Culture The Beauty of Africa

Five Cultural Experiences in East Africa You Shouldn’t Miss

Maasai Olympics
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

East Africa is a region full of breathtaking scenery, gorgeous beaches and world-class safaris. Apart from the wildlife and the landscape, there are several cultural experiences in East Africa you shouldn’t miss.

The communities in East Africa have different beliefs and practices. They express their traditions through dance, sculpture, music and different forms of art.

East Africa provides travellers with opportunities to expand their horizons through cultural encounters. Cultural experiences in East Africa will leave you with a story to tell once you travel back to your country.

The people of East Africa are friendly and offer genuine hospitality to visitors. Be sure to make a few friends on your first trip to East Africa.

1. Maasai Olympics

The first Maasai Olympics event was held in 2012 to eliminate lion hunting from the Maasai culture. The event happens every two years in Amboseli, Kenya.

Maasai Olympics is part of the larger strategy to shift the attention of the Maasai from killing wildlife to protecting them. The bi-annual event is having a big impact on lion conservation in East Africa.

Visitors to the event get the opportunity to see traditional and indigenous sports of the Maasai community. The young Maasai warriors competing in the event win trophies and prizes.

Maasai Olympics

Maasai Olympics. Photo/ The Elephant Foundation.

Maasai Olympics enables you to witness the athletic endurance and skills of the Maasai people. The event is one of the cultural experiences in East Africa you shouldn’t miss.

2. Wanyambo Festival

If you want to immerse yourself in Tanzanian culture, then don’t miss next year’s Wanyambo Festival. Locals and tourists turn up in large numbers to be part of the 4-day event in January.

The cultural get-together event occurs in the Makumbusho Village Museum, Dar es Salaam. The festival involves dances, music, and art and craft. Attending the event allows you to interact with the locals as you learn about their culture.

3. Maralal International Camel Derby in Kenya

Camel racing is an event that happens annually in Northern Kenya. The event, Maralal International Camel Derby, has been attracting locals and foreigners since 1990.

Maralal

Camel racing in Northern Kenya. Photo/ See Africa Today.

The Maralal International Camel Derby is among the top cultural experiences in East Africa. The fantastic sport has wonderful people and marvellous animals. Camel racing tests the speed and handling ability of camels by their owners.

Apart from camel riding, there is also bike racing and donkey riding. The event creates an astonishing atmosphere within Samburu County.

4. Forest Survival Tactics of the Batwa People

The Batwa People of Uganda

The Batwa People of Uganda. Photo/The Independent

The Batwa people are among the indigenous communities in East Africa. The Ugandan-based community lives in harmony within the Bwindi area.

Learning forest survival tactics of the Batwa people is among cultural experiences in East Africa you shouldn’t miss. The community calls Bwindi forest their home since they have lived there for thousands of years.

The Batwa people traditionally survived by hunting small animals in the forest using arrows and bows. They also gathered plants which they used as food and medicine.

Batwa people are friendly to visitors and always ready to share their lifestyle. They will teach you how to shoot with a bow and arrow. You will also get to listen to their traditional songs and legends.

5. Stone Town Tour

Stone Town gets its name from the ornate houses built using local stone by Arabs in the 19th century. The town is the historical and cultural heart of Zanzibar. There is plenty to see in the old town, which makes it unique to visitors.

Stone Town

Stone Town in Zanzibar. Photo/ BucketListly Blog.

Some historical places you should tour in Stone Town are Old Fort, Sultan’s Palace, House of Wonders and Slave Market. Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage due to its important culture and heritage. It is safe to walk in the town at any time.

What is the Culture of East Africa?

East Africa is a massive region with diverse cultures. However, there are common threads which run through the countries in East Africa. The region has shared Islamic conquest, Western colonialism and subsequent independence.

What are Some Cultural Activities in East Africa?

Communities in East Africa express their traditions in different art forms such as dance, music, beadwork and sculpture.

What Unique Culture Developed in East Africa?

The mixture of Bantu cultures and Perso-Arab created Swahili as a distinctive language and culture in East Africa. The broad history of the Swahili culture has led to multicultural influences on Swahili arts, such as architecture and furniture.

What are Cultural Values in East Africa?

Cultural values in East Africa include personal responsibility, individuality, dignity and integrity. Respect and equity of the moral worth of all people is also cultural value in East Africa.

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About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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