Njemps Tribe

Baringo is the traditional home of the Njemps tribe, a unique people who are the only pastoral, cattle herding, tribe who also fish. Among other pastoral tribes such as the Maasai, eating fish is a taboo.

The Njemps are linguistically related to both the Maasai and the Samburu, and possibly genetically related to one, or both of these tribes. The Njemps have many clear cultural associations to both groups, and there are several theories as to their actual origin. One possibility is that the Njemps are descended from a Samburu clan known as the Il-Doigo, while another theory sees them as descendants of a Maasai clan driven out of the Laikipia area by inter-clan warfare.

Whatever their origins, the tribe moved into an area known as Njemps (the south and west shores of Baringo) and adopted this name. While maintaining many of the customs of the Maasai and Samburu nomads, the Njemps developed a very different lifestyle. Eschewing nomadic movement, they became sedentary agriculturists. Even though the soil around Baringo is not particularly fertile, they developed an effective system of irrigation and grew crops on the shore of the lake.

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