This background information for our Maasailand Safari: Living with the Maasai and trip guidelines are developed to help you get the most out of your visit, while leaving the community and culture as they wish. We look forward to having you at the Merrueshi community!
Wildland Adventures has been working for more than a decade with Maasai communities around the Maasai Mara and Amboseli regions. These community-based programs are the result of a unique partnership between Wildland Adventures, the Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition (MERC) and the Maasai Association. This grassroots network of Maasai communities, organizations and individuals is dedicated to the protection of traditional land rights of the Maasai people, and to the conservation, management and sustainable use of the land. It is hoped that this partnership will serve as a model for transforming the way safari tourism is conducted in East Africa by establishing a standard that creates more meaningful and memorable cross-cultural experiences for travelers that directly benefits our Maasai hosts.
Your first stop will be Merrueshi community located 260 km (approximately) southeast of Nairobi 65 kilometers from Amboseli National Park located on the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and 120 kilometers from Tsavo West Game Reserve.
The Merrueshi Community is widely known as a corridor for wildlife migrating from and to Amboseli and Tsavo West Game Reserves. Wildlife such as zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, giraffe, Eland, lions, leopards and cheetah are found in the area. The area is famous for its ancient historical Maasai villages, including a 1000 year-old Mancala game board carved in the bedrock, an important site studied by Leaky.
The Maasailand Safari is ideal for travelers keenly interested in complimenting their African wildlife experiences with meaningful, cross-cultural interactions among native Maasai. Designed for active travelers who prefer off-the-beaten-track cultural encounters and walking opportunities, the trip is also recommended for families, school groups and others who seek experiential learning and cultural insights among indigenous peoples.
Kakuta Ole Maimai was born and raised in the Maasai society of southern Kenya. He was a warrior coordinator for ten years prior to furthering his studies in the United States. Mr. Maimai has a Political Economy degree from the Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. He is the founder of the Maasai Association, and principal founder and guide of the Merrushi Living Among the Maasai project. He lives part-time in his native Kenya and part-time in Washington State where he completed his Masters Degree in International Development at the School for International Training and works on African exhibits in zoos throughout the U.S.
We use Land Rovers equipped with four-wheel drive. The vehicles are driven by well-trained drivers with many years of experience working with travelers from all over the world.
Travelers are encouraged to participate in the following activities:
The community offers presentations on various topics including:
At the end of each day, participants and local guides will meet around the bonfire and reflect on activities completed during the day.
A professionally trained cook along with local trained staff will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Note that mineral/bottled water will be available on site. The cost of mineral bottled water is not included in the cost of your safari.
Security is our number one priority. There will be warriors on site twenty-four hours a day. All the animals of the African savanna know and are scared of the warriors. The warriors will accompany you during all nature walks and throughout the safari. This would be the safest place you can be in Africa.
We stay at world-class safari camps or lodges. At the Amboseli Game Park we usually stay at the village or possibly spend one night at Oltukai Lodge, while in Maasai Mara we usually stay at Mara Sarova or a similar permanent tent camp.
Please see our pre-departure dossier sent to you upon registration for the trip and consult with your health provider/physician for further advice on vaccination and other health related matters.
Note: Please make sure to submit a valid passport to the Kenyan Embassy for your visa, 60 days prior to your departure. In case you are unable to submit your passport to the Kenyan Embassy for visa, it is possible to obtain a visa upon your arrival to Kenya. However, the cost of visa in Kenya will be much higher (about $50) compared to obtaining it in the U.S.
The following guidelines are developed to help visitors to Merrueshi Community get the most out of their visit, while leaving the community and culture intact.
Shaking hands with women and elders is common in the Maasai society. Patting the top of the head is common for adults to greet children.
Visitors can also use Jambo (Swahili greeting), as each villager is familiar with the greeting. Dont hug anyone.
Considering the remoteness and the presence of wildlife in the area, it is discouraged from venturing into the bush alone without a guide.
With the exception of tipping guides and onsite staff, it is prohibited to handout the following items to the villagers:
Treat community members, as you would expect to treat guests in your own home. Be respectful and reserved.
School writing journals, chalk, pencils, note pads, soccer balls, and basketballs are welcomed. Also, beads for village women are welcomed.
It is discouraged to photograph and film the local people without consent. Unless you obtained a letter of consent from the community, it is prohibited to use moving and still images from the village for commercial purposes such as advertisement.