Kenya is stunningly beautiful African country that has seen its share of good and bad times. If you are traveling to Kenya, the following information will give you a head start.
An Overview of Kenya for Travelers
Kenya is a crossroads country in Africa, which means a little bit of various African countries reside there. More than 40 languages are spoken and as many as eleven different ethnic groups can be identified. The religious breakdown is also very diverse. Despite this variety, the country has a fairly harmonious existence. The national slogan is harambee which loosely translates to lets pull together.
Compared to other sub-Saharan countries, Kenya has historically been advanced in infrastructure and general living standards. During the colonial period, England controlled the country and developed the area. Kenyans were not allowed to participate in government, much like South Africa. As you might expect, Kenyans rebelled and eventually became independent on December 12, 1963. The Kenya People’s Union then became the only political party and ruled until 2002. In October 2002, the National Rainbow Coalition dominated elections.
Following independence, Kenya continued to grow economically and the standard of living was the envy of much of Africa. Unfortunately, corruption threw a wrench in the proceedings the country has suffered from a lurching economy for the last 15 years. In 2003, the country turned things around and things have generally improved since then.
Kenya covers 224,960 square miles and is slightly smaller than Texas. The capital is Nairobi. Kenya rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean in a series of mountain ridges and plateaus which stand above 9,000 feet in the center of the country. The Rift Valley bisects the country above Nairobi, opening up to a broad arid plain in the north. Mountain plains cover the south before descending to the shores of Lake Victoria in the west. The climate varies from the tropical south, west, and central regions to arid and semi-arid in the north and the northeast.
The people of Kenya are known as “Kenyans.” Total population is 30 million and growing at 1.7 percent a year. Ethnic groups break down as Kikuyu 21 percent Luhya 14 percent, Luo 13 percent, Kalenjin 11 percent, Kamba 11 percent, Kisii 6 percent, Meru 5 percent. Religious break down is Indigenous beliefs 10 percent, Protestant 40 percent, Roman Catholic 30 percent, Muslim 20 percent. Languages include English, Swahili, and more than 40 local ethnic languages. The literacy rate is 65 percent and life expectancy is 49 years of age.
As this brief overview reveals, the country suffers the economic problems of many countries in Africa. That being said, it is beautiful place that will hopefully overcome such hurdles. It is definitely a place you will remember visiting.
Kenya Travel Guide
Kenya is one of the most sought after travel destinations in East Africa. Boasting some of the best game reserves in the region and a uniquely wide array of game life, Kenya offers its visitors unforgettable African safari experience. A safari in Kenya is indeed very rewarding and it guarantees you a chance to see the Big 5 – buffalo, leopard, lion, rhino and elephant.
Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world is the main attraction in the arid northeastern region of Kenya. Enclosed by lava beds and extinct volcanoes, Lake Turkana is adjacent to the Kenya-Ethiopia border and has an interesting history. Koobi Fora in the Sibiloi National Park on the northeastern shores of the lake is often referred to as the cradle of mankind. The site is a literal hotbed for fossils including a three million year old giant turtle and the remains of a three million year old hominid. The region is ideal for bird watching, fishing as well as other water sports.
You will not regret having your holiday vacations here in Kenya where you will visit the Indian Ocean Beach. Here you can choose to visit the remote Indian Ocean beach which is far from human contact with the boat or airplane being the only means of transport. The Indian Ocean is a popular beach with plenty of sun, white sand beaches and food. You will have fun swimming in the salty water sea that is devoid of refuse. Visit Mombasa town to see Fort Jesus, the oldest building which was built by the Portuguese. Swahili is the language which is commonly used in Mombasa. I’m sure you will learn a few words.
The Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo are also on the floor of the Rift Valley. L. Bogoria is famous for the geysers and various bird species. Further south and you are at the Aberdare Ranges. Aberdares National Park is hone to the elephants and other animals. It is a place where you will enjoy night game viewing at the comfort of your balcony.
The Amboseli National reserve and Tsavo National Park, situated further south of Kenya are also quite fascinating. The Amboseli offers endless views of the African grassland only disrupted by the snowcapped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest peak in Africa. The national park is famous for its large herds of elephants. On its part, Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and it hosts more than 60 mammal species and close to 1000 plant species. The national park is a perfect safari destination for those on holiday at the Kenyan coast. Most international visitors access Kenya by air mainly through Jomo Kenyatta and Mombasa international airports. Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi, situated some 20 km outside the city centre, is best for visitors who want to go on safari around the country. Passports valid for 3 months from date of entry are required of all visitors. In addition, all visitors are also required to have a visa except for citizens for citizens of some commonwealth countries.