Amboseli National Park Kenya

Cultural tours in Amboseli National Park

Cultural tours around the Amboseli National Park are done around the Masai villages which are near the National Park. These help tourists understand the way of life of the locals, and their traditions and get to appreciate life differently. A tour guide who at the same time acts as a translator will be with you all the time and will try as much as possible to ease the communication between you and the locals.

When you get to the villages, you will be welcomed with songs and dance from the locals and after that you are free to move around, talk to the locals, join in some of the activities like dancing and milking the cows and also take photos with them. The elders are always around to tell the history of the Masai people like how they used to track and hunt down the animals among other things.

amboseli cultural tours

Cost of the cultural tour

The cost of the cultural tour around Amboseli National Park depends on the village that you’ve gone to visit. The entrance fee to the village is paid to the chief and the cost ranges from $80 to $90. This money is paid to the chief of the village and it helps in the day-to-day running of the village. Each person is expected to pay before they are allowed to interact with the locals.

The Maasai tribe

The Maasai people are the most famous tribe in Kenya and the most visited in the whole country. They belong to the Nilotic group of people and are believed to have migrated into the Great Rift Valley in the 15th century. They settled in the Rift Valley area and started cattle raids on their neighbours making them at first the most feared tribe because of the long spears that they used.

The elders of the Masai community are extremely important because they know the traditions that need to be passed down to the younger generation. The traditional rites of the Masai are carried out by the elders and it is rare to see outsiders being allowed to participate in the traditional rites.

Masai traditions

Children are also important in carrying out rituals in Masai villages and these normally participate in the rainmaking ceremony which is carried out when the drought sets in. the children can be heard singing songs calling upon the rains with some older people joining in. the Maasai people also are best known for their brightly colored clothes and their unique hair design. The hair plait made by the different people is a symbol of belonging and tradition. The boys also have rituals that they must attend if they are to be considered men. They are circumcised when they make 15 years and this is considered a passage to manhood. The Masai warriors were initiated after fighting and killing a lion but at the moment this has been stopped to protect the animals in the National Park.

One of the most famous traditional rites is the drawing of blood from the animals. Masai people drink blood that is mixed with fresh milk. The mixture is believed to make the body strong and healthy but there is a process of drawing out the blood from the animal. A sharp arrow is used to create a small wound on the jugular vein and then blood is drawn out. The animal is not allowed to bleed out completely but after collecting the needed blood, the animal is well taken care of until it gains its full health.

The Bomas

The Masai live in small houses that were constructed using local materials like mud and sticks and these are commonly known as the Bomas. Every Masai village has about 15 huts or more and even though they are natural, one Boma can be home to six of people inclusive of animals. The materials that are normally used in constructing Bomas include:

  • Cow dung and urine
  • Grass
  • Branches
  • Twigs
  • Mud
  • Cement
  • Animal skin on the inside

Every Boma is surrounded by a thorny fence of trees that acts as protection from invaders and animals. The beds in the Bomas are woven using dry grass and animal skin and the dry cow dung is used to fuel the fire that is always blazing in the huts. The Bomas has only two openings that are the front door and the opening on the roof that lets the smoke out. If you get a chance of entering one of the Bomas, you won’t be able to stand up straight and you will have to enter while bending down a little bit.

The Masai women and girls

The Masai women do most of the work at the homestead and they are helped by the girls. They are still a minority in the community and belong to the Father’s clan the moment they are born. They are not supposed to own any possessions that is land and cows and they are at first owned by their father and at a later stage by their husbands. Some of the activities that women are supposed to do include the following:

  • Constructing the hut
  • Fetching water irrelevant of the distance
  • Milking the cows
  • Picking and cleaning the gourds
  • Decorating the gourds
  • Making the beads and headgear.

The women are also supposed to give birth to at least a male child in their marriages and if they fail to do so, they are ridiculed and abandoned later in life as they grow old.

When should I go for the cultural safari?

This is a frequently asked question and the answer is that you can book for your cultural safari all year round however the best time is during the dry season when the roads are not muddy.

Book yourself a cultural safari to Amboseli National Park and get to experience all the above in the one hour that you get to spend with the locals. You might not be able to see all the traditional rituals but other activities, the handmade souvenirs on sale, and active interaction with the locals will keep you entertained throughout your stay.


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