The Maasai

Spending an afternoon with the Maasai, an indigenous ethnic group living in Kenya and northern Tanzania is always a treat. This was my second visit to a Maasai village, the first being during my visit to Tanzania in 2009. The village we visited in January was set in a very beautiful area of rolling hills making a perfect backdrop for photos of the villagers who were waiting for us to take us on a tour of the place they call home.

We were treated to the traditional adumu or jumping dance performed for all tourists, by the young men of the village. You can see them lined up in the photos in this post and each one jumps straight up accompanied by male and female chanting. Seeing them reaching heights of almost 20 inches is truly impressive. I was on my belly photographing the men from ground level and it appears that they jump even higher than that.

While you’re at it, take note of the round homes in these photos, called Inkajijik in the Maasai native language of Maa. Built by women of logs and straw and covered in mud and cow dung they are impermanent since Maasai are nomadic livestock herders. To protect the cattle at night the group of round homes called a boma are encircled by a fence of thorny bushes.

As part of every visit to a Maasai village tourists are invited and encouraged to buy arts and crafts made by the women of the village. Replicas of warrior shields and drums, beaded jewelry, baskets and much more are available for purchase and all sales helps the community. There is one photograph below that shows the women sitting in front of their arts and crafts display framed by large bushes.

I hope you enjoy these glimpses into traditional Maasai life and the portraits I captured of these amazing people.