by Stuart Butler
Shot in: Kenya & Tanzania
Standing erect against the setting savannah sun, spear in one hand, red shuka (robe) fluttering in the warm breeze, precious cattle in the foreground and a giraffe in the background, the Maasai (sometimes, incorrectly, spelled Masai) are as much a totem of the East African landscape as Mt Kilimanjaro and a herd of elephant. But, despite playing a bit part in a thousand tourist safaris, how much do most of us really know about Africa’s most famous tribal group and what the future may hold for them? Click through this photo essay - and scroll over the images for captions - to scratch beneath the stereoptype.
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Stuart Butler travels frequently in East Africa, often spending time in Maasai communities. In 2015 Stuart and Maasai friends, Josphat Mako and Patrick Koyati, trekked across some of Kenya’s Maasai lands over five weeks, staying in Maasai villages and walking through the conservation areas. The aim of Stuart’s Walking With The Maasai project (www.walkingwiththemaasai.com) was to find out all he could about contemporary Maasai life, and how the culture is changing. He is currently looking for a publisher for the book he is working on that's based on this trip, called Once We Were Lions.