Turkana Cultural Tours | Turkana Festival, The Journey To Turkana people Of Northern Kenya Tours

Photo By Piper Mackay

Kenya Trip To Turkana Tribe, African photo Safari tour to Turkana people, Turkana Cultural Tours, Turkana Festival, The Journey To Turkana people Of Northern Kenya Tours, Encounter The Turkana People Of Kenya, Kenya photography tour to Northern Kenya tribes.

Meet The Turkana people of Kenya who are one of the Nilotic ethnic communities and found at the popular Lake Turkana.

The Turkana People are one of the largest nomadic communities in Kenya, they are known for their basket weaving and annual Turkana Festival.

The biggest number of Turkana people is located in Marsabit County in Northern Kenya. 

The amazing Turkana people of Northern Kenya are pastoralists in nature. This defines who they are and in fact, over 80% of the Turkana people continue to practice the traditional pastoralist lifestyle that appears to have been the first form of economy known to man. As such, it marked a major development step in the evolvement of humanity. Enquire from here for details...

Until a few decades ago, the Turkana tribe, the main people of the western shore of the lake, had very little contact with the outside world, or even with the Republic of Kenya.
Turkana people did not traditionally wear clothing, though the women wear several tiers of beads around their necks and, if married, a metal band too.
Turkana men are rarely seen without their akichalong, a small wooden headrest, like a stool, on which they recline at any opportunity.
Many still wear a wide bracelet on their wrists called an aberrant, which is in fact a weapon. Although it’s usually covered with a leather guard, the edge of the aberrant is razor-sharp and can be wielded in a fight like a slashing knife, while leaving the hands free.
 
Linguistically, the Turkana people are related to the Maa-speaking Samburu and Maasai. Indeed, along the northwest shore of the lake, the people are probably an old mixture of Turkana and Samburu, although, like the Luo (also distantly related by language), the Turkana did not traditionally practice circumcision.
They moved east from their old homeland around the present-day borders of Sudan and Uganda in the seventeenth century.
The desolate region between the lake and the Ugandan border that they now occupy is barely habitable land, and their daily struggle for existence has profoundly influenced the shape of their society and, inevitably, helped create the funnel into modern Kenya that Lodwar, with its road, has become.

Photo By Piper Mackay

The Turkana people are more individualistic than most Kenyan peoples and they show a disregard for the ties of clan and family that must have emerged through repeated famines and wars.
Some anthropologists have suggested that loyalty to particular cattle brands is a more important indicator of identity than blood ties or lineage.
Although essentially pastoralists, always on the move to the next spot of grazing, the Turkana, with characteristic pragmatism, have scorned the taboo against fish so prevalent among herders, and fishing is a viable option that is increasingly popular. They also grow crops when they can get seeds and when there’s adequate rainfall.
Often the rains fail, notably during the prolonged drought of the early 1980s, which took a terrible toll on Turkana children. The situation eased up until 2007, when, again, a prolonged drought set in.
Although the rains have been good for the past few years, life here is still very much a matter of day-to-day survival, supplemented here and there by food aid.
Turkana bellicosity is infamous in Kenya (Turkana migrants to the towns of the south are frequently employed as security guards locally known as askaris).
Relations with their neighbors – especially the Merille to the north of the lake, the Samburu to the south, and the Pokot to the southwest – have often been openly aggressive.
In 2015, raids and violent clashes between the Pokot and Samburu left 92 people dead, 400 goats stolen and 350 families displaced.
British forces were engaged in the gradual conquest of the Turkana – the usual killings, livestock raids, and property destruction – and they succeeded, at some cost, in eventually disarming them of their guns in the 1920s.
But the Merille, meanwhile, were obtaining arms from Abyssinia’s imperial government, and they took advantage of the Turkana’s defenseless position.
When the war was declared by Italian-held Abyssinia in 1940, the British rearmed the Turkana, who swiftly exacted savage revenge on the Merille.
They have later disarmed again. Since then, the Turkana have fallen victim to heavily armed Toposa raiders from South Sudan, who is thought to have killed as many as ten thousand Turkana in the far north.

A tribal peace pact was signed in 2011, which helped matters, and the region is relatively quiet at the moment.
Turkana's directness is unmistakable in all their dealings with mzungu. They are, for example, resolute and stubborn bargainers, while offers of relatively large sums for photos often leave them stone-cold – not necessarily from any mystical fear of the camera, but because of a shrewd estimation of what the market will stand, and hence, presumably, of their own reputation.

