Bomas of Kenya
Bomas of Kenya is Kenya in miniature representing the country on a small scale. For foreigners, Bomas of Kenya consist of traditional virtual villages and mud huts spread over many acres each representing the remote communities of the country. For residents, it is a spectacular afternoon out. Hence, it is a very popular tourist attraction for foreigners and locals alike.
In 1971, the Kenya government established Bomas of Kenya as a tourist spot and vacation destination. It is an affiliate company of Kenya Tourist Development Corporation. Its mission is to preserve, maintain and promote diverse and vibrant cultural values and ancient traditions of the country’s various tribal groups by building local and international advocacy and awareness. Therefore, over a period of several decades, Bomas of Kenya has evolved into a meeting point of the present and past. Consequently, it is in existence today for the sole purpose of safeguarding the differing social qualities and rich cultural values of the different tribal assemblies of Kenya.
The word “Boma” in Bomas of Kenya is a Swahili word meaning “Enclosed homesteads.” So Bomas of Kenya means homes of Kenya’s major ethnic groups and tribes. As a result, it showcases the country’s traditional houses. Moreover, they are of the original architecture of local tribes using the same techniques of their ancestors. Hence, the experience is truly authentic. Rightly so, the Bomas have set out each traditional houses in clusters based on region. In addition, granaries and livestock corners are standard features of some homesteads. To the casual visitor, they may seem monotonous. But for a keen observer, the unique organization of properties gives clues to the living conditions and shows how the designs of each tribal dwelling address challenges. Also, there is enormous variety between the huts. Dissimilarities in the building materials shed light on the economic hierarchy of the different tribes.
Bomas of Kenya is a tour of Kenya’s tribe in one place. They are Luo, Mijikenda, Taita, Embu, Kikuyu, Masai, Kamba, Kalenjin, Kisii, Luhya and Kuria to name just a few of them. In other words, each Boma represents a tribe. Furthermore, it lets you see the diversity of cultures that make up Kenya and its impact on their daily lives. Replicates of traditional villages provide a fascinating insight into the tribe’s culture.
The talented resident artists belonging to different tribes perform traditional songs and dances, including Kalenjin warrior dances, Arab-influenced Swahili music, Kikuyu circumcision ceremonies and Embu drumming. Daily performances include a choice of 30 traditional tribal dances of Kenya. Dancers representing different tribes dance in a vibrant kaleidoscope of hue and rhythm.
Visitors to Bomas of Kenya enjoy the most exciting acrobatic and gymnastic shows and energizing customary moves. One of the most impressive performances is of the Masai and Samburu warriors. Proud Masai warriors vault skywards to woo their maidens with twirling spears and chanting cries. The quality of these colorful performances rivals those performed in upmarket hotels in Kenya. Undoubtedly, this is the high point for most visitors.
For young children, Bomas of Kenya has a large wooden play area and an amusement park so that they are kept engaged and entertained. The Bomas is an ideal place to bring energetic kids as they are free to run in and out of the houses and mud huts and climb the ladders. Children have an active time at the Bomas.
Bomas of Kenya also provide brilliant Kenyan cuisines. The Utamaduni restaurant teases visitors’ palates with traditional delicacies from around Kenya. Dishes served are authentic tastes of the country’s culture, past and present.
Besides that, Bomas of Kenya have picnic sites and sports options that include badminton, darts, volleyball, football, soccer, tug of war, table tennis and scrabble. Bomas also offers conference facilities that is one of the largest in Africa and can hold up to 3,500 guests at a time. It boasts of 3 meeting rooms and an executive lounge that are suitable for holding exhibitions, AGMs, wedding receptions and award ceremonies for both international and local clients. The main auditorium has wooden floors and fantastic lighting that can be used as a podium for VIPs or as a ballroom. Hosted events may also include theater, music, seminars, fashion show, and poetry readings. The internationally recognized Harambee dancers often perform here. There are also lodging facilities and craft shops. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of Bomas of Kenya.
In 2003, the Bomas of Kenya hosted the National Constitutional Conference’s first meeting. It produced the Bomas Draft of the new constitution making it a high-profile historical site.
Bomas of Kenya is situated 10km from the city center of Nairobi, and about 1km from the main gate of Nairobi National Park. It is a cultural center at a small village in Langata.
Bomas of Kenya is an absolute must-see for all travelers to Kenya. There are schedule times put in place to highlight the precious values of the country. By day, legendary cultural performers showcase acts from the distant forgotten past. By night, it is a venue for musical concerts performed by international artists to Nairobi’s sophisticated, cultured, urbane music lovers with a palate for modern genres of music. During Mondays to Fridays, it is from 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm and during Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays it is from 3.30 pm to 5.15 pm. There’s an extra charge to be paid if you bring a video camera.