Africa Guide
Africa travel since 1996

African Tribes


There are many different people groups and tribes across the continent of Africa - with their culture varying from tribe to tribe. We have included only a few on this page and will be adding to the list regularly. Click the title for detailed sections... 

The Afar people live primarily in Ethiopia and the areas of Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa.

The Anlo-Ewe people are today in the southeastern corner of the Republic of Ghana. They settled here around 1474 after escaping from their past home of Notsie.

The Amhara are the politically and culturally dominant ethnic group of Ethiopia. They are located primarily in the central highland plateau of Ethiopia and comprise the major population element in the provinces of Begemder and Gojjam and in parts of Shoa and Wallo.

The Ashanti live in central Ghana in western Africa approximately 300km. away from the coast. The Ashanti are a major ethnic group of the Akans in Ghana, a fairly new nation, barely more than 50 years old.

The Bakongo people (aka. the Kongo) dwell along the Atlantic coast of Africa from Pointe-Noire, Congo (Brazzaville) to Luanda, Angola.

The Bambara are a large Mande racial group located mostly in the country of Mali. They are the largest and most dominant group in that country.

The Bemba are located in the northeastern part of Zambia and are the largest ethnic group in the Northern Province of Zambia.

Berbers have lived in Africa since the earliest recorded time. References date back to 3000 BC. There are many scattered tribes of Berber across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.

The Bobo peple have lived in western Burkina Faso and Mali for centuries. They are known for their masks which are worn with elaborate outfits for celebrations. Primarily agricultral people they also cultivate cotton which they use to trade with others.

The 'Bushmen' are the oldest inhabitants of southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20,000 years. Their home is in the vast expanse of the Kalahari desert.

The Chewa, also known as the Cewa or Chichewa is an African culture that has existed since the beginning of the first millennium, A.D. They are primarily located in Zambia, Zimbabwe, with the bulk of the population in Malawi.

The Dogon are a cliff-dwelling people who live in Southeastern Mali and Burkina Faso. Among the people groups in Africa they are unique in that they have kept and continued to develop their own culture even in the midst of Islamic invasions which have conquered and adapted many of the current people groups

The Fang are especially known for their guardian figures which they attached to wooden boxes containing bones of the ancestors. The bones, by tradition, are said to contain the power of the dead person, in fact, the same amount of power that the person had while still alive.

The Fon of Benin, originally called Dahomey until 1975, are from West Africa. The Fon are said to have originated in the area of Tado, a town in Tago, at approximately the same latitude as Abomey, Benin.

The Fulani people of West Africa are the largest nomadic group in the world, primarily nomadic herders and traders. Through their nomadic lifestyle, they established numerous trade routes in West Africa.

from Nigerian the Ibos live in villages that have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand people comprised of numerous extended families.

Kikuyu (Gikuyu)
Having migrated to their current location about four centuries ago, the Kikuyu now make up Kenya’s largest ethnic group.

The Maasai, famous as herders and warriors, once dominated the plains of East Africa. Now however they are confined to a fraction of their former range.

The Mandinka are an ethnic group that live in West Africa, primarily Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau, but some also live in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Cote d'Ivoire.

There are many different 'Pygmy' peoples – for example, the Bambuti, the Batwa, the Bayaka and the Bagyeli ('Ba -' means 'people') – who live scattered over a huge area in central and western Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo (Brazzaville), Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

The Samburu are related to the Masai although they live just above the equator where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the northern desert and slightly south of Lake Turkana in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya.

The Senufo are a group of people living in northern Cote d'Ivoire and Mali. They are known as excellent farmers and are made up of a number of different groups who moved south to Mali and Cote d'Ivoire in the 15 and 16th centuries.

The Tuareg people are predominently nomadic people of the sahara desert, mostly in the Northern reaches of Mali near Timbuktu and Kidal.

The Wolof are one of the largest people groups that inhabit modern-day Senegal. They live anywhere from the desert area of the Sahara to the rain forests. Traditionally many Wolof lived in small villages governed by an extended family unit but now most Wolof move to cities where they are able to get jobs.

The Yoruba people live in Southwest Nigeria and Benin. They have developed a variety of different artistic forms including pottery, weaving, beadwork, metalwork, and mask making.

The Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. They are well known for their beautiful brightly colored beads and baskets as well as other small carvings.

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