Kenya, regarded by many as the ‘jewel of East Africa’, has some of the continent’s finest beaches, most magnificent wildlife and scenery and an incredibly sophisticated tourism infrastructure. Kenya sure packs a lot in: mountains and deserts, colorful tribal culture, beaches and coral reefs, and some of Africa’s best wildlife attractions. Stunning landscapes set the scene, from Kakamega’s rainforests to Indian Ocean beaches by way of Mt Kenya National Park; the rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara to searing deserts on the shores of the Jade Sea; with The Rift Valley, home to Hell’s Gate National Park, cleaving a massive gash through it all. Above all, Kenya is a place for safaris. The country has a sophisticated tourism infrastructure, with two major cities controlling the majority of the tourism trade. Nairobi, the capital, is the safari and hiking hub, situated in the cool Central Highlands, while on the east coast the hot and humid trading port of Mombasa functions as the gateway to the resorts and pristine beaches of the area. Kenya sits astride the equator and offers fabulous scenery and a variety of tribal cultures. From its central location, the sacred peaks of Mt Kenya reign over a landscape primarily covered by grasslands and thorn trees, much of it enclosed within its many parks and reserves. The coast is home to ancient Swahili civilizations and old port towns that are rich in a history of exotic spice trading and fighting.
Mombasa is Kenya’s main port and popular holiday city. It is situated on an island in a natural sheltered inlet. It is the only port that serves not only Southern Sudan. The city includes Old Mombasa, located on a small offshore island (16 sq km/6 sq mi), and a larger, more modern mainland metropolitan area, which is connected to the island by causeway, bridge, and ferries. Kilindini, a modern deepwater harbor on the western side of the island, has extensive docks, shipyards, and sugar and petroleum refineries. Old Mombasa Harbor, on the eastern side of the island, handles mainly dhows and other small coastal trading vessels. Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese in the 1590s, is maintained as a museum.
For nature lovers, or anyone interested in anthropology, natural history, photography or just witnessing such sheer diversity in wildlife and fauna, then Kenya is the place of dreams. For this, one must visit the Masai Mara National Reserve. This reserve, belonging to the well-known Masai people, features over 1500 km of grasslands, gorgeous blue skies, and depending on the time of year, either hundreds of thousands or millions of the main animals that Africa is known for: lions, rhinos, elephants, gazelle, giraffe, impala, leopards, gazelle, and many more. Kenya’s most visited park, commonly known as the Mara, is a wildly beautiful place with rolling savannah grasslands and is an extension of the Serengeti Plains in neighboring Tanzania. It has the largest population of lion, and large herds of grazers also attract many other predators such as cheetah and hyena. The annual highlight is the Great Wildebeest Migration, creating one of the world’s supreme natural spectacles, when an estimated two million animals form one large herd and leave the dry plains of Tanzania to seek greener pastures in the north, arriving in the Mara from late June onwards and returning again in September. Their entrance into the Mara makes a breathtaking spectacle, as they cross the crocodile infested waters of the Mara River. A once in a lifetime way to experience the magic of an African dawn over such a wilderness is by hot air balloon, drifting silently over the herds below. Also within the reserve is a Masai village that holds demonstrations of traditional dances and music as a source of tourist income for the local communities of the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Swahili is the national language and English is the official language. There are over 42 ethnic languages spoken, including Kikuyu and Luo.
Mostly traditional but there is a sizeable Christian population (both Catholic and Protestant) and a small Muslim community.
Local time is GMT +3
240 volts, 50Hz. UK-style square three-pin plugs are used.
Situated at a high altitude, Nairobi has a moderate climate. The summer months are sunny and warm without blistering temperatures, while winters are mild to cool, with very chilly evenings. Rainfall is also moderate, the wettest part of the year being late summer to autumn, when cloudy, drizzly days are common.
The unit of currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES), divided into 100 cents. Travellers cheques in Sterling or US Dollars are recommended for your trip to Kenya.