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4 Traditional & Popular Sports of Kenya to Try in Msambweni

Sports of Kenya are as deeply rooted in the culture as historical facts about the trace of the origin of mankind. Since the dawn of time, Kenya has been home to a variety of ancient sports that have become ingrained in its culture and way of life. It includes bullfighting, dancing, wrestling, board games, and hunting with spears and arrows.

The British colony is credited for most of the modern sports in Kenya. Before the creation of formal schools, skilled teams in the shape of clubs were already being formed by colonial British people and Asian merchants as early as 1922. In 1925, sports were launched in schools. In 1935, a course of study was created for teaching sports through physical exercises in schools. Athletics (track and field) and football (soccer) were the first sports to be organized, in that order.

Today, Kenyans enjoy playing a range of sports in a professional and recreational manner. Sports played in Kenya include athletics (track and field and other running events), cricket, football, rugby, volleyball, basketball, swimming and diving, handball, netball, rounder, baseball, shooting, softball, cycling, martial arts, tennis, badminton, golf, chess, and more.

Kenya is known for middle and long-distance races, rugby (the Rugby Sevens), and swimming on a global scale. Kenya has also been a dominant force in women’s volleyball in Africa. They have won many titles in the last ten years with both the national team and the clubs. Are you aware that Hon. Ababu Namwamba E.G.H is the minister of sports in Kenya in 2023? For more facts, see below.

Key Facts

1. Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes come from geographic areas of The Great Rift Valley that lie at the high altitude of 2000 to 2500 m above sea level.
2. Kalenjins are 80% of Kenyan elite athletes.
3. Kenyan athletes have legs that are 5% longer as compared to Scandinavian athletes. Their calves are 12% lighter.

Planning to spend your holidays in Kenya? Looking for the best hotels in south coast Mombasa? Finding the best prices of hotels in Mombasa or near? Want to stay at south coast villas? There are many cities in Kenya with amazing hotels but look no further! Click below.

What are the Popular Sports of Kenya and Why?

The most popular sports of Kenya are a fascinating part of the nation that you should explore. Due to this, we’ve listed every popular sport in Kenya, and we hope you enjoy them. But before that, are you searching for the best Msambweni hotel?

Popular Sports of Kenya
Kenya's national football team members were seen before the match against Togo, in Nairobi in 2019.

Image via

1. Football – It is the most popular sport in Kenya. Despite the large number of casual and amateur players in Kenya, the Football Kenya Federation is the country’s football governing body. There is even a national league, the Kenyan Premier League, which is the sole league in the nation that is truly professional. The Kenyan National Super League is a small league comprised of clubs from the professional and semi-professional leagues. Some famous Kenyan football players are Victor Wanyama, Michael Olunga, and more. Keep reading to know more about the sports of Kenya and south coast beach hotels.

Searching for the best football academy in Kenya? Read here.

best football academy in Kenya
Kenya’s women's rugby sevens team.

2. Rugby Union – Rugby union is the second-most popular sport in Kenya. Maybe to your surprise, rugby union is really very well-liked in Kenya. In reality, the nation is becoming well-known in the sport. The annual Safari Sevens competition, which takes place in Nairobi, the country’s capital, is the biggest factor in the sport’s success. The first known rugby union match in Kenya was played in Mombasa in 1909 between British officials and settlers. Some famous Kenyan Rugby union players are Paul Murunga and Manuel Okoth. Want to know more about the sports of Kenya?

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athletes from Kenya
Eliud Kipchoge finished a marathon with an 80-second lead over the silver medalist, Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands.

Image credit – Giuseppe Cacace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

3. Athletics – Athletics is the third-most-popular sport in Kenya. You must be familiar with athletes from Kenya. In many areas, they are among the best in the world. In fact, football and athletics were the only two modern sports that are formally organized in Kenya. Kenyan athletes have dominated the global stage in many athletics fields like track and field, cross country, and marathons, ever since their debut and until today. The best-known Kenyan athlete is Catherine Ndereba, a two-time world champion and four-time winner of the women’s Boston Marathon.

sport in Kenya
Kenyans playing beach volleyball.

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4. Volleyball – Volleyball is the fourth-most popular sport in Kenya. Not to mention, volleyball is rising in Kenya. Similar to basketball, young Kenyans play the game the most. The national women’s volleyball team has achieved great success. Despite not having competed in the Olympics or World Championships, the nation has won nine continental championships since 1991 and continues to be a dominant force in Africa. Also, 13 African Championships have been won by Kenyan clubs. Baseball in Kenya is also becoming quite popular. Now, looking for the traditional sports of Kenya or the best places in Kenya? Read till the end.

[Suggested Read: 5 Top Trends in Kenya Tourism & Visit Msambweni]

What are the Traditional Games & Sports of Kenya You Must Try?

Before that, are you looking for a 5-star hotel in Kenya? Continue reading to learn more about the traditional activities and sports of Kenya and the best beach hotels in Mombasa Kenya or near.

1. Bao

Are you interested in the traditional sports of Kenya? Community members often play the board game bao in Lamu and other coastal areas of Kenya. The Luhya, Turkana, and Samburu tribes each have their own unique kinds of bao. Since it requires strategic and critical thinking, the sport is quite similar to chess, which is why so many academics are drawn to it. A person who is good at the game may be referred to as Bingwa or Fundi (master) in coastal areas.

traditional sports of Kenya
Wrestling in Kenya.

Image via Wrestle Kenya/Facebook

2. Wrestling

Among the sports of Kenya, traditional wrestling in Kenya is a sport that was once popular, primarily in the West. It is referred to as enyameni by the Abagusii people and the Ameru calls it ndikano. In Kenyan villages, athletic young people between the ages of 15 and 35 play this game, in which the player who kills his opponent wins. Young and old members of society gather in a circle to support the players as the game is being played. Since this type of game requires physical touch, cleanliness is strictly observed. Drugs, alcohol, and biting are all prohibited. Another aspect of this unusual game is that losing is awkward, therefore players must keep calm to win.

