Maasai Warriors

An Tanzanian Tribe


The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic warrior tribe inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known local populations due to their residence near the many game parks of the African Great Lakes, and their distinctive customs and dress. The Maasai speak Maa. They are also educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania.


Most Nilotes in the area, including the Maasai, are pastoralists and are famous for their fearsome reputations as warriors. The Maasai have adopted many customs and practices from the Cushitic groups, including the age set system of social organization, circumcision, and vocabulary terms.



Maasai society is strongly patriarchal in nature, with elder men, sometimes joined by retired elders, deciding most major matters for each Maasai group. A full body of oral law covers many aspects of behavior. Formal execution is unknown, and normally payment in cattle will settle matters. An out-of-court process is also practiced called 'amitu', 'to make peace', or 'arop', which involves a substantial apology. The Maasai are monotheistic, worshipping a single deity called Enkai or Engai. Engai has a dual nature: Engai Narok (Black God) is benevolent, and Engai Nanyokie (Red God) is vengeful. The central human figure in the Maasai religious system is the laibon. Whatever power an individual laibon had was a function of personality rather than position. Many Maasai have also adopted Christianity and Islam. The Maasai are known for their intricate jewelry.

Notable Maasai people

Edward Lowassa - Prime minister of Tanzania, from 2005 to 2008

Joseph Ole Lenku - Cabinet Secretary of Kenya for Interior and Coordination of National Government from 23 May 2012.

David Rudisha – Middle-distance runner, and 800-meter world record holder.

Edward Sokoine – former Prime Minister of Tanzania from 13 February 1977 to 7 November 1980 and again from 24 February 1983 to 12 April 1984.

Olekina Ledama - Founder; Maasai Education Discovery.

James Ole Kiyiapi- Previously served as an associate professor at Moi University and permanent secretary in the Ministries of Education and Local Government.

William Ole Ntimama - Politician.

Onesmo Ole-MoiYoi - a 2003 winner of the Kilby International Award, is the Chairman of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI).