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Kenya

Kenya is best known as the 'Jewel of East Africa', and has some of the continent's finest beaches, most magnificent wildlife & scenery, and an incredibly sophisticated tourism infrastructure.

It is a startlingly beautiful land, from the coral reefs and white sand beaches of the coast to the summit of Mount Kenya, crowned with clouds and bejewelled by strange giant alpine plants. Between these two extremes is the acacia-studded rolling savannah, which is home to game parks such as Amboseli, the Masai Mara, Samburu and Tsavo; the lush agricultural highlands with their sleek green coat of coffee and tea plantations and the most spectacular stretch of the Great Rift Valley, the giant scar across the face of Africa. Above all, Kenya is a place for safaris and one-tenth of all the land in Kenya is designated as national parks and reserves. Just about every African plains animal is present. Over 50 parks and reserves cover all habitats from desert to mountain forest, and there are even six marine parks in the Indian Ocean.

Kenya also has a fascinatingly diverse population with around 40 different tribes, all with their own languages and cultures. Major tribes include the Kikuyu, the Luyia and the Luo, but the most famous are the tall, proud, beautiful red-clad Masai, who still lead a traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle of cattle-herding along the southern border. A mixture of African and Asian, the unique Swahili culture can be found along the balmy coast, where for centuries it became prosperous on the profits of commerce from the trade winds that carried ocean-going dhows (sailing boats) across the Indian Ocean to Arabia and Persia. The people here are friendly and the tourist trade is supremely well organized and professional. For those in search of a little adventure, this can be an ideal holiday destination. Petty thefts and security is a meagre issue, but all in all, it is safe to visit and marvel the magic of Kenya and its wonderful offerings.


Quick Facts

Location: East Africa

Time: GMT + 3

Capital: Nairobi
Visa: Pre-departure visas required for some nationalities.

Language: Kiswahili is the national language and English is the official language.

Weather

The coastal areas are tropical, but tempered by monsoon winds. The lowlands are hot but mainly dry, while the highlands are more temperate with four seasons. Nairobi has a very pleasant climate throughout the year due to its altitude. Near Lake Victoria, the temperatures are much higher and rainfall can be heavy.

Currency

The currency of Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling.