Vernacular Architecture of Traditional African Village Huts

Although they differ from country to country, the traditional African village huts have thatched roofs supported by a wooden or an earth base. Some huts also have entirely thatched exterior and an interior made of mud. Due to the use of readily available local materials, this type of houses are classfied as vernacular architecture. Although the choice of local materials are generally associated with poverty, it also have climatic advantages as it enables vantilation.

Here are some examples of traditional African village huts.

Zulu Huts in South Africa

In order to built a Zulu hut, it was first necessary to first create a frame by bending wooden poles inward toward the center. Then, the frame is covered by weaving a thatch of dried grasses, and eventually creating a dome- shaped structure.

African village huts- Zulu huts
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African village huts- Zulu huts
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Zulu huts
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A Tuareg Village in the Ubari Lakes Area in Libya

Tuareg people are famous for their nomadic life style and architecture. Their tents have differents shapes including dome or square shaped ones. Here is an abandoned Tuareg village in Libya.

tuareg village
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African village huts
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Tuareg village
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Musgum Earth House in Cameroon

Also known as “cases obus,” Musgum earth houses are structures made of mud by the ethnic Musgum people in Cameroon. Their geometric designs as well as shapes change as some of them have a tall domed or a conical shape. Apart from their decorative function, the V shaped or straight relief lines enable the water to drain quick and easy when it rains. Although they have an important place in Cameroon’s architecture, they are not as popular today.

African village huts
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African village huts
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Ethiopian Granaries

Ethiopain granaries
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Ethiopian Dorze Homes

The Dorze huts are built with woven bamboo with a thatch of enset leaves. The shape of the houses resembles to the Elephants as there used to be a lot of Elephants in the region. However, their number gradually decreased, and there is none left in the area today.

African village huts- Ethiopian Dorze Homes
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Ethiopian Dorze Homes
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African village huts
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Ethiopian Dorze Homes
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