The complete guide to the maasai tribe

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    When you come on an African safari in Tanzania, there are so many amazing things to see and game parks to go to. Regardless of whether you come to Tanzania in the dry season or rainy season, you’ll hear many conversations about the Maasai tribe and have opportunities to visit the Maasai people, too.

    In this blog, we’re going to discuss Maasai culture and various Maasai tribe facts, along with how you can visit the beautiful Maasai people. Visiting the Maasai tribes is an essential part of an authentic African safari experience as it brings you closer to understanding the land and culture of Tanzania. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the top Maasai tribe facts!

    Everything you need to know about the maasai tribe

    Maasai tribe

    If you’re looking to explore some of Tanzania’s most fascinating culture, the Maasai tribe is a must-see. The Maasai are a nomadic people who have inhabited the country for centuries, and their customs and traditions are unlike anything else in Africa.

    One of the most iconic Maasai traditions is their distinctive dress. Men typically wear bright red robes, while women adorn themselves with colorful beads and intricate jewellery. Both men and women often decorate their hair with elaborate headdresses.

    The Maasai are also well-known for their cattle-herding culture. Cattle are central to Maasai life and are used for everything from food and milk, to dowries and currency. The Maasai believe that their cattle were given to them by their god, Engai, and as such, they hold them in the highest regard.

    If you’re interested in learning more about the Maasai tribe, take a look at our points below.

    Learn more about the tribes of Tanzania.

    Who are the maasai tribe? Tanzania’s most iconic tribe

    Tanzania - who are the maasai tribe - the complete guide to the maasai tribe

    The Maasai tribe were Nilotic people who, long ago, originated from areas around South Sudan and are now indigenous to areas within the East African countries of Tanzania and Kenya. The population of the Maasai people has been expanding over the decades with over 1 million Maasai located in Kenya.

    The Maasai people are known for their welcoming spirits who offer foreigners the opportunity to visit their villages and learn about the Maasai society and culture.

    What is the maasai way of life?

    Tanzania - maasai ngorongoro - the complete guide to the maasai tribe

    The Maasai tribe have always embraced a social system where the elder men make the majority of decisions for each community. In Maasai culture, family wealth is determined by the number of cattle and children. Like many African tribes, the men are permitted to have multiple wives where each wife has her own home.

    In Maasai culture, the boys in the family become shepherds for the family cattle and girls take on the role of gathering resources such as firewood, cooking materials, and completing domestic duties. Both sexes have traditionally undergone a ceremonial circumcision known as emorata.

    What are the maasai tribes known for?

    Tanzania - maasai known for - the complete guide to the maasai tribe

    The Maasai tribes are known for their courage, their fearlessness, and their beautiful culture. The Maasai are known to be outstanding hunters who never show fear in the presence of wild animals.

    What is the maasai way of life?

    Tanzania - maasai way of life - the complete guide to the maasai tribe

    Traditionally, the Maasai were a nomadic tribe from the Nile and South Sudan. However, due to the erection of national parks in Tanzania, they have since adopted a village lifestyle.

    Their diet includes raw meat, milk, maize meal, and honey. Ugali is one of the famous Maasai meals that you can experience when visiting East Africa.

    A tradition for all Maasai tribe boys is to undergo circumcision. During this ceremony, they are called upon to remain silent, and if they cry out in pain then dishonor will be bestowed upon them. 

    After the ceremony, the boys become known as Moran and soon after are sent to live in the village founded by the mothers of the tribe. They spend several months here where they prepare to become fearless warriors. 

    The Moran wear distinctive black clothes and take on white facial markings. You can see these young warriors when driving on Tanzanian highways.

    The Maasai are also known for their traditional music and ceremonious dances on special occasions. The warriors’ coming-of-age celebration sometimes lasts more than 10 days and can include competitive jumping, a cultural encounter you will experience on your game drive.

    How do you see the maasai?

    Tanzania - how do you see maasai - the complete guide to the maasai tribe

    You can see the Maasai tribe when you visit Tanzania and go on a safari trip. You can speak to a safari expert at Easy Travel to find out more about game drives that take you through to the Maasai.

    How do you greet the maasai people?

    Tanzania - great maasai people - the complete guide to the maasai tribe

    The Maasai tribe use a special handshake to greet one another with reverence and gratitude. The handshake is conducted by spitting saliva into the palm before shaking hands, a gesture of good wishes and blessings.

    However, due to COVID-19, we do not recommend engaging in this cultural experience and instead advise our guests to use their native language to greet the beautiful Maasai people.

    You can ask your safari guides at your safari lodges or safari camps to help you practice and prepare your greetings. 

    What are the maasai values?

    Tanzania - what are the maasai values - the complete guide to the maasai tribe

    The Maasais are an extremely proud people and their values are reflected in their daily lives. Their elders teach the younger generations how to respect others and how to treat each other with kindness.

    They believe in peace and harmony among people. They are very respectful towards nature and the environment. They believe that it is better to give than receive. They value education and strive hard to ensure that every child has access to quality education.

    In addition to this, they are very hospitable and always ready to assist visitors. They believe that hospitality should be extended to everyone.

    These are all important lessons that the Maasai can teach us.

    Maasai culture

    The Maasai culture is based on the following principles:

    • Honour
    • Respect
    • Peace
    • Harmony
    • Love
    • Kindness
    • Family
    • Community
    • Tradition
    • Ceremonies
    • Art
    • Nature
    • Ancestry

    Why do the maasai drink blood from cows?

    Tanzania - why do the maasai drink blood from cows - the complete guide to the maasai tribe

    When the Maasai were first settled in the Serengeti plains, they had no cows.

    However, over time, they began drinking blood from cows because they believed that it would make them strong.

    Today, the Maasai still drink cow’s blood but only during certain ceremonies.


    The Maasai are beautiful, and they have so many wise lessons for the modern world. If you want to visit these beautiful African people, then get in contact with Easy Travel today and our safari experts will help you start planning your next African safari adventure!

    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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