3. Bullfighting

The traditional sports of Kenya also include bullfighting. Bullfighting is one of the most famous games in the Luhya culture. Bullfighting in western Kenya is quite popular. The game that was historically performed in honor of major events like funerals has changed through time. In Western Kenya, a stadium named Malinya was built specially to hold bullfighting contests. Bulls that take part in the contest are given special treatment.

The majority of them are given African traditional concoctions, like the local drink Busaa, hours before the game starts while they’re kept under no-grazing conditions. Bulls that take part in the contest are given special treatment.

The majority of them are given African traditional concoctions, like the local drink Busaa, hours before the game starts while they’re kept under no-grazing conditions. Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, who goes by the nickname The Bullfighter, is one of the bullfighting legends.

4. Stick Fighting

In Kenya’s dry and semi-arid regions, stick fighting is very common, notably among the pastoralist groups. The game is played by the Samburu and Pokot tribes to pass the time while herding their sheep. Can’t wait to explore the sports of Kenya or activities in Diani? We’ve got you covered!

Stay in Msambweni to Enjoy the Popular Sports of Kenya

Stay in Msambweni

Where is Msambweni in Kenya? Have you been to Msambweni Beach? Want to stay at the top hotels in Kwale County? Msambweni Beach House or Msambweni Beach House in Msambweni (Ukunda Kenya) offers a range of exquisite rooms and suites to ensure a luxurious and private stay. The Main House features 3 all en-suite bedrooms and one Ocean Suite, which offers a shared 14-meter infinity pool. You can enjoy modern facilities like AC, Satellite TV, and more. It is only 30 minutes from Diani (south coast Mombasa).

beachfront villas in Msambweni

Searching for beachfront villas in Msambweni? For those seeking even more privacy, the three private villas in Msambweni offer an exclusive retreat. Each villa comes with its own private pool, private garden, and panoramic sea views. Being one of the best hotels in south coast Mombasa, it boasts a private beach along a 3 KM stretch of the Indian Ocean coastline.

With a team of trained kitchen staff led by a Belgian celebrity chef, every meal is a masterpiece of flavors at this Msambweni beach resort. From fresh seafood dishes to the local Swahili cuisine, as well as the rich Belgian and French cuisine, there is something to satisfy every craving.

romantic restaurants in Mombasa

Want to try the best restaurants in Mombasa or Msambweni Kenya? Picture yourself dining by the pool or the beach, surrounded by the African sky adorned with twinkling stars. The soft glow of candlelight adds a touch of magic to the setting. While the gentle breeze from the Indian Ocean carries whispers of relaxation and peace.

Kisite Marine Park
Swim with dolphins at Kisite Marine Park.

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Want to try a popular sport like volleyball? This Msambweni beach hotel has beach volleyball, tennis, and more indoor games to enjoy. You can also go on Mangrove & Sandbank excursion, enjoy the dhow cruise, visit the Kisite Marine Park, and more.

If you’re looking to experience the popular sports of Kenya while enjoying a stay in Msambweni, you’re in for a treat. Msambweni itself offers a serene and relaxing coastal vibe. It also provides convenient access to nearby areas where you can engage in various sports that Kenya is known for.

One of the most beloved sports in Kenya is football (soccer). And you can join in the local scene by watching a live match or even sharing a game with locals. Many football clubs are located in and around Mombasa.

Another popular sport in Kenya is rugby. Mombasa has a vibrant rugby scene. And you can catch thrilling matches or even join a rugby club for training sessions and games. Rugby events take place often, providing a chance to witness the fierce competition that Kenya is known for.

For those with an adventurous spirit, Msambweni is a gateway to engaging in water sports along the South Coast. Try your hand at kite or windsurfing. You can also explore snorkeling or scuba diving in Kenya in the vibrant coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. Here, you’ll witness the rich marine life and underwater beauty that Kenya has to offer.

Msambweni’s proximity to Shimba Hills National Reserve allows you to indulge in nature-related sports and activities. Take guided nature walks or hiking trails to explore the reserve’s diverse flora and fauna. If you’re an avid bird-watcher, it is home to a wide variety of bird species.

Overall, while Msambweni itself may not offer specific sports facilities, its location along the South Coast of Mombasa grants you easy access to enjoy popular sports activities in Kenya. Msambweni weather is pleasant all year round. Immerse yourself in the local sports culture, engage in thrilling water sports, and explore the natural wonders that surround this coastal paradise. Want to know about nice places to visit in Mombasa or Msambweni? Stay tuned for the blog post. Meanwhile, click below.

[Suggested Read: 6 Pre-Historic Sites in Kenya & Stay in Mombasa South Coast]

Final Thoughts on Sports of Kenya & Why Should You Know About It

Msambweni from Mombasa

Kenyan tribes appear to be making a strong effort to protect their heritage, including traditional sports. Despite the influence of Western culture and modern sports. Even if these sports are not famous on websites like Betway, they are still valuable cultural treasures. These cherished traditional games are still being played by natives in Kenya’s remote villages.

Kenya’s national sport is football. The national team, the Harambee Stars, hasn’t achieved much on the world stage, but football (soccer) remains the most popular sport in Kenya. Other popular sports include rugby, volleyball, and athletics.

How far is Msambweni from Mombasa? Mombasa to Msambweni is a 2-hour drive. Searching for beautiful places in Mombasa or near? Planning to stay at Msambweni villas in the south of Kenya? Want to enjoy a popular sport in Kenya? Contact us for a luxurious experience and to indulge in the unique activities and sports of Kenya.

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