Karibu

Annual Cultural Festivals

Maulidi Festival: Lamu

Prophet Mohammed’s birthday

Maulidi is the popular name given to Milad-un-Nabi, an Islamic festival held during the third month of the Muslim calendar to celebrate the birth of the prophet Mohammed. The main religious celebrations take place in and around the Riyadha Mosque. This colourful festival also includes a swimming race and a donkey race.

Rhino Charge: variable locations

Last weekend in May

A cross-country off-road rally, Rhino Charge sees modified vehicles racing between checkpoints in harsh and challenging terrain. The chosen venue is announced only a few days before the event. The site has campsites, food stalls and bars, and hosts the infamous post-charge party. This charitable event supports the endangered rhino in the Aberdare National Park and around Kenya. www.rhinocharge.co.ke

Lewa Marathon: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Last weekend in June

A challenging, high altitude marathon, Lewa Marathon sees runners from around the world attempt the half or full marathon. This charitable event is sponsored by Safaricom, and supports education, health, community development and wildlife conservation projects across Kenya. www.lewa.org/support-lewa/safaricom-marathon

Maralal International Camel Derby: Maralal

First weekend in August

The finest camels in northern Kenya come together for this eagerly anticipated event. The weekend also has cycling races, children’s donkey rides, traditional dancing displays and curio stalls.

Safari Sevens: Nairobi, Nyayo Stadium

First weekend in November

Africa’s premier Rugby Sevens tournament, the Safari Sevens is an international event. www.safarisevens.kenyarfu.com

Lamu Cultural Festival: Lamu

Last weekend in November

Celebrating the history and culture of this unique Swahili island, the Lamu Cultural Festival showcases traditional dancing, poetry competitions, donkey races, dhow races, traditional handicrafts, photography exhibitions and a Swahili food bazaar.

Kenya's Attractions

Although it is known worldwide for its safari industry, Kenya has much wider appeal than this would suggest. Other highlights include pre-historic excavations, well preserved ruins, cultural diversity, mountains, adventure sports and water sports. There are also a number of unique festivals that take place annually.

Kenya boasts one of the longest and most complete records of man’s cultural development in the world. Excavations in the Tugen Hills near Lake Baringo have exposed some of the earliest fossil beds. Other fascinating sites are found in Sibiloi National Park on the shores of Lake Turkana, at Hyrax Hill and Kariandusi near Nakuru, on Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria and at Olorgesaillie near Lake Magadi.

Striking and atmospheric ruins date back to earlier civilisations that flourished during the emergence of the Indian Ocean trade routes. Gede, near Watamu, was at the peak of its prosperity from the 13th to the 17th centuries, then was mysteriously abandoned. Stories abound of ghosts and inexplicable happenings in the area. Takwa, on Manda Island near Lamu, also thrived for centuries before being abandoned in the 17th century. Malindi, Lamu and Mombasa all have Old Towns which are both genuine historic towns and current-day functioning urban centres.

Each of the tribes of Kenya has its own culture and traditions. The Maasai, Kenya’s best known tribe, have a reputation for being warriors, and are recognised worldwide for their vivid red garments and exotic beaded jewellery. The El Molo are the least numerous of Kenya’s tribes, and traditionally hunt fish, crocodile and hippo in Lake Turkana. The nomadic Rendille rely on camels for food, milk, clothing, trade and transport. The coastal Swahili have cultural ties to the Arabs and Persians. The Kalenjin are most famous for producing Kenya’s marathon-winning athletes. A growing number of tour operators offer cultural safaris that include interaction, or volunteer work, with local people.

Kenya boasts two of Africa’s five highest mountains. Mt Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain, offers spectacular trekking and climbing. Mt Elgon, Africa’s fourth highest mountain, also has stunning viewpoints and interesting climbs. Other mountains and hills that offer exciting trekking and walking include Mt Longonot, the Aberdare National Park, the Cherangani hills and Marich Pass.

Adventure tourism is diversifying across the country. White water rafting is offered on both the Tana and Athi Rivers. Rock climbing, camel safaris, horse riding, game bird shooting, caving and fishing are available at a number of places. The coast provides a wealth of water sports, including scuba diving, water skiing, kite surfing, windsurfing and jet skiing.

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