Kenya gained independence in 1963 and has proven to be a relatively stable and peaceful destination since. Kenya is very tourism oriented and leads the way in conservation policies. The capital Nairobi is a central travel hub and English is widely spoken.
FACTS AND FIGURES Area: 582,645 sq. km (22nd in Africa)
Largest towns: Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret
Population: 52 million
Official language: English and KiSwahili
Other languages: 70 including Kikuyu, Luo, Akamba and Mao
Currency: Kenya shilling Head of state: President Uhuru Kenyatta
Life expectancy: 45 years Literacy: 85%
Per Capita Income: US$370
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS Mt Kenya, Lake Turkana, Amboseli NP. Nakuru NP, Masai Mara NP, Lake Victoria.
MAIN INCOME Tourism. Agriculture.
MAJOR CULTURES European. Bantu -Kikuyu, Masai, etc. Asian.
RELIGIONS Christian, ZCC and Muslim
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
The Great Rift Valley runs largely through Kenya separating the central and western highlands. Mt Kenya – second highest mountain in Africa (5199m). Large bodies of water in Kenya – Lake Victoria in the Southwest and Lake Turkana in the North. Coast is very hot and moist, with temp and humidity peaking from December to March, and rainfall peaking from April to June. The Lake Victoria is a bit cooler but has similar rainfall pattern and humidity levels. Nairobi and other highland areas are cooler with a main rainy season from March to May. The Rift Valley is hot and dry. The north is a desert with a soaring midday temp and an average annual rainfall of under 250mm.
Britain declared protectorate-ship over Kenya. 1961 – first democratic election. 1963 – gained independence under Jomo Kenyatta and KANU. Became a one party state with opposition leaders being jailed. Moi succeeded Kenyatta. 1982 – Kenya officially declared a one party state leaving Moi as a “benign” dictator. Multi-party election in 1992 – KANU won. 1997 – second multi-party election – won by Moi again. Moi about to step down as president to let the “younger generation” take over ruling.
CRIME AND SAFETY
Nairobi is very dangerous if you are not careful. The coastal “hot spots” are also dangerous. The rest of Kenya is fairly safe.
Although the currency is not very strong, it is very stable. It is possible to get money from the banks in Nairobi with a little difficulty. Banking – 09:00 – 14:00 Mon to Fri and 09:00 to 11:00 on the first and last Sat of the month. Forex keeps normal shopping hours.
POST AND TELEPHONE
Post is cheap and relatively reliable. International call services are available, but very expensive