Cows In Africa

Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner
Pin It


OK, an usual topic for a blog, but cows/cattle is very important to the livelihood of many African tribes. You may have heard of the Masaai and their cattle? In such communities cattle are assets, food as well as a source of income which enables them to send child to school and pay for health care. As such folk protect their cattle with their lives quite literally.

Because cattle are seen as assets, Cattle rustling a crime in which farmers seek to steal other farmers’ cattle is on the increase and consequently some farmers have acquired guns to safe guard their cattle. But the biggest threat to cattle is water shortage especially in North West Kenya and North East Uganda where the pastoral tribes walk for days on end in such of water for their animals. This too has created anxiety and conflict amongst these tribes and with the arrival guns who knows where it will end?


This is the typical African cow- I found these in Western Uganda

African cows are useful to crafts women in a different way. The Zebu with its long horns provide raw material for all manner of accessories especially jewellery, this enables them to earn an income too. As the saying goes, nothing is wasted on a cow-meaning that every inch of a cow is used/put to good use

cow horn necklace from Kenya

Not sure when this breed was introduced to Africa. This type are referred to English cows and require specialist care, especially protection from Horn flies, face flies, stable flies, ticks, lice and mites etc, they appear to have adapted well to the Africa. They are believed to provide more milk than the natives and bulls are often used fro cross breeding for this purpose.

An English cow in Africa

I found this one in Eastern Uganda on the slopes of Mount Elgon and it belonged to a coffee grower who collected its dung on a daily basis for use as fertiliser for his crop.


Blondie here is very unusual, I had never seen anything of the sort. I found her at Lake Bunyonyi SW Uganda. It was interesting to note that she was not afraid of cars and kept walking towards our vehicle!

So there you have it folk, Cattle are important in many an African life in many ways than one!




Managing Director at Ethnic Supplies
Ida is the curator of AFRICA ON THE BLOG  and founder of Ethnic Supplies a social enterprise working to alleviate poverty amongst East African women involved in textile and handicraft production. She is the Chair person of a community regeneration charity LET THEM HELP THEMSELVES OUT OF POVERTY. Get in touch @idahorner


Couldn't fetch latest tweet.
Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner


  1. says

    Thank God am not Maasai since i would have said that all the cattle here belong to us and were given to us by God :) I will try and get a perspective on their relationship with cattle.

  2. idahorner says

    LOL, Yes I am very interested in the Masaai and their relationship with cattle. It is a whole way of life that most of do not understand and wonder how a tribe can live the way they do. The popular media would have us believe that all they do is drink blood. In a way this is the reason behind this blog- Africans telling the world about Africa, so bring it on

    • Anonymous says

      Are you after whole cow horns? I am not aware of anyone selling them but no doubt I can find out for you. Drop me a note through the contact us page

  3. Jasmine says

    Hello, I came across your page on a search for a specific question. After a recent family day at our local zoo we became very interested in gorillas. So I came home and asked Google a few things and came across some Tribes in Africa that eat gorilla as bushmeat, even being an endangered species. If there are cow readily available why not eat the cow and save the gorilla? Please don’t take any offense in this question. I’ve tried to come up with an answer and all I came get is that is their way of life and probably do not know any better. Thank you for your time and help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge