Visiting a Traditional Maasai Village in Kenya

One of the things that we were hoping to do during our safari in Tanzania and Kenya was to visit an authentic Maasai village. Due to COVID restrictions, we weren’t sure whether it was going to take place, but we were pleased that we were able to do it before leaving Maasai Mara to head to Lake Naivasha. The fee that you pay to visit the village goes to help with the costs of education and other needs that the village might have. There is also the opportunity to buy handmade items from the people of the village, but it is not required.

Demonstrating the Horn
Women Greeting Us
Warriors Dancing Around Us

Our visit started with our Maasai guide, one of the son’s of the chief, telling us about the people of the village and about their daily lives. There was a demonstration of how they used the horn of an antelope to use for communication as well as to make music. Afterwards, several of the men gathered to perform a ritual warrior dance where they would jump as high as possible to prove their bravery. Of course, the men were encouraged to participate, so we did the best that we could, but definitely could not jump as high as the Maasai. Before entering the village, the women gathered to do a welcome dance and song for us and again the women were encouraged to participate.

Warriors About to Start Jumping
Joining in on the Warrior Dance
The Maasai Definitely Jumped Higher

Once inside the village, we saw many different villagers, including some of the youngest Maasai boys and girls. We were taken inside a traditional Maasai home and learned about how they were made from mud, straw, and cow dung. The rooms of the homes are small, but there is a living area, bedroom, and even a guest bedroom to welcome guests and family members. Once the children of the house reach a certain age, they move out of the house to stay with other family members.

Women Doing the Welcome Dance
Making Fire
Inside of the Village

The Maasai men are not monogamous and we learned that the chief of this particular village had twelve wives. The men with multiple wives were not to spend more than a single night with the same woman before staying with another wife. Most wives are chosen for the men and the dowry is always the same number of cows and goats that must be paid to the parents of the man. If a man wants to choose his own wife, he must pay his parents cows and goats in order to do so. Our guide had a single wife that he chose himself, laughing with us that having more than one wife would be too much trouble.

Inside of the House
Typical Maasai Home
Cute and Adorable Maasai Children

We were then shown how they could start a fire with a stick, flat piece of wood, and a knife. They are so skilled at making fire this way that they can get some of the grass to start on fire in less than a minute. After watching the men making the fire, we continued on to the market area where the villagers had a variety of artwork, jewelry, and other items for sale. Even though we knew that we weren’t obligated to buy anything, we did buy a couple of items in order to reflect back on the experience in the future. Prices are not set and they make you an offer and a slight amount of negotiating is expected, but not to the point of being insulting to them.

Woman with a Child
Making the Fire
Warrior with Knife

We have been to several different traditional villages throughout our travels and we find each of these experiences to be very special and rewarding. We believe that learning about the culture and history of a place is part of one of the most important aspects to travel. Visiting the traditional Maasai village was certainly one of the highlights of our time in Kenya and Tanzania, just as we’d hoped that it would be.

Another View Inside the House
Items for Sale
The Maasai are Very Tall
Village Market
Warrior with Headdress
Looking for a Souvenir

Fresh Seafood Paella with Clams, Mussels, and Shrimp

Like many people, we really enjoy paella because it is versatile and not particularly complicated to make. Obviously we associate paella the time that we spent in Spain, but we’ve also had it in resorts in Mexico as well as the Caribbean. The key to making seafood paella is making sure that you are using the freshest seafood possible. We actually had the clams and mussels shipped to us from a company called Maine Lobster Now, which is also where we got our fresh lobster from last year for our anniversary when we were all in lockdown. The other key is using short-grain rice such as Bomba or Calasparra. Fortunately, in these days those are also available online if not in a store near you. Even though it is a simple dish to make and very rustic, it is perfect for a gathering where you can simply put the paella in the center of the table and let people serve themselves. Although we limited it to seafood, you can definitely add chicken thighs to make the dish even more hearty. It is quite common to add peas to a paella, but we have a food allergy in our family, so we did not add them. We made a slightly smaller batch that would serve 3 to 4 people, but it is easy to increase it to serve for a crowd.

Seafood Paella Ingredients


  • 6 to 8 Live Clams – scrubbed and cleaned
  • 8 to 10 Live Mussels – scrubbed, cleaned, and debearded
  • 8 to 10 Large Shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup Bomba Rice
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion – finely diced
  • 1 Small Clove of Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper – cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup Tomato Purée
  • 2 3/4 cups Chicken Stock – preferably homemade
  • 1/4 tsp Saffron
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Green Onion for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Seafood and Bomba Rice


Add the olive oil to a large cast-iron skillet (or a paella pan if you have one, but it isn’t necessary) and heat the oil to medium-high heat. Add the onion and simmer for 2 minutes and then add the garlic to the oil and simmer for and addition 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato purée and simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes and the liquid has reduced. Add the chicken stock, saffron, paprika, salt and pepper, and turn the heat to high in order to bring the liquid to a boil. Evenly distribute the rice around the pan and cook the rice for 10 minutes. Place the clams, mussels, and shrimp into the pan, being sure that the seafood doesn’t touch one another, and press them down into the rice and liquid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. At this point some of the clams and mussels might have opened. Add the red pepper to the pan and cover (if all of the liquid has absorbed, add a little more stock) and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, checking every few minutes, until all of the clams and mussels have opened. If any of the clams or mussels don’t open, discard them, but if your seafood is really fresh, there shouldn’t be too many that don’t open. Garnish with the green onion and serve.

The Finished Paella

Traditional Clothing of South America

Traveling around the countryside and markets of Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, we have had the opportunity to see many of the local people wearing traditional garments. Many of the people are Quechua who are famous for wearing the bowler hats, but you will find people wearing various different styles of hats and garments depending on the area where the people live.

Traditional Bowler Hat
Standing Outside the Visitor Center of Incallajta in Bolivia
Colorful Clothing in Lima, Peru
Woman Drying Coca Leaves

From what we understand, the style of dress of the indigenous people is based on the period of time when the countries were under Spanish control and the people were required to wear European clothes. It has been adapted over time, and some are more colorful than others, but there are similarities across all of them. Although you will find people wearing the traditional outfits in the markets visited by tourists, people wear them in the countryside and are they do not just wear them for the people who visit the country.

Sitting in the Doorway of Her Home
Peruvian Woman
Women from Cochabamba
On the Side of the Road in Ecuador

When you consider how much time the people spend in the sun in the altitudes of the Andes mountains, there is a lot of practicality to what they wear as well. We try not to offend anyone by taking their pictures, so we try to catch them in candid moments.

Waiting for the Bus
Heading Home from the Fields in Bolivia
On the Islands of Lake Titicaca