Country Facts

Country Facts

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a sovereign state in East Africa. The capital and largest city is Nairobi. Kenya lies on the equator with the Indian Ocean to the south-east, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east. Kenya covers 581,309 km2 (224,445 sq mi) and has a population of about 44 million in July 2012. The country is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa.

Kenya, in Eastern Africa is one of the prime travel destinations in the world, due to the country's scenery, wildlife and climate. Conservation of the environment has long been a priority in Kenya, and it has over 60 national parks and reserves, each with something special to offer.

No other country on earth can offer the visitor as much to see and do. Within the borders of a single country, you will find savannahs rich with big game, timeless cultures unchanged by the modern world, pristine beaches and coral reef, equatorial forests and mighty snow-capped mountains, searing deserts and cool highland retreats and endless opportunities for adventure, discovery, relaxation; more than you would ever expect.

Capital city: Nairobi

Total Area: 580,367  km2

Area under water: 15.39 %

Population: 33 million people (2012)

Languages: English and Swahili.

Religions: Christians are the majority in the countryside, whereas Muslims are common on the Coast and are about 30% of the population; minority groups practice traditional religions.

Government: Republic

Independence Date: 12th December 1964 

Industry: Tourism, processed food, Brewing, vehicles and accessories, Cotton and Textiles, Cement and construction materials, chemicals.

Agriculture: Tea, coffee, corn, wheat; dairy products

Climate: Tropical

The climate of Kenya varies by location, from mostly cool every day, to always warm/hot. The climate along the coast is tropical. This means rainfall and temperatures are higher throughout the year. At the coastal cities, Mombasa, Lamu and Malindi, the air changes from cool to hot, almost every day.

The further inside Kenya, the more arid the climate becomes. An arid climate is nearly devoid of rainfall, and temperature swings widely according to the general time of the day/night. For many areas of Kenya, the daytime temperature rises about 12 C (corresponding to a rise of about 22F), almost every day.

Elevation is the major factor in temperature levels, with the higher areas, on average, as 11 °C (20 °F) cooler, day or night. The many mile-high cities have temperature swings from roughly 50–79 °F (10.0–26.1 °C). Nairobi, at 1,798 m (5,899 ft) or 1.798 km (1.12 mi), ranges from 49–80 °F (9.4–26.7 °C), and Kitale, at 1,825 m (5,988 ft) or 1.825 km (1.13 mi), ranges from 51–82 °F (10.6–27.8 °C). At night, heavy clothes or blankets are needed, in the highlands, when the temperature drops to about 50–54 °F (10.0–12.2 °C) every night.

At lower altitudes, the increased temperature is like day and night, literally: like starting the morning at the highland daytime high, and then adding the heat of the day, again. Hence, the overnight low temperatures near sea level are nearly the same as the high temperatures of the elevated Kenyan highlands. However, locations along the Indian Ocean have more moderate temperatures, as a few degrees cooler in the daytime, such as at Mombasa.

There are slight seasonal variations in temperature, of 4 °C or 7.2 °F, cooler in the winter months. Although Kenya is centred at the equator, it shares the seasons of the southern hemisphere: with the warmest summer months in December–March and the coolest winter months in June–August,again with differences in temperature varying by location within the country.

On the high mountains, such as Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon and Kilimanjaro, the weather can become bitterly cold for most of the year. Some snowfall does occur on the highest mountains.

 

Why choose Kenya for travel


Kenya, in Eastern Africa is one of the prime travel destinations in the world, due to the country's scenery, wildlife and climate. Conservation of the environment has long been a priority in Kenya, and it has over 60 national parks and reserves, each with something special to offer.

Safaris and wildlife:

Being home to Walt Disney’s "Lion King", it would be a shame not to spend at least a few days going on a safari here. There are so many game-parks throughout this beautiful country; with each one having it’s own unique landscape, flora and fauna. Seeing the big 5 is the attraction for many visitors, which means; lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and rhinos. In addition to the big 5, you’ll be sure to see an incredible variety of wildlife roaming freely through the open savannah. There are too many animals to mention here, but you’ll be sure to see many species of gazelles and antelopes, zebras, different types of wild cats including cheetahs, mongooses, monkeys, bat eared foxes, warthogs, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, crested cranes and the extraordinary sight of lakes, literally pink with huge numbers of flamingoes.

Kenya's Climate

Generally the climate is warm and humid at the coast, cool and humid in the central highlands, and hot and dry in the north and east. Across most of the country, rainfall is strongly seasonal, although its pattern, timing and extent vary greatly from place to place and from year to year.

Kenya's Rich Culture

Kenya has a culture born of countless sources. This region has been crossed by the paths of a long and complex history. From the prehistoric records of early man to the present day, Kenya has been a land of unending change, contrasts and diversity. The early tribal states saw cycles of migration and shifting power, with Kenya as a meeting place for peoples from the plain lands of the south, the forests of the West and the deserts of the North.

The colonial legacy lives on in the traditions of the great safari, and the pursuit of adventure and freedom. Kenya has drawn on all of these influences to develop its own unique culture. This is the nation’s greatest strength- the ability to blend the best of many worlds into a strong, singular identity.

Today, Kenya welcomes the world to its shores and continues to evolve a modern culture that is born of endless variety, and yet purely, proudly Kenyan.

Wildebeest migration:

One of the most amazing wildlife spectacles in the world is the annual wildebeest migration which happens in the Masai Mara game reserve. Literally millions of these ungainly creatures attempt to cross the Mara River and escape the snapping jaws of hungry crocodiles. The sight and sound of this incredible event is one that will last with you for a lifetime.

