Wilder by Far and wild logo

The Maasai Olympics - hunting for medals instead of lions

A new tradition has begun in Kenya...



European Sales & Marketing Manager at Great Plains Conservation
Published on

20 Sept 2018

Updated on

17 Nov 2020

Runners At The Maasai Olympics

For centuries young Masai men entering warrior-hood would hunt lions as a rite of passage to demonstrate their strength and bravery, and to attract females. However, Kenya’s lion population is in rapid decline with fewer than 2,000 individuals left. If trends continue they face extinction in the next two decades.

Maasai Olympics In Kenya
Arriving at the Olympics
Preparing For The Races
Preparing for the games
Warriors At The Maasai Olympics
Warriors at the Olympics

Maasai Elders (menya layiok) realised that this traditional practice was no longer viable and came up with a history-changing solution to divert the attention of young warriors away from lion killing; an organised Maasai sports competition based upon traditional warrior skills.

Maasai Runners
Maasai runners

The sports programme includes six events:

  1. 200m sprint
  2. 800m sprint
  3. 5K run
  4. Spear throwing
  5. Rungu throwing (Maasai herder’s wooden weapon)
  6. High jumping (vertical jump, Maasai warrior-style),

The high jump is the climatic event that is likely to determine the winning team.

Racing At The Maasai Olympics
Race time
The Winners Podium At The Maasai Olympics
The winners podium

There are three levels of competition (local, regional, and ecosystem-wide) that culminate in the Maasai Olympics, which will be held for the fourth time at the end of 2018 in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. Guests of Great Plains Conservation have the opportunity to stay at ol Donyo Lodge and attend the events, which will be held in December 2018.

Ol Donyo Lodge Kenya Aerial View
Aerial view of Ol Donyo Lodge
Sleeping Under The Stars At Ol Donyo Lodge
Sleeping under the stars
Swimming Pool View At Ol Donyo Lodge
Ol Donyo pool

The event continues to be a huge success. In fact, a 2016 survey found that 87-93% of Maasai Warriors surveyed felt that the Maasai Olympics had made them less interested in killing a lion. The full glory of this event and its significance is captured in Tribe vs. Pride, an award-winning film by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Great Plains Conservation founders.

If you would like to support the Maasai people and their innovative solution to conservation, you can donate here (by selecting "Community Projects: Maasai Olympics".

For more holiday inspiration, take a look at our 26 favourite safari holidays, our best African honeymoon ideas or our top family safari holidays.

If you'd like help planning a Kenya safari, call our experts on 01768 603 715 or fill in our enquiry form.

  • Richard


    African Specalist

  • Alistair


    Africa Specialist

  • Ali


    Africa Specialist

Call an expert on

01768 603 715

Far & Wild Customer Reviews

See what our customers have to day about us...
Read all reviews

It was SO NICE to have someone else do it for me.

Cathy travelled to Tanzania and Zanzibar in December 2023 on a trip organised by Alistair.

100% value for money

Adam travelled to Kenya in January 2024 on a trip organised by Ruth.

Adventure of a Lifetime in Kenya

Maria travelled to Masai Mara Safari in October 2023 on a trip organised by Ben.

A dream to visit Mum's birth place!

Christine travelled to St Helena Holidays and South Africa in December 2023 on a trip organised by .

I've already recommended Far and Wild to a couple of friends

Paula travelled to South Africa in December 2023 on a trip organised by Alistair.

I didn't realise my high expectations could be so easily exceeded

Hannah and Elaine travelled to Kenya in November 2023 on a trip organised by .

Plan with an expert Plan with an expert

Have a look at our original holiday experiences and then contact us with your brief, or call 01768 603 715

A tailor-made itinerary just for you A tailor-made itinerary just for you

Our experts will send you a detailed holiday itinerary specified to your desires. It's our service promise to you.

Value guarantee Value guarantee

Tailor-made doesn't mean expensive! Ask about our price promise and book with financial security.