People

The name Samburu Land refers to the Samburu people who form the majority of the population. However, there are significant populations of other communities, notably the Turkana, Rendille, Borana and Pokot; the urban centres hold a mixture of people from all over Kenya.

Samburu’s peoples are pastoralists whose life has been revolving around the wellbeing of their goats, sheep, cattle, and in the more arid areas, camels. The Samburu are culturally related to the Maasai, and show a specifically rich and picturesque heritage of artful beadwork, songs and dances. Both women and warriors wear red dresses, but it is only the moran, the young fighters, who braid their hair as the skin is smeared with ochre, displaying an unmatched beauty of traditional Africa.

The Samburu share their Nilotic roots with the Pokots, their neighbors to the west, and the Turkana to the northwest, whereas Borana in the southeast and Rendille in the northeast are both of Cushitic lineage. Yet, culturally, the Rendille are the closest to the Samburu and practice almost identical traditions.