Golf

Kenya is a golfer’s paradise with its yearlong sunshine and a climate that is neither too hot nor too cold. There are almost 40 beautiful courses to choose from. Tropical vegetation surrounds the perfectly manicured greens – what could be better?

Music & Dance

Traditionally, Kenyan music originates from several sources. Many of the Nomadic tribes of this region share some common ground in the use of songs and chants, particularly among Maa speaking groups. Maa song has always played a large role in ceremonial life, and continues to. One of the best known Maasai ceremonial songs is the Engilakinoto, sung after a victorious lion hunt.

Structured around a deep rhythmic chant it is accompanied by a spectacular dance in which warriors display their strength and prowess by leaping directly and vertically into the air. Elsewhere, the use of drums became widespread and central to elaborate traditional dances. The word Ngoma (drum) is still used to describe most forms of traditional music and dance.

A variety of drums were used throughout the country. The Luhya of Western Kenya developed a very distinctive dance style called Sikuti after the local name for a drum. This extremely energetic dance is usually performed by paired male and female dancers, and accompanied by several drums, bells, long horns and whistles. The Kamba and Chuka people both developed a distinctive drumming style, in which a long drum is leant forward and clasped between the thighs. The Kamba were well known for their athletic, almost acrobatic dancing.

Mountain scenery

Mt Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa being 5,199m above sea level. It offers a 3-5 day mountaineering experience to the top of the snow-capped peak. Some say it’s a more interesting climb than the neighboring Kilimanjaro and this is no easy climb! Before undertaking a climb of this magnitude, climbers must be fully prepared.

Kenya’s landscapes:

These are among the most diverse and dramatic on the African continent. The eco-systems range from vibrant coastal marine parks, indigenous forests in western Kenya (Kakamega), afro-alpine moorland, wetlands, savannahs, teeming with large mammals and in the North there are wild scant deserts, great for camel trekking and wilderness tours.

The hospitality of Kenyans:

Last, but not in any way least, is the beauty of the Kenyan People. As diverse as the landscapes they live in, the Kenyan people are vibrant and beautiful. Among the many other tribes, the colorful Masai and Samburu tribesmen and women retain traditions that date back to the origins of mankind itself. Nomadic and regal, they continue to live in perfect harmony with their natural environment.

 

Travel Guide


How to reach Kenya by air

There are many international airlines reaching Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. The major airlines that fly to Nairobi from Europe include British Airways (London), KLM (Amsterdam), SN Brussels Airlines (Brussels), and Swiss/Crossair (Zürich). From the USA, a connecting flight must be taken. Other international airlines that fly to Nairobi include El Al, Egyptair, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, Air Malawi, Air Zimbabwe, and Qantas. Only a couple of German airlines fly direct from Europe to Moi International Airport in Mombasa, from Münich (LTU) or Frankfurt (Condor).

 

Best Travel Period

The best time of the year to visit Kenya is the boreal summer, from July to September. A second choice is the boreal winter from January to February. There are two rainy seasons, the "long rains" from March to June and the "short rains" from October to December. Seasonal rains condition both road communications and some cyclic wildlife movements. Wildlife is more abundant in Masai Mara during the boreal summer.

Luggage

We shall advise you to travel light as most of the trip will be on the safari vehicles. Remember your hand bag for the trekking.

Documents and Visa entry fees

Visas to Kenya can be obtained directly on entry and costs 50 USD for 90 days. The passport must be valid for at least six months starting from the date of entry.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: REVISION OF VISA RATES

For those who will be arriving in Kenya on and after July 1st 2011, the new Visa rates will be as follows:

Single Journey Visa (SJV)- $50.

Multiple Journey Visa (MJV)-$100.

Transit Visa (TV)-$20.

Referral Visa-$20

Or the equivalent amount in Euros, GBP and SwissFrancs

Kenya has three international airports; Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Moi International Airport, Mombasa and Moi International Airport, Eldoret. These airports service numerous international carriers including the national airline Kenya Airways. Kenya has good connections to destinations throughout Europe, the Asia- Pacific region, USA and Africa.

Kenya can be accessed by road from Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. Immigration should be processed at land border stations. Entry by sea is possible, and immigration should be processed at a port facility.

Kenya Visa Information

A visa is required prior to entry into Kenya. A single Entry Visa(valid for three months from date of issue) will cost US$ 50. A transit visa will cost US$ 20 (You can also pay using Euros, GBP or Swiss Francs).

For those whose country doesn't appear in the list above, visas can be obtained at the Airport upon arrival. It's advisable to obtain the visa from the Kenyan Embassy/High Commission in your country prior to departure.

* Note: The list of countries shown above is subject to change - For more information please check http://www.immigration.go.ke

 

Health requirements

It is advisable to have the vaccinations against yellow fever, hepatitis, typhus and tetanus. Risk of malaria is low in Nairobi and the Highlands above 2,000 m, whereas the risk rises in the Indian Ocean coast. The malignant type of the illness, produced by Plasmodium falciparum, is the most frequent in Kenya. The usual prophylaxis consists of a combination of chloroquine and proguanyl, or otherwise drugs that combine the two compounds. Prophylaxis with mefloquine (Lariam) is specially recommended for high risk areas, given the presence of strains resistant to chloroquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimetamine.

What to dress

Dress is mainly informal and should be comfortable as well as practical. Something warm should be brought along for early morning and evenings. Safari clothes are available from hotels/lodges/camps.


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