 

The Unique Cultural Aspects of the Turkana People, Kenya Trip To Turkana Tribe, African photo Safari tour to Turkana people, Turkana Cultural Tours, Turkana Festival, The Journey To Turkana people Of Northern Kenya Tours, Encounter The Turkana People Of Kenya, Kenya photography tour to Northern Kenya tribes.

Besides South Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, etc. few places are remaining in Africa of today where you can witness real authentic traditional culture.

The Turkana people of Kenya have a very unique culture like the dress code, hairstyles, jewelry, sayings, tales, songs, craftsmanship, and knowledge. A visit to Turkana Land offers you the chance to experience the fascinating lifestyle of the Turkana people. Enquire from here for details...

 

Our Guide Seated with the Turkana elder ( Mum)

Attend The Annual Turkana Festival At Lake Turkana, Kenya Trip To Turkana Tribe, African photo Safari tour to Turkana people, Turkana Cultural Tours, Turkana Festival, The Journey To Turkana people Of Northern Kenya Tours, Encounter The Turkana People Of Kenya, Kenya photography tour to Northern Kenya tribes.

The annual Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival takes place at Ekaleez exhibition grounds on the fringes of Lodwar.

Lake Turkana FestivalVisit Loiyangalani in May or June, and you’ll find the annual Lake Turkana Festival taking place. Initiated in 2008 by the German embassy and coordinated by National Museums of Kenya, members of all the main communities of the northwest – Borana, Burji, Dassanech, Elmolo, Gabbra, Garee, Konso, Rendille, Sakuye, Samburu, Somali, Turkana, and Wata – gather in their thousands, in finest traditional garb, to dance and sing.

But the Turkana festival is as much about reconciliation as it is about partying. It brings together ethnic groups who have frequently fought over grazing rights and have bitter histories of conflict and mutually exclusive world views. It’s a memorable experience to wander down Loiyangalani’s main street – renamed Festival Avenue for the occasion – and see a group of Samburu warriors in their best beads and hair being appraised by their opposite numbers from the Turkana community, and then see a cluster of Dassanech girls from the far north, being admired by two Borana elders.

The high point of the festival comes on the third afternoon, when everyone troops out to the festival grounds (a flat piece of desert, with a useful rocky ridge on one side that gives local kids a good vantage point) and – after a series of suitably verbose speeches by various politicians finally ends – each tribe’s festival troupe takes it, in turn, to present their cultural traditions through performances of music and dance.

It’s not a huge event, which means you can get as close to the action as you want. There are a marquee and seating – first come, first served – but it’s just as much fun to wander through the crowds of locals and participants, visit the ethnic houses at the edge of the arena that each troupe has built, and enjoy an atmosphere of unrestrained goodwill. The festival is also a photographer’s dream. Everyone takes pictures of everyone (including locals, with their mobiles, of tourists), and for the occasion, nobody minds or dreams of asking for payment.

As the sun goes down, on the last day, the performances shift from vivid dance and song to message-driven drama, then a fashion show in traditional costume, and finally a disco, capped by a famous local singer.

Festival events (all free) are held at various sites around Loiyangalani. If you want to attend, book accommodation and transport as early as possible: it’s a popular annual event and demand tends to outstrip Loiyangalani’s limited accommodation options. Enquire from here for details...

Rendile People during the Turkana Festival phot by Piper Mackay

There are two options for visiting the Turkana peopleKenya Trip To Turkana Tribe, African photo Safari tour to Turkana people, Turkana Cultural Tours, Turkana Festival, The Journey To Turkana people Of Northern Kenya Tours, Encounter The Turkana People Of Kenya, Kenya photography tour to Northern Kenya tribes.

  1. You can fly from Nairobi to Lodwar and attend the 3 Days Turkana Festival; you will need extra 2 Days to make the program of Days.
  2. You visit the Turkana people on this journey to explore Northern Kenya tribes.
  3. You Can as do Kenya Wildlife and Northern Kenya tours

Self Moment took by our Guide, Client, and the Turkana Boy 

NOTE: Safari prices will be availed to you on request. Enquire from here for your price quotation.

Other Recommended Destinations To Visit: 

South Sudan Tours Kenya Tours | Ethiopia Tours | Rwanda Tours | Burundi Tours | DR. Congo Tours |  Uganda Tours | Tanzania Tours