Nairobi National Museum

Popular Rock Art Sites in Kenya

Rock art is one of the earliest forms of communication known to man. This way of expression dates back to pre-historic times in Kenya, and since Kenya is the cradle of mankind, there are dozens of rock art sites for you to explore during your safari.

The early man made engravings on rocks to depict different social activities, landscapes and creatures. The main rock art sites in Kenya are at

Mfangano Island

Mfangano Island is one of the scenic attractions on Lake Victoria, in the Western part of the country.  On this island is a collection of paintings created between 2000 and 4000 years ago by pygmy hunter-gatherer humans.

Two sites that you ought to visit on this island are Mawanga and Kwitone. As you walk through the trails on the island, you will also see cupules.  In the 1980s, these sites were religious sites where the community conducted rituals to appease the gods and request for rain. Mfangano Island is the largest on Lake Victoria, and it is accessible by boat from the Mbita.

Namoratunga

The rock art at Namoratunga depicts a range of designs including some animals such as the elephant and the giraffe. This site is over 2000 years old and it is located in the Great Rift Valley, between two lakes- Lake Turkana and Lake Baringo.

Kakapel

Kakapel rock art site is located at the foot of Kakapel Rock on Chelelemuk Hills. There are paintings and engravings. Three styles of painting are in this site, and each of these styles dates back to a different era. For example, there are hand paintings of elephants by hunters and gatherers who lived there about 4000 years ago, paintings of cattle by pastoralists and paintings by ancestors of the community that lives there.

Kakapel is close to the Kenya-Uganda border, off Maraba Road. In addition to exploring the rock art, visitors also learn about the Iteso community.

Lewa Downs

The ancient rock gongs of Lewa Downs Wildlife Conservancy produce a range of sounds when struck with a hammer.  It is believed that early man used these rock gongs for rituals.

Lewa Downs is located on the foothills of Mount Kenya, in Isiolo. There are several luxury camps within this attraction, such as Lewa House.

Hand axes and other archeological fossils found in this wildlife conservancy make it clearer that Kenya is the cradle of mankind.

Nairobi National Park

In addition to its wide range of wildlife species, Nairobi National Park has a rock art site in Mokoiyete Valley. These paintings, over 100 years old, belonged to the Maasai or the hunter-gatherer community that inhabited the region.

Visitors need an armed guide to reach the rock art site. Nairobi National Park is located about an hour away from the city centre.

Marti Rock Art, Loiyangalani

Marti Rock Art consists of engravings of giraffes.  Loiyangalani is a town in the northern part of Kenya, near Lake Turkana. The presence of such rock art so close to the Chalbi Desert shows the area was once a haven for wildlife, as the word Loiyangalani means- a place of many trees.

Explore these rock art sites when you visit Kenya. You may also combine this excursion with a visit to pre-historic sites in Kenya.

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on May 06, 2015

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