Maasai Camel safari
In the early 90's, a Tanzanian of Somalian origin brought 20 camels from Somalia to Tanzania to offer camel riding as a tourist activity. However, he did not officially register his business and after a while, the Tanzanian tax authorities were after him. As a consequence, he fled the country and left the camels behind.
The Tanzanian tax authorities integrated the camels into a national poverty-reduction program that had already been running for a couple of years. The program provides deprived families with a cow or a goat, who in exchange have to give the first offspring of the animal to another poor family. Thus the camels multiplied and became part of the local livestock. Today they are mostly used as means of transport and to carry loads, together with local donkeys. The Tanzanian climate does not seem to be a problem for the animals; they are in best health and able to breed. There are approximately 400 camels in Tanzania today, all going back to the 20 original Somalian camels.
In 2005, an Italian NGO together with Maasai people of the „Mkuru“ area revived camel-riding as tourist offer. The project is now entirely run by Maasai people, supported by the „Tanzania Cultural Tourism Programme“ that was initiated by the Tanzania Tourist Board.
The „Mkuru Camel Group“ (MCG), consisting of 16 Maasai, owns approximately 20 camels, including young animals and their mothers that are not used for riding. A ride may range from half a day to 7-day-trips and various routes are offered to explore northern Tanzania. The community project aims at improving the living standards of local Maasai people by sustainable tourism, while at the same time sensitising tourists for the Maasai culture. The community fee, which is already included in the tour price, is used for the construction of a new primary school, scholarships for secondary education of Maasai children, and various improvements of the local living conditions.
Mkuru is the usual starting point of the camel riding safaris. Mkuru is located north of Mount Meru and Arusha national park in the middle of Maasailand and quite difficult to access. There, the MCG additionally run a tent camp and offer overnight stays.
At a multiple-day safari, you are going to sleep in a tent that is being set up by the Maasai. All meals are going to be cooked by the Maasai. A visit of a traditional Maasai-Boma is included in every camel safari.
The following options are available:
One day camel riding safari
Starting from Mkuru, you are going to ride on the back of your camel through the beautiful savannah to a cave, which is populated by over 300 baboons every night. The cave is further a specific place of worship for the Maasai: „Orpul“, a healing ritual with the essential consumption of meat to strengthen body and mind, is regularly held at this place. On the way there you are going to see a dam from German colonial times.
Minimum number of participants: 2, maximum number: 15
2 days /one night camel riding safari
This option covers the same riding area of the day trip, but offers a longer route. We are going to stay one night in the bush.
3 days / 2 nights camel riding safari
This trip offers two different route options. You can either choose to ride from Mkuru along the northern side of Mount Meru to „Ngare Nairobi“, which is a traditional Maasai village with an exceptional view on Mount Kilimanjaro, or you choose the route along the „Longido Mountain“ to „Longido“ village. Both options include overnight stays in tents, set up by the Maasai. You are certainly going to witness wild African animals on your way, such as antelopes, zebras, giraffes, ostriches and various birds.
5 days / 4-nights camel riding safari
This route, starting at Kitumbaine, leads you and your camel through wide plains of the Maasailand between Gelai and the mountains of Ketumbainei and ends at the Ngorongoro Conservation area. The region is populated by a wide variety of wild African animals. You are going to sleep in a mobile tent in the middle of the bush, listening to the laughter of hyenas during the night. Over the day, you may meet curious gazelles, zebras and antelopes. At evenings you are going to sit at a campfire under the endless African night sky, listening to the inspiring sounds of the lively savannah. At the fifth day of the trip, we are going to arrive at „Oldonyo Lengai“, the legendary vulcano of the Maasai god „Lengai“, situated close to the Natron lake.
7 days / 6 nights camel riding safari
Loose your sense of time and discover a magical world full of beauty and wonder. The 7 day safari leads you through the wide plains around the mountains of Ketumbainei and Lengai to the Natron lake that is uniquely coloured by millions of pink flamingos. The last three days, we are being guided by the holy Oldoinyo Lengai vulcano that rises imposingly above the savannah.
The minimum number of participants for all multiple day safaris: 2, maximum: 6.
The Maasai additionally offer hiking trips, the visit of a traditional Maasai healer and bush dinner.
Rates (All rates per person):
1 Day camel safari:
1 Person 160 €
2 Persons 105 €
3 Persons 80 €
4 Persons 70 €
5 Persons 65 €
6+ Persons 55 €
2 Days camel safari:
2 Persons 280 €
3 Persons 250 €
4 Persons 210 €
5 Persons 205 €
6 Persons 195 €
3 Days camel safari:
2 Persons 430 €
3 Persons 400 €
4 Persons 355 €
5 Persons 345 €
6 Persons 335 €
5 Days camel safari:
2 Persons 800 €
3 Persons 760 €
4 Persons 600 €
5 Persons 585 €
6 Persons 580 €
7 Days camel safari:
2 Persons 1030 €
3 Persons 940 €
4 Persons 760 €
5 Persons 700 €
6 Persons 680 €
* Return transfers from Moshi or Arusha to the starting and end point of the camel riding safari
* Guide (Maasai and Meru)
* camels for client riding, staff and luggage
* all activities as mentioned in the tour description
* for multiple day safaris: lodging in mobile tents, full board including beverages such as water, tea and coffee
* Community Development fee
The meals are a combination of Tanzanian and western food. If desired, a goat can be slaughtered for barbecue (traditional meal of Maasai people).
* Travel to Arusha or Moshi
* Softdrinks and beer
children: 0-5 years no charge, 6-12 years a 50 % of adult rate, 12+ years full rate
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