The Maasai of Ngorongoro
In addition to the beautiful scenery, archaeological wealth and abundant wildlife, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is also blessed with a proud people – the Maasai – a pastoral tribe that has maintained their traditional culture a great deal.
Before the Maasai, there were other tribes that also occupied Ngorongoro, some as cattle herders, like the Datoga, and others as hunters, like the Hadzabe; and then moved on, sometimes forced out by other groups.
The Maasai colonized the area in substantial numbers, their traditional way of life allowing them to live in harmony with the wildlife and the environment. Approximately 100,000 Maasai live in the conservation area today tending their livestock without harming wildlife.
Visitors to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area can learn about the culture of the Maasai and take photographs or buy original Maasai handicraft at designated areas known as cultural bomas. In order to safeguard the livelihood of these people and at the same time conserve the flora and fauna of the area, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority supports and initiates community-based projects, such as ecotourism in the form of these cultural bomas.
In partnership with the Maasai council known as Ngorongoro Pastoral Council, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority oversees the progress of these cultural bomas, and also enables Maasai guides to conduct walking safaris and other part-time work at the lodges and at the headquarters of the Conservation Area.