About 10 kilometres from the Nairobi central business district, at the junction of Lang’ata and Magadi roads, is one of Kenya’s veritable repository of culture, the Bomas of Kenya. Its mandate is to “preserve Kenya’s rich and diverse cultures”.
The word Bomas comes from a Swahili word “Boma” meaning a homestead hence the word bomas in plural. Bomas of Kenya depicts traditional villages belonging to several tribes of Kenya. It is a tourist village established by the government as a tourist attraction to preserve, maintain and promote rich and diverse cultural values of various tribal groups of Kenya.
The cultural centre, in a bid to maintain the African roots, has an amphitheatre that is built to resemble an African house. This amphitheatre will be remembered for a long time to come for its role as the venue of choice for the team spearheading the Constitution of Kenya review. The auditorium which can accomodate 4,000 people at one go is the greatest attraction for the facility and also the biggest within the compound. At the auditorium, one can watch dance and skits from diverse ethnic groups of Kenya.
The Bomas Harambee Dancers are the country’s national dance company par excellence, proudly representing the beauty and diversity of Kenya’s music and dance traditions since 1973. The Bomas Harambee Dancers resident dance troupe was founded in 1973 and named in honor of the First President’s call for unity and cooperation in building the Kenyan Nation. Four decades later, the troupe is still active and its mission to preserve music and dance traditions of various ethnic communities of Kenya and to showcase them at the international arena still remains relevant.
Local and international visitors can experience the delightful sounds and movements of Kenya in daily cultural performances and/or add a note of culture to their events by hiring the dance troupe for an outside performance.
The troupe’s repertoire consists of over 50 dances from different ethnic communities. With live percussion, string and wind instruments, and diverse, authentic and energetic dancing, Bomas Harambee Dancers will take you on an enchanting journey through Kenya’s past and present.
From Western Kenya and the shores of Lake Victoria (Nyanza) through Rift Valley, Central and Eastern Kenya to North-eastern and Coastal Kenya, the daily shows display an array of diverse musical and dance traditions.
Some of the dances you can experience include the impressive Maasai Eunoto dance, the Kikuyu Circumcision dance, the spectacular Chuka drummers, Coastal Sengenya and Gonda dances, Swahili Taarab, NubiDholuka dance and many more. From Thursday to Sunday, the daily shows also feature the fabulous Mambo Jambo acrobats, who showcase the best of acrobatics, including balancing, rope skipping, juggling, fire limbo, etc.
Bomas of Kenya also collects and preserves cultural artefacts from various communities of Kenya. The rich and diverse catalogue covers all regions and communities of Kenya and ranges from everyday use artefacts (such as stools, food and beverage containers) to artefacts reserved for special ceremonies (traditional circumcision knives, ritual masks). These artefacts can be viewed at our Gallery space and are mostly used for educational and exhibition purposes.
The Bomas of Kenya library and multimedia centre was established with the mission of disseminating research findings and assisting students, teachers and researchers in accessing information on cultural music, dances and practices from various ethnic communities of Kenya. The library’s catalogue consists of research reports and findings, books, periodicals, and audio, photo and video materials from conducted research missions, cultural festivals and performances.
The Utamaduni Restaurant at Bomas of Kenya will wow your palate with a rich menu of unique cultural foods from different communities of the country. Managed by Kenya Utalii College, this restaurant prides itself in offering diverse foods – from snacks and fast food items to almost forgotten local specialties. As the name itself states – Utamaduni (a Swahili word for “culture”) tastes like home kitchen from the past.
Sumptuous meals ranging from local barbecue (nyamachoma); Kenya’s staple food ugali (maize porridge); and community specific specialties (the Gikuyu mukimo/potatoes specialty; the Abagusii matoke/plantain bananas; the Abaluhya traditional ingokho/chicken and green vegetables, etc.); to fish and chips…are all at your disposal at pocket friendly prices.