Kenya: The Maasai of the Mara

After an overnight at the Sunbird Lodge, we are treated to a nature walk with a young naturalist. He explained how many of the local flora are used medicinally. I understand that the area around Lake Elementaita is great hiking territory and the hotel offers expanded walks.

But, not for us today. Our safari guide/driver Raphael and our safari vehicle await. We are off to the Maasai Mara.The Mara is a huge game reserve home to many beautiful animals and home as well to the Massai people.

The Maasai people are as intriguing as the landscape and animals on the Mara. They are a strong and independent people, and have lived in and around this range for hundreds of years. This linked article is helpful in understanding more in depth the culture and history of the Maasai.

Like many herding communities, the Maasai are nomadic and homes are temporary. Women build the homes, men build the surrounding protective closures.

The Maasai are known to be fierce, protective of their way of life and coexist with the wildlife that share the Mara with them. Raising cattle is primary to the lives and economy of the Maasai. We spent several hours at a Maasai village. It felt a bit touristy, but at the same time we had an opportunity to talk with a few of the Maasai, learn a bit more about their culture and purchase some of the beadwork which the Maasai women are famous for, the proceeds of which go toward education of Maasai girls.

Away from the village, we saw the Maasai in multiple locations across the Mara. Above, you see a brief view of herders moving their cattle over a water crossing. Our vehicle will follow shortly after they have moved along. The warrior to the right is wearing the plaid shuck, or blanket, that is identified with the Maasai.

Our lodging for the night is on the Maasai Mara National Reserve at the Mara Leisure Camp. For a camp it was quite comfortable with open air dining along the Talek River. Our tented bedroom was quite comfortable, complete with mosquito netting.

We were off early in the morning, As I opened the tent flap, in the dark stood a Maasai wrapped in the plaid shuck. He walked with me to the dining room and explained that they guard during the night as animals (elephants, baboons) sometimes get curious and cross the river adjacent to our tents. I thanked him for this. Waking to an elephant trunk appearing through the tenting would have been a bit too much adventure.

My next post will feature the wildlife of the Mara. This topi greeting us at the entrance to the camp is my teaser.

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