Interesting facts about Kenya

kenya flag

Kenya is a country located in Eastern Africa.

The official name of the country is the Republic of Kenya.

It is bordered by Tanzania to the south and southwest, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east.

Kenya has two official languages: English and Swahili.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Kenya was estimated to be 47,898,083 people.

It is the 48th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 581,309 square kilometers (224,445 square miles).

Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The name comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to “cool water”, a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city.

nairobi

Kenya’s terrain is composed of low plains that rise into central highlands that are, in turn, bisected by the Great Rift Valley. There is also a fertile plateau in the west of the country.

Mount Kenya at 5,199 meters (17,057 ft) is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. There are 12 remnant glaciers on the mountain, all receding rapidly, and four secondary peaks that sit at the head of the U-shaped glacial valleys. With its rugged glacier-clad summits and forested middle slopes, Mount Kenya is one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa. An area of 715 square kilometers (276 square miles) around the center of the mountain was designated a National Park and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

mount kenya

Kenya has 536 kilometers (333 miles) of coastline.

Kenya’s coastline is dotted with dazzling tropical beaches, each with its own character. The crystal clear waters of Indian ocean are ideal for surfing, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving.

kenya beach

The network of protected areas in Kenya covers about 12.4% of the national territory. It is made up of
23 national parks, plus nature reserves, game reserves and other types of protected areas.

The Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the top tourist attractions in Kenya and the country’s most popular game park. Each year the Masai Mara National Reserve is visited by thousands of tourists who come here to watch the exceptional population of game and the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest. The Great Migration takes place every year from July to October when 1.5 million of wildebeest and 200,000 zebra migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania.

masai mara national reserve migration

Amboseli National Park, the second most popular animal park after Maasai Mara, is 260 kilometers (160 miles) from Nairobi, on the border with the neighboring country of Tanzania. Its magnificent situation at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, combined with its excellent opportunities to view Kenya’s animals, make it one of the most-visited safari parks in Kenya.

amboseli national park

Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and one of the largest in the world. Due to its size the park was divided into Tsavo West and Tsavo East. The Tsavo West has spectacular scenery with a rolling
volcanic landscape while Tsavo East has more open savannah than its western sibling. Tsavo National
Park is the ideal destination in Kenya for people who seek solitude and privacy as well as the chance to explore the wilderness.

tsavo national park

Lake Turkana is a lake in the Kenyan Rift Valley, in northern Kenya, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the world’s largest alkaline lake. Lake Turkana National Parks is a group of three national parks located around Lake Turkana in Kenya. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and expanded in 2001. Reasons for the park’s importance include its use as a stopping point for migratory birds, as a breeding ground for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus, and snakes.

lake turkana

Kenya has 6 UNESCO world heritage sites.

Fort Jesus is a fort located on Mombasa Island. Designed by Italian Giovanni Battista Cairati, it was built between 1593 and 1596, by order of King Philip I of Portugal, to guard the Old Port of Mombasa. Fort Jesus was declared a national park in 1958, and in 2011, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and highlighted as one of the most outstanding and well-preserved examples of 16th-century Portuguese military fortifications.

fort jesus

Lamu Old Town is the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, retaining its traditional functions. Built in coral stone and mangrove timber, the town is characterized by the simplicity of structural forms enriched by such features as inner courtyards, verandas, and elaborately carved wooden doors. Lamu has hosted major Muslim religious festivals since the 19th century, and has become a significant centre for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures. It is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

lamu old town

A part of Eastern Africa, the territory of what is now Kenya has seen human habitation since the beginning of the Lower Paleolithic. The Bantu expansion from a West African center of dispersal reached the area by the 1st millennium AD.

The European and Arab presence in Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period (roughly the late 15th
century to the late 18th century), but European exploration of the interior began only in the 19th century.

The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, from 1920 known as the Kenya
Colony.

The independent Republic of Kenya was formed in 1964.

kenya-flag-2

The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. Major industries include: agriculture, forestry and fishing, mining and minerals, industrial manufacturing, energy, tourism and
financial services. Kenya’s three biggest exported products are tea, flowers and coffee.

Scientists think Northern Kenya and Tanzania may have been the original birthplace of humans. The bones of one of the earliest human ancestors ever found were discovered in Kenya’s Turkana Basin.

In Kenya, more than 60 languages are spoken and there are more than 40 ethnic groups.

The vast majority of Kenyans are Christian (83%), with 47.7% regarding themselves as Protestant
and 23.5% as Roman Catholic. Islam is the second religion of Kenya with approximately 11% of the
Kenyan population, mostly in coastal areas.

The Republic of Kenya is named after Mount Kenya. The origin of the name Kenya is not clear, but perhaps linked to the Kikuyu, Embu and Kamba words Kirinyaga, Kirenyaa, and Kiinyaa which mean “God’s resting place” in all three languages. If so, then the British may not so much have
mispronounced it (‘Keenya’), as misspelled it.

Kenya is known chiefly for its dominance in middle-distance and long-distance athletics, having consistently produced Olympic champions in various distance events, especially in 800 m, 1,500 m, 3,000 m steeplechase, 5,000 m, 10,000 m and the marathon.

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