Maasai are perhaps one of the best known people of Africa due to the fact that they have a very interesting culture.Tanzania is a melting pot of around 125 peacefully co-existing ethnic groups. Of these, the tribe you’re most likely to have heard about is the Maasai. The Maasai have a rich cultural tradition and this includes crafts such as beautiful beadwork and intricate hairstyles that articulate the wearer’s position and stage of life.
This immersive, fascinating two-day tour gives you an in-depth experience of authentic Maasai culture and traditions. You’ll spend a day and overnight with the Maasai people in the 100% traditionally built boma (village) of Olpopongi. Olopongi is a purpose-built cultural heritage centre that’s run by the Maasai themselves.
Olopongi is where you’ll get to know Maasai art and dance, spiritual customs, medical and herbal practices, crafts and, of course, their hearty and tasty cuisine. You’ll be shown round the village with its teeny-tiny museum, and you’ll enjoy a herbal walk in the bush, guided by Maasai herbal specialists. Spend the evening in deep cross-cultural conversation around the campfire before you drift off to sleep in a traditional Maasai hut.
Day 1: Arusha to Olpopongi village
We’ll collect you early in the morning for the drive to Olpopongi village, west of Kilimanjaro. Relax on the three-hour drive through the beautiful outback where, depending on the season, you’ll see an array of wildlife such as zebra and elephant. And, of course, on clear days you’ll take in the awesome views of not just Kilimanjaro but its brother mountain, Mount Meru, too.
Olpopongi is a purpose-built cultural heritage centre that is doing its part to protect the natural lifestyle and culture of the Maasai. Not only does the work and hospitality there support the Maasai who live in the nearby village of Tinga-Tinga, but it’s a sustainable and educational alternative to the usual tourist cultural trips that intrude on the privacy of the Maasai and often lead to the degradation of the Maasai culture. Olopongi is run by the Maasai people as an authentic village experience; the only non-authentic details are the Western showers and toilets!
You’ll reach Olpopongi just before lunchtime, when the friendly Maasai will greet you with a traditional welcome song and dance and some refreshing mango juice.Your guide will show you around the village and you’ll check in to your hut where you’ll later spend the night. After settling in, you’ll visit the little museum where your guide will tell you all about the history, social organisation and tools of Maasai people – and there’s plenty of time for questions and conversation.
To keep your energy up, you’ll enjoy a traditional Maasai lunch (don’t worry, veggies catered for!) and after a bit of a chill out, you’ll visit a midwife and herbalist in one of decorated huts, where you’ll learn about traditional plant remedies and the Maasai’s strong spiritual attachment to the land.
After a break for coffee (or tea – we haven’t forgotten tea lovers in this country of coffee!) and perhaps a little forage into the jewellery shop for beautifully crafted beadwork, you’ll take a herbal walk into the bush to discover more about the plants and their usage.
Day 1 is rounded off nicely with a fire-making session and a bbq under the stars, before you dream the night away in your Maasai hut.
Day 2: Olpopongi village to Arusha
To make the most of your tour, try to wake up early to experience the pink-and-apricot sunrise, clear, cool air and the dawn birdsong; but of course you can snooze a bit longer in bed. Whatever you choose, you’ll have a tasty alfresco breakfast and afterwards some time to chat to villagers, explore some more and take a few final photographs of this unique heritage centre and the people you’ve met. After the farewells, we’ll drive you back to Arusha just in time for lunch.
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