Across Maasai Land Initiative: In Joseph Thomson’s Footsteps



By Ezekiel Ole Katato

Joseph Thomson, the 19th century explorer and first white man to cross Maasai Land on a caravan in 1883 and came out alive, was a pioneer reporter who wrote about the “Dark Continent of Africa” – so named because no body knew anything about it save that it was full of savage tribes and wild animals.

Thomson could not enter into Maasai territory in his first attempt but he was granted entry in his second attempt after consultations between the two famous loibons or Maasai medicine men. He entered into Maasai land from the Kisosnko Maasai cluster in Loitokitok and went through six other Maasai clusters: Matapato, Dalalekutuk, Ildamat, Iloodokilani and Keekonyokie. Thomson arrived at Ilbissil on August 30th, 1883. He reached the Suree waterfalls on September 1st, 1883 through a gorge and later entered Ngong (present-day Kajiado North district) on September 10th, 1883.

The Suree waterfalls, where Joseph Thomson arrived on September 1st, 1883.

In his book, Through Masai Land, Thomson writes, “On 30th of August, we reached Becil [currently spelt Ilbissil], and camped near a low range of hills beyond which we could see the Ulu Mountains some distance off… Before we camped, I saw a fight between two Rhinos who attacked each other in the manner of bulls.

via Across Maasai Land Initiative: In Joseph Thomson’s Footsteps | Your Travel Choice Blog.