Walking with the Maasai – week 2
By Stuart Butler, Photographer & Author
Stuart Butler, photographer and author of the Lonely Planet guide books to Kenya and East Africa, will spend a month from late-May to the end of June, walking with a Maasai friend across the heart of Kenyan Maasai land.
Learning As We Go Along
It’s been a fascinating second week of walking for me on my Walking with the Maasai project. This is where myself and a Maasai friend, Josphat Mako, are walking across a part of the Maasai lands of Kenya in an effort to try and learn what we can of changing Maasai culture and the environment they live in.
Magical Poachers in the Land of Kenya
The week began in the Ol Derikesi conservancy and an encounter with Moses Kinyaika, a man whose life story even Hollywood couldn’t dream up. His career began as a gun handler for a big game hunting safari company, but when hunting was banned in Kenya in the late 1970’s he took to the bush and became a poacher. His adventures included coming so close to starvation that he had to tie tree bark around his waist in order to stand up, using magic to stay invisible from park rangers and a meal that turned him ‘crazy’ and landed him in jail for four years.
Worming Our Way Through Olarro
We then walked northwards through torrential daily rainstorms to the Olarro conservancy. Here we spent time with the conservancy managers learning how to run a conservancy, we met one of Kenya’s top female safari guides and we learnt how to farm worms – and why you might want to farm worms.
Maasai Warrior Tales
From Olarro we walked over the hills to the hot springs of Maji Moto and then to the Lekanka hills where the few remaining Maasai moran (warriors) still come to hunt lions to prove their manhood. Here we met Sankale Ntutu who regailed us with stories from his days as a moran and his excitement at killing his first lion. We also learnt that for the Maasai moran it’s not killing a lion that’s the biggest challenge but killing an ostrich.We’re now down in Sekenani, at the entrance to the Masai Mara National Reserve and where, over the next couple of days, we’ll be meeting people working hard to change the old Maasai ways. They are, as the elders I have met have told me, the digital Maasai.
For more on the project and to follow the progress of the walk please see the dedicated project website –www.walkingwiththemaasai.com
Please be sure to follow the dedicated Facebook page –Walking with the Maasai
If you would like to spend some time at our camps please get in touch with your trusted travel agent or make an enquiry with us.
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