Wild and a little dangerous, and reckoned by many an anthropologist as the ‘cradle of humanity’, Kenya is not for the faint-hearted traveller. This is where the word 'safari', which means 'journey' in its local language, Swahili, was born.
Your endurance will be rewarded with the most magnificent wildlife parks, pure beaches, coral reefs that will make any diver turn green with envy, superb mountain ranges and ancient Swahili cities. This is also the land of the annual mass migration. Nothing can prepare you for what natural spectacle you’ll witness, as millions of wildebeests make it through the Masai Mara.
Thanks to tourism, Kenya’s one of Africa’s most stable and western oriented nations. Because it recognises tourism as one of the key players in its economy, it’s become one of the leading nations that fight animal poaching.
Kenya has a population of 32 million people with the official languages being Swahili and English. The capital of Kenya is Nairobi. The average temperature ranges from 20-30 degrees Celcius all year round. Kenya's main attraction is the Masia Mara National Park.
Quick facts about Kenya
Full name: Republic of Kenya
Capital city: Nairobi
Area: 583,000 sq km; 225,096 sq miles
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +3 ()
Languages: Swahili (official); English (official)
Religion: 35% Protestant; 30% Roman Catholic; 30% Muslim; 5% Animist
Electricity: 240V; 50HzHz
Electric Plug Details: British-style plug: 2 flat blades & 1 flat grounding blade
Country Dialling Code: 254
Visa Details: Click Here
Money matters: Per Capita Income: US$370, Currency: Kenya Shillings (Kshs) and USD
Medical matters: Meningococcal meningitis, Malaria, Cholera, Hepatitis, Typhoid, HIV/AIDS, Yellow fever
Recent history of Kenya
It was in 2002 when President Moi decided to retire on very generous retirement benefits. Then, at the December 2002 elections, KANU was scared off by the National Rainbow Coalition, led by Mwai Mbaki. All this brought about a feeling of new optimism in Kenya. Since that, there’ve been signs since that this new government is just as intolerant of opposition, just like its predecessor.
Meanwhile, Kenya struggled with HIV, terrorism, major floods, droughts, cholera and malaria epidemics, ethnic fighting and food shortages, deemed in mid-2004 by the president as a national crisis.
In March 2004, the long-awaited draft for a new constitution was finally released. But it had failed to win parliamentary approval by a deadline set for the middle of that same year.
This disharmony in the government carried on in 2005, and the British High Commissioner made astonishing corruption allegations against the Kibaki government. This resulted in suspension of aid by the Dutch, German and US governments. The EU and Japan threatened Kenya that they’d follow suit if they did not address corruption in the ranks. This lead to more in-fighting and divisions within the Kibaki government.
In 2006, allegations were made about media censorship. As if that wasn’t enough, the worst drought of the decade hit Kenya. These disasters mean that the challenges facing the Kibaki government today, remain profound. In 2008 violence post elections has caused many deaths and political instability.
Kenya’s 4% yearly increase of its population is leading to growing social pressure and its associated problems commonly found in developing countries. If Kenya hopes to maintain some form of political stability, they’d need to address these problems in the near future.
capital city, Nairobi
is the country’s main commercial and business centre with over a thousand businesses and more than one hundred major international organisations and companies. The Nairobi Stock Exchange was recognised by the London Stock Exchange in 1953. It is one of Africa's largest stock exchanges.
The Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park
is home to hundreds of elephants, as well as buffaloes, hippos and a variety of birdlife, such as the pelican and egyptian geese. The ecosystem is mainly savannah with a few swamp areas which you can get a clear picture of from Observation Hill. One can also take in amazing views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Masai Mara National Reserve
Established in 1961, the Masai Mara National Reserve is situated in an enormous game park in Narok County, Kenya, and is joined to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The reserve was named in honour of the Masai tribe
, who were the original occupants of the region. Translated from the Masai word ‘Maa’ meaning ‘spotted’, the Masai Mara was also named due to how the area looks from a distance, with circles of trees, thickets, savannahs and cloud shadows that seem to dot the park. The reserve is renowned as one of the greatest and most popular wildlife parks in all of Africa, and is famous the world over for its incredible abundance of the big cats: lion, leopard and cheetah, as well as its annual migration during which masses of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and 1.5 million wildebeest make their way to and from the Serengeti while crossing through the crocodile infested Mara river. The area is also very well-known for its Masai people who have a fascinating culture and an extremely distinctive style of dress.
Safaris inside the Masai Mara are absolutely incredible and offer some of the best game viewing available. The Masai Mara Ecosystem supports one of the largest lion populations in the world and covers an amazing 1,510 square kilometres, reaching up to 2,170 metres above sea level. The reserve is home to more than 95 mammal species and approximately 570 documented bird species. Discarded arrowheads and pottery of the Neolithic man, who lived over 2,000 years ago, have been discovered in the Masai Mara National Reserve. The Masai have inhabited the region since the 17th century and, together with the magnificent wildlife of the park, remain the true landlords of the area.
The various landscapes of the reserve include sandy soil and small shrubbery in the east, the Siria Escarpment that forms a remarkable plateau which acts as border in the west, dense grass and woodlands around the Mara River, and vast savannahs with dispersed thickets that cover the biggest portion of the park. The topography here is extremely diverse, giving visitors a romantic view of beautiful Africa. The Mara River is home to an abundance of hippo and crocodile, and the birdlife around the park is simply spectacular with eagles, ostriches, storks, vultures and over 50 different birds of prey. Other animals to be seen in the reserve include hyena, giraffe, impala, topi, baboons, warthogs, buffalo and elephants.
In 2005, a visionary conservationist named Jake Grieves-Cook approached the Masai people, who technically owned the land, and offered to rent out portions of it for them. In exchange, the Masai vacated the land and stopped their cattle from grazing on it. The lands swiftly transformed back into lush grassland, allowing the wildlife to prosper. The Masai are now paid rent, and numerous families are benefiting from employment at some of the eco-friendly camps that have been erected in the area. The number of tourists and safari vehicles in the reserve are firmly limited, resulting in magnificent safari experiences.
Other than game drives through the park, feel free to participate in walking tours of the area with a knowledgeable Masai guide. You could also participate in a cultural tour of a traditional Masai village, during which you will be treated to an educational experience of the Masai lifestyles. You could also game view in luxury from the aerial viewpoint of a hot air balloon at dawn, giving you an awe-inspiring view of magical Africa.
is where you’ll see those thousands of pink flamingos, gathered together to feed on Lake Nakuru’s algae. This pink spectacle moves back and forth as they feed, and, occasionally and spectacularly, takes to flight, creating a rosy drama African legends are made of.
and its surrounds has fertile soils and plenty of water supply, making this area one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions. Many forests surround this lake, drawing an astounding amount of birdlife. In fact, Lake Naivasha is known as a world-class birding destination. Keeping the birds company, are giraffe, buffalo, Colobus monkeys, hippos and many other game. Take a boat trip out on the lake, and try and spot an African Fish Eagle
scoop itself a bite to eat.