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One afternoon at the Bomas and you’ll soon get to grips with Kenya’s varying cultures. Here, the major tribes that make up the origins of this incredible country are showcased in series of Bomas – for those of you who don’t speak Swahili, we’re talking miniature villages of differing tribal homesteads. Duh. Here, just a short drive from Nairobi’s concrete jungle, you’ll be transported to a traditional Kenya.
It’s a tourist village that owns what it is. After all, built to teach visitors about the country’s various tribes, there’s no way that this cultural centre can be anything but touristy. But, quite surprisingly, this fact doesn’t take away from the village’s “authenticity”. The Bomas are built using the original, traditional methods and all music, dancing and folklore is drawn from the 42 different tribes that make up the country’s varied heritage – this attraction does the job that it’s meant to do, there’s no denying that.
It was a project initiated in 1971 to keep the traditions of the country alive for the world to see. And, its very existence marks Kenya’s pride in the various cultures that make up its past.
It really is quite a unique experience to be able to wander the homesteads of the tribal cultures that may otherwise have been forgotten with the world’s quick-moving modernisation – nearby built-up Nairobi being a prime example of how swiftly this traditional way of living has been swapped out for city skyscrapers and contemporary convenience. The tribal village replicates consist of houses and mud huts that are arranged according to tradition – think first wife's hut, second wife's hut, granary hut and livestock area. Yep, you read that right. Wife one and two. Just a little bit different from your standard two-up, two-down way of living back in blighty.
The daily performances put on here will be the highlight of your excursion. Seating up to 3,500 people, it’s in the on-site auditorium that you’ll be treated to performances by internationally recognised Harambe dancers amongst dances from a selection of 30 other different tribal groups that hail from Kenya’s various cultures. And, an incredible array of music, song, acrobatics, poetry and folklore re-enactments will be interwoven into the show too.
About a 15 minute drive from Nairobi’s centre in Langata, near the main gate of Nairobi National Park
Shows are about an hour-and-a-half long, starting from 2.30pm on weekdays and 3.30pm on weekends
Kenya is a fairly conservative country, so it’s best to follow suit. Think light, covered clothing – when in doubt, do as the locals do!
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