LEARN ABOUT KENYA
|Formal Name:||Republic of Kenya|
|Main Cities:||Mombasa and Kisumu|
|Local Formal Name:||Jamhuri ya Kenya|
|Religions:||Protestant, Roman Catholic, Hinduism, Muslim and Other|
Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania. Kenya is situated in east Africa from 5.5 degrees north to 4.5 degrees south latitude 34 degrees and 42 degrees east longitudes. The country is bisected from north to south by the Great Rift Valley and east to west by the equator. The Kenyan landscape covers a great range of terrain, stretching from sea level at the coast up to 5199m on the snow capped peak of Mt. Kenya. This is one of the most geographically diverse countries on earth with vast expanses of savannah, highland ranges, equatorial rain forest, extinct volcanoes, a series of fresh water and soda lakes, alpine glaciers, arid deserts and tropical beaches, all within the borders of a single country.
The great diversity of habitat is equaled by a great variety of species of flora and fauna. These include large grazing herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, large mammals such as elephants, buffalos and rhinoceros and a large range of predators including lion, leopard and cheetah. Kenya’s world famous wildlife is protected in 48 national parks, reserves and marine parks as well s many private sanctuaries and game ranches.
Kenya’s fascinating cultural history stretches back over 4.5 million years, with some of the earliest known evidence of early man uncovered on the shores of lake Trukana. Over 42 individual cultures now call Kenya home including a wide range of nomadic and sedentary tribal groups. The Kenyan coast has long been a center for trade, and the blend of African and Arab cultures created the 19th century Kenya was settled by the British who build a railway 1000 Kms into the wilderness from the coast to the waters of Lake Victoria. Completed 1901, the railway was an epic undertaking it became a vital lifeline, bringing the new capital Nairobi and the lake side port of Kisumu to life.
Kenya became independent in 1963 and attained its public status in December 1964. Today this is a peaceful, magical destination offering the visitors an unpatrolled variety of travel option. No other country can offer the visitors as much as Kenya can do. The electrical current is 240 V and the sockets are 3-pin (UK).
Kenya’s history dates back to many centuries from the internal Diaspora or the early settlements and migrations. Then came the formation of the various language groups who developed their own religions, traditions, governments and ruling systems in which they dictated their way of life and how they managed to keep alive by their trade and occupations. Then came the white settlers, which were followed by the fight for liberation, which gave birth to the Mau Mau freedom fighters and the rise of the Kenyan heroes. In the study of Kenya’s past, a look at the present is also inevitable, in order to be able to weigh the future.
Kenya has three international airports and several other airstrips in strategic areas of the country. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Moi International Airport in Mombasa and Eldoret International Airport in Eldoret are the International Airports. Kenya can also be accessed by road from the neighboring countries, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. Immigration borders are designated at each border. Entry by sea is possible through Mombasa which is a port.
Certain Nationals wishing to enter Kenya can obtain a visa at Nairobi Airport for a fee of US$ 50 per person. Please check with your local embassy to see if you are permitted to get a visa on arrival. Visa forms can be obtained from the internet. One may also visit the Kenya Consulate or Embassy abroad. Personal items are not subject to tax but you may need to declare other items. Please consult the Kenya Embassy
Commercial and chartered flights are available from the major towns in Kenya to the main tourist areas. A number of new airlines have now come up in Kenya for domestic transfers. Train services operate between Nairobi and Mombasa as well as Nairobi to Kisumu. There are also normal buses running through Kenya. Local public transport, know as Matatus, is also available in most routes within and out of town
Kiswahili is the national language and English is the official language. Most Kenyans are well conversant in both English and Kiswahili. There are over 42 ethnic languages spoken, the most known being Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba, Mijikenda and Kalenjin. The urban youth have developed sheng which is delivered from a combination of the above languages.
Security is high at all borders and airports, with security checks, all outgoing baggage are subject to inspection by customs officers.
The great majority of restaurants and hotels accept most credits cards. There are also several cash dispensers (ATMs) in Nairobi as well as other major towns and cities. It is recommended you carry cash US$ notes issued from the year 2000 onwards.
The national currency is the Kenya shilling (KSH or /=. The easiest currencies to exchange are Dollars, Pounds sterling and the EURO. Due to frequent fluctuations in exchange rates, the prevailing exchange rate should be obtained from a forex bureau. Banks are open from 8:00am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday. Some branches open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:00 pm. Some branches open on Sundays.