The American Maasai

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1948 is remembered by some as the year of the summer Olympics in London and the winter Olympics in Switzerland. Others might remember it as the year United Nations set up World Health Organization or the year Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.

But near the flat topped Engitati hill in the world famous Ngorongoro Crater, 1948 was the year Clement Pariaso Rokonga was born.  Clement belongs to the Maasai Tribe and has lived in the Ngorongoro Conservancy Area for most of his life. He has lived quite an interesting life and in turn always makes for an interesting encounter for anyone visiting the crater. For one, as a young man, Clement met with a beautiful American Woman who was visiting Tanzania to conduct a study on baboon.  He says the connection was instant and he found himself moving to the United States with the love of his life, where they had a child together. Clement enjoyed an amazing year in America before moving back to his home in Tanzania.

While things did not work out with his American sweetheart, America sure did leave a big impression on Clement. With his perfect American accent, Clement enjoys sharing stories on his life’s journey and about the Crater with one and all. Though living within a small Maasai village in the NCA, he has become a hidden gem of the whole Conservancy – full of life, knowledge and stories for days.


The Ngorongoro crater is the world largest crater Located in Northern Tanzania just west of Arusha. Over 2.5 million years ago, the Crater was known as a volcanic mountain rumoured to be taller than Mount Kilimanjaro, making it the highest mountain in all of Africa. The collapse of the peak created the giant caldera, which is now inhabited by over 25,000 animals and 5 different types of landscapes. Within the Crater, one can find forests, plains, savannahs, lakes and hills.


The Ngorongoro Crater, in all its natural beauty and history, is a must-see destination in itself when staying at Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge. However, if given the opportunity to visit the Crater, meeting the one and only Clement – the ‘American’ Maasai – is an opportunity one would not want to miss. The best way to enjoy and learn about the Crater, getting the full experience, is through the eyes (and American accent) of Clement the Maasai.

Have you had the chance to meet Clement? share your story with us

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