Cultural Tourism in Kenya
Cultural Tourism in Kenya: Travelling has always been about discovery, and it is through visiting other countries that we learn about the world. Tourism is not just a financial exchange; it is about the exchange of experience and learning about new places, faces and people. The best way to understand another culture is to experience it firsthand, and this is the true value of the tourist trade. Kenya is no different.
While many tourists visit Kenya to experience our famous wildlife or beaches, for many more the local culture makes their stay special. Exit polls among departing guests at airports show one common compliment — an overwhelming vote of thanks for the warmth and welcoming spirit of the Kenyan people.
A trip to Kenya is about more than just wildlife or scenery — the real face of Kenya is found among the combined faces of many cultures. It is the people who bring the destination to life-each landscape has a different cultural significance to a different community, and the wildlife has long been an essential part of traditional culture.
Kenya has 42 cultures, countless languages and dialects and one of the most mostly diverse social tapestries on earth. The heritage stretches back longer than most, and the depth of history can be seen at 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, while Mt Kenya is a biosphere reserve that combines the respect for a traditional symbol of creation and the need to conserve our environment for the future.
Many opportunities are available to travel through Kenya is to experience a unique cultural mosaic as old 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 fishermen of Lake Victoria, in the west. Anywhere you travel in Kenya, you find new and fascinating cultures, and cultural events.
From the annual Malindi celebrations in Lamu and the bullfights of Kakamega to the Mombasa 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. Bull-fighting is a recent tourist attraction in western Kenya and is unique to the country. The event lakes place early in the morning and those who attend have the opportunity to visit the Kakamega Forest, and see the ‘Crying Stone.
But there is a greater value in cultural tourism. At a time when racial and religious conflicts threaten the world, it is only through a better understanding of human cultures and beliefs that the global community will come together and achieve lasting peace.
Cultural Tourism in Kenya – Culture & Heritage
Make Kenya your next cultural tour destination. Kenya is home to 42 different, unique cultures. Also inhabited by Europeans, Asians, Indians and nationalities from different parts of the world, the different cultures that have come together in Kenya form our identity. You could choose to stay in the villages and experience untainted traditional ways of life or experience urban culture in Kenya’s cities, where the fast life is never fast enough.
Cultural Tourism in Kenya – Urban Culture
Cultural Tourism in Kenya: Fashion – Nairobi Fashion Market
The Nairobi Fashion Market is an outdoor shopping event that brings together over 100 fashion designers, retailers and buyers. This is usually a platform to showcase latest trends of clothing, bags, jewelry, accessories, make up, hair and beauty products, homes and other products. On a weekend in Nairobi, this market gives you the opportunity to shop for good quality products, as you sample what’s trending in the Kenyan fashion scene as you enjoy the sights sounds and beautiful people of Nairobi. Everything is displayed with that perfect touch of class because there is a story behind it.
With security being ensured, the Nairobi Fashion Market presents the absolute opportunity to get away from the wild, the beaches and out of your hotel room to feel the city of Nairobi and the warmth of its people in the market. You are sure to get entertained by good music too. The fashion sense of Nairobi is authentic and speaks only for itself so come and buy something and compare with the fashion market at home.
Cultural Tourism in Kenya: Maasai Market
Slightly similar to the Nairobi Fashion Market is the Maasai Market. For the ultimate breath of culture and color, the Maasai Market gives you the opportunity to buy authentic African art, hand- crafted beaded jewelry and clothing as souvenirs, gifts, best gun safes, and even decorating material you could use for your home back in your country. At very affordable prices, you can purchase as many products as possible and at the same time promote local handicraft businesses.
