The Maasai are an indigenous African ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa, they are among the most well-known African ethnic groups internationally. The Maasai maintain many of their cultural traditions while engaging contemporary regional and global economic, social, and political forces. They speak Maa. As of 2007, the Maasai population in Kenya was estimated to be 650,000 while the Tanzanian Maasai population was estimated at 646,000 yielding an estimated Maasai population of 1,296,000. Estimates of the respective Maasai populations in both countries is complicated by their nomadic nature and their being the only ethnic group allowed free travel over the Kenyan-Tanzanian border.
Maasai always wear red, with a simple blue cloth underneath. Many Maasai in Tanzania wear simple sandals, sometimes soled with pieces of motorcycle tires. Both men and women wear wooden bracelets. The Maasai women regularly weave and bead jewelry. This bead work plays an essential part in the ornamentation of their body.