserves, in particular, the Maasai Mara National reserve
The tours also provide an ideal opportunity for participants to take part in the Maasai dance and buy traditional Maasai jewelry, art and crafts to take home as souvenirs.
Clothing varies by sex, age and place. Young men wear black for several months after their circumcision. Although, red is a favored color among the Maasai. Black, Blue, checked and striped cloth are also worn, together with mulitcoloured African garments. In the 1960s the Maasai began to replace sheep shin, calf hides and animal skin for more commercial material. The cloth used to wrap around the body is the called Shúkà in the Maa language.Contact a Siyabona Africa Consultant for more information on Kenya National Parks and Kenya safari accommodation options.
The milk and blood of their cattle continue to be the preferred diet of the Maasai, while the hides serve as mattresses, sandals, mats, and clothing. Cattle also act as marriage bonds, while a complex system of cattle-fines maintains social harmony. Visually stunning, the Maasai warrior with his swathe of scarlet shuka (blanket), beaded belt, dagger, intricately plaited hair, and one-legged stance remains the most enduring icon of Kenyan tourism That said, many a modern Maasai dons a suit for work but, come the weekend, and he ll be back in his beloved trad1t1onal dress.
Ear piercing and the stretching of earlobes are also part of Maasai beauty, and both men and women wear metal hoops on their stretched earlobes. Women shave their heads and remove two middle teeth on the lower jaw (for oral delivery of traditional medicine). The Maasai often walk barefooted or wear simple sandals made of cow hide.
Maasai Culture – Maasai Food
All of the Maasai’s needs for food are met by their cattle. They eat the meat, drink the milk and, on occasion, drink the blood. Bulls, oxen and lambs are slaughtered for meat on special occasions and for ceremonies. The by-products of the animals – skin and hides – are used as bedding while cow dung is used for building (it is smeared on the walls). The Maasai’s entire way of life truly revolves around their cattle.
The effects of modern civilization, education and western influence have not completely spared this unique and interesting tribe. Some of the Maasai tribe’s deep-rooted culture is slowly fading away. Customs, activities and rituals such as female circumcision and cattle raiding have been outlawed by modern legislation. Maasai children now have access to education and some Maasai have moved from their homeland to urban areas where they have secured jobs.
The Maasai tribe now occupy a much smaller area in the Kajiado and Narok districts as their vast territory has been taken over by some of Kenya’s game reserves. The Maasai’s territory now overlaps with the Serengeti plains in Tanzania and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya – an area famous for the huge Wildebeest migration that take place every year, when up to a million animals move from the north end of the plains to the south. However, the Maasai’s authentic and intriguing culture is a tourist attraction on its own.