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Swimming cows of Baringo now a tourist attraction

What is behind an ancient tradition of Njemps tribe

07-08-2020 by redazione

This is Africa too.
An ancient custom of a Lake Baringo tribe linked to trade and the survival of an endangered tribe is becoming a real tourist attraction, especially now that Kenya is experiencing a period of "domestic" holidays and not foreign tourism or travel across the border by its wealthy class.
This is the unusual "spectacle" of Kokwa Island's swimming cows.
The pastoral community of Njemps, an ethnic Maasai subtribe of which there are just over 30,000 members, has no other way to trade their cattle than to transport them every week to the market in the town of Marigat. The Njemps are very poor and have rudimentary bamboo canoes that they can barely transport themselves, so over the years they have trained their cows to swim in the waters of the lake to reach the shores and the cattle market from the island.
From simple curiosity, over time the swimming cows have become a spectacle that is included among the excursions of hotels in Baringo and the surrounding area and often their unusual transhumance is "escorted" by tourist boats with cameras and mobile phones.
The same boats that, on the other hand, perhaps financed by the hotels that offer this kind of "ethnic attraction" could host the same cattle.
But how did the cows, notoriously hostile to high water, learn to swim?
One of the boatmen of the lake explains it: "The Njemps shepherds take the herds to the shores of the island, then take the calves and throw them into the water, taking care not to drown them, but to take them out to sea. In this way the mothers will follow them to save them and gradually learn to swim. As soon as they have reached their calf, they will be brought back to shore and the operation will be repeated, until they will be able to do it by themselves, without the need to save their young. Then they will be ready to cross the lake".

TAGS: usanze kenyatradizioni kenyalago baringotribù kenya

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