Maasai Tribe Community Support

Enjoy this unforgettable and authentic volunteering experience with an African Maasai tribe, immersing yourself in their daily routines and customs. Gain an insight into a real African tribe during your traditional homestay. Altough becoming less common, the Maasai people try to maintain thier nomadic and age old lifestyle, still wearing traditional clothing and using simple herding methods.

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Program Description

Instead of just learning about Maasai culture on a tour group- why not be part of it?! This is an incredible opportunity to learn, hands on in a real Maasai village. You can view the Maasai way of life up close, participating in the many daily activities that are typical of the tribe.

During your Maasai Village Homestay, you will be welcomed to stay within their village, gain an understanding of their culture, and participate in the usual daily tasks. Tasks are divided between men and women. The men taking care of and/or selling the tribe’s cattle, while women will be milking the animals, cooking, searching for firewood and looking after the babies. Sometimes they will even construct the houses in the boma (traditional hut).

By living with the Maasai tribe there will be plenty of opportunities to explore Maasai culture in-depth, by interacting and communicating exchanges of ideas and experiences. You will get the chance to try making beadwork with the women in the village or learn how to make Maasai sandals from the men. You could even teach the children in the village some basic English and teach them sports.

The Maasai are proud people, who are trying to preserve their unique culture. African tribes have very distinct characteristics and customs, the Maasai tribe being one of the most symbolic. They live in the Northern and Southern regions in Tanzania and Kenya. The Maasai are known for their nomadic lifestyle (nowadays they settle in a single place after government legislations took over in the 1990’s). Their colourful dress code remains the same though, as does their colourful beaded jewellery, and ancient traditions.

The Maasai people are very traditional in their way of living, with all generations living in under the same roof, which is traditionally known as a boma. They traditionally used to move with their cattle from one grazing ground to another. They still make their income from the animals today, through sales of their cattle and cattle products. The NGO, Oxfam, states that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be considered as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands.

Maasai culture can seem quite different to Westerners. Men can be married to several women depending on how wealthy he is- and this is usually judged by how many cattle he owns! Financially, it makes sense for a Maasai family to have many wives, as a large family means more people to take care of their cattle, cows, goats, sheep, and donkeys.

Due to this project’s remote location and limited local transportation, volunteers may need to stay the first night in Monduli and travel to the village the following morning. Volunteer placements are available in a Maasai village in Arusha, but to increase immersion you may volunteer across various villages.

Program Duration & Availability

Min duration (weeks):1

Aims & Objectives

  • Truly unique experience living as one of the Maasai tribes people
  • Interact and share your stories and ideas with the local community
  • Gain valuable insight into local culture & traditions in a beautiful landscape

Monday

You will receive an introduction to the village, as well as Maasai culture. Get taught useful phrases in Maasai language, that you can practice throughout the week. Moreover, you’ll learn about the lifestyle and customs of the Maasai people with an introduction to their cultural rules and the do’s and don’ts, etc.

After lunch, we will go on a trek through the nearby wilderness that surrounds the village. During this trek, you will be able to see Tanzania’s stunning natural scenery. Visit a local caldera (volcanic crater) and enjoy the lovely views.

Tuesday

The Maasai tribe are well known for their traditional herding so today, it will be all about grazing the livestock! Join a Maasai warrior on his herding activities through the bush (this will involve several hours of walking).

During the dry season (June to October), grazing involves even more work: the closest river to the village gets completely dried up, so the villagers are forced to walk further or dig holes to enable them to get to water that is underground, so their animals can drink – You might be invited to participate in this!

Wednesday

During the morning we will join the local women in the boma and take part in their traditional activities. You can expect get involved in milking cows and walking to the river with donkeys to fetch water.

After lunch, we join a unique workshop where you will be taught how to make your own beaded Maasai jewellery – this is the traditional jewellery the Maasai are symbolic of.

We will end the day with a traditional Tanzanian cooking class lead by one of our hosts. Then enjoy your home cooked dinner afterwards.

Thursday

Today is another day of grazing the animals! Walking through the African bush during grazing can be a real adventure- really get off the beaten path and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

Friday

We will take another beautiful hike through the African wilderness and after a few hours of adventure, we will enjoy a picnic with a view over the valley.

In the evening, we will enjoy a bonfire with the villagers, where you will get the chance to hear stories and ancient legends about the Maasai and other local villages.

Location

You will stay in a very simple, traditional, family home in a Maasai Village in Arusha (or surrounding villages). Moita is quite a bit off the beaten path. Located several kilometres away from the main roads near Arusha, there are many smaller towns along the way to this small village. The terrain is rough with patches of grass, bushes, and trees. In the dry season the community of Moita village must walk several kilometres to gather water for cooking, drinking and sometimes for bathing.

Accommodation & Food

About the Accommodation

Expect a ‘back to nature’ and very simple accommodation during your stay here. You will sleep in a local homestay which may include a traditional house made from wood, sticks, cow dung and clay-soil. The Maasai mostly live without any electricity, and although some houses have recently put up solar cells, it should not be something to expect. There is no running tap water and no western toilets. Expect squat toilets and the occasional showering is only done by using a bucket. All volunteers are asked to be environmentally considerate and to use all resources with extreme restraint, particularly water, paper, and electricity. This accommodation is located in a Maasai village in Arusha, but for more cultural immersion you may be placed in various surrounding villages.

