Longido Maasai village
All too often a visit to a Maasai community can be more of an uncomfortable, touristy experience. What most travellers would really like is a chance to get a proper insight into the Maasai way of life without it being a hassle and without feeling like you weren't wanted around unless you were going to buy lots of necklaces and spears!
A visit to Longido is the kind of experience you'd hope for, and you can either do this as a day trip from Arusha or you can choose to stay for a night or two if you want more time.
If you take an overnight trip, you don't stay IN the village, but just on the outskirts so that everyone gets their own space - you get a comfortable tent and good food of the kind you're used to, and the community don't have someone to host overnight (which would be very difficult for them).
You have a senior Maasai from the village who becomes your guide, your interpreter and your way of meeting local people. Sambeke speaks good English, and is a friendly, informative man who is keen to introduce you to members of his family, tribe and wider community. You can visit a family's boma and see how they live and sit and chat for a while. If the market is on, this is a nice place to wander for a while.
Sambeke's friends often come up and introduce themselves and want to know a bit about you.
Sambeke will give you an insight into various aspects of the Maasai culture. He can tell you about customs and teach you a bit of the Maa language. Trying some Maa on the Maasai will have them splitting their sides when you, inevitably, get it wrong! It's a great ice-breaker.
You can also learn about some of the plants which are used by the Maasai as food and medicine. Ask about the treatment using a bees nest!
If you fancy heading out into the surrounding bush, Sambeke will take you out on a bush walk to spot giraffe, lesser kudu and gerenuk which are all quite common around here. Don't worry, predators are not common.
The other walk you might like to take is up the slopes of Mount Longido. He will take you to a waterfall and to the place of 'orpul'. Orpul is a place of retreat for Maasai warriors where they join to feast on meat for days on end - drinking herb concoctions now and again to help digest.
A trip to Longido really is a gentle and friendly way to get an insight into Maasai life, and spending time with Sambeke is frankly a pleasure.
where to go
Longido is in Tanzania on the Kenyan border near Namanga. It’s a tiny village about a 2 hour drive from Arusha.
when to go
It really doesn't matter when you come here, though camping in the intense heat can be quite difficult for some.
how to do it
This needs to be fully booked through us as part of your itinerary. We'd recommend 1 night, unless you're particularly keen on spending longer finding out more detail about Maasai life. Obviously the longer you stay the more you can find out, but it's not a cheap experience due to the logistics of the private campsite.
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I came to Longido by myself and spent a day and an overnight here. I found Sambeke to be a charming and informative friend over this time, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time here. The Maasai have a wicked sense of humour, and teased Sambeke mercilessly for carrying a purple umbrella over my head when the sun was taking its toll on me! It was all very good-natured though. Visiting his aunt's boma in the late afternoon as the goats where being brought back from grazing was also a great time as all the kids were really playful.