Lake Turkana Festival ‘ante portas’

TURKANA FESTIVAL 2013 ANTE PORTAS

One of Kenya’s great cultural festivals, the Lake Turkana Festival, will this year take place in Loiyangalani between the 24th and 26th of May, showcasing the culture and art of 10 communities living near and around the ‘Jade Lake’ as Turkana is often referred to as a result of the water colour.

Members of the following communities will take part in the now annual event, which gives them the opportunity to show their fellow countrywo/men but also the rest of the world, what is going on in their part of the world and what challenges they face in their daily lives: El Molo, Rendille, Samburu, Turkana, Dassanach, Ghabra, Borana, Konso, Wata and Burji.

At the heart of the festival will be song and dance, the traditional foods, costumes, festive and regular wear but also an insight of how the tribespeople live with homesteads being constructed for others to see. At the same time will the environmental challenges of Lake Turkana be highlighted, the impact of climate change, the impact of the hugely controversial GIBE III dam project inside Ethiopia which has the potential to significantly reduce the inflow into Lake Turkana through river sources.

Economic opportunities too will feature this year, as the region will get at least two wind-power plants and now that oil has been discovered in the Turkana region in significant commercial quantities. Marginalized until now, the region did not make great inroads as a tourism destination nor for investments and the subsequent creation of infrastructure, something which in particular the oil discoveries may now rapidly change.

Like in previous festivals will the main sponsors of the event be the German Embassy in Nairobi, The National Museums of Kenya, the local communities of Loiyengalani and around the lake and Private Safaris. The latter has organized for special packages, though individual travel to the location is of course also possible, but from experience in past years it should be stressed that early bookings for accommodation – which is rather limited – and seats on flights should be done at the earliest possible opportunity to avoid missing out on this great festival of Kenyan culture and traditions.

Time to #TembeaKenya (the hashtag campaign of the Kenya Tourism Board and the Kenya Wildlife Service to encourage domestic tourism) and see the lesser known parts of the country, to explore, learn and appreciate the great variety Kenya has to offer. For more information visit www.laketurkanafestival.com .

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