For a very long time safaris have been associated with the wilderness and what to expect from the wilderness that is wildlife but when it comes to the Masai Mara, expect it to be a bit different due to the presence of the Masai people who live just next to the Masai Mara Game Reserve.
The Masai Mara culture will take you to the many Masai villages that are found scattered outside the Game Reserve. The Masai people have a very unique culture and they are the most famous culture in East Africa due to their unique way of life. It is believed that they have been living around the Masai Mara for more than 100 hours and they know all the shortcuts and anything that there is to know about the Game Reserve. Even after being visited by many tourists, you will find that little has been changed about the traditions of the Masai people.
The Masai people live amicably with the animals since time immemorial and a trip to the Masai Mara Game Reserve and the villages will benefit both because the money that is paid at the entrance of the park helps in the day-to-day running of the Game Reserve and the entrance fee at the villages also helps the communities in improving on their lifestyles by purchasing cows and other things that are needed by the community.
The cultural tours to the Masai Mara will lead you to the Masai villages where you get to experience the Masai culture. The Masai live in communities that have about 50 houses that are constructed traditionally and they are all surrounded by indigenous cattle. The Masai were known to be nomads but as time went on and with the coming of the tourist, things have changed a bit since the villages also largely benefit from the tourists who visit the Masai Mara Game Reserve. They benefit from the tourists through the many ventures that they have put up like making beads, selling locally made foods, and also the entry fees paid to the village chief. On your visit, you will be hounded by the locals to buy the different items at different prices but if you are not interested, it is better to refuse politely so that no harm is done to both you and the locals.
The Masai village tour
The Masai people are one of the 43tribes that are found in Kenya but unlike others that have embraced the ever-continuing change in the world, the Masai people still follow their old ways from the way they dress to the way they live. The Masai can also be found in Tanzania and they are known to move from one place to the next without minding the border differences. You cannot go to Masai Mara and not take a guided walk to the Masai villages that are found outside the Game Reserve. Mainly known for their brightly colored clothes and beaded jewellery, the Masai are fun people to interact with.
The Masai people are also uniquely known for their outstanding dance which involves jumping up and down and this is believed to mimic the milking process of their cows if you are to engage in a jumping competition with the Masai then you are sure to lose because they are good at what they do. When you visit the Masai village, it will only be polite if you engage in the activities with the locals.
Cost of a village tour in Masai Mara
The villages are located outside the Masai Mara and each village requires you o pay an entrance fee before you are allowed to fully interact with the locals. The Masai villages that are found near the roadside have a high entrance fee as compared to the ones that are a bit far away from the roadside. The entrance fee is paid to the chief of the village and the money is used to cater to the communities’ needs like purchasing cows and other basic needs.
Each person is expected to pay at least $25 but it can go as high as $95 as entrance fees you need to move with extra cash because you might be required to pay extra money as a donation to the villages and also purchasing of souvenirs from the locals. The money that is paid includes a welcoming party from the locals with song and dance, a guided walk through the village, taking photos and interacting with the clients, and enjoying lunch with them.
The Masai warriors
Masai warriors are also known as the Morani and for the young men to become warriors after a few rituals being carried out them. Way back the young men were required to first fight and kill a lion before they were considered warriors however with the introduction of the no-hunting policy, this has been phased out. When you visit the Masai villages, you will learn about the different ways in which the Masai warriors spend their day, and their hunting and tracking skills.
All you need to know before going for the cultural tour in Masai Mara
The Masai have a very unique culture that will both shock and excite you. Important things to note as you head down to the Masai Mara are:
- Men are allowed to e polygamous and get as many wives as they can get for as long as they can afford the dowry.
- The only thing that men do is tend to the animals.
- The women do all the work on the homestead
- The Masai people are generally carnivores and they feed on meat, and milk mixed with the blood but recently a few vegetables have been introduced to their diet.
- They are nomads who still hunt for food when necessary although they no longer hunt the wild animals that are found within the Game Reserve.
- The wives are supposed to move into their husband’s home after the bride price has been paid
- The dowry paid amounts to about 10 cows.
- Their huts have extremely tiny entrances and once they get spoilt by termites, they are abandoned and burned down before the village is shifted to places where new huts are constructed using reeds sticks, and mud.
- The villages are headed by the chief who makes all the decisions in the village.
When to visit Masai Mara for a cultural visit
There is no right time for one to go for a cultural tour to the Masai Mara because it can be done all year round. The hourly visits to the villages can be done in all seasons that is the dry season and wet season although the dry season is considered to be the best since the roads won’t be muddy during the walk around the village.
Is a cultural tour to Masai Mara worth it?
It is worth it because you will get to know more about the Masai culture and a visit to the villages is like going back in time to their old lifestyles like making fires using sticks, hunting, and the way their houses are constructed using mud. Try visiting any one of the villages for an hour and you will not regret this decision.