As seen below, the venue for the open air Maasai Market keeps of changing with the days of the week so feel free to find a day and come spoil yourself.
|Day of the week||Location|
|Tuesday||Off Kijabe Street, near Text Book Center
Prestige Plaza, 1st floor Rooftop Parking,
|Wednesday||Capital Center, Mombasa Road|
|Thursday||The Junction, 3rd floor parking, Ngong Road|
|Friday||Village Market, Limuru Road
Galleria Shopping mall, junction of Langata road and Magadi road
|Saturday||Nairobi Law Courts Parking, City Center
Adams’ Arcade, Ngong road
|Sunday||Law Courts Parking, City Center
Safari Park Hotel, Thika Road
Yaya Center, Argwings Kodhek Road
Adams Arcade, Ngong road
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Cultural Tourism in Kenya: Coffee dens
Taking coffee is one of the oldest activities that perfectly connects itself to social activity across many cultures of the world. And Kenya is not to be left behind. Since 1950, international coffee shops have been set up in different parts of Kenya, roasting different types of coffee for its local and international coffee lovers. Over time, in Kenya, coffee dens have slowly become great joints for friends, family, expatriates and corporates to meet and interact over a cup of their favorite coffee.
Modernity has set in and coffee shops have upped the social activity with technology. To add to the serene, stylish décor, relaxing music in the backgrounds, coffee shops in Kenya now have free Wi-Fi that you can use to communicate with friends and family at home as you dine in home grown coffee.
Cultural Tourism in Kenya: Blankets and Wine
It’s hip. It’s urban like cross tattoos. Most importantly it’s Afrocentric in our unique Kenyan style. It’s the Blankets and Wine music experience. This is one of the most amazing, laid back experiences you could have that will bring the Nairobi urban culture closer to your heart. Held every first Sunday of the month at the Carnivore grounds, locals and tourists come together, spread Maasai shukas, wrap themselves with kikois, and carry a picnic chair and basket and most importantly wine to an experience of different genres of Afrocentric music. Afro-based fusion musicians from different countries of African come together to create your ultimate African music as you crown it with excellent food, drinks and nyama choma.
A Nairobi lifestyle experience it may appear, the Blankets and Wine music festival is the perfect way to end a weekend on the first Sunday of the month.
Cultural Tourism in Kenya: Visual arts
Get a feel of the real Kenyan culture, history, modernity, evolution and family life as reflected in the visual arts. Over the years, young Kenyans have invested in awesome theatrical performances and films that showcase the everyday life of a Kenyan, excellent photographic and artwork exhibitions are on display in different cultural centers in the major cities. Exceptional displays of creativity such as spoken word story telling festivals, poetry and paintings bring the picture of Kenya to large audiences.
Visual arts lovers need to get closer to Kenya’s massively talented artists and discover a reflection of the real Kenya, because the real Africa is as reflected by the real Kenya.
Visual arts is not only in the organized environment of a photographic exhibition but out on the streets of Nairobi, art displays in the most fantastic ways. If get the chance to take a leisure walk down the streets of major cities in Kenya you could come across excellent displays of graffiti art done by the daring and creative minds of young artists. As strongly opinionative as they will appear, the use of color and cartoon work will wow you.
Cultural Tourism in Kenya – Village Visits
For a long time, many people have identified the cities, beaches and wilderness of Kenya as being some of the best in all of Africa. Now there is an alternative! Villages in Kenya are the perfect places to get introduced to local culture and lifestyle. Why not try our unspoiled Kenyan villages, spend days in the homes of ethnic communities learning and getting involved in their daily lives. The village experience in Kenya is a reflection of the purest forms of traditional culture of the 42 tribes of Kenya. You could travel up North to the lake shores of Lake Turkana, at the El Molo villages and understand the mystery and strange lifestyles of the smallest tribes of Kenya, or Western Kenya to the Alego Nyangoma Kogelo village, ancestral home to the first black President of the US, Barack Obama. Better yet, the historic ruins of Swahili villages, Gede ruins down South.
Wanting to get married? Come with your spouse and have a magical traditional Turkana wedding. Many times, you won’t miss an invitation to attend a traditional ceremony held in a village. Your accommodation will be in the homes of villagers so be sure to be welcomed with the friendly and warm smiles of a family. Most importantly any costs you incur during your stay directly go to support the livelihoods of the local community, specifically you’re hosting family, what else could be more satisfying?
You can never encounter true Kenyan culture unless you have lived within it so touch down and create your best village experience.
Other activities: Guided walks through projects supporting the villages, farm work, trekking, shopping in the markets, eco tours, interactive handicraft workshops.