A Trip to Maasai Village: What to Expect?


A lot of us have grown up watching documentaries about the African wild on National Geographic or Discovery channel. Whenever the cameras descend into the plains of East Africa, one warrior tribe dressed in brilliant reds and blues, almost always pops up on screens - the Maasai.

These semi-nomadic pastoralists live in/around the rift valley region of Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya. On your safari trip, as you drive towards the national parks in this region, you will see the colorful maasai herding their cattle or trying to sell you their artwork.

But did you know you can also visit their village on your safari tour and interact and get a glimpse into their unique culture, customs and practices ? If that sounds interesting, read the entire article to know more about what to expect on a Maasai village tour and see if you would like to add one to your itinerary.

Cost and Time

A visit to the Maasai village usually takes around one to one and a half hours for which you are expected to tip $25 (per client) to the Maasai village head. This money will not be collected by us (Monkey Adventures) and we request you to directly hand it over to the village head.

However, if you wish to spend a longer time at the village then that can be arranged too. For a longer visit please check with your sales consultant.


The First Look

As soon as you are led into the village by your guide, the village members will gather around to greet you into their land. Tall men and women, draped in their vivid red attire called the Shuka, will start jumping and singing. The Maasai men jump as high as possible during the dance to attract women, while the beautiful singing of women will fill the air. But you are also allowed to join in the celebration. The mighty warriors will come forward to drape you in their beautiful handmade necklaces and you can jump along or dance with them.

Getting to Really Know Them

After the thrilling start, you can finally get to personally know the Maasai. Now this is something you never could’ve done through a television show or just observing them from your passing vehicle. Villagers will lead you directly into their camps called Boma. A Maasai camp includes several houses made of mud within a boundary made from branches of local trees such as Acacia tortilis, Seyal, and Sisal.

Inside the camp you can have conversations with the villagers and ask questions. It is supposed to be a cultural exchange after all. The guide will translate the local language, Maa, for you. To add to that, you can even try your hand at spear throwing and doing long jumps with a Maasai warrior beside you. These competitions are a part of their warrior traditions that helped them develop their prowess. Taking part in such competitions will be a rather unique experience then.

You can also enter the houses to see how the families live. Although, you might find the houses a bit cramped and dark.

Maasai school

A Visit to The School

While the Maasai are nomadic people that depend on their surroundings for most resources, education and commerce are still a part of their culture in the modern era. Once you get to visit the houses and engage in multiple insightful activities with the adults, the guide will lead you to meet some of the cutest members of the small society: little kids at schools!

When you enter a classroom, built out of twigs and mud as well, the kids will stand up and show off their knowledge. Especially their knowledge of English. The kids will chant their ABCD and numbers in a sing-song manner for you, or even perform some songs in English.

However, you might notice that this part of the tour feels a bit staged. They will most likely repeat the same thing for the next set of tourists. You do not need to worry about this affecting their education, though. In these schools most kids will be under the age of seven who haven’t been enrolled into a regular school. Once they are old enough, kids interested in studying seriously will be sent to a proper school and not be called to put on such shows for tourists.

If you wish to, you can give donations for the education of these kids. So it would be helpful to carry a little change. You can also make donations in the form of books, crayons and pens. But you must inform the village elders about these items first.

It must be noted that not all the Maasai villages have a school.

Let The Haggling Games Begin!

Once the tour of the village is over, things begin to get tricky. You will be led to the shops where you can buy Maasai jewellery and other handicrafts. While the selection might be decent and you might feel like buying items as souvenirs, the prices initially quoted will be quite higher than actual rates (around 4 to 10 times higher!!) that you would pay for these items in markets at Arusha or Mto Wa Mbu.

If you look at the price they quote as a donation to a poor community, then you can offer a rate that feels comfortable to you. But if you are not prepared to make a donation at that point, don’t be afraid to haggle and lower the rates if you are intent on buying an item.

If you are uncomfortable with the entire haggling and pushy sales approach then you may reconsider your trip to the Maasai village!

However, our advice to clients is to see these purchases as donations to the Maasai village. The Maasai way of life has been severely disrupted by the formation of national parks and reserves, so they depend on the capital brought in by tourists for a lot of their daily activities and resources.

The camp that is setup in tourist circuits (especially in Ngorongoro Conservation Area at the crater rim) to offer Maasai village tours is also only a temporary camp and the Maasai community that hosts you there rotates once in a few weeks. So they have only a small window within which they can make money before they go back to their native villages and to their more traditional way of life.


With the shopping trip, your visit will be finally over. While you will immerse yourself in the culture, some of the aspects of the tour seem authentic while others might seem staged, but it will still be an experience like no other. When you talk to them you will notice how important they have been for the environment. Their cooperation has been key to the survival of iconic national parks and ecosystems to this date and their knowledge has helped the government in conservation of the wild.

You will also be able to appreciate their ability to stick to their roots in this fast changing world. So, enjoy every second, take in as much as you can, and get to know the world you live in a little better


Where Can You Visit The Maasai Villages in Tanzania?

Maasai Village Tours occur in multiple locations.

Ngorongoro Crater Rim This is the most frequently visited Maasai village. Easily accessible by clients visiting Ngorongoro for crater tours or just passing through Ngorongoro to get to Serengeti. Also the most scenic of all, given its location on the crater rim. However this can feel more staged and the Maasai here have more pushy sales approach compared to other villages

The region near Lake Natron has its own Maasai village, and the tours here are accessible for clients visiting Lake Natron as a part of their itinerary. The maasai villages you visit here are permanent (while at many other locations, Maasai tours happen in villages where people rotate from time to time to share revenue earned from doing these tours for clients) and this visit feels more authentic compared to other locations. You will get a chance to see how the cows are milked, witness the mudding of Maasai houses, see how they construct their stoves and get a chance to take part in these activities too. You can also spend longer hours (like upto 6 hours) on Maasai village tour here.

Other Maasai villages can be found near Mto Wa Mbu, Tarangire, Arusha, Mikuni National Park, Serengeti-Ngorongoro border, and Moshi. These villages are mostly located on the way to important sites such as Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park etcetera. If the clients cannot find the time to visit the villages in the crater rim or near Lake Natron but still desire to see a Maasai village, they can visit these locations.


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