A trip to Kenya is about more than just wildlife or scenery- the real face of our country is found among the combined faces of Kenya’s many cultures. It is the people who bring the destination to life, each of our landscapes has a different cultural significance to a different community, and the wildlife has long been an essential part of our traditional cultures.
With 42 distinct cultures, countless languages and dialects, Kenya is one of the most richly diverse social mosaic on earth. Kenya’s heritage stretches back longer than most, and the depth of our history can be seen in the three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kenya. At Koobi Fora, some of the earliest evidence of human habitation on earth has been found, while the streets of Lamu echo with the history of centuries of sea trade, and Mt Kenya is a biosphere reserve that combines respect for a traditional symbol of creation and the need to conserve our environment for the future.
A cultural expedition through Kenya offer a unique cultural mosaic as old as creation. Meet the Swahili sailors of the coast, visit the thorn-enclosed villages of the Maasai in the South, walk alongside Samburu warriors in the Northern wilderness, or fish with the Luo, master fisherman of Lake Victoria in the West. Anywhere you travel in Kenya, you will find new and fascinating cultures, and cultural events.
From the annual Maulidi celebrations in Lamu to the bullfights of Kakamega, the Maasai Eunoto to the Mombasa cultural carnival, there are enough festivals, events and ceremonies to fill a calendar and ensure that there is always something new and exciting to experience, anywhere, anytime.
ART AND CRAFT
Kenya is gaining worldwide reputation for it contemporary African Art. Different ethnic groups craft their art and artifacts manually, using readily available local materials. Beautifully carved wood sculptures showing exquisite detail and craftsmanship are produced in large quantities and sold to tourists both locally and abroad
Other popular Kenya artifacts include colorful hand-woven sisal baskets, Maasai beaded jewellery, gold and silver jewelry, musical instruments, soapstone sculptures, tribal masks, figurines, paintings, prints, batik cloth, kangas and the beautiful traditional Kikoys (African sarongs).
The beadwork jewellery of the Maasai is particularly popular for their traditional designs. Beadwork applies also in belts, dresses, sandals and key rings. Each community has its own beadwork which has a cultural meaning and significance.
The intricate basketry exhibit regional variations and traditional styles, from the kiondo sisal basket of the Kikuyu to the flat woven basket of the Turkana.
The Kamba specialize in wooden carvings while the soapstone carvers of Kisii produce fine ornaments ranging from chess sets, plates and ashtrays. Other crafts include banana fibre picture batiks, metalwork, malachite ornaments and jewellery.