Available Room Types

Standard Room
All meals included Yes *
Free beverages No **
Persons per room 4-8
Wifi in public areas No
Laundry facilities No ***
Safety box No
Lockable rooms No
Hot shower No
Private bathroom No
Bed linen No
Towels No
Air conditioning No
Fan No
Mosquito protection No

* 3 meals on weekdays, 2 on weekends
** Clean drinking water provided
*** Buckets and brushes available

Food Arrangements

Meals are usually in the local cuisine and consist of a lot of corn, rice, potatoes, and bananas. Beef, goat meat, beans, and a few green leafy vegetables make up your daily nutritional meals. There are no shops within walking distance, so if you are a picky eater or have certain food requirements then we advise you to pick up supplies from Monduli or Arusha. Just be aware that there is no refrigeration available.

Facilities

There are no ATM machines nearby. The village is about 45 minutes from an ATM, bank and post office and there are local shops around one and a half to two hours away.

Mandatory Orientation Day

On your first Monday in Monduli, you will take part in our orientation day, to familiarize yourself with the local areas and Tanzanian culture. Your project will continue from Tuesday onwards throughout the rest of the week.

Schedule

  • Introduction meeting, General rules, Setting Expectations, Advice on Health and Safety and insuring you have all your documents.
  • Tanzanian Do’s and Don’ts, Cultural introduction, learning about Tanzania’s history and Intensive Swahili Language classes.
  • Tour around the accommodation and local area. We will show you where to find local amenities and where you can buy a sim-card.
  • Lunch
  • Trip to a Volcanic Crater in Moita.

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the project.

Sights & Surroundings

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Home to the Ngorongoro Crater, this stunning area of vast plains, green forests and wild savannahs, sits next to the Serengeti National Park. You will see the highest concentration of animals here from lions, zebra, wildebeest and elephants. The views from the crater are absolutely stunning, with an atmospheric mountain backdrop. This should be at the top of your bucket list for Tanzania!

Serengeti National Park

Another one for your bucket list and a perfect way to spend your weekend off. The Serengeti is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the big 5 (lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo & elephant). You will also find zebra, wildebeest, giraffes, hippos, baboons, hyenas, ostriches and many more incredible animals. The best way to explore is by camping out in the open or in one of the many lodges. The area is huge, and we recommend at least 2 days here.

Tarangire National Park

A quieter park in Northern Tanzania, Tarangire is known for its large population of elephants and the incredible Baobab tree. In dry season you can spot all kinds of amazing animals that congregate to the Tarangire river. Spot anything from zebras, giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, wildebeests and even lions of you’re lucky.

Moshi and Mount Kilimanjaro

Moshi is about a two and half hour drive from Monduli and can be easily reached using a “dala dala” or taxi to Arusha and then changing again onto Moshi from there.

Moshi is a quiet town with several Western cafes and coffee shops. It is also the closest town to the starting point of the Mount Kilimanjaro trek. On a clear day, you can get excellent views of Kilimanjaro right from the roadside (Tip: Moshi Train Station, which is no longer is use, has fantastic views of Africa’s highest mountain, with locals selling drinks and snacks up the top).

Arusha National Park and Mount Meru

Mount Meru is located in Arusha National Park and is the second largest mountain in Tanzania. If you’re looking to Climb Kilimanjaro ,then Mt Meru can be a great acclimatisation trek, taking you through various types of vegetation. There are also scenic trails around the mountain at ground level. Other attractions include Meru Crater, the Jekukumia River, Ngurdoto Crater and the Momelia Lakes which are known to change colour! You might even find wildlife here including giraffes, warthogs, cape buffaloes, lions, elephants, flamingos and more.

Lake Manyara National Park

If you love bird watching, then head to Lake Manyara during the dry season where pink flamingos flock to the vast lake. During wet season see if you can spot the lions, leopards, hippos, giraffes, zebras, elephants, blue monkeys, gazelles and cheetahs roaming the park.

Kikuletwa Hot Springs

A somewhat ‘secret’ pool of clear blue water, situated in between Arusha and Moshi is the Kikuletwa Hot Springs. The water isn’t actually hot but totally refreshing after the dusty drive getting there. Enjoyed by tourists and locals, this is a beautiful spot for relaxing and swimming in the crystal clear water, surrounded by jungle. There’s even a rope swing into the water for more fun and games. If this wasn’t on your list before, it should be now.

Arusha

Just over an hour’s drive from Monduli, Arusha is a large city in Tanzania which has many Western style eateries, a cinema, Maasai markets, shopping malls, supermarkets and a cultural centre. There are a lot of things to do here and a great way to spend your weekend. Close to the Serengeti, Arusha is a popular starting destination for wildlife safari tours.

Hiking Around Monduli

If you’re looking for off the beaten path trails then there’s no better place to look then in Monduli. There are numerous treks, one even takes you to a beautiful waterfall. You will need to ask your local coordinator to arrange certain visits, as the government needs to grant you permission (for a fee) to visit beyond certain spots, this is to conserve the area.

Iringa and Ruaha National Park

If you have the time after finishing your project, Ruaha National Park is a quieter and much less visited place for wildlife viewing. It’s located in Central Tanzania, near the small and quiet town of Iringa (which is a great stop off for visiting Ruaha). The park is actually the largest in Tanzania but less frequently visited by tourists, although visitors are rarely disappointed by its natural beauty. It’s home to cheetahs, the second largest population of Leopards in Africa, buffalos, hippos, and more!

Zanzibar

A little further afield, it is still possible to fly to Zanzibar for a weekend from Arusha (although several days here would be ideal). Zanzibar is known for its sandy white beaches, turquoise water and unique culture. Stone Town is an interesting town, known for its mazes and spices. Other things to do is a visit to Prison Island, where prisoners were once held but is now home to giant tortoises. You can also spot dolphins and try snorkelling off the island. The North and East of Zanzibar have some of the best and cleanest beaches in the world.

Transportation

From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):

  • Monduli
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