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South Coast Beaches|North Coast Beaches|Lamu|Tana River Delta|Malindi and Watamu

Cultural Safari

This remote coastline was historically mostly deserted and undisturbed. These waters were an important route of passage for Swahili sailors moving from Lamu south towards Malindi. For more details on the Swahili see the Malindi and Watamu section.

The waters of the Tana itself have always been the lifeblood of the Pokomo people. The Pokomo live along the Tana in small villages of 10 -60 houses. Traditionally agricultural, the Pokomo have long used the banks of the Tana to grow maize, sugar cane and plantains. Fish play an important part in their diet, and hippo and crocodile were once hunted for meat.

Pokomo culture is based around a complex social hierarchy, and at the heart of this agricultural community is a strong faith in a concept of communal spirit and cooperation. This principle, known as Sindikia involves all members of the Pokomo community rallying together in times of seasonal labour, such as planting and harvesting, to work together for the good of all.

Similarly, in times of personal difficulty or misfortune, any member of a Pokomo community can rely on the assistance and support of his community through the widely respected Sindikia system.

This land is also the territory of the Oromo people, also known as the Orma or the Southern Galla a name long used to describe nomadic tribes found south of the Ethiopian border (Galla is actually a local word meaning "to wander").

This is an appropriate title, as the Oromo are an intensively nomadic people, who once ranged far and wide across Northern Kenya, from Southern Ethiopia and the Somali border to the south coast. Today the Oromo mostly move within the reaches of the Tana River, were pastures can be found for their herds of cattle, donkeys and camels. Like other Kenyan nomadic tribes the Oromo place great value on the size and worth of their cattle herds. However, unlike other cattle rearing nomads, they do not frown upon agriculture and have been known to plant crops and live in semi-permanent dwellings. This is possibly a legacy of their origins in the farmlands of Ethiopia.

When the Oromo do settle to graze, the women construct distinctive domed houses from the broad fronds of the Doum Palm, often seen throughout this area.
See general information on this region....
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Malindi & Watamu
View Traditional Art



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