Bomas of Kenya was established to preserve and promote the Kenyan cultural heritage, art and music of the various ethnic tribes in Kenya. Bomas is a Swahili word meaning ‘homesteads’.
It showcases the traditional villages of the Kenya people. Presently, Bomas of Kenya boosts traditional songs and dances from almost all the ethnic tribes of Kenya. Bomas of Kenya offers visitors a glimpse of Kenya’s cultural diversity.
Koobi fora is a region around Koobi Fora Ridge in Turkana of archeological and paleontological importance with the discovery of numerous fossils of terrestrial mammals including hominid fossils preserved for over 3 million years.
Crying Rocks or the place of ceremony as it’s widely known, the Crying rocks are huge rock formations where water springs through the rocks underneath coming out on top of the monoliths. There are no springs or higher hills with streams or underground water sources or anything obvious to explain this phenomenon. One legend claims that the stone was once a man whose wife ran away with another man. In his grief, he turned to stone and weeps for his loss.
Meru Museum is situated in Meru town and was established to conserve the culture and traditional practices of the local Meru people. The building that houses the Meru museum was constructed in 1916 and served as an administrative hub in the Mount Kenya region during the colonial era. Ethnographic exhibits include cultural and technological artifacts retrieved from the prehistoric site at Lewa Downs. A typical Meru homestead gives a good idea of how the people lived. An outdoor platform for dancing and musical programs along with sales kiosks completes the exterior construction.
Kenya National Archives is a museum and art gallery consists of various exhibitions of arts and crafts as well as paintings, photographs from throughout Africa. In addition, there is also an enormous collection of ancient tribal weaponry, instruments, basketry, pottery, beadworks, sculpture, masks and other paraphernalia. Still in Kenya National Archives there are exhibits that reveal the unfortunate struggle for independence and the history of Nairobi.
Shanga ruins are located towards the south coast of Pate Island, The ruins were once a large Swahili town well over 1000 years old, evidence of its occupation is dated back between 8th and 14th Century. The Shanga ruins comprise the remains of coral walls, two palaces, three mosques and a cemetery outside the walls with hundreds of tombs. Legend has it that the town was once settled by Chinese traders from Shanghai – which explains the name Shanga. Chinese pottery has been found among the ruins confirming the legend.
Takwa Ruins are located in the Manda Island, northern side of Lamu. The ruins are the remains which include a wall that surrounded the town, about 100 houses, a mosque, ablution facilities and a tomb dating back to 1683. The ruins are those of an ancient Swahili town which is believed to have prospered from the 15th to the 17th centuries, with a population of between 2000- 3000 people. Takwa was a holy City since doors faced towards Mecca; however the city was eventually deserted after fighting broke out between Takwa and Pate.
The building was bought from the Bohra community for 2,000 English Pounds after a longer period of occupation by the Medical Department who had used the building to serve as the Malindi Native Civil Hospital. Thomas Alfree bought the house from a grant to the Marine Division of the Fisheries Department for purposes of establishing a Kenya Marine Fisheries Station in Malindi. After occupation by Fisheries department, the building became the office for Kenya Wildlife Service’s before it was handed over to the National Museums of Kenya in 1999. On 10th May 2004 the building opened its doors to the general public as Malindi Museum
The Railway Museum in Nairobi was established in 1971 to preserve, exhibit the relics and records of the railway construction in East Africa. A compilation of steam locomotives and continuing stock are on display including a model of the MV Liemba, built by the Germans and still in use along Lake Tanganyika. The carriage used during the hunt for the Man-eaters of Kima in 1900 is on exhibition at the yard.
Fort Jesus was constructed in 1593 as a fortress for the Portuguese living on the East African coast. It forms one of the important landmarks in Kenya revealing the extent of foreign excess in Africa. Presently, it’s a museum with a comprehensive research library on coastal history & culture. It features fascinating artifacts dating way back during the era of slavery and slave trade. It compromises of torture chambers, prison cells, barrack rooms, guardrooms, and armory rooms, remains of a church, and a central court with bastions, in a 2 acres plot.
Mnarani Ruins probably dates back in the 14th century & was once a Swahili settlement. It was destroyed by the Galla tribe in the 17th century. First discovered in the 1950, it fell into decay after the 17th century. Among the findings included; remarkable Pillar Tombs decorated with inscriptions, carvings, and a large Friday Mosque, a gate and several other mosques dating back to 15th century. Also at the ruins site, a huge baobab tree can be seen, believed to be the largest in coast, local people give offerings at the tree.
Lamu is probably the oldest and well kept Swahili settlement in East Africa and has managed to keep its social and cultural fabric intact. It’s an important centre for the study of Islamic and Swahili culture. For centuries significant religious rites and annual celebrations have been done here. Sites of interest include Lamu Fort – Built on the seafront as fortress by Sultan of Pate for his political followers. Riyadha Mosque – centre for the Maulidi Festival. Lamu Old Town was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kisumu museum was officially opened in 1980. A major attraction in the museum is a crocodile park as well as an enormous aquarium with a wide variety of fresh water fish. It also showcases customs and traditions including traditional clothing and adornment, basketry, fishing gear, agricultural implements and hunting weaponry. A life size traditional Luo homestead, based on a family of three wives and their children, is situated nearby the main museum building. There is also a snake park with both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes.
Gedi Ruins / Gede Ruins – Are the remains of a ruined Swahili town such including ruined palaces, mosques, tomb stones and large ancient stone houses. It establishment dates back to the 12 century in the mid 17th centaury it was deserted probably because of the Wazimba raid along the East African coast in 1589. The removal of the Sheikh of Malindi. The Falling water table and finally the overhanging menace of the Galla, a hostile nomadic ethnic group from Somalia. Gede remains the first intensively studied site on the coast.