The Samburu are nilotic, semi-nomadic shepherds who live in north-central Kenya. Samburu speak the Samburu dialect of the Maa language, which is a Nilotic language. The Samburu sub tribe is the third largest in the Maa community of Kenya and Tanzania, after the Kisonko (Isikirari) of Tanzania and Purko of Kenya and Tanzania. Samburu people just like the Maasai tribe, still retain many of their traditions as they live largely untouched by modern day civilization, in areas surrounding Samburu National Reserve and to the South of the Lake Turkana. So why visit a Samburu village and what do you get to see? This one hour visit to a Samburu village is a chance to interact with Samburu people and get a glimpse into their culture, unique way of life and see first hand some of their customs and practices.
The Samburu Cultural visit is typically an excursion included into a longer multi day Samburu safari tour, and couple of hours are set apart for this brief interactive visit to the village, which usually happens to be on the borders of the Samburu game reserve. Many tourists wish to know how much it costs to visit a Samburu village. The price for a village visit which includes a contribution towards the village in form of a fee, as well as return road transfers from your lodge or camp in Samburu to the village, varies between USD 30 to 50 per person. The price is often lower when you are on a road safari with your own Driver-Guide who will pay the fee upon entry. The higher fee of USD 50 per person often applies when you have flown in on a package safari and it is then the Camp which will charge you the fee for the village visit and the price in this case can vary again from USD 30 to USD 50 per person based on which camp you are staying at and which village they take you to visit. It should be noted that once at the village, you may be expected to buy some curio or souvenier from the villagers, though this is not mandatory having paid an entry fee.
The Samburu are known for their many unique cultural practices and traditions. Some of these originate from their nomadic way of life.
The Samburu people live in huts, which are round in shape with a small entrance closed by a blanket; they have no windows but only two holes which serve to filter the light and let the smoke of the fire that usually burns inside, to be released outside; it is usually used for cooking. The huts are built by women using interwoven sticks, mud and cow dung; they can be easily dismantled and transported and mounted elsewhere. The interior of the hut is divided into two small rooms, one for the husband and sons, the other for the wife and daughters. Cluster of these huts, which form a village called ''manyatta'' in Samburu language, consists of four to ten families; a village is generally not permanent; it settles in one place for two months at most, after this it moves to other places, in the constant search for new pastures for livestock.