Kenya Travel Info

Geography | Visa | Culture | People | Climate

Kenya is the heart of safari country and a land full of incredible contrasts; arid deserts and dense forests, wide open savannahs full of acacia trees and large lakes, and of course 480 kilometers of beautiful coastline on the Indian Ocean. The Great Rift Valley – one of the true Natural Wonders of the World – is a massive geological split, which runs right through the country and is home to many of the prolific wildlife species found in Kenya. Kenya’s highest mountain, Mount Kenya, is also the second highest mountain on the African continent with an altitude of 5,199m (17,058 feet) above sea level.

Few places provide the extraordinary opportunity to view wildlife in its natural habitat. Indeed the very word safari was invented in Kenya where in Kiswahili it means “journey”. The boundless wilderness and big game of this region has long attracted adventure seekers from all over the globe.

This great range of natural habitats means that there is plenty to explore, and plenty of species to encounter. This is a land of endless potential for the wildlife enthusiast. From the annual Wildebeest migration (the greatest game show on earth!) to the incredible spectacle of millions of Flamingoes on Lake Nakuru, this is a world of natural wonders.

Geography

Kenya straddles the equator and is found on the eastern coast of Africa. It is bordered by Tanzania, Uganda Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan and covers an area of about 586,600 km square.

Visa

All incoming visitors to Kenya (except East African Citizens) require a visa, irrespective of nationality. Visa requirements often change. We advise you to check with your local Kenyan Embassy/Consulate or your travel agent for the latest visa requirements.

Culture

Kenyan Modern Culture was born of myriad sources and influences both new and old.

Despite the many and varied influences that have shaped Kenyan society, the culture in Kenya has become truly and purely Kenyan. If any one thing of Kenya speaks of this unique character, it is the modern melding of traditional societies and culture.

In Kenya it is possible to leave Nairobi, a city with a thriving business heart powered by the latest information technology, and drive in just a few hours to a place where life is lived in accordance to tradition and custom, where warriors armed with spears drive cattle into thorn brush enclosures to protect them from lions at night.

In Kenya the modern and the traditional live side by side, and at times the lines blur. For many visitors to Kenya, this is evident within minutes of arrival. Among the busy urban traffic, the median strips of fresh grass along the airport road are a popular place for Maasai herdsmen to graze their cattle. Some people lament the gradual change in lifestyles, and loss of many customs and traditions in difference to modern life and values. But much more than any other country on earth Kenya has maintained many of its traditional cultures. Indeed, in Kenya tradition and custom is not seen as being linked to the past, but as being an amorphous and evolving part of everyday life.

The result is a completely unique culture, in which it is possible to see a Maasai walking across the plains using his distended earlobes to support walkman headphones, a group of urban Kikuyu joining in a traditional wedding ritual in which a bride is sung out of her house by the grooms family, or a Samburu Business man with a traditionally beaded mobile phone cover. The ease with which Kenyans adopt and adapt to new cultural influences has a long history. Kenyan culture is built on the acceptance and absorption of new and varied cultures, whether it was migrant nomads or sea born traders. The end result is a culture of endless influence and yet one completely uniquely Kenyan in character.

People

Kenya’s population stands at around 30 million divided into 52 tribes, each with their own tribal language. Although most people in the country speak Kiswahili as well as their own tribal language, English is the commercial language and is commonly spoken in the major towns.

Climate

Climatic variations largely depend on altitude and can vary according to the month of a visit. Generally the climate tends to be warm and humid at the coast, cool in the central highlands and extremely dry and hot in the north and north-east. Kenya comprises mainly dry country with seasonal rainfall and there are two rainy seasons:

* The ‘short’ rains between late October through November

* The ‘long’ rains between April and July.

It is possible to visit Kenya during the rainy season as few roads are affected. Rain usually falls in the late afternoon preceded by bright, sunny and fresh days. July and August are the coolest months and are often overcast especially in the morning. December – Mid March is the warmest time of the year.

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