Magnificent Maasai in Tanzania
The last part of my trip that I recall was day four. We were traveling from Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site to Serengeti National Park and Reserve. The Maasai (also spelled Masai) had a ritual greeting-dance and a meeting with an elder waiting for us when we arrived. They were eager to share the Maasai experience with us.
Magnificent Maasai in Tanzania
In case you are wondering, why I was still on tour – it was the only option I had, I couldn’t get off of it. I had to stay with my group until the guide decided I was injured enough to leave. therefore I went on with the group, we all went on – I was looking forward to seeing my beloved Maasai.
Traveling to the Maasai Tribe
But let me back-up and tell you what happened before we arrived at the Maasai camp. We were near the Ngorongoro Crater, and it was lunchtime. As Jennifer and I sat on a fallen tree, ready to eat our sandwiches, we saw a bird begin its descent. The bird was heading directly toward us. The giant eagle or vulture was dive-bombing us. He was going to strike one of us. We just didn’t know who.
That is when my best throwing skills kicked in. I launched my sandwich in front of the bird. The humongous bird went for the sandwich, just missing the other guest. I can’t recall if Jennifer or I continued to eat. I do recall we were stunned that the man had almost been the bird’s lunch. When we got back to the car, the guide told us we should never eat out in the open. Well, that would have been good to know before lunch, not after.
Travel tip: On an African Safari, don’t eat your lunch or food in an open clearing. Always eat under a tree. If you don’t find protection, the birds and animals will consider you fair game. The guides also recommend not to feed the starving people who hide in the bush and wait for the food the tourists throw away. I feed the starving people, so I was in big trouble for feeding them.
Maasai Tribal Photos
After the lunch which turned out to be pitching practice, the tour moved on to visit the Maasai. The tribe has learned how to live semi-nomadically in the 21st century. I believe the reason they still survive is that they don’t stay on reservations and maintain their ancient migrations and customs.
We were greeted by the men of the tribe, we discussed life in the Bush with the clan members who spoke English. It was fun to have a question and answer session with them.
Leader of This Maasai Clan
Hot and Dry
The weather was hot and dry – but the red and blue wool blankets that they wore kept them cool during the day and warm at night when the temperature drops. As we moved further into the camp, we were about ten tourists, one guide, and 30 Maasai. Next, they greeted us with the history of the Maasai people. They began the greeting dance. Men and women joined in the greeting ritual, which is a traditional Maasai welcome for us.
Their art form is all wearable art
Men and women dance in groups, but do dance at the same time and remain separate by gender while they dance.
The leader introduced Jennifer and me to one of the women elders inside her family hut. It was too dark to take photos inside the hut, but it looked ancient as if nothing had changed since the beginning of time. But, remarkably, it was spotless, with a hardback mud floor, dung tiles, and felt almost air conditioned and tranquil.
Demonstrating Making Fire
Unfortunately, because of the pain, I wasn’t able to do much of anything. We went by a gift area. We both bought a few bracelets because we decided it helped them by providing some income. Our cash helps them buy essential items they need to live. They buy the things that they can’t make. We both felt it wasn’t touristy.
All in all, the Maasai visit was a positive experience (except for my foot and having run out of Tylenol).
After seeing the Maasai, I realized that even seeing the people, who I had wanted to live with and study my whole life couldn’t take away the pain in my leg and foot. Jennifer helped me back to the Land Rover. Augh, if only I had more Tylenol. Jennifer was very concerned and so was I.
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