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Visiting The Maasai Warriors 1






The traditional adumu “jumping dance” is an impressive sight to see.

Intro: Our first encounter with Kenya’s great Maasai Warriors on a cultural village visit was an experience we had never imagined possible.

Maasai Warriors adorned in beadwork. Traditionally young men would kill a lion and proudly display its teeth around his neck, but this has been outlawed to preserve these fierce predators.

The countless empty village huts on the side of the road as we drove from Nairobi to the Masai Mara had me intrigued. I wondered who lived in those homes made from what appeared to be dirt and straw. Then, in the distance, I noticed a mysterious shepherd with a herd of sheep and cattle.

Unlike most of the Kenyans I had seen in Nairobi and the towns we had driven through, he wasn’t dressed in jeans and a shirt, but instead was wrapped in a reddish cloth. As we edged ever closer to him, Hodge explained that he was a Maasai Warrior and part of a group of several thousand that live across Kenya and its adjacent African countries.

As we got closer to our lodge in the Masai Mara we encountered more Maasai Warriors, from children waving at us on the side of the road, to mothers making dinner in the center of the village and men out hunting in the grasslands. I quickly learned that this tribe of people migrated from one location to another in search of favorable land and weather, and that the empty villages we had driven by earlier in the day were once inhabited by other Maasai groups.

The Maasai tend large herds of goat and sheep that they use for both meat and milk.

When Charlene and I started looking at safaris in Kenya specifically, we kept coming across this place called the “Masai Mara.” Little did I know that the meaning of the phrase would become quite apparent and we would be able to experience firsthand the land of this ancient, nomadic tribe.

Then something hit me, like a light bulb going off in my head, and my perspective on this Kenyan adventure changed dramatically. The thought of seeing wild animals and the “Big Five” took a backseat and the idea of photographing beautiful scenic shots of the African landscape escaped my mind. I wanted to experience the life of a Maasai Warrior.

Who are they? How do they live? Why are they here? Are they dangerous? Am I allowed to speak and interact with them? Will I be able to take photos of these individuals and their lifestyle? Sure enough, on our second day in Kenya, Hodge took us to visit a local Maasai village to experience their lifestyle and meet them in person.

The Maasai Warrior villages are composed of simple huts made from straw and elephant dung – a material that has a good supply chain in the Masai Mara National Reserve.

After paying a nominal entrance fee, which helps the tribe to purchase certain necessities, we all gathered around as a group of warriors welcomed us. Led by a village leader (who spoke English quite well), the two dozen plus Maasai Warriors began their ritual of inviting new friends to their home.

The Maasai in this village are accustomed to western tourists coming on cultural village visits and even speak very good English.

From dances and songs to jumping contests and starting a fire, the Maasai people not only showed us their customs and traditions, but allowed me to capture every moment of it. Being able to learn, experience, and document the Maasai Warriors will always hold a special place in my heart. It was one of the first times I truly felt out of place, but at the same time right at home. The feeling of uncertainty, both exciting and nervous, together with experiencing it with Charlene, made our visit to the Maasai village feel like a book that I never wanted to stop reading.

Maasai Warriors teaching us how to make a fire using their traditional method.

I felt like I could spend a week living with the Maasai people. Sure it would be quite a challenge sleeping in an elephant dung hut the size of my closet, with temperatures soaring past 90 degrees Fahrenheit inside, or adapting to the locally foraged and hunted diet.

Perhaps I would need to trade in my hiking boots for a pair of sandals made from cut-up car tires, as well as give up my comfortable travel pants for a skirt-like piece of cloth that wrapped around my entire body. And let’s not get into the details of how I would go about killing a lion and obtaining its teeth as a sign of bravery and power.

Children in the Maasai village, many of whom now opt to wear western style clothing rather than the traditional red-checkered shuka cloth.

Although our cultural village visit with the Maasai was quite brief, I felt like I gained so much insight into the ways of these African warriors. Being able to witness their unique and long-established traditions that stretch back centuries, and listen to their ancient stories – it was an experience I couldn’t have imagined when embarking on this trip to Kenya.


  • It costs about $20USD a person, so be sure to have cash ready if you decide to visit the Maasai Warriors’ village.
  • They will present you with many amazing feats and show you their ways of living, which are all great photo opportunities. As always, be mindful and respectful.
  • The Maasais will more than likely have souvenirs available for purchase at the very end, but they never pressure you to buy anything.
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