Samburu Cultural Tour : The Samburu people often referred to as The Butterfly people due to their colorful ornaments, attire and hairstyles are one of the fascinating tribes to visit Kenya.
The Samburu people are Nilotic, semi – nomadic pastoralists living in the North – Central Kenya, north of the Equator, in the Samburu County
The Samburu people are close relatives to the Maasai People who also live in East Africa, these 2 tribes speak a similar language which is Maa language – a Nilotic language. Samburu sub tribe is the 3rd largest tribe in the Maa Community of Kenya and Tanzania after the Kisonko (Isikirari) of Tanzania and Purko of Kenya and Tanzania.
Just like the Maasai people, the Samburu people still retain many of their traditions as they live largely untouched by modern day civilization. They love in the areas surrounding the Samburu national Reserve and to the South of the South of the Lake Turkana, as nomadic pastoralists the Samburu people highly depend on their livestock for survival and their diet comprises of mostly milk and occasionally blood from their cows. The blood is accrued by slightly cutting the jugular of the cow, and draining the blood into a cup, the wound is then promptly sealed with hot ash, and meat is only served on special occasions.
The Samburu people’s diet is also supplemented with vegetables, roots and tubers that are made into a soup.
Traditional Samburu Culture
The Samburu people are famously known for their many unique cultural practices and traditions, some of these originate from their nomadic way of life.
Pastoral lifestyle – The Samburu country where the Samburu people live is mostly dry barren land which forces them to relocate their cattle as way of looking for food, the Samburu change to a new location every few weeks looking for fresh grazing grounds.
Samburu tribe settlements – The Samburu people live in huts which are round in shape, these huts are also called The Manyattas, these huts have a small entrance closed by a blanket, no windows but only 2 holes which serve to filter the light and let the smoke of the fire that usually burn inside when cooking.
The huts are constructed using hide, mud and grass mats strung over poles, they can be easily dismantled and transported and mounted elsewhere, the interior of the hut is divided into 2 small rooms – one of the husband and sons and the other for the wife and daughters. There is always a number of many huts which form a village called the Manyatta in the local Samburu language, one place normally consists of 4 to 10 families, the Manyatta “The Village” is generally not permanent, it is normally in one place for approximately 2 months at most, after the villages to other places in a constant search for new pastures for livestock.
A fence is built around the mud huts for protection from wild animals.
Responsibility: In Samburu culture, women are responsible for gathering vegetables and roots, caring for their children and collecting water. Usually the Samburu girls help their mothers with domestic chores.
Leadership: The Samburu people are a gerontocracy, the elders rule the tribe, it is the elders that decide when ceremonies will occur
Circumcision: For a Samburu woman or man to transition into womanhood or manhood have to go through circumcision ceremony, men and women are only able to get married once they have been circumcision, before that they are considered children, Samburu Cultural Tour.
Once a boy is circumcised, he is now considered a Moran (a warrior), the men are place into age sets and as a group move from one social position to another. From child to Moran, to Junior elder and finally to elder.
Traditional dressing: the Samburu people dress in striking red cloth wrapped like a skirt and white sash, this is adorned with many colorful beaded earrings, bracelets, anklets and necklaces. Each piece of the jewellery worn represents the status of the wearer.
Dancing: dancing is a significant part of the Samburu culture, their dancing style is similar to that of the Maasai people with men dancing in a circle and jumping high from a standing position. Traditionally, the Samburu people use no instruments to accompany their dancing and singing.
Visiting the Samburu People (Samburu Village)
Visiting the Samburu people is one of the fascinating experience to do while on a Kenya safari to Samburu national park, Samburu cultural Tour lasts for one hour in the Samburu village. On this experience you will interact with Samburu people and get a glimpse into their culture, unique way of life and see first-hand some of their customs and practices.