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11 Tallest Tribes in Africa

The African continent is home to many tribes, and they all have unique characteristics.

Each tribe is good at something or is known for something special.

The uniqueness can range from physical appearance, cultural practices, dialects, and how they dress, among other aspects.

Regarding physical appearance, Africa has some of the tallest tribes in the world.

You may know of one or two tribes that fall under this category, but this post highlights 10 of them.

Read on to familiarize yourself with the tallest tribes in Africa.

1.  Tutsi

The Watutsi of Rwanda, Burundi, and some parts of DRC start off the list because the Guinness World of Records recognizes them as the tallest tribe in the world, leave alone Africa.

Young adult males of the Tutsi tribe have an average height of 1.83 meters, which means that some of their older adult males can measure up to 2 meters or more.

You can easily recognize the Tutsi because besides their towering height, they also almost have the same elongated facial looks.

2.   Dinka

The Dinka people of South Sudan rank 2nd on the list of the tallest tribes in Africa. Their average height reads 1.82 meters.

A percentage of the Dinka people live abroad, and some of their youths have landed lucrative global modeling jobs because of their outstanding size.

The Dinka belong to the Nilotic ethnicity and mostly live along River Nile.

They keep cattle and are also seasoned agriculturalists.

Other physical characteristics of the Dinka people are their dark skin color and slender bodies.

3.  Maasai

People from the Maasai tribe of Kenya also have above-average height.

Apart from their size, Maasai are known for donning loosely patterned shawls, loopy ears, Ankara sandals, and jumpy cultural dances.

Their towering height allows them to pull off electrical performances characterized by long jumps.

The Maasai are primarily pastoralists, which is evident from how they walk around with long wooden sticks.

You will also find them entertaining foreign tourists in different resorts and hotels.

4.  Oromo

The Oromo tribe accounts for Ethiopia’s 34% population. They are also present in Northern Kenya.

Some Oromo subgroups have tall people, qualifying the tribe as one of Africa’s tallest tribes.

Oromo’s tallest people are believed to measure above 1.6 meters in height.

This Cushitic ethnic group is predominantly farmers, cultivating coffee, bananas, and cereals.  The Oromo also rear livestock.

5. The Nuer

Like the Dinka, the Nuer people also come from South Sudan.

The Nuer are among the most affected by the frequent civil wars in South Sudan.

Thousands have been displaced and left in dire need of humanitarian help.

When settled and not fleeing war, the Nuer practice agriculture and rear cattle and other livestock.

Their cattle is one of their most treasured source of wealth, also used in paying bride price.

6. The Zulu

The Zulu form the largest ethnic group in South Africa.

The Bantu-speaking tribe originated from Central Africa and has a rich culture that not even the heavy presence of the white man in South Africa could tone down.

When it comes to height, the Zulu tribe has tall people and short ones too.

Their traditional setting comprised strong black warriors who measured above 1.7 meters.

The height was significant in enabling the tall men to defend their families and community from cattle rustlers and other enemies.

The genes of Zulu ancestors are eminent in the communities present people because a good number of them are relatively tall.

7. Turkana

The Turkana people come from Kenya and have the same ethnic roots as South Sudan’s Dinka, Nilotes.

That explains why they belong in the tallest tribes in Africa group, which is because they also have some of the tallest people found in Africa.

The Turkana settled around the shores of Lake Turkana, which has played a significant role in providing their families and herds of cattle and goats with water.

The Turkana people are primarily pastoralists, relying on their livestock for milk, meat, and hide.

They also belong to the marginalized communities of Kenya, where social amenities like schools, modern roads, and hospitals are scarce.

8. The Yao

The Yao is another African tribe with tall people above the average adult height.

The Yao tribe resides in Tanzania, Mozambique, and parts of Malawi.

They are agriculturists growing crops like cassava, maize, millet, and rice.

Besides farming, the Yao people also practice fishing because they live near large water bodies like the Indian Ocean.

The Yao have a rich culture of traditional costumes and ceremonies. A large population of the Yao practices Islam religion.

9. Shilluk

Also, from South Sudan, the Shilluk people are Nilotic people and qualify to rank among the tallest tribes of the African continent.

The tribe consists of two political factions: Gar and Leak. 

They live on the banks of R. Nile, in vegetation that is primarily tall grass and shrubs.

They are farmers, fishers, and livestock keepers.

The Shilluk community has not been spared by Sudan’s civilians either, with some of its people fleeing and relocating to countries like Britain, USA, and Australia.

A large number of Shilluk’s population are Christians.

10. Himba

The Himba people live in the Namibian desert and are a marginalized community in Namibia.

They are far away from modernization because they wear traditional attires flanked by jewelry made of beads.

The Himba also paint their bodies with ochre to achieve a reddish skin complexion.

Some of their members are tall, while others are of average adult height.

Their quiet life consists of cattle herding, which they sustain by moving from one place to another in search of greener pastures to prevent the livestock from succumbing to prolonged drought.

 They live a nomadic lifestyle, and Himba men lead the way when it’s time to find a new temporary place to stay.

11. Ovambo

The Ovambo people also originate from Namibia, but many can also be found in Southern Angola.

No statistics define their height, but they are known to be tall people.

Kenyalogue Contributor


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