Meet Mama Yamath – a visit to a traditional Maasai family
From the moment you set foot in Tanzania, you will notice them. They are just as much part of the landscape as the iconic acacia trees. As the Kilimanjaro against the horizon, and the wildlife on the plains. With their bright red ‘shukas’ (clothes) wrapped around their bodies, the colorful jewelry and their feet put in sandals made from old tires, they just can not be missed.
The Maasai are one of the most famous and fascinating tribes in Africa. Spread across Kenya and Tanzania, they are semi-nomadic and live by herding cattle and goats. In fact, the wealth and status of a Maasai man largely depends on the size of his herd. Loss of land, modernization and climate change have not made life easy for the Maasai. But despite of the continuing challenges, they still carry on their age-old customs and traditions. With grace and dignity.
When going on safari with Ajabu Adventures, we invite you to visit a local Maasai family. Not one of the big manyattas along the road but rather a small, authentic village. It is the home of Mama Yamath and her family. Living deep into the bush in the Rift Valley, where no road passes and where you instantly get lost if you don’t know the place.
Maasai warrior Yamath
The relationship between Ajabu Adventures and the Yamath family goes back for years. It all started with a knock on the gate from Yamath himself, looking for a job to earn money for his family. The Maasai warrior was intelligent, learned Swahili and English and even got his driving licence. But Yamath could not forget his roots. After some years he decided to go back to his family.
Being grateful for the chance that the company had given him, Yamath opened his home for anyone traveling with Ajabu Adventures. Although Yamath tragically passed away two years ago, his family still warmly welcomes all our guests.
Upon arrival you will be met by Yamath’s brother Lettinga who will guide you to the boma. A warm and traditional welcome awaits you, as the family invites you to join them in the circle. This is not because it is part of an ‘act’, but because the family members genuinely want to share their joy. Dancing and singing is an important part of their culture. Not only the high jumps of the Maasai warriors are impressive, as a way to attract women, but the Maasai are also one of the few people in the world that know “throat singing”: a low and humming sound.
Mama Yamath, her children and grand children are proud to show you their modest homes, made from cow dung, grass, sticks and mud. Usually containing not much more than a bed and a chair. You are welcome to ask questions and interact with the family. They will be just as curious about their visitors, as you about them.
In case you visit them late in the afternoon, you may have the chance to witness the cattle coming back from a day of grazing. Young goats frolic around while the sheep and the cows find their way into the ‘kraal’.
Step into another world
It is without a doubt an honor to be allowed into the world of one of the most authentic ethnic tribes in the world. To have a glimpse of their daily lives, to learn about their traditions and rituals. Being just one of the very few guests from Ajabu Adventures exclusively makes it an even more unique experience.
Moreover, your visit helps Mama Yamath and her family to retain their heritage. You will automatically contribute to their livelihood and allow them to maintain their culture and traditions. Please do not feel obliged to bring a donation or leave money behind. Unlike in the commercial villages, this family will not try to sell you anything either. However, if you wish to bring a small present to show your gratitude for their hospitality, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to advise you on the products that are most useful for them.
And then your visit comes to an end. You will say goodbye to the Maasai family, enriched with an humbling and unforgettable experience that will hopefully accompany you for many years.