Visiting the Masai


One of my lasting memories of a recent trip to Kenya is of our visit to the local Masai village not far from our camp.

Overlooking Mt Kilimanjaro, Kenya

Our tent overlooked Mt Kilimanjaro


Satao Elerai Camp is situated about 10 kms from the south east corner of Amboseli National Park.
Overlooked by Mt Kilimanjaro, the camp is leased from the local Masai tribe. Their relationship is interesting. Apart from paying rent, Satao Elerai helps support the village and together they work towards conserving the land and protecting the wildlife from poachers.

One of the difficulties facing Masai tribes all over Kenya is to balance the needs of the Masai people and the protection of the wildlife. The camp helps the community by supporting ways that they can sustain their livelihoods but at the same time maintain this part of the country as a migratory path.

I was fascinated by life in this village and the struggle of the community. Guests donations go directly to a trust run by the village and it is then used for whatever the village is in need of. Our donations were to be used to buy pencils and exercise books for the school.

Our visit to the village is part of the camp’s support. When we arrived, the villagers greeted us with traditional Masai dancing and singing.

Masai Villagers, Kenya

The women gather


Masai Villagers, Kenya

The men start their dance


Masai Villagers, Kenya

Then it is the women's turn to dance


Masai Villagers, Kenya

The Masai women singers


Masai Children in their village, Kenya

The children watch from afar


A walk around the camp gave us the opportunity to see inside their huts.

Masai Village, Kenya

Huts in the Masai village


Masai Village, Kenya

This cute little girl shows us her home


They are very simple huts with a separate sleeping area for everyone as well as a cooking area. At night, the cattle are kept in separate enclosures surrounded by thorn bushes to keep out the roaming wildlife. During the day, the older boys are their shepherds whilst the younger children go to school.
One of the camp’s staff members is employed to liase with the local community in regards to the children’s needs in schooling and health.

Malnutrition had been a huge problem here so it was arranged that the lodge would provide a nutritious lunch for the school children every day. Since this has started, the level of malnutrition has dropped. Health was another issue but now that the confidence of the children has been established, this is proving easier to manage though the parents still remain skeptical that these new medicines are no better than the traditional ways

The children quickly gathered around us, wanting their photos taken.

Children of a Masai Village, Kenya

Friendly faces of the village children


Village girl, Kenya

Except for one small girl who had work to do


We then had the chance to support the village by buying some of their jewellery.

Masai jewellery, Kenya

The village jewellery shop!


I was fascinated by the men and women’s neckpieces and ear decorations that had, over time, stetched their ear lobes.

Masai Men, Kenya

Masai Women, Kenya

Masai Women, Kenya







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12 Responses to Visiting the Masai

  1. Johanna February 16, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    This post brought back many happy memories of Africa for me. Your photos are superb as always. I particularly enjoyed learning more about the Masai, and the picture of the ‘one small girl who had work to do’ was precious.

    • atasteoftravel February 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      I’m happy I could bring back some memories for you Jo. Kenya is an incredible country and being able to see the life in the villages was wonderful. The little girl was precious- not at all interested in us!

  2. Amanda from Not A Ballerina February 16, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    Amazing photos Jenny, of a place I’d dearly love to get to someday. Inspiring, thank you!

    • atasteoftravel February 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      Thanks Amanda. I hope you go to Kenya or any of the African countries one day. It is a fabulous holiday. The animals are beautiful but your heart goes out to the Masai villagers.

  3. jan February 16, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    A window into another world!

    • atasteoftravel February 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

      It certainly is completely different, Jan. A stunning world but one with its own problems

  4. Krista February 16, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I LOVE the faces of the women dancing!! What joy! What utter joy. 🙂

    • atasteoftravel February 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

      Thanks Krista. Such beautiful people- they are so happy singing and dancing.

  5. marina February 17, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    Wonderful colourful photos. It’s heartening to hear that the children have meals prepared for them. Such beautiful people!

    • atasteoftravel February 17, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      It was a fascinating trip. I loved learning about the interaction between the camp and the villagers and the way the camp was able to help them improve their lifestyle.

  6. Nomadic Samuel February 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    That’s a fascinating photo essay. I’ve always really wanted to have a close encounter with the Masai.

    • atasteoftravel February 23, 2012 at 12:03 am #

      I loved my time with the Masai. Learning about the inter reaction with the camp owners and the villlagers and the ways they work together was fascinating. Another for your bucket list!!

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