The Tribe





Three large groups, Bantu, Cushiti and Niloti, with 3 different linguistic classes, gave rise to smaller and more specific groups, the tribes, characterized by different nuances, identities as well as different dialects.


In Kenya there are 52 officially recognized and proclaimed tribes, but the branches in different peoples become many more. The country is also inhabited by Arab minorities who have settled on the coasts; other minorities are Europeans and Chinese communities.


Arrived in Kenya from central Africa, they divided into three groups according to the landing area.

The Bantu settled to the west of Lake Victoria: Luhya, Kisii, Suba, Kuria, all of which, to differentiate themselves from the strain that is found more in the center of Kenya, use the prefix ‘Aba’, in front of the name (AbaLuhya).


The Bantus of the plateau are the most numerous and occupy some of the most fertile lands in the country: Kikuyu (the most populous), Kamba, Meru, Embu, Tharaka, Mbere.


The Bantus of the coast: Mijikenda, Taveta, Pokomo (river Tana), Taita and others.

Mijikenda or WaNyika is a comprehensive name which refers to nine important ethnic groups living in the coastal hinterland: Giriama, Digo, Duruma, Chonyi, Jibana, Ribe, Kambe, Rabai and Kauma, for a total of over one million.


The name "bantu", in most languages of the group, means "people" (-ntu indicates a person, and the prefix ba- produces a plural form).



They are mentioned in all the Holy Scriptures as the inhabitants of East Africa and trace their descendants to Cam, one of Noah's sons, through his eldest son Kush, also spelled Cush.


They are the Somalis, Rendille, Galla or Oromo, Boni, Borana, Gabbra, Orma, Sakuye, El Molo, Burji, Dassenic. They represent 3% of the population, and live on 14% of the territory, arid and semi-desert.


They represent one third of the Kenyan population: Luo, Nandi, ElKeyo, Iteso, Kipsigi, Marakwet, Ogiek, Ndorobo, Pokot, Sabaot, Suk, Terik and Turkana.


Then there are the semi-nomadic shepherds, independent of the Maa language: Maasai (Masai), Samburu, Njemps and Ilchamus. Swahili: Bajuni (Lamu archipelago), Pate, Mvita, Vumba, Ozi, Fundi,

Siyu, Shela, Amu.


In Kenya there are also other ethnic groups, including 50,000 ca. Arabs (Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia); 100,000 ca. Asians (India, Punjab, Gujarat, Goan, Pakistan); 43,000 Europeans, of whom about 15% have taken Kenyan citizenship.


They are a Nilotic people who live in the highlands around the border between Kenya and Tanzania. Often considered nomadic semi-nomads, they are actually traditionally transhumant breeders, and today often even settled, especially in Kenya.


The transition to a permanent lifestyle is accompanied by the transition from farming to agriculture as a primary source of livelihood. The Masai speak the "maa", from which the name of the ethnic group that is pronounced by them maasai.


Nurali Safaris Kenya

P.O. Box 5882

80200 - Malindi - Kenya


Phone : +254 (0) 729 785307

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