Name: Republic of Kenya
Population: 45 million
Language: English, Swahili
Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Time Zone: UTC+3
The first thing that might pop to mind when thinking of Kenya are lions, zebras and leopards. However, this vast country has much more to offer. With 40 national parks and reserves scattered around the country, Kenya features almost every landscape and activity that you can imagine and it will suit any type of traveller’s palette.
Undeniably, safaris are the core of tourism in Kenya, but you might also venture in deeper and discover the Maasai, a semi-nomadic tribe known for its color-filled adornments. Nairobi is another destination to explore, with its bustling nightlife and unique vibes. For those who love nature, a visit to the Great Rift Valley is a must. And for those who enjoy chilling at the beach, Kenya’s coastal area covers almost 80,000 square kilometers and remains sun-filled during most of the year!
Kenya is a big country and its climate varies from tropical along its coast to arid in the north and quite temperate inland. Kenya receives a large amount of sunshine year-round but generally, the hottest period is considered take place in February and March while the coldest one between July and mid August. The “long rains” season happens between March and June, while the “short rain” season is between October and December.
Over the course of history, Kenya has been the hub of migration and henceforth, the country has become one of the most diverse culture and language-wise.
The country has over forty different ethnic groups, including Luo, Kamba, Maasai and more. Each speaks a variety of mother tongues, although Swahili remains the most widely spoken language. Moreover, European, Arab, Indian and Pakistani groups who came to the country in the 19th century can be added to the mix of diversity.
Even though religions such as Christianity and Islam are widely spread, many still believe in the ancestor world, where the dead have an impact on the lives of the living.
Today, Kenya’s culture, including forms of dress, music and food sees its strong influences from other parts of Africa, India, Europe and the United States. However, in certain parts of the country, many communities retain their traditional lifestyle and culture and people still wear clothes, skins, jewelry as they did centuries ago. Many remote tribes remain absolutely isolated and indigenous as
Traditional Kenyan food are known for consisting corn, potatoes and beans. A staple dish is Ugali, a porridge made out of maize. Another typical delicacy is irio, a blend of corn, beans, potatoes and beans dipped into meat or vegetable stews.
Kenya Airways offers daily flights between Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Kisumu and Nairobi. Likewise, another popular choice is Air Kenya, which flies regularly between Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Amboseli, Maasai Mara, Meru, Nanyuki and Samburu.
Kenya has a large bus network between many destinations, but be advised that roads are bumpy. For safety reasons, we highly advise to use long distance buses only during daytime.
Minivans, known as “matatus” in Kenya are another way to get around for short and medium distance travels. Taking a matatu is a must to experience the real Kenya as they are often decorated in colorful and fascinating colours. You can hail a matatu on the side of the road and in this day and age, the network is easier to figure out than ever as routes and schedules are provided on Google Maps.
The train in Kenya is often dubbed the “Lunatic Express”. It travels between Nairobi and Mombasa three times a week. It is undeniably a great experience to travel by train but if time is an issue, we advise you to go for another method of transportation as the train has a bad reputation for being extremely slow and often delayed.
For more information on Kenya check out the Kenya Tourism Board website here.