Prepare to feel at home in Kenya, where the hospitality is as warm as its weather. Kenya has a fascinating culture: it’s one of the most diverse African countries, both culturally and linguistically. More than 42 tribes reside here with 70 different ethnic groups including large populations of Europeans, Arabs, Indians and Pakistanis, many of whom came here in the 19th century. Kenya’s culture reveals this vibrant mix of influences – its popular music, for example, often blends African, Indian, European and American styles. Listen to Benga while you’re here: this upbeat pop music combines traditional African drum and dance rhythms with modern electronic sounds and melodies.
While, Kenya’s largest ethnic group is the Bantu, by far the most famous are the Maasai and their colourful warriors. Further north, the equally colourful Samburu people hold strong on their traditions while the dominant tribe, the Swahili, are found in the coastal region. The country has a colourful history, once being a British colony and you will find various museums and places of historical interest in the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa.
Want to get involved in authentic experiences? Many lodges and camps have links to the local community through social and wildlife projects. This could include visiting a local school, village or even going out on patrol with rangers to learn how they protect the wildlife in the parks. You might even be lucky enough to take part in important ceremonies such as a Maasai blessing ceremony, or watch a traditional dance performance. Don’t forget that each year Loiyangalani, a small town on Lake Turkana, comes to life during the annual Lake Turkana Festival. The three-day carnival is a celebration of the rich cultures of the El Molo, Samburu, Gabbra, Rendile, Watta, Dasannach and the Turkana who live around the lake, also known as the Jade Sea.
Food is an important part of Kenyan hospitality, and further proof of the country’s rich cultural mix. Local dishes to try here include snacks such as roasted maize (sometimes served with chilli lime salt), samosas, mutura (Kenyan sausage) and mandazi (breakfast doughnuts), plus more substantial specialties such as nyama choma (roast meat) and Kenyan stew. Caffeine-fans are in luck: Kenya’s coffee beans are world-famous for good reason; tea is also very popular, traditionally brewed dark, mixed with lashings of whole-fat milk, and sweetened with a generous dose of sugar. The perfect fuel for adventures…