Maasai tribe – life and customs

Representative of the Maasai tribe

The Maasai are a unique and popular tribe. It owes its popularity to culture and traditions passed down from generation to generation. Despite the influence of civilization, the Maasai people are faithful to the ancient ways of life, thanks to which they have become a symbol of Kenyan culture.

Tribe representatives in the foreground of their possessions.

Tribe representatives in the foreground of their possessions

The Maasai live along the borders of the two countries – Kenya and Tanzania. According to different estimates their number ranging from 900 000 up to a million. They speak Maa language originated in northern Africa.

The map shows the approximate settlement of the Maasai.

The Maasai tribe on the map

The Maasai tribe History

The ancestors of the Maasai it is believed to appear in northern Africa, later they migrated south along the Nile Valley and arrived in northern Kenya in the middle of the 15th century. They continued to move south, conquering all the tribes in their path. By the end of their journey, the Maasai owned almost all of the land in the Rift Valley and the surrounding areas between Marsabit and Dodoma mountains. They settled here and engaged in cattle breeding.

Looking at the endless expanses of the savannah.


The number of jewelry is an indicator of wealth.

Maasai tribe woman

The Maasai Traditions

The cult of the warrior is of great importance among the tribe. From childhood to adolescence, young boys learn how to be a man and a warrior. The warrior’s role is to protect his livestock from other tribes and wild animals, build the Kraal (a Maasai settlement) and ensure the safety of his family.

Typical Maasai dwelling.

Maasai tribe dwelling.

The watches on the left hand proves that traditions are slowly falling before the might of Western civilization.

Maasai tribe man

Maasai tribe performing a ritual

After going through rituals and ceremonies, including circumcision, the boys are ready to become true warriors. The magnificent Eunoto ceremony becomes a kind of graduation, after which the boy turns into a warrior.

The video shows young Maasai warriors jumping in the traditional adumu dance. Such jumps allow finding a date. The best ” jumper” will surely find a girlfriend.

Girls and women have completely different life. They have to take care the household: milk cows, fetch water, do handiwork and even build huts. The girl becomes an adult at the age of 14, after an official circumcision ceremony – “emorata”.

Maasai tribe girl

Masai clothing and beauty

Although clothing made from animal skins is traditional for the tribe, modern Masai preferred a dress made of red sheets (called “shuka”), wrapped around the body. All kinds of beaded jewelry on the arms and neck are also very popular. They are worn by both men and women.

Even in Africa it can be very cold in the morning.

The Maasai tribe in an early morning
Piercing and earlobes stretching is also considered as a beauty attribute among the Masaai. Both men and women wear metal hoops in their ears. Women shave their heads and deliberately remove the two lower front teeth, as required by traditional medicine.

The more the earlobes are stretched, the more beautiful the girl is. This one is probably worth its weight in gold)

Maasai tribe finery

Modern Maasai are not very friendly and will definitely demand payment for the photo.

Modern Maasai tribe
Maasai tribe man

Maasai nutrition

The whole life of the Maasai revolves around their livestock. It is meat, milk and even blood, which is drunk during some rituals. The skins are used as bedding. Manure is also in use – it is an excellent covering for the huts walls. Livestock are also exchanged for other food.

The headman pierces the bull’s neck to collect some blood for the ritual drink. Usually, the wound to the cattle is covered with clay, later the cattle is released and lives on.

Maasai tribe ritual

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