- Population: about 54 million people live in Kenya (2021)
- Capital city: Nairobi with about 5 million people
- Name: Republic of Kenya
- Government: presidential republic
- Languages: 2 official languages: Kiswahili (also referred to as Swahili) and English
- Religion: mainly Christians (83%), Muslims (mainly living in the coastal regions), Hindu, Jews and other faiths
- Currency: 1 Kenyan Shilling (KES) = 100 Cents
- History: Kenya became independent in 1963.
- National Animal: lion
- National Colours: black, red, green and white
- President: Uhuru Kenyatta
- National Day: Jamhuri Day 12 December (Independence Day)
- National Anthem: “Oh God of All Creation” is based on a traditional folk song in Kenya
- History: Bantu tribes settle in the region about 500 BC. European explorers and Arab traders visited and settled mainly in the coastal regions around Mombasa, which is Kenya’s oldest city. From 1895 the country was part of the East Africa Protectorate and controlled by the British Empire. From 1920 the country was referred to as British Kenya. Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963.
Kenya is located in East Africa and borders the Indian Ocean. The country lies on the Equator.
Kenya borders five countries: Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Somalia. The longest border is shared with Ethiopia (867km).
The country is slightly smaller in size than the state of Texas/USA and slightly bigger than France in Europe. A flight from London/England takes 8 hours and from New York/USA it takes 14 hours to get to Nairobi/Kenya.
Kenya’s name come from Mount Kenya but the word originates probably from the Kikuyu and Kamba languages meaning ‘God’s resting place’
Kenya has a tropical climate along the coast and an arid climate in the highlands. In the interior of the country, you will find the Great Rift Valley and a fertile high plateau in the western parts of the country. About 50% of the country is used for agriculture.
The Great Rift Valley cuts through the country from north to south. Lake Turkana is located in the north of the Great Rift Valley.
- The longest river in Kenya is the Tana River which from South Africa.
- Kenya’s highest mountain is Mount Kenya with 5,199 m/ 17,058 ft. This extinct volcano is also the second highest peak on the African continent – after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
- The largest city in Kenya is the capital city Nairobi.
- The largest national park in the country is Tsavo National Park at the border to Tanzania.
- Lake Victoria is the world’s largest tropical lake. This lake is shared with Uganda and Tanzania and is also the second largest freshwater lake in the world.
- Lake Turkana is Kenya’s largest lake and also the world’s largest desert lake, is known for the huge pink flamingo population and unspoilt nature. This lake is also known as the largest alkaline lake in the world.
Attractions in Kenya
- Nairobi: The city’s name comes from the Maasai word for ‘cool waters’ as a stream once flowed through the area. Nairobi is not only known for its buzzing city life and many historic monuments, but also for Nairobi National Park which is the only national park in the world that borders a capital city.
- Mombasa, with 1.2 million people the second largest city in Kenya, is main coastal city and the biggest sea port of the country. The city’s 16th-century Fort Jesus is a famous World Heritage site. The city’s main landmark Mombasa Tusks on Moi Avenue were built in 1952 to commemorate a visit of Queen Elizabeth II. The aluminium tusks mark today the entrance to the commercial city centre.
- Watamu: This small town south of Malinda is known its marine national park, clear turquoise waters and amazing beaches. The coral reef is close to the shore and snorkelling is easy. The marine park is also known as an egg-lying site for the endangered green sea turtles.
- Lamu: Lamu Old Town is one of six UNESCO world heritage sites and great for cultural trips to explore the regions history. The influence of the Arab traders and Portuguese explorers can be seen when visiting the island’s fort and colonial buildings.
Wildlife and Animals
Wildlife in Kenya is abundant. There are many species of mammals and birds. If you go on safari you can see many other animals like lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, antelopes and monkeys. The “Big Five” can be found countrywide in the national parks and game reserves. The big Five animals are lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo and elephant.
During July and August the massive wildebeest migration can be observed here every year when the large wildebeest herds cross the Mara river and move into the Maasai Mara National park.
At the coast you can watch dolphins. The coastal towns near Mombasa and Malindi are great for spotting various dolphin species frolicking in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Sea turtles can be admired in Watamu.