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C*LTURE:The Maasai

An indigenous group in Africa, the Maasai are semi-nomadic people who settled in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are one of the very few tribes who have retained most of their traditions. Side by side with nature, they live by herding cattle and goats which is their main source of food.  

Mostly defined by their bright tradition wear which varies by sex, age and place. Formerly hunters, the Maasai are known as fearless and courageous people. The men are the hunters, taking care of their livestock and protecting their homes and communities. The women build the family home, cook and raise the children. 

The noble tribe once occupied the most fertile lands until the armed British troops moved in. In 1904, they signed a first agreement, which resulted in losing the best of their land to the European settlers.

In 1911, an agreement was signed by a small group of Maasai, where their best Northern land (Laikipia) was given up to white settlers. This was very controversial and the signatories did not represent the whole tribe. The consequences led to the Maasai loosing two-thirds of their lands and were relocated to less fertile parts of Kenya and Tanzania. 

Today less land for the Kenyan population ultimately means less land for the Maasai people, their wildlife and livestock.  


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