No trip to the Maasai Mara would be complete without a post about the Masai. Although not the most powerful tribe politically in East Africa, the Masai are certainly the best known. They're recognised for their handsome appearance and are fiercely proud of their culture and traditions. They are easily identifiable - the men wearing their bright red cloaks often carrying a spear and rungu (short club); the women colourfully dressed and festooned in bangles and beads.
Cattle are the hub of the Masai's existence. The products of cattle - meat, milk, blood, hides and even dung (used in house building) are central to the way of life. Traditionally, unlike other tribes, the Masai have never hunted wild animals for food, but depend on their cows, together with sheep and goats. The Masai effectively live at peace with the wildlife.
The Masai live around the protected area of the Mara on three sides and although you'll occassionally see Masai cattle encroaching into the reserve, there's often as much wildlife outside the reserve as in it.
The Masai with their cattle on the perimeter of the Maasai Mara National Reserve
A Masai herds his cattle across the road as we leave the Mara
All along the road we came across Masai men. Fortunately most of them permitted me to photograph them. Note the modern wristwatch on the arm of the man in the last photo!
Then we were on our way. Leaving the reserve via a different gate to the one we entered a few days before, we encounted 66km strip of very bad gravel road. Having rained every night while we were in the Mara, certain sections and bridges were washed away. However, it was preferable travelling this road to the half-tarred road we'd used on the way in.
One of several bridges that had washed away with the recent rains
These old signposts begged to be photographed!
Thanks for following the first part of our safari. I'll be posting about the next leg shortly.