The term Rendile literally means “Holders of the Stick of God”. This Cushitic population migrated south from Ethiopia to the Great Lakes area. When they arrived in Kenya, they continued their tradition as nomadic pastoralists, but split up into two main groups. Those in the north, who have maintained greater authenticity and independence, chiefly tend camels, whereas in the south – due perhaps to the influence of other populations such as the Maasai – they raise cattle. Today most of the Rendile are concentrated in the Kaisut Desert, east of Lake Turkana and under Mount Marsabit, in north-eastern Kenya.
William A. Chanler published the first important ethnological study on the Rendile and described their physical features: tall and slender, with a reddish-brown complexion, noble and thin facial features, and “fierce” blue eyes. Camels are their main resource and are used not only for their meat, milk and hide, but also for transport and as a medium of exchange. Rendile society is based on extremely strong family ties and, in turn, families are founded on monogamous couples.