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Mt Kenya|Longonot|Mt Elgon|Loroghi Hills|Western Highlands|Shimba Hills|Taita and Chyulu Hills

Cultural Safari

The Chyulu hills are a border between the plains of Amboseli and the wilderness of Tsavo. Similarly this is border country between Maasai and Kamba land, with both communities found throughout this area. The Maasai (see Maasai Mara) graze their herds in this area while the Kamba (see Tsavo) long ago crossed these hills on their migration from Northern Tanzania. What both tribes have in common is folklore about Sheitani the large lava flow that borders this area.

Many local people regard this area as haunted by ghosts, believed to be the souls of those buried under the lava. Many people claim that mournful cries can be heard from under the ground at night, and have been known to leave offerings of food on the rocks to appease these lost souls.

The Taita Hills are the home of the Taita people. This well established tribe are believed to have originated in the North Eastern coastal region, but have during their lengthy occupancy of the Taita Hills developed a strong and unifying cultural character. The name Taita itself is a Swahili adaptation of the a local name for the hills Teta.

The Taita are one of Kenya's most strongly agricultural peoples. They have a long history of well developed agriculture and practice, growing sugar cane, millet, and latterly maize. Highly developed systems of irrigation were developed using hollowed sugar cane pipes, sometimes transporting water for distances of over a kilometre. There was extensive clearance of land- tradition dictating that men would clear land while women would then cultivate and work the fields.

There was limited animal husbandry, and cattle are a relatively recent (20th Century) acquisition. Iron working was advanced and weaponry and farming implements

The Taita had six traditional clans, named numerically in the order by which each group were believed to have migrated to the hills. While interclan links were not particularly strong traditional customs held were unified. Some of the caves of this region are believed to have had some sacred purpose, and were used as a repository for ancestral skulls.

This area is also home to the Taveta, a smaller community of people centered around the Taveta area and Lakes Chala and Jipe. The Taveta are unrelated to the Taita, and have cultural and customary ties to both the Kamba and the Maasai.
See general information on this region....
Related Links
See Maasai culture
See Kamba culture
View Traditional Art



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