Reviews: Maasai Village Visit
Below are independent comments from 3 of our travellers who have done this activity and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
"Maasai Village Visit - A great cultural experience"
We enjoyed the visit for three reasons. First, the walk provided a welcome opportunity to get some exercise after being sedentary for many days. The walk was 6 kilometers over moderately difficult rolling, interesting terrain - scrub brush, Acacia trees, and grassland with interesting views of other Maasai villages and mountains in the background. Plus, the weather was beautiful - sunny, becoming overcast with interesting cloud formations, and a bit cool. Despite the moderately difficult terrain, it was a relatively easy walk for 2 people in their 70s walking at an easy pace:). We were accompanied by a Maasai guide - Kiseka - and an armed park ranger since the area was open to wildlife.
Kiseka, our Maasai guide, was the second reason for the pleasant experience. Kiseka is a very pleasant man with a wide range of knowledge. He told us that he grew up in a local Maasai village and had become a guide when the owner of the Entamanu camp, asked the local Maasai villages to nominate someone to become a guide. The villages selected him. During the walk he discussed aspects of Maasai culture, such as the prohibition on widows remarrying and how they earned their livelihoods. He also described the different types of plant life that we encountered on the trail.
Finally, the village itself and its residents was very interesting. The village was comprised of approximately 20 oval-like structures made of mud and cow-dung "plastered" on branches and twigs surrounded by fencing made from Acacia bushes. The structures were not tall enough to permit a full-grown person to stand upright.
The residents also were very interesting. The men and women were dressed in very colorful clothing, mostly various shades of red and checks, and the women wore lots of beautiful beadwork, large collar-like necklaces and earrings. Together, they welcomed us with a traditional dance. First, they moved toward us and then away from us. Then the men gathered in a semi-circle and, one a time, leaped into the air from a standing position. The height they reached was very impressive. Then the women, typically in pairs, also jumped straight up from a standing position. They also reached impressive heights, though not as high as the men.
The men then demonstrated how they made fires in the bush without using matches by rubbing a stick in a "crotch" carved into another stick held over a knife. When a spark was created, they placed the knife onto dry grass and blew to ignite the spark.
Finally, they took us into a small corral made of acacia bushes where the women had displayed on tables a wide variety of beadwork - collar-like necklaces, earrings, coasters, Christmas-tree ornaments, small containers, animal figures, etc. that they had made. This was the only "awkward" moment during the visit. While it was clear that we did not have to purchase anything - Kiseka asked us if we would be willing to look at the beadwork that the women had made - we thought that it would have been rude not to purchase anything. We asked the women the cost of various items and it became clear very quickly that their asking price was much greater than we could have paid elsewhere. Had I been in a Maasai market in a city, such as Nairobi, Kenya, I would have bargained until we reached a mutually agreeable price, which I have done many times on previous trips to East Africa. I did not feel comfortable doing this with the village women, so we paid their asking price. In the end, I rationalized this in two ways - it was the "price" for the fun experience that they provided to us and the women "needed" the money more than we did. In hindsight, I should have anticipated this happening and discussed expectations with Kiseka before we reached the village, especially whether bargaining was acceptable behavior.
Despite this one "awkward" moment, the visit to the Maasai village was a very rewarding experience. We highly recommend it." Read more about this whole safari
"Maasai Village Visit review"
We trekked to a small boma that was truly representative of how many Maasai live. It probably deserves an 'excellent' however, it is hard to say excellent to witnessing the conditions they live in.
I understand the cultural differences, but it doesn't make it any easier to see people living in those conditions.
A remarkable experience, I wouldn't trade this for the typical tourist visits to bomas that I had read about. Really makes you ponder deeper questions." Read more about this whole safari