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Destinations | Kenya

“Africa has her mysteries and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them.” 

~ Miriam Makeba ~


Kenya is a beautiful country in East Africa with coastline on the Indian Ocean, diverse nature including savannah, rocky plains of Samburu-Buffalo Springs, lakes, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands.

Kenya is the world’s leading safari destination with 50 national parks and reserves. It is home to Big 5 (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos). The most popular, the Masai Mara National Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania's 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro.

There are many interesting facts about Kenya that makes it a great travel destination.

Safari in Amboseli National Park

Interesting facts about Kenya:

1.The population of Kenya in 2024 is approximately 56 million.

2. The capital and largest city of Kenya is Nairobi with a population of 5,5 million. The name comes from the Maasai phrase "Enkare Nyrobi", which translates to "cool water", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city.

The best ways to explore downtown of Nairobi is to take a walking tour with Nai Nami Tour, a Nairobi Story Telling Tour, guided with former street children. They will show you around the city center, you will visit a hidden spots, local market and eat lunch at a local eatery.You will enjoy a fascinating cultural experience.

The city has Nairobi National Park, a large game reserve known for breeding endangered black rhinos and home to giraffes, zebras and lions. Next to it is a well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Approximately 20 kilometers from the centre of Nairobi is The Giraffe Centre, established in order to protect the vulnerable giraffes.

The capital city Nairobi, Kenya

Safari in Nairobi National Park

Elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

3. The oldest and second largest city of Kenya is Mombasa, the major port city, with a population of 1,5 million. Mombasa offers tourists a chance to experience its rich seafaring traditions, coral reefs, water sports, seas food, architectural wonders, amazing hotels and white sand beaches (Diani Beach - the best kitesurfing spot, Nyali Beach, Bamburi Beach).

The major port city Mombasa

The most popular Diani Beach in Mombasa

Camels on Diani Beach

4. The coastal city's cuisine offers a blend of local Swahili dishes, Indian spices, and Arabic flavors, with popular dishes including biryani, mahamri, and grilled seafood. Mombasa's street food is also a must-try, offering affordable and tasty options such as samosas, bhajias, and kuku choma.

Kenyan local cuisine is simple and each tribe has its own specialities. Traditional local cuisine includes rise, beans, ugali (a cooked starch paste made from flour and water). Grilled meats of goat and sheep are also favourites on the national menu.

5. Kenya shares common borders with five countries including Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.

6. The main currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shillings, secondary currency is USD$.

7. The majority of Kenyans are Bantu (among them, the Kikuyu, Kamba, Luhya). Then come the populations of Nilotic origin (Maasai, Kalenjin, Luo, Samburu, Turkana) and Cushitic (Rendille, Somali). Minorities include Indians, Europeans and Arabs. The largest ethnic group is the Kikuyu, who account for around 20.7% of the population, Luhya make up 14.3%, Luo at 12.3%, while the Maasai represent only 1.7% of the whole.

Maasai Tribe in Maasai Mara. Many Maasai tribes in Kenya welcome visits to their village to experience their culture and tradition.

Maasai's traditional colorful shuka cloth

Maasai's traditional jewelry.

Samburu tribe with beautiful traditional jewelry.

8. Kenya is known for the world’s best long-distance runners. In particular, the country’s Kalenjin people have produced many world record breaking athletes and long-distance runners, known for dominating marathon circuits worldwide.

9. There are two official languages in Kenya: English and Swahili. However, many different languages are spoken across the country as each population has its own dialect. The most common are Kikuyu, Dholuo and Kamba. Sheng, a Swahili-based slang mixed with English is widely spoken in Nairobi.

You can hear a lot greetings in Swahili: "Jambo" or "Habari", which means "Hello"and "Asante Sana", which means "Thank you very much".

Beyond English and Swahili, over 43 languages and dialects are spoken in Kenya, and they are grouped in 3 categories. The first category is Bantu, spoken by 65% of the population, Nilotic, spoken by 31% of the population, and Cushites, spoken only by 4%.

10. The best time to visit Kenya is during the dry season in January and February. For safari in the Masai Mara, the best time to visit is between June and October when the weather is cooler. Travel in September coincides with the famous Great Wildebeest Migration across the Masai Mara.

Hot air Balloon Safari in Maasai Mara

Many people think the Great Migration happens only once a year, however this natural phenomenon occurs year-round as a cycle, meaning it technically does not "start" or "finish" anywhere, which makes this one of the most interesting facts about Kenya. The wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate in a clockwise loop between Kenya and Tanzania, and Kenya’s Masai Mara Nature Reserve is one of the best locations to witness one of earth’s greatest shows.

Great migration in Maasai Mara National Park

Great migration in Maasai Mara National Park

Safari in Maasai Mara National Park

11. The Great Rift Valley, also known as the East African Rift Valley, runs through Kenya from north to south. Formed more than 25 million years ago by geological stress in the earth's crust, it is approximately 6,500 kilometers long and 60 kilometers wide. The wide valley allowed the formation of many lakes that created unique habitats for the country's wildlife.

The Great Rift Valley

12. Lake Magadi is southernmost region of Kenya, located in the Great Rift Valley. The lake is located to the north of Lake Natron in Tanzania. Both lakes are well-known for the tens of thousands of Pink Flamingos.

Lake Magadi

13. Lake Turkana is Kenya's largest lake but also the world’s largest desert lake. It’s located in the north of the Great Rift Valley, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the three Lake Turkana National Parks – Sibiloi National Park, Central Island National Park and South Island National Park.

Lake Turkana

14. The national animal of Kenya is lion. The Lion is one of the Big 5, joining other magnificent animals including the leopard, the elephant, the Cape buffalo, and the rhinoceros.

Maasai Mara National Park

Maasai Mara National Park

The national bird of Kenya is the Lilac Breasted Roller.

The national flower of Kenya is the tropical orchid. There are around 250 different types of orchids and these are available in almost every color and texture.

15. Some etiquette rules: When visiting Lamu, the majority of the population are Muslim and tourists are encouraged to adopt a more modest dress code.

Lamu is a small town on Lamu Island. It is the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, retaining its traditional functions. Built in coral stone and mangrove timber, the town is characterized by the simplicity of structural forms enriched by such features as inner courtyards, verandas, and elaborately carved wooden doors. Lamu has hosted major Muslim religious festivals since the 19th century, and has become a significant centre for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures.

Lamu Town is a small town on Lamu Island

When meeting the Maasais, it’s best to wait until your guides have obtained permission before taking photos. When it is granted, be discrete in your photo taking. In Kenya, tipping is generally expected and many workers rely on the additional income tips provide. The general rule is to add on 10% of the invoice amount. Staff at hotels will appreciate a gesture on your part if their service has been good.

If you’re eating in someone’s home, always use your right hand and it’s polite to leave a small amount of food on your plate at the end of a meal to indicate your satisfaction.

Greetings are important to Kenyans – it’s customary to swap pleasantries before launching into your reason of business.

16. Beautiful handicrafts in Kenya vary from region to region. Materials used to craft objects include metal, leather, braided or woven fabrics and wood. The production of baskets and bags is popular as well as beautiful, colorful printed fabrics. Talented artisans use soapstone to shape objects and statues. Many semi-precious stones are also found in Kenya, including green malachite, hematite, tiger’s eye and rose quartz.

17. The country is amongst the world’s 5 largest exporters of cut flowers – mainly roses and carnations.

18. Coffee is the country’s most valuable export.


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