the lifestyle of early inhabitants of Kenya

  • Their language resembled that of the Khoisan.
  • They originally were nomadic peoples.
  • They gathered fruits and dug up tubers and roots to supplement their diet.
  • They used stone tools, bows and arrows.




  • They fished in rivers and lakes, using harpoons.
  • They lived in rock shelters and caves.
  • They made and used pottery.
  • They buried or cremated their dead.
  • Because of their nomadic lifestyle, they lived in seasonal camps and had no permanent homes.
  • Being hunter-gatherers, they were very few, with very few belongings i.e. a variety of stone tools, bows and arrows.
  • By the 7th century BC, they had learnt and practised fishing. They started living in semi permanent homes of rock shelters and caves.




  • After acquiring the skill of food production, they settled down in more permanent homes and owned more materials such as grinding stones, pestles and stone bowels, pots and calabashes.
  • They kept humpless long-horned cattle and grew food-crops like sorghum and millet.
  • They passed on many customs such as circumcision, age-set organization, the taboo against eating fish, etc. There was a lot of cultural exchange between them and the new comers.

These early inhabitants of Kenya may have been subdued by other stronger peoples, particularly the Bantu and the Nilotes through intermarriage, assimilation and war




The communities that descended from early inhabitants of Kenya and much of east Africa.

  • The Irak and Burungi of Tanzania,
  • The Boni, Dahalo and Sanye of the River Tana basin.
  • The Nguye and Okuro in western Kenya. Some remnants of these early inhabitants speak the languages of the groups near or with whom they live. E.g. some speak Kikuyu while others speak Olmaa: the language of the Maasai. A majority of them speak Kalenjin dialects. The Kalenjin refer to them as Okiek while the Maasai call them Dorobo. In western Kenya, the Nguye and Okuro were totally assimilated by the Luo and Bantu groups.

Races of people that make up modern Kenya.




  • Africans.
  • Europeans.
  • Asians.
  • Arabs.