Maasai - Learn all about Maasai tribe,warriors, culture and Maasai art.
Kenya Safari Guide > People > Maasai tribe

Maasai Tribe of Kenya

Maasai people are popularly known for their colored ornaments made of beads and are arguably Africa's most populous tribe. The Maasai have reputation as fierce warriors and a community with a colorful lifestyle. The Maasai are nomadic pastrolist and their life revolves around their large herds of cattle. According to their tradition, Maasai belief that all cattle belong to them. Traditionally the Maasai are known to be fierce cattle raiders. Cattle are sign of wealth in the Maasai community and are traditionally used to pay dowry during weddings .


Cattle raiding used to be a common inter tribal activity where warriors from one tribe would raid a village of another tribe and get herds of cattle. The tribe that had been raided would retaliate by organizing a raid to the other tribe.


The Maasai moved to Kenya from Sudan and settled in the Rift Valley in Kenya and some moved further to Tanzania. The Maasai live in huts made of tree branches, mud, grass and cow dung. They live in families in a Manyatta (a form of enclosed homestead). A fence made of thorny bushes surrounds the Manyatta. This protects the Maasai and their livestock from intruders and predators. Each Maasai Manyatta has about 10 to 20 huts know as "Inkajijik". In tradition, women construct the Maasai huts. Apart from constructing the house, women in the Maasai community are also responsible for collecting firewood, fetching water, milking the herds of cattle and cooking for the family. Young boys look after the livestock while the warriors maintain security. Older men manage daily operations in the community.


Maasai women wear vast plate like bead necklaces and bangles while men wear red checked shuka (Maasai blanket). The colorful ornaments are mainly created for their beauty, which is very important aspect of Maasai culture. The Maasai warriors colorfully paint themselves with ochre and bravely carry spear and a distinctive ball-ended club. Maasai's diet revolves around meat, milk and cow blood.

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