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Samburu Tribe

The Samburu

The Samburu tribe of Kenya is closely related to the Maasai. Samburu history is intertwined with that of Kenya's other Nilotic tribes. Upon their arrival in Kenya in the 15th century, the Samburu parted ways with their Maasai cousins, who moved further south while the Samburu moved north.

The Samburu people moved from Sudan and settled north of Mount Kenya and south of lake Turkana in the Rift Valley province of Kenya. Like the Maasai, the Samburu belong to the Maa speaking group of people. The Samburu and Maasai languages share words but the Samburu dialect is spoken in a more rapid manner than the Maasai language .

Samburu people are semi nomadic pastoralists . Like the Maasai, livestock is the most important part of their livelihood. Samburu herd cattle, sheep, goats and camels .The Samburu are related to the Maasai .Other neighbors of the Samburu tribe include the pastoral Turkana, Rendille and Borana tribes.

Samburus are known to have originated from Sudan, settling north of Mount Kenya and south of Lake Turkana in Kenya's Rift Valley area.


The Samburu tribe are a Nilotic tribe that inhabits Kenya's northern plains. They are a Maa-speaking group, and are very similar to the Maasai tribe.

Economic activities

Like the Maasai, the Samburu are nomadic pastoralists, moving from one place to another following patterns of rainfall in search of fresh pasture and water for their cattle, camels, goats and sheep.


The Samburus are considered even more traditional and remote than their Maasai kin, and have maintained the authenticity of their culture by sticking to their ancient traditions and defying modern trends.

The Samburu were not very affected by British colonial rule since the British did not find their land particularly attractive.


They live in groups of families in make shift villages. The Samburu's hut resembles the Maasai's hut called "Manyatta". The huts are made of mud and dung supported using branches from trees. Their huts are surrounded by a fence of thorny bushes from the acacia tree and other types of thorny bushes. Women are responsible for making the huts, milking cows, gathering firewood, fetching water and general maintenance of the homestead. The men take care of the animals.


The Samburu wear their traditional attire which is a bright red material worn like a skirt. They also wear multi-beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Samburu warriors paste their hair with red ochre to create a visor to shield their eyes from the sun.


Samburu people have many traditional ceremonies. These include the birth of a child, initiation and marriage. Boys are circumcised in their teenage. Moran is a term used in both Maasai and Samburu community to refer to a warrior. Like the Maasai, the Samburu also mix blood and milk to make their traditional drink.



  • Dance with the Maasai Warriors.
  • Try out the Nairobi safari walk.
  • Learn about the cultures and traditions attach at Ngomongo Village.
  • Shop at The Famous Maasai Market.
  • Visit the local tea farms and try out the best tea in the world.


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