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Kenya Republic of Kenya national parks General Information Physical Features
Wildlife Birdlife climate people culture
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activities adventure Amboseli National Park Kakamega Forest National Reserve Mount Kenya National Park
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Kenya

 
 

Sprinkled with African big Five, diverse landscapes, and charming cultures, the Republic of Kenya deserves a tourism sweet spot in everybody’s heart. Kenya has more than 45 national parks, suggesting how serious the country is about conservation; at the center it has well-developed cities and town, making it easier for anyone to get in touch with human civilization; sandy beaches are all along the coast, making it a respectable beach resorts; the vast savannahs are home to wildlife like you have never seen before.

 

General Information

  • Total area : 224,445 square miles, 2.3% is water
  • Capital : Nairobi
  • Largest city : Nairobi
  • Government : unitary presidential constitutional republic
  • Climate : tropical coast, temperate inland, and arid (northern parts)

 

Physical Features

Kenya is more geographically diverse than you think. Indian Ocean coastline is in the eastern, while the inlands are covered with broad plains and hills. Western and Central Kenya feature mountainous lands, while the western part has a rainforest. Due to the diverse geographical features, the climate of Kenya also varies depending on locations. Perhaps it is even safe to say that when people think of Africa, they basically think of Kenya. The sight of dry harsh desserts, which are often associated with the continent, is common in the country. At another level of elevation, there is a snow-capped mountain. Coastline of Indian Ocean and vast savannah create yet another perspective for visitors. There is also forest, completing the diverse landscapes. In short, Kenya is an excellent representative of what tourism in Africa is all about.

 

Wildlife

Diversity in geographical features translates to abundant wildlife. Kenya deserved its reputation as home to wildlife conservations not only because the government has made it possible but also since the people are well aware of the importance of co-existing with nature. Back in the 1970s to 1980s, Kenya underwent serious threat of losing its wildlife due to poaching, but the government has made it clear that the use of armed rangers is necessary to stop animals from disappearing. Now, and in many areas, indigenous people and community conservancies are working together to prevent further destruction, ensure wildlife repopulation, and welcome tourism industry without disrupting ecosystem balance. For every visit you make to Kenya, you contribute to save the wildlife; everybody wins.

Here lives the Big Five: lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinoceros. Kenya also plays its role in the Great Migration, when millions of animals are moving towards lush green vegetation and waters as season changes. Having 45 national parks in its territory indicates that Kenya takes wildlife conservation as one of the nation’s purposes; there is no way you can be too serious about conservancy. More protections allow the animals to have better chance of surviving.

 

Birdlife

Kenya is one of the most rewarding destinations for birdwatchers. African Bird club has identified at least 1,000 bird species in the country so far, several of them are endemics and many are near endemics. Whether you are casual birdwatchers or serious ornithologists, Kenya should be on the top of your list.

People and Culture

The people of Samburu, Swahili, Kikuyu, and Turkana have their unique cultures, adding to the already diverse nation of Kenya. Possibly the most understood of them all, the Maasai people with their lifestyle, perspectives towards the nature, and co-existence with wildlife, have planted their identity deep into the root of Kenya. All those indigenous tribes have struggled to survive from the pressures of modernizations and harsh environments; both have proven to be on-going pressures that force the people to stay strong and prominent in the country. By visiting Kenya, you will learn how your presence and support in tourism industry can mean so much. In return, you get to understand a little bit better about how they see the world, their beliefs, and relations with the nature.

There are more than 45 different communities in Kenya. Bantu people make the vast majority of population at 67%; Nilotes come second at 30%. Small ethnic minorities also exist including Indians, Arabs, and Europeans. Kenya has two official languages, Swahili and English, but the ethnic groups speak their mother tongues. English is spoken government, commerce, and educational institutions.

 

Safety

Kenya is a safe tourist destination for the most parts, and there is little to worry about. In many cases where criminal activities occurred, the victims were reluctant to practice basic safety such as travelling alone at night, leaving their belongings inside a parked car unattended, tempting criminals by wearing expensive jewelries, etc.

Note: areas within 60km of Somali – Kenya border, Lamu County (excluding Lamu or Manda Islands), Garissa County, and Tana River are still unsafe for visitors. Safari destinations and southern coast are safe.

 

Climate

Just like its diverse geographical features, Kenya’s climate is diverse depending on locations. Along the coast, climate is tropical; the inland is temperate; the northern parts are arid. In Kenya, you can wear summer clothes everyday through the year, except at night in higher elevations due to the cool weather. Long rains in Kenya occur from March to June, while short rains happen from October to December. During February to March, Kenya is at its hottest temperature.

 

Popular Destinations

Most tourist destinations in Kenya are basically worth highlighting. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Maasai Mara National Reserve: if you have ever watched any documentary of wildlife in Africa, you can imagine how it feels like when you visit the national reserve. Vast savannas are stuffed with wild animals, plentiful vegetations sustaining the herbivores, and the carnivores are provided with every opportunity they need to fulfill their hunger. Lions, cheetahs, and leopards are always lurking in the corner, waiting for unsuspecting gazelles, wildebeest, zebras, and impalas to let their guards down. Elephants and giraffes are also in the scene.

  • Amboseli National Park: a sight of hundreds of elephants against Mount Kilimanjaro backdrop is just the tip of the iceberg in Amboseli. Lions, hyenas, wildebeest, and zebras are common sights at the same time. For birdwatchers, there are more than 370 species of birds waiting to be spotted and photographed; a promisingly rewarding preposition in Amboseli.

  • Kakamega Forest National Reserve: you are under the impression that Africa is just dry desert, but Kenya can prove you wrong with this national reserve. Indeed, Kakamega Forest is just the remaining part of what once was the Guineo-Congolian rainforest, but there are still plenty to go around here.

  • Mount Kenya National Park: Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro. The mountain is both UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Unlike Kilimanjaro where you have to ascend and descend through the same trail, Mount Kenya gives you a different path to go up and down so you can enjoy different scenic perspectives of everything that lies beneath you. There are three peaks including Nelion (5188 meters), Batian (5199 meters), and Point Lenana (4985 meters). The first two are not for the faint-hearted; unless you are an experienced mountaineer, Point Lenana should be enough.

  • Lamu Island: once you set your foot on the island, get ready to be bewildered and wonder if you have travelled back in time. With the lack of cars and Swahili-centric architectural styles, Lamu has managed to retain its core values and traditional way of life in the middle of modernization pressures. Let us not forget that this can be the only place where you can see how the community has such great regards for donkey. It also has historical museum, abandoned village, and a fort turned into a library.

  • Nairobi National Park: unlike most national parks anywhere else on Earth, Nairobi National Park is where you can witness abundant of wildlife against a backdrop of well-developed city along with skyscrapers and planes. Here you can see lions, hyenas, giraffes, buffalos, and the world’s highest concentration of black rhinoceros. It also has approximately 400 species of birds. Nairobi National Park is the most easily accessibly safari experience in all Kenya. The best thing is that all the animals do not seem to be disturbed at all despite living within close proximity to a big city.

 

It does not matter if this is your first or repeated visit to Kenya, the experience is always an adventurous one. Diverse wildlife and landscapes always offer something new to the excitement, and you will never get bored with the view from Indian Ocean coastline or even at the peak of Mount Kenya. People’s cultures are more of psychological treats rather than physical attractions, and there are lessons to be learned from indigenous people. Kenya is an all-in-one tourism destination in Africa, giving you all the wonders of the continent in a package.

 

 
   
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