Visiting a Maasai village

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Africa » Kenya
February 19th 2020
Published: March 7th 2020
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19thFeb – maasai village - Nairobi

A very lazy start for us with breakfast at 8am and leaving the camp at 8:45 after saying goodbye to Peter, Patrick and the others. We also gave one of the older villagers a lift to a local town to save him a long walk. Our first stop for the day was a Maasai village where Raphael, the son of the chief, greeted us and showed us around. First we were shown a couple of traditional items – one was a lion’s head skin from the days when to get married a man had to go and kill a lion. If he wanted to get married a second or third time he had to go and kill 2 or 3 lions. This no longer happens and instead he pays a dowry to her father (apparently 10 cows, 5 goats, 5 sheep, some Shuka). A man gets three wives, the first his parents choose, the second his friends choose and the third he chooses himself. We were also shown a horn from a great kudu which is used for communication – a short blast for good tidings and a long blast as a warning which
Maasai jumping danceMaasai jumping danceMaasai jumping dance

He who jumps highest gets the most girlfriends...
can be heard 8km away!

We then had a welcome dance, similarly to last night’s we were encouraged to join in, and the men’s jumping dance. We then went into the village which consisted of around 10 huts belonging to the chief, his 9 wives and many children (it was either 66 children & grandchildren, or 66 in total!). Raphael told us that it used to be when a boy was circumcised and became a man he had to go and kill a lion. Also if he wanted to become the next chief (there seems to have been a lot of lion killing going on!) but now the old chief chooses one of his sons and marks them with fire – Raphael has been chosen to be the next chief and showed us the scar on his leg where he was marked. We then saw a woman’s traditional welcome dance before going to see inside of the huts. These houses are made by the women who stay in the village building homes, making food and looking after the children whilst the men go off tending the livestock and killing lions. The walls are made with a wooden frame covered in a mud and cow dung mix and the ceiling a wooden frame with dried grasses and plastic again covered with mud and cow dung to make it waterproof. It was fairly roomy inside despite the small size. There was an area for calves to be kept safely inside then a kitchen with a fire pit made from 3 stones ·_· and to either side of the kitchen two sleeping compartments. There was also an area in front of the kitchen for sitting and a small window to let in the light but small enough to keep wild animals out. We were then shown how to make a fire by rubbing a stick of cedar (softwood) in a pit on a piece of olive (hardwood). They do this on their knife blade them use the blade to transfer the sparks to some dried bark strips which are then blown to life before more wood is added. We were offered some of these sticks to buy but our cases were already full to bursting! Shame as I’d like to give it a go. Will have to see if local woods will work just as well…. After this came the gift shops
Making fireMaking fireMaking fire

Maasai village
or market where Chavaunne bought a necklace & I bought a bracelet (our cash was getting quite low by now!)

We stopped for an early lunch at the same place we’d stopped on the way out, the food was pretty similar but very tasty – buffet of rice, potatoes+beans, lentils, spinach, cabbage+carrot, chapati, meat stew. We then had a long drive back to Nairobi, part of this included a long, slow slog up the side of the rift valley on a road crawling with slow lorries. We did get amazing views looking back over the rift valley though and had a brief stop at the Rift Valley viewpoint to get photos. We got back to the Wildebeest Eco-camp about 3pm and booked us both in for the buffet supper at 7pm as that should give Chavaunne time to eat before getting picked up at 7:30pm for her flight. We spent most of the afternoon at the bar using the wifi to check in with people back home, I also backed up all my photos. There was a group of school kids there which meant the wifi was under quite a strain! We then sat in the sun doing sudoku
Hiding from the sunHiding from the sunHiding from the sun

Rift Valley Viewpoint
before heading up to supper a bit early. We got some juice from the bar and were then told that as we were the only ones booked in for the buffet the chef was just going to cook us a meal instead. Ok, but we pointed out we only had 40min before Chavaunne’s pick up. This flustered them a bit but they nearly managed it and we were only 10 minutes late getting Chavaunne to the front desk (having asked the bar staff to tell reception to let the driver know she’d be late). The food was delicious, I returned to finish off my salad after saying goodbye to Chavaunne and paying our bill. I asked at the bar what time I could pick up my packed breakfast that I’d ordered at check-in as I would be leaving before the kitchen opened. The message hadn’t been passed on but they managed to get it together quickly so I took that back to my tent, finished packing then headed to bed. I was a bit worried that the school group would be loud but whilst I did hear them get back to camp around 10pm they settled down fairly quickly which was good.

Additional photos below
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Rift Valley Viewpoint

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