TWALA CULTURAL MANYATTA


Twala Cultural Manyatta provides guided ecotours, Maasai cultural experiences, and affordable accommodations. The Manyatta was initiated by local Maasai women to provide a unique and authentic experience for visitors while fostering respect and understanding of the local environment and culture. It is located in the stunning wildlife-filled Laikipia plateau, near Mt. Kenya.


To make reservations or for more information, please contact
Rosemary Putinoi at
254 72950049.

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Visit

ACCOMMODATIONS

Visit for a day or stay in a traditional Maasai hut in the Manyatta. Individuals or groups of up to 20 can be accommodated. Huts are self-catering. Food can be provided with advance notification. Teas and coffees also available. Traditional goat roast can be arranged. Water, bedding, lamps and firewood are provided.

PRICE ESTIMATES

Admittance Rate
1,500 KSH/PAX per person

Accommodation Rate
2,000 KSH/PAX per night to stay in the cottages

Local Guide Rate
500 KSH/PAX per day

RESERVATIONS

For information on rates and to make reservations, contact:

Rosemary Putinoi
254 72950049.


Activities

The Manyatta offers many activities, including the opportunity to watch and participate in traditional Maasai dances and songs, learn about daily activities and Maasai enterprises (cattle, bee keeping, beading, aloe, and opuntia), enjoy Maasai songs and stories, visit the breathtaking nearby Mukogodo Forest, or embark on a bird watching tour led by a local guide. Below are some additional unique opportunities offered to Manyatta visitors.

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WALKING WITH CATTLE

The Maasai way of life revolves around their cattle. Livestock pastoralism has been an important adaptation to the savanna environment. “Walking with Cattle” allows visitors to learn about Maasai cows, traditional herding techniques, and Maasai culture. This is a hands-on experience, and you’ll have the opportunity to apply the techniques you learn to control the herd! This is an experience of a lifetime, and one of the highlights of the Manyatta visit.

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WALKING WITH BABOONS

Take a guided walk among a troop of local baboons and learn about these amazing primates. Gorillas are big and impressive but mostly sit around. By contrast, a baboon troop is filled with active and smart monkeys who practice sophisticated politics in their daily lives. Come find out what happens when smart baboons meet their smart human cousins! It is truly a unique and exciting experience. Walks can be arranged to start as early as dawn (6:30 a.m.) or as late as 4 p.m.

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TOURING THE LANDSCAPE

The landscape tells the story of how cattle, people and wildlife have interacted using the same savannah resources. Putting on “landscape glasses” allows you to see the ways in which each member of the human/wildlife community shapes the world for the others, sometimes helping and sometimes hindering the success of other species. Tours can start in the early morning or the late afternoon to avoid the midday heat. Tours generally last one hour.

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BRACELETS FOR GIRLS SECONDARY EDUCATION

Twala women make beautiful beaded bracelets to enhance their income and support girls to complete their education. The bracelets are being sold in middle schools in Michigan to raise funds to build the Girls’ Boarding Block at Il Polei Secondary School. The Il Polei School supports girls to complete their education, avoid early marriage and even allows girls to return to school after they are pregnant. These young mothers have become the stars of their classes earning A’s and A+ in their exams!

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opuntia

OPUNTIA SYRUP

Opuntia stricta is a New World cactus belonging to the large group of “prickly pear” species. It is used as a barrier fence and in some parts of the world as livestock fodder and even eaten as a fruit by people. A number of opuntia species were introduced into Kenya in the 1950’s including in Mukogodo near the village of Doldol. The cactus was not a problem until the late 1990’s when rapid deterioration of the rangelands created a perfect opportunity for invasion. Now it stricta is invading at 2 km per year.

However, the local women working with the Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project (UNBP) and African Conservation Centre (ACC) have found another use for the invader. They are making syrup from the fruit to consume in a variety of ways: from a “mixer” in fancy cocktails served at tourist lodges (Drunken Monkey and Twala Sunset) to a healthy “chai” (tea). These products are currently being market tested.

This type of prickly pear fruit is high in vital minerals and vitamins, high in anti-oxidants and high in “good” sugars. The Department of Nutritional Studies at the University of Nairobi, working with ACC also suggested other uses such as adding to porridge to improve its quality, blending with other juices particularly Aloe vera, making fodder for livestock from both the pads and waste seeds and even extracting oil from the seeds that are refuse from the syrup making.

The opuntia project brings value to the local community in two ways. It provides a rare source of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet when it is consumed as tea or in porridge. It also has the potential to produce a new source of income when the syrup is marketed commercially in Kenya. With this in mind, ACC plans to do a marketing survey and build a small processing plant.

Photos courtesy Jen Douthwaite, Shirley Strum, and David Western

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