About Kenya

Kenya Sunset

Geographical Information

Kenya is in eastern Africa between Somalia and Tanzania. The geography of Kenya is diverse. Kenya has a coastline on the Indian Ocean, with central and western Kenya characterized by the Great Rift Valley. The second highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya, is located in Kenya. The Kakamega Forest in western Kenya is a relic of an East African rain forest. Lake Victoria and Lake Manyara are two of the major lakes in Kenya.

Kenya Elephants

In the north, the land is arid; the southwest corner is in the fertile Lake Victoria Basin; and a length of the eastern depression of the Great Rift Valley separates the western highlands from those that rise from the lowland coastal strip.

The Aberdares is a beautiful mountain range to the north of the capital city of Nairobi. Within the heart of these mountains lies the Aberdares National Park, a magical place of dense forest and misty moorlands, where icy rivers plunge in cascades and waterfalls. In southeast Kenya, against the backdrop of the mighty Mt. Kilimanjaro, lies Amboseli National Park. More elephant can be seen here than almost anywhere in Africa.

The Masai Mara’s grasslands offer the unique spectacle of nature’s greatest and longest-running continuous show — the annual migration of millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains.

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History

More than 40 ethnic groups reside in Kenya. Its largest group, the Kikuyu, migrated to the region at the beginning of the 18th century. The land became a British protectorate in 1890 and a Crown colony in 1920, when it went by the name British East Africa. Nationalist stirrings began in the 1940s, and in 1952 the Mau Mau movement, made up of Kikuyu militants, rebelled against the government. The fighting lasted until 1956.

In 1963, Kenya achieved full independence. Jomo Kenyatta, a nationalist leader during the independence struggle who had been jailed by the British, was its first president. From 1964 to 1992, the country was ruled as a one-party state by the Kenya African National Union (KANU), first under Kenyatta and then under Daniel arap Moi. Demonstrations and riots pressured Moi to allow for multiparty elections in 1992.

Kenya’s present government is a coalition with Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement as prime minister and members of the two major opposition groups having holding major cabinet positions.

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Climate / Seasons

Summer in Kenya is from September through March and winter is from June through August.

There are two rainy seasons in Kenya. The long rains start in late March and continue until June. The short rains start in October and continue through December.

The hottest period is in February and March and the coldest in July and August. The average year-round temperature on the coast is 80F, but temperatures in other areas can vary from 55F to 93F depending on the altitude and time of year. Mount Kenya is snow capped. The dry season from July to early October is the coolest time of the year in Kenya.

Temperature (F) — These are the average temperatures for Nairobi.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
77 79 77 75 72 70 69 70 75 76 74 74

Average Rainfall (inches). These are the average inches of rainfall for Nairobi.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
1 2 5 8 6 2 1 1 1 2 4 3

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Language

The official language is English. Swahili is the national language and numerous other indigenous languages are spoken.

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Other Resources

The Kenya Tourist Board offers more information at their web site.

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Safaris in Kenya

Click here for safaris to Kenya.