The Maasai people are a large pastoral community living along the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and Tanzania. While their exact origins are unknown, they are thought to be related to the Nilotes of the Nile region, and the Hamites of northern Africa. Historians believe that the Maasai migrated south from North Africa along the Nile into East Africa in the fifteenth century.
It is estimated that there are about 500,000 Maasai living in both Tanzania and Kenya, as accurate census figures are difficult to obtain. The Maasai occupy an area covering approximately 160,000 square kilometers, which is generally known as Maasailand. The Maasai homeland is divided into about 12 geographical sections, each of which has its own dialect, ceremonies and leadership.