Arguably the most iconic tribal group in all of Africa, the Maasai, who populate vast areas of Northern areas of Tanzania are the dominant ethnic group surrounding most of the National Parks and Reserves in Tanzania. This nomadic, warrior tribe still retain many of their traditions as they live largely untouched by modern day civilization, in areas surrounding Selous Game Reserve. So why a village visit and what do you get to see ? This one hour visit to a village visit is a chance to interact with the local people and get a glimpse into their culture, unique way of life and see first hand some of their customs and practices.
The village visit is typically an excursion included into a longer multi day Nyerere National Park safari tour, and couple of hours are set apart for this brief interactive visit to the village, which usually happens to be on the fringes of the main Nyerere national park and the Selous game reserve boundaries. Many tourists wish to know how much it costs to visit the local cultural village. The price for a village visit which includes a contribution towards the village in form of a fee, as well as return road transfers from your lodge or camp in Nyerere Park to the village, varies between USD 25 to 50 per person. The price is often lower when you are on a road safari with your own Driver-Guide who will pay the fee upon entry. The higher fee of USD 50 per person often applies when you have flown in on a package safari and it is then the Camp which will charge you the fee for the village visit and the price in this case can vary again from USD 30 to USD 50 per person based on which camp you are staying at and which village they take you to visit. It should be noted that once at the village, you may be expected to buy some curio or souvenier from the villagers, though this is not mandatory having paid an entry fee.
The Maasai are known for their many unique cultural practices and traditions. Some of these originate from their nomadic way of life.
So what is the name of a Maasai village ? Well, the Maasai live in structures known as 'Manyatta', which are low height dwellings, essentially huts, made of mud, cow dung and wood, with a single entrance and minimal side windows. Clusters of these manyatta huts, which form a homestead or village, are known as a Maasai ''Boma''. Several Bomas can also join together to make a larger village. The individual huts themselves, the manyattas, have windows so small that it can be very dark inside a manyatta even on a sunny day. The image above shows a typical Manyatta hut with a Maasai woman standing in from of the rear of the manyatta. The image below shows the inside of a Manyatta. In the photo you can see the earthen stove and firewood which will be used for cooking a meal.
Morans are the warriors of the Maasai tribe and are initiated into their status by rites of passage which are given much importance. The image above shows the Morans displaying their jumping skills. Tourists who visit the Maasai village will often get a chance to find out how high they can jump compared to the Maasai morans.