The Samburu are one of the seven main peoples of Kenya whose origin can be traced back to the Nile region of the Sudan. They are related to the Maasai, but are believed to have broken off from the main Maasai migration around 1600.
The semi-nomadic pastoral Samburu live in the Northern plains of the country, while the Maasai live in the Southern districts. For centuries, they have depended on their herds of cattle, sheeps, goats and camels to survive in the harsh semi-arid environment.
They speak a language of the Maa-group that is closely related to the language of the Maasai and Chamus of Kenya and the Arusha and Parakuyu of Tanzania. In their language the Samburu refer to themselves as Lokop or Loikop, but the etylomogy and meaning of the term is uncertain.