The Maasai Of The Short Grass Plains


Photo by Shaaz jung

Theft of cattle has always been a crime and rustlers have been hung for thousands of years. This controlled rustling to a large extent but not in Sudan. The Nilotics believed that God has given them all the cows in the world. Then how can it be a crime when you take back that which has always belonged to you, they often ask?

Cattle raids by the well-built and handsome Nilotic warriors was common and it is from this region of cattle wars that a branch of the Nilotics stepped away from their fierce neighbours to find fresh graze. They would later come to be known as the Maasai, the Turkana and the Kalenjin as they moved south along the Eastern Rift Valley. The latter on their part divided into nine linguistically and culturally related clans: Ogiek, Pokots, Tugen, Terik, Sabaot, Marakwet, Keiyo, Kipsignis and the renowned Nandi. They speak Kalenjin and stayed on in Kenya.

Sit around a fire at night and speak to the Maasai and the elders will tell you that the Maasai came from a region North of Turkana, somewhere from the lower Nile valley. They began their southward drift around the 15th century AD and settled into a long trunk of land stretching from what is now northern Kenya to what is now central Tanzania between the 17th and late 18th century. Many ethnic groups were displaced by this migration as prime grasslands were taken over forcibly.

The Maasai are the ethnic people that you will see in the Ngorongoro and Serengeti eco-system. This tribe is fighting hard to retain its traditional ways of life, whilst the world is trying to educate the Maasai in its odd worldly ways. We at Royal Migration Camp will take you into the very heart of Maasai life, if you so desire, to spend time with these beautiful and God fearing people of Africa.


Photo by Shaaz jung