Masai village

Dec 19th, 2010, 09:15 AM
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Masai village

We are doing the Northern circuit next month (I can't wait!) and have the usual option of visiting a Masai village for $60 on the route between Ngorongoro and Ndutu. I've read a lot of trip reports and it seems people really hate this visit or find it interesting. I'm interested in visiting a village but wonder if this is really a cultural experience. Should we do it or are there other suggestions? Our itinerary is Maramboi camp inTarangire, Kirurumu camp in Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Ndutu, central Serengetti. I'm interested in your experiences and knowledge!
Artsfan2 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2010, 10:36 AM
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It really depends on your interest and whether you can appreciate the 'cultural' value; it is more dressing up and doing a performance for you as visitor than really getting insight in how they 'really' live. So if you still like that you are good to go, else I would definitely not go there
Nikao is offline  
Dec 19th, 2010, 06:15 PM
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Since you asked for an "other" you could see about an overnight or longer visit. That obviously adds more days to your itinerary. I've stayed overnight several times, paying for the privilege, and it was great.

I think it is good to visit at least one village on your first week+ safari. You could ask the company you are using or your guide if they have any connections with particular villages. You will probably be able to visit some of the huts and interact with your hosts in addition to viewing the singing and dancing.

You might also opt to visit a school in addition or instead. In that case you could stop in NBO enroute and pick up some school supplies. A cash donation also is welcome at schools.

Most of the time, whether to visit a village or not does not have to be planned in advance. You can see how it goes once you are on safari and decide then. You might need to give a one day notice so arrangements can be made.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 20th, 2010, 05:47 AM
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An alternative to a traditional Masai Manyatta/village along your way, whether at Tarangire, Ngorongoro or Serengeti, maybe consider before departing Arusha to spend a day at one of the villages nearby.

N'gresi is interesting, a community of the Wa-Arusha Masai located on the slopes of Mt. Meru, where you spend about 3-4/hrs. to visit the school, women's groups, share a meal, more relaxed than the others and what many enjoy. Yes, they do have items for purchase, but the push to do so isn't as pushy!


Most all outfitters can arrange this.
sandi is offline  
Dec 20th, 2010, 03:19 PM
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I visited N'gresi village in 2006 and found it fascinating. I loved the fact that my dollars went toward village improvements.

Next year I'm visiting Esilalei Maasai village which is not as tourist oriented as some. I'm staying overnight in the village which should be quite an experience.
Calo is offline  
Dec 20th, 2010, 07:23 PM
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I visited a Masai Village in the area you are talking about.

I do not know why anyone would visit the village and not like it ,since I felt it was an interesting,entertaining culural experience.

1. When you arrive , you will be greeted with about a 5 minute dance by about 40-50 masai men and women all dressed up in their colorful attire.... jumping ,singing and chanting as they past right by you.

2. Then you will enter the Village where more dancing is done but this time it is sort of "Challenge " dance as each Masai man tries to out do the one who just danced before him.

3. Then you get toured about the Village, showing how they made the security round fence from Acaia tree branches to keep out the predators.

4. There is an inner circular fence which houses the cattle, for even more security

5. You get to go inside a Masai Hut which is built by the women,not the men.

It is a bit dark and smoky inside, smoky because they have a fire lit in the center of the hut and the smoke just rises on its own and escapes through a small hole in the ceiling .

They will show you where and how they sleep inside the hut,

it would be a bit cramped inside if you had a large family.

6. Then you visit the school and see children.
They all get up and sing for you as you walk in.
Then one of the children goes up to a blackboard and shows you what he has learned..

it is all rather cute.

The ladies have a lot of jewellery that they made to sell and it is all hanging on posts and a small wall.

But ,you of course are not obligated to buy ,nor are you given any pressure sales pitch.

Personally I enjoyed it very much.

I paid $ 30.00,there was two of us so we paid $ 60.00
Percy is online now  
Dec 20th, 2010, 10:07 PM
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Percy, i think its a matter of 'mindset' why some people don't like it (including me); If im there on safari I'm there for the 'real' experience. Thats why Im going to Tanzania and not to the tarmac roads with waterhalls in kruger for example. I choose the tented camps as they are right out in the wilderness and apart from flycamping as 'real' as it gets.
A visit to such a village where im greeted by people pretending to live there the way they do and perform a show for me doesn't combine.... I value walking by a real boma in the Piyaya region with just a handful of people living there much higher.
But again; thats just me..
Nikao is offline  
Dec 21st, 2010, 11:21 AM
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You are right Nikao and that is why we all do different things on holidays.

Merry Christmas
Percy is online now  
Dec 21st, 2010, 11:30 AM
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exactly percy And im glad we don't all like and do the same things ;-)

I hope this clarifies it a bit for Artsfan2 why there are conflicting suggestions whether to go or not.
Nikao is offline  
Dec 21st, 2010, 05:52 PM
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And that is why the Forum is here,to get many different point of view.

Take Care
Percy is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 06:28 AM
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Please tell Artsfan2 and the rest of us what you know about Esilalei Maasai Village at this point. I realize it is pre-visit for you.

atravelynn is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 07:00 AM
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Those villages are 100% fake and purely made for tourists. After dark, they are as dead as disco.

