Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Larkin, Sherrie N.


Kenya’s wildlife has long been considered an international treasure. Travelling to the renowned Masai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) to capture the ‘big five,’ those five large wild animals considered to be Africa’s greatest, with their camera lenses, visitors will also see or even meet local Maasai living and/or working in the area. Employing ethnographic methods this research examines three sites: the Enkang Oloirien Village Homestay, Olapa village and the main entrance to the MMNR where Maasai women sell souvenirs to explore Maasai perceptions and organization of cultural tourism. Responding to literature which considers benefits from tourism to accrue when hosts control cultural representation, this thesis reveals the incorporation of cultural tourism into daily life and how images and narratives with both Maasai and foreign origins are mixed, employed, manipulated and resisted at tourism sites, to achieve the central benefits of meeting basic needs, educating children, and supplementing and bolstering pastoral activities.