Kenya Culture Across The Centuries

Kenya culture - Samburu wedding

In what way is the Kenya culture different from other cultures? Let's take a look.

Culture is an eclectic mix of the way people in a society live through their beliefs, traditions, their fondness towards specific art, music, food and much more. It is far from easy to define the culture of a country as a whole.

In terms of Kenya, we can be overwhelmed by the differences in culture across many civilizations.

Kenya is home to over 40 ethnic groups or tribes such as the Kikuyu, Swahili and Masai, who all distinguish themselves through their perceptiveness of the world.

We can discuss some of the elements of Kenya culture and how they are applied to the nation that is Kenya. However, the best way to learn about the Kenya culture is to discover this country for yourself and meet the people face-to-face.

Tribes And Ethnic Groups

We have identified that there are over 40 different tribes within Kenya. Of those, the Kikuyu are the most dominant.

Traditionally, the Kikuyu are farmers and grow their own bananas, sugarcane, maize beans and other varieties of vegetables. They are serious about their religion, often sacrificing goats and sheep to the Gods.

In the south of Kenya, you are most likely to come across people from the Masai.

They worship their cattle as it is the foremost attribute to their income. They are very nomadic and will travel to meet their needs, not welcoming of modern day influences. They are well-known for mixing cow’s milk and blood to drink.

The coastal regions are home to the Swahili tribe, who live off their ability as great fishermen. They follow a very strict form of Islam.

Languages And Music

Kenya is a multilingual country, with more than 60 languages spoken. Its official languages are English and Swahili.

Swahili is grammatically from the Bantu group, but over time has accumulated many words from the Arabic language and is also written using the Arabic alphabet.

Kenya culture - Turkana woman

Benga, is a significant style of music and high energized dance. In Benga, the drums beat, the bass sizzles and voices cry out in a high pitch, all the while, guitars pace each other in vibrant interplay.

Artists tend to sing about love, history or religion. The dancing style associated with Kenya is often part of their ritualistic festivals. Use of the drum is essential and often leads them into an enchanted and euphoric state.


Most people who visit Kenya will bring home a souvenir of their craftsmanship. They are producing handmade carvings from wood and soapstone.

Figurines of animals such as giraffes, tribal masks and warriors are unique and beautiful in hues of dark brown or black.

Their emphasis on physical appearance lends to the popular art of jewelry making and clothing such as the Kanga, a colorful, printed cotton fabric worn in a method very similar to a sarong.

Cuisine In Kenya Culture

The cuisine of Kenya is mostly made up of beans, maize, a variety of vegetables such as carrots and spinach, spices like capsicum and coriander.

Many tribes are vegetarian, but those who do eat meat choose goat, beef or chicken.

Fish is plentiful on the coast and wherever you go you will be sure to find many exotic fruits - bananas, guavas and mangoes to name a few.

Read more about this topic on the following pages:

Kenya People And Their Rich Culture
The Kenya people are rich in culture as they are in their diversity. This country on the continent of Africa has many different people groups that live there.

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