For the next several weeks I will be posting photos from the safari we enjoyed while in Kenya.
I had the opportunity to photograph some pretty amazing creatures while we were there. We saw three of the Big Five, and I was able to get some pretty great photos of each. But before we get to those photos, I wanted to share a few interesting photos of the landscape, people, and various structures.
This first photo is of a typical home inside of the Masai Mara.
You can see the structure has a wooden (stick) frame with mud caked on it. The mud huts are traditionally constructed by the women (yes, women… plural… polygamy is commonly practiced in the Masai tribe!), and they are made from a mix of cow dung, grass, mud, sticks, and even human urine (gross)!
You can also see in this photo how they protect their livestock from the constant threat of roaming lions and other potential natural predators. They simply construct a fenced enclosure out of sticks found in the area. The Masai people survive off of the meat, milk, and blood of the cattle, as well as by eating crops such as cabbage, maize, rice, and potatoes that they grow on their property, so it is important for them to cultivate and protect their land and belongings.
It is easy to see living conditions like this and think it is some sort of reenactment or recreation for the sake of tourists. It is true that the Masai people benefit from constant tourism that comes through the land, but this is actually how the people live.
That said, things have certainly changed for the Masai people through the generations. At one time Masai warriors were known as “Lion Killers”. Several generations ago it was customary for Masai warriors to go out into the bush and kill a lion as a young man’s rite of passage into manhood. Today, the Kenyan government has made it illegal to hunt lion. In 1977, Kenya became the first country in Africa to ban lion hunting.
So some things have changed… but as you can see, many things have stayed essentially the same.