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 hislory 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.