The Kenyan coast and culture is a diverse mix of customs, traditions and beliefs. Kenya’s rich cultural heritage can be traced back to the Swahili civilization, which also gave birth to East Africa’s first writing. This blog will take you on a journey through some of the most well-known Kenyan cultures you must experience during your visit. From their vibrant artwork and traditional food to their spiritual rituals and practices, there are many things worth seeing while visiting Kenya. Let’s get exploring!
Kenya’s Swahili Settlements
The Swahili people are the first inhabitants of East Africa to have a writing system. They were also known for their rich traditions, culture, and trading skills. They introduced Islam to the region in the eighth century and today, you can find evidence of Swahili settlements all over Kenya. The oldest traditional settlements can be found in Lamu on the country’s northern coast. One such settlement is Shelly Beach, which was established in 1840 by Arab traders.
Today, many of these towns are well-preserved examples of Swahili architecture and design. You’ll find everything from mosques to souks that locals still use today. Lamu is one of Kenya’s most popular destinations for its unique architecture and lifestyle which is still very similar to centuries ago.
The Kenyan Coast
One of the most iconic Kenyan cultures is the coastal culture. The Kenyan Coast is one of the most diverse regions in Africa, with a mix of different ethnicities and languages. The coastal region is also home to many vibrant markets, exotic wildlife, mosques, churches and Hindu temples.
The Kenyan coast is a great place to start when exploring Kenya’s diverse cultures.
Early History of the Coast
The coast of Kenya was first inhabited by the Swahili people from the Horn of Africa. These people founded one of the world’s great civilizations, building cities and trading with Arabia, India, China and other parts of Africa. The Swahili language is still spoken in today’s Tanzania and coastal Kenya.
Kenya’s ancient history can be traced to East African coast when Arab traders landed on the shores in the 7th century AD. They found a well-established civilization with diverse cultural practices and traditions. What is now called Kenya was part of a larger trade network that connected Africa to the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
African Culture in Mombasa
The coastal city of Mombasa is a popular tourist destination and is home to many Arab traders and merchants. The city’s Arab heritage can be seen in the architecture, food, dress, and language. This influence can be traced back to the 9th century when Persian and Arab traders landed on the coast of what is now modern-day Kenya.
Mombasa is also home to a number of Hindu temples. These colorful temples are dedicated to Indian gods and goddesses. The statues are often brightly decorated with gold paint or flower garlands that are given by locals as offerings. One such temple is Swami Rock Temple which offers magnificent views of the surrounding area from its outcropping on a rocky island.
The coastal town of Diani has become popular among tourists for its beaches and resorts. The popularity of these beaches has increased in recent years due to their beauty as well as their being free from malaria-carrying mosquitoes. However, they have begun attracting more visitors than locals due to high influxes of foreign tourists who are driving up prices in this once affordable area.
The Northern Frontier
The Northern Frontier is the most culturally and ethnically diverse region in Kenya. It borders Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti and is separated from the rest of Kenya by Lake Turkana. This region has seen many different ethnic groups over the centuries, including Oromo, Somali and Beja.
Kenya’s North-Eastern province, which borders Somalia and Ethiopia has a very different culture to the rest of Kenya. The people there are predominantly Somali in ethnicity with some Arab ancestry and their customs reflect this background.
Southern Kilimanjaro and Amboseli National Parks
One of the best ways to explore Kenya’s diverse wildlife is at the Southern Kilimanjaro and Amboseli National Parks. The two parks are home to an assortment of Kenyan wildlife, including the Masai giraffe, Rothschild giraffe, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, buffalo, warthog and zebra. You can also spot primates like the baboons and vervet monkeys.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve
The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is a global destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The reserve is home to many indigenous animals including the endangered African lion and black rhinoceros. What makes the Maasai Mara so popular? The spectacular scenery of the region. This includes red rock outcroppings and grasslands mixed with forested areas full of trees like acacia, camel thorn, baobab and sycamore fig.
Visitors have the opportunity to experience a safari adventure with one of Kenya’s top game viewing companies or take a self-drive tour of the area. If you’re interested in experiencing life as a local, you can also stay at one of the lodges in the area, which provide an authentic Kenyan experience.
If you want to see all that this magnificent region has to offer, then make sure you visit it during your trip!
Nairobi’s Diverse Communities
Nairobi is the most populous city in Kenya, and a major economic hub. Nairobi is home to many communities, including the Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, and Kisii. These cultures live side by side with each other and share unique customs. For example, the Luo people celebrate their rituals of passage from birth to death in different ways than the Kikuyu or Kamba.
Places to Visit in Nairobi
Nairobi is a bustling city alive with cultural diversity. There are a number of different districts in Nairobi that house a variety of cultures and customs.
Here are some of the most popular places to visit when you’re in Nairobi:
- The National Museum – This museum is home to one of the largest collections in East Africa.The Nairobi Museum – Located on Museum Hill, this museum
- was founded by Louis Leakey and showcases Kenya’s archaeological history and natural history.Ngong Hills – Located near Nairobi, these hills offer
- spectacular views of the city below with an unmatched sense of elevation, nature and peace.Uhuru Park – Located at the heart of downtown Nairobi, this
- park is the site where Kenya gained independence from British rule on December 12th, 1963.
Kenya is a diverse country, with many different cultures and places to visit. The following are some of the most popular and interesting places in Kenya that make it a worthwhile destination for travelers.