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‘Munget Lemouyo’ – the Samburu coming of age celebrations

The Samburu people are an ethnic group from central Kenya, cousins to the better known Maasai tribe of southern Kenya. The Samburu are also known as the Butterfly People due to the bright red colours, beaded necklaces, bracelets & earrings they adorn themselves with. They wear traditional clothing made from woven fabrics, animal skins, and beads. The Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists who keep and raise livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys. Adult men care for the grazing cattle whilst women milk the cows, collect water and gather firewood. Their staple foods are milk, maize and cow’s blood. It is believed that the Elders have mystical knowledge of seasons so can determine times of drought or rain, and when to engage in rituals. 

Snaking through the rugged landscape of the Samburu people is the Ewaso Nyiro River, a key part of their celebrations this year. ‘Munget Lemouyo’ is a Samburu ceremony which observes the transition of males from a Junior Elder to Senior Age Class. Aged 14, this is a celebration of the warriors ‘coming of age’ after circumcision. This ceremony only occurs  once every seven years and takes place towards the end of August. A further six years after this important celebration is the Moran Graduation Ceremony which initiates becoming an Elder and therefore the ability to marry in the community. Traditional Samburu dancing will happen for many weeks in advance of the celebrations, as warriors prepare for the main ceremony at the end August, where they are identified as a future head of the tribe and a family man; becoming committed to upholding the security of their community. Karisia Walking Safaris operate their walking safaris through Samburu country and have a close connection with the Samburu people, employing most of their guides and staff from local communities. They have been honoured with an invitation to participate in this year’s events and are offering guests the chance to engage in the experience which brings thousands of Samburu men, women and children together to dance, feast and celebrate this momentous occasion. Karisia’s mobile camp will be based at a scenic spot on the lower Ewaso Nyiro River in the heart of Samburu country, and guests are guaranteed a unique and rewarding experience. 

Laikipia region of central Kenya, Kenya and specialise in walking safaris throughout Northern Kenya which are accompanied by camels, to help carry the load. All walks are guided by Laikipia Maasai and Samburu guides who are local to this part of Kenya.  Ranging from Classic to Luxury safaris, Karisia can offer itineraries for any number of days to accommodate any fitness or wildlife interest level. Their base camp is Tumaren Camp, where you can find yourself watching baboons resting on the Nayasura rocks and see oryx,  zebra and Grant’s gazelles on the large plains in front of camp.

Whilst walking is the main focus at Tumaren, limited game driving is also possible. Away from their base, Karisia offer total flexibility in terms of their itineraries, with walking as the prime focus. A walking safari is great for those who wish to explore the bush on foot – letting you interact with nature in ways that are just not possible from inside a 4×4 vehicle such as tracking animals or learning more about the ecology, world of tiny insects or the many species of birds.