I am actually disgusted that they use children to "add another aspect to the tourist's visit". Considering the fact that one bus arrives after another, making the children do mostly their act and not much else (ic the little dance and the show on the blackboard)... doesn't seem that far from child labor to me.

I'll probably get the heat for saying this. But before you reply; do this:
- go to the other end of the Ngorongoro crater (where Sopa is)
- take the "road" to Empakai crater.
- take a side road after at least an hour of driving.
- stop at the first Maasai settlement you see.

If this experience is similar to the one you had in the villages on the road between the crater and Ndutu gate, then I will gladly wear the same underwear the whole week and then eat it.

But I am very certain...
- you will not see people jumping and dancing. What we saw was women doing house chores, except one who was sitting and who was obviously very sick. But the father of the family didn't mind as he had 5 other women.
- they will not wear beautiful red attire. What we saw were lumps full of holes, faded to some sort brownish pink.
- there won't be a blackboard. In fact, we didn't even see a school. The kids were out, herding the cattle.

Sometimes I am flabbergasted by the naivety of some people.


pixelpower is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 07:35 AM
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In 2005, while staying in Western Serengeti, we drove out of the park, along Lake Victoria to a fishing village. Here we could see everyday life, with women doing most of the work while men sat a played cards/dominoes or some other game (though they had been out fishing at crack of dawn).

We played with the children in/around broken fishing boats where I actually had enough bamboo bracelets (from an earlier trip to Thailand), to hand out to all and it was cute seeing the photos with those bracelets on their arms.

And, during the time we spent with the women they were thrilled to take (and share between them... we didn't have enough) nailpolish... lots of tales and giggling (it's universal) amongst us all.

This village had been visited by others, so they weren't all that removed as pixelpower mentions about the group at Lake Empakai.

After talking with an elder and a young man who had been educated and was teaching lessons, we did leave some cash for what he felt was needed.

So, there are options if you clearly explain what you're seeking and allow the time to get off the beaten track.
sandi is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 09:05 AM
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I visited a small village when I was at Lake Victoria last September.

I could not believe how the women were washing clothes.

There were puddle of water on the ground( it rained a few days ago) and the women were washing clothes in these puddles of water.

They were hitting some of the "heavier" clothes with a stick.

Then they wrung them out and spread them out on patches of grass to dry.

I wanted to try to take a picture but since they would look up at me periodically , I did not want to intrude on the wash day.

Our guide took us into a few private homes( Our guide knew the people) in some of those shanty villages we passed through.
It was an eye opener.

When we were in Mtu wa Mbu, Robert ( our guide ) again took us into a private home ( shack is more like it ),the people were terrific and gave us

Banana Beer ( home made) to drink.

They brought the beer out in a metal pail ( I have a picture of it if anyone is curious to see it.!)

No , you really do not want to know what it tastes like

I just sipped on it ,enough to wet my tongue to show them I was drinking it !
Percy is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 10:25 AM
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haha so cool you drank it Percy...
I didn't do it cause I was afraid of my stomach and being in a safari vehicle not feeling well without a toilet anywhere close didnt' appeal much to me hehe..
where can we see your pictures?
Nikao is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 10:55 AM
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Percy -

Many, many years back, way before my first trip to Africa, a friend-of-a-friend who was African mentioned that he grew up where they would "do their clothing"... ugh! Regardless where my mind went to imagine what he was talking about... seeing query on my face, explained:

... that with water hard to come by and there not being a "dry cleaner" anywhere (how spoiled we in the West are)... they simply lay their daytime attire out over a bush at dusk so that the night "dew" would moisten the items and when the sun rises they dry, ready to wear the next day. Creativity or necessity or both?

If you ever hear someone say "we do (dew) our clothing" you'll know!

Sadly, for most of the world washing in dirty water, not unusual. And beating items with sticks, not unusual. In fact, sticks are the way to go, for cleaning carpets (bedouin camps, Middle East, Asia)... even in the West it's still done if one is fortunate to have sufficient space outdoors, neighbors who won't complain or local laws that prohibit one from doing so!

I amaze myself with the minutea that stays with me.
sandi is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for the interesting information sandi.

Yes, I have seen rugs and carpets beaten with a stick , but I never saw a shirt being layed on the ground and beating it with a stick !!

I will remember is I ever here " we ( dew ) our clothing


E-mail me at [email protected] and I will send you a picture or two
Percy is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 03:32 PM
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"Banana Beer ( home made) to drink.
They brought the beer out in a metal pail ( I have a picture of it if anyone is curious to see it.!) No , you really do not want to know what it tastes like . I just sipped on it ,enough to wet my tongue to show them I was drinking it!"

And after you left they all had a good chuckle that that you would really taste their p!55 pot

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 07:04 PM
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But it had a banana flavour !!! and our guide drank it like water !!

I even gave them money as I left !
I was just being an O

Merry Christmas
Percy is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2010, 07:06 PM
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I mean if you took a sip and really concentrated you could pick out a faint banana flavour
Percy is online now  

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