Why visit Kenya
For a country of its size, Kenya really does pack a lot in: mountains and deserts, colourful 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 and idyllic islands such as Lamu, by way of Mount 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 millions of breeding flamingos on Lake Nakuru and spectacular birdlife and hippo families on Lake Naivasha, cleaving a massive gash through it all.
Wildlife safaris have been hugely popular in Kenya for decades, with legendary personalities such Ernest Hemingway and Karen Blixen highlighting their appeal, and films such as Out of Africa and Born Free portraying the romance, thrill and excitement of the country. Kenya has over twelve national wildlife parks, being among the best places in Africa to see lions, elephants, leopards and the famous wildebeest migration. The Masai Mara is famous for its annual Great Migration of more than two million wildebeest and thousands of Thomson's gazelle, zebra and impala. Aside from the Migration, game-viewing is excellent throughout the year. Large herds of elephant are common sights in the dry, ancient lakebed of Amboseli National Park, as are buffalo, gazelle, giraffe and zebra. In addition to the wildlife in Tsavo National Park, the Mzima Springs are popular, where millions of litres of cool, crystal-clear water flow out of the ground through porous volcanic rocks. The Samburu Game Park is a narrow plain giving way to rocky hillsides which are home to leopard. A highlight of these Parks is watching large numbers of elephant bathing in the Ewaso Nyiro River. The possibilities of trekking the glacial ridges of Mount Kenya, ballooning over the Masai Mara, snorkelling at the Marine National Park in Malindi on the Indian Ocean are all very real in Kenya.
Highlights of Kenya
- Kenya immortalised the safari with legendary personalities such as Ernest Hemingway and Karen Blixen, and films such as Out of Africa and Born Free.
- Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve is renowned for the annual Great Migration of millions of herbivores – one of the seven new wonders of the world.
- Masai and Samburu tribes-people live and tend their livestock alongside the resident wildlife.
- The country abounds in diverse landscapes, including the spectacular Great Rift Valley.
- It is one of the best countries in Africa for seeing large concentrations of animals throughout the year.
- Kenya is a birdwatcher's dream destination, with more than 1,000 species recorded.
- Lake Nakuru is a breeding ground for flamingo - up to two million birds can be found, and greater and lesser flamingos also migrate along Lakes Magadi, Elmenteita, Bogoria and Turkana.
- Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa and features a number of permanent glaciers. The best view of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro is from Kenya's Amboseli National Park.
- The coastline is beautiful, particularly the Lamu Archipelago, featuring the islands of Lamu, Manda and Pate. Old Lamu Town is a World Heritage Site.
| Seasons ||Max ||Min
|Summer (September - April)
|Winter (May - August)
|Rainfall: April - June (long rains), October - Mid December (short rains)
Kenya is divided by the Equator and its diverse geography means that temperature, rainfall and humidity vary widely. However, there are effectively four distinct zones:
The hot, rainy plateau of western Kenya has rainfall throughout the year, the heaviest usually during April when as much as 200mm may be recorded, and the lowest in January, with an average of 40mm. Temperatures range from a minimum of 14°C to a maximum of 36°C throughout the year.
The temperate Rift Valley and Central Highlands have perhaps the most agreeable climate in the country. Average temperatures vary from a minimum of 10°C to a maximum of 28°C. Rainfall varies from a minimum of 20mm in July to 200mm in April, falling in essentially two seasons – March to the beginning of June (the ‘long rains’) and October to the end of November (the ‘short rains’). Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range are the country’s main water catchments, with falls of up to 3000mm per year recorded in these places.
In the semi-arid bush-lands of northern and eastern Kenya temperatures vary from highs of up to 40°C during the day to less than 20°C at night. Rainfall in this area is sparse and, when it does occur, is often in the form of violent storms. July is usually the driest month and November the wettest.
The consistently average temperatures of the humid coast region vary little during the year, ranging from 22°C to 30°C. Rainfall is dependent on the monsoon, which blows from the north-east from October to April and from the south-west for the rest of the year. Its rainfall averages from 20mm in February to around 300mm in May.
Depending on when the rains come, the Great Migration normally reaches Kenya around July. Hundreds of thousands of herbivores then disperse onto the plains of the Masai Mara for the next couple of months.
Population – 39 million
Capital - Nairobi
Currency – Kenya shilling
Language – Kiswahili, English, tribal languages
Nairobi, from the Masaai "enkare nyarobi" means "Place of Cool Waters"
“jambo rafiki” – hello friend
Time difference – GMT +3 hours
Telephone – country code 254, international code 00