Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kenya Safari Part VII continued

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

At the T-junction, we connected with the 35kms of non-existent tarred road.
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.


  1. I've always thought the Masai warriors were the tallest, handsomest men on the planet, and it seems I was right!
    I knew their cattle were very important to their way of life, but I didn't realize (or I've forgotten) they didn't hunt wildlife. I think that's wonderful, and I wish all people could do the same, worldwide.

  2. Hi Jo, I've read about the Masai tribe... Love seeing them in their beautiful colors..

    Neat pictures... That is a gorgeous area for raising cattle. WOW!!!

    Sorry about the BAD roads...

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  3. In the states the Masai are iconic to Africa. Must be too many old movies and documentaries. I do see some modern mixed in with their colorful traditional wear.

  4. Thanks, Jo for another most enjoyable post. I remember seeing a Maasai riding a bicycle, dressed with his blanket loosely flying around him, with sandals made from an old tire, carrying a spear in one hand and his cell phone clasped to an ear! It's kind of sad to see some traditions pass into history...but glad when they can accept the necessary changes of our times.


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