Jambo, welcome to Kenya, the Pearl of Africa!
Let's go on Safari and enjoy the land of the lions and the wild herds!
Kenya is a beautiful Country in East Africa
Kenya is located in East Africa. It is surrounded by Somalia and Ethiopia in the north, by Sudan and Uganda in the west, and by Tanzania in the south. Kenya's landscape rises from a low coastal flatland on the Indian Ocean up to mountains and plateaus at its centre. Kenya's ecosystems include deserts, swamps, mountains and forests.
The Mountains of Kenya
Kenya gets its name from the Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain of Africa. The indigenous people of Kenya used to call the mountain "Kerenyaga", the mountain of whitness, because of its snow capped peak. The highest mountain is Mount Kilimanjaro. The former vulcano is so high, that it is covered with snow throughout the year. The equator also runs through the middle of Kenya. Lake Victoria in northern Kenya, is Africa’s largest lake. It is also known as “the Eye of the Rhino”.
Nairobi , the Capital of Kenya
Lions in town, giraffes at the frontdoor? In Nairobi, Kenyas's capital, everything is possible. The Kenians call Nairobi "the city in the sun". Nairobi has a population of three million plus, it is one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Africa. Nairobi is situated on the Nairobi River. The city was first a railway camp for the Uganda Railway and later became Kenya’s capital. Some of the attractions are the intriguing National Museum, a national park with lions, rhinos, hyenas and all wild animals of the savannas, an amazing elephant orphanage and the ground zero for the Rothschild’s giraffe.
Peoples and Languages
Kenya is home to more than 40 peoples. Most Kenyans live in the highlands. The capital Nairobi is in the centre of the highland. Its location between the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria means that people from all over Africa and the Middle East have travelled and traded across it for centuries. This has created a diverse culture with many ethnic groups and languages like the Kikuyu and the Maasai. The Kenyans speak Swahili and English. The picture right shows merchants making a break at noon. Children are working on the markets to contribute to the income of their families.
Festivals and Celebrations in Kenya
The dominant religion in Kenya is Christianity and Kenyans celebrate a lot of the same events as we do. A highlight of the year is Christmas. There are also Islamic celebrations in Kenya held at the end of Ramadan called Eid ul-Fitr od Id-Ul-Fitr. The Independence Day or “Jamhuri Day” is the most important national holiday of Kenya and is celebrated on 12th December.
Education and Schools
Public schools were set up in Kenya in the towns and also in rural areas. School is free but school uniforms and books are expensive. The the poor families cannot afford to send all their children to school. Many children contribute to the family income, they are too busy to go to classes. Children are tending cattle, preparing meals, getting water and working on the land.
Games children play in Kenya
The children in Kenya play games quite similar to the games you play. They are sticking to their tablets or game boys and play computer games. Outdoor games boys enjoy is football or cricket. Girls like to dance, like the girls on the left, but they also like to play skill games such us Rounders. This is a girl’s favorite game but a few boys play it as well. It involved five circles, four at every corner of a square and one in the middle. It was played by one team trying to make as many runs as possible around the square while dodging a ball thrown across the field by the opposing team. One player was allowed to try catching the ball and throwing it as far as possible so her team mates could make as many runs as possible as the other team fetched the same ball.
Safari in Kenya
In Kisuaheli “safari” means journey. National parks and reserves like the Masai Mara, the Tsavo and the Amboseli national park protect the Kenyan wildlife. Buffalo and antelope herds run through the plains. Elephants, lions, zebras, cheetahs and giraffes live in the Savanna while flamingos splash about in the salt lakes. You love elephants? A highlight of every trip to Kenya is a visit of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust near Nairobi. Here you can watch orphaned elephant babies who are raised in protected areas until they are sent back into the wild. If you are luvcky may see large cats such as the spotted and striped serval or the tuft-eared caracal. Kenya is also home to a number of less well-known species. An unusual resident of Kenya's mangrove swamps is the mudskipper, a fish which lives out of water He is still a fish but may become an amphibian in his future life. Other unusual animals include termite-eaters such as the aardvark and pangolin, rodents such as the jumping hare and giant forest squirrel. You want to go diving? In the marine environment, you may meet the dugong, a sort of seecow that lives in the shallows around the Lamu Archipelago. The coastal region contains an abundance of fish, with important coral areas protected by reserves.
Economy and Natural Resources
Kenya is not very rich with natural resources. This is why agriculture still plays an important role in Kenya’s economy, accounting for around half of the country’s exports.Tea is the main earner, but vegetables, coffee, fruit, cotton and flowers are also important. Since many Kenyan’s rely on agriculture for their livelihood, unpredictable droughts are a serious worry for the future. Recent droughts have been worsened by local deforestation. Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, initiated by Wangari Maathai, has spearheaded the planting of more than 30 million trees.This may sound like a lot of trees. But Kenyan forests have shrunk 60% in just two decades, with wood cut down for fuel and land used for farming. The Kenian People are inventive. The picture on the right shows workers on a geothermal power plant.
The History of Kenya
Around 2000 BC, Cushitic-speaking people from northern Africa settled in the part of East Africa that is now Kenya. By the 1st Century AD, the Kenyan coast was frequented by Arab traders. They established colonies there. The Bantu people also moved into the region during the first millennium AD. and settled inland. When the Portuguese sailed around Africa in the 15th century they conquered Mombasa, the largest trade center in East Africa. Missionaries were the first Europeans to discover the inner regions of Kenya. Slavery is unfortunately part of Kenya's history. During the 1600s and 1700s many Kenyans were captured and taken as slaves. By the end of the 19th century slavery was made illegal by many countries. From 1920 until 1963 Kenya was a colony of the United Kingdom. Since its independence in 1963 it has been a republic with a president, a national assembly and a legal system.
Kenya is a beautiful country, with stunning beaches and a large number of wildlife parks and reserves. The Kenians have become one of Africa's main centers for the safari industry. Visitors also come to experience the unique cultures of Kenya's people. But there are also some problems waiting to be overcome. Poor Kenyans live in terrible conditions, the health system has to be improved, as well as the access to fresh water. And also not all families can send their children to school, they simply don't have the money to pay for school uniforms and books. This is why children often don't finish school but instead start working. Another problem are the forests. In former times Kenya was a green country with tropical woods. During the last 20 years half of the woods vanished due to the growing population. Millions of trees have been planted since Wangari Maathai, "the mother of the trees" initiated the Green Belt Movement. The future will show, if But will it be enough to stop deforestation?