After completion of our volunteer program in Arusha, Tanzania, seven volunteers, including myself, went on a 4 day- 3 Night safari tour through Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Park.
As we were driving though Serengeti national parks, we came across a number of small huts grouped together in what seemed like a small village. Our tour guide explained that they were small Maasai villages. He also mentioned that if we would like to visit one of the villages, he could arrange a tour. However, if we really wanted to know the real Maasai culture, it might the best idea to talk to a Maasai one on one as the short Maasai visit probably reflects the “touristy version” of the whole Maasai culture.
The entire village was a very small, fenced area with around 10-15 huts grouped together. Our tour started with a touristy version of casual greetings and a brief introduction to their traditions. Once we broke into smaller groups, we got a chance to speak to the Maasai people one-on-one to and learn about their culture. They were really friendly and welcoming. One of the younger Maasai invited us in his hut and shared some fascinating stories of their daily lives.
The dance shows were also really fun to watch. They also made all the guys participate in a fun tradition. According to this tradition, all the young and single males form a semi-circle and one male challenges another man in a “High jump battle” in the middle of the circle. Whoever jumps the highest gets the highest attention from the young females of the group. One by one, they started participating in this tradition and started challenging each other. Finally it was my turn to compete with one of the best jumpers. I am pretty sure we both jumped equally high.
It was a lot of fun for both the tourists as well as the Maasai.