Top Ten Kenyan Attractions

Top Ten Kenyan Attractions

       Kenya is a country in Africa lying on the equator with the Indian Ocean to its south-east. It is bordered by Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Lake Victoria, the world’s 2nd largest fresh-water lake (after Lake Superior) and the world’s largest tropical lake, is situated to the southwest and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya is famous for its safaris and diverse world-famous wildlife reserves such as Tsavo National Park, Nakuru national park, the Maasai Mara, Aberdares national park, that attract tourists from all over the world. It has a land area of 580,000 square km and a population of nearly 39 million, representing 42 different peoples and cultures. The country is named after Mount Kenya, a significant landmark and second among Africa’s highest mountain peaks. Following a referendum and adoption of a new constitution in August 2010, Kenya is now divided into 47 counties that are semi-autonomous units of governance. These units are expected to be fully implemented by August 2012, in time for the first general election under the new constitution. The counties will be governed by elected governors and will operate independent of the central government in Nairobi. The country’s geography is as diverse as its multi-ethnic people. It has a warm and humid climate along its coastline on the Indian Ocean which changes to wildlife-rich savanna grasslands as you move inland towards the capital Nairobi. Nairobi has a cool climate that gets colder as you move towards Mount Kenya which has three permanently snow-capped peaks. The warm and humid tropical climate reappears as you move further inland toward Lake Victoria and gives way to forested and mountainous regions in the western region. The North Eastern regions along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid areas with near-desert landscapes. As part of East Africa, Kenya has seen human habitation since the Lower Paleolithic period. The Bantu expansion reached the area by the 1st millennium AD, and the borders of the modern state comprise the crossroads of the Bantu, the Nilo-Saharan, and the Afro-Asiatic linguistic areas of Africa, making Kenya a truly multi-ethnic state. European and Arab presence in Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period, but European exploration of the interior began only in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, known from 1920 as the Kenya Colony. The independent Republic of Kenya was founded in December 1963.Kenya’s capital,Nairobi is a regional commercial hub and the only city with a national park within its environs. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. Agriculture is a major employer and the country traditionally exports tea and coffee, and more recently fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is a major economic driver, mostly the telecommunications sector, contributing 62% of GDP.

  1. Maasai Mara




    The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a large game reserve in south-western Kenya, which is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. It is named after the Maasai people (the traditional inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara,” which is Maa (Maasai language) for “spotted,” an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna and cloud shadows that mark the area. It is famous for its exceptional population of Big Cats, and the annual migration, known as the “Great Migration,” of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest from the Serengeti every year from July to October. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which includes the following Group Ranches: Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien and Kimintet.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_Mara,
  2. Lake Turkana National Parks



    Lake Turkana National Parks is a group of three national parks located in Kenya. The park’s importance includes its use as a stopping point for migratory birds, as a breeding ground for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and snakes. It also contains fossils in the Koobi Fora deposits which are unique in the world. Lake Turkana National Parks consist of Sibiloi National Park and two islands on Lake Turkana
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, Top Ten Lakes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Turkana_National_Parks,
  3. The Great Rift Valley


    The Great Rift Valley is a name given in the late 19th century by British explorer John Walter Gregory to the continuous geographic trench, approximately 6,000 km (3,700 mi) in length, that runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in East Africa. The name continues in some usages, although it is today considered geologically imprecise as it combines features that are today regarded as separate, although related, rift and fault systems. Today, the term is most often used to refer to the valley of the East African Rift, the divergent plate boundary which extends from the Afar Triple Junction southward across eastern Africa, and is in the process of splitting the African Plate into two new separate plates. Geologists generally refer to these incipient plates as the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate. The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley , a natural property of outstanding beauty, comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes, Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita, in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares. The property is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Valleys, Top Ten Volcanoes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Rift_Valley,
  4. Mount Kenya National Park


    Mount Kenya National Park, established in 1949, protects the region surrounding Mount Kenya. Initially it was a forest reserve before being announced as a national park. Currently the national park is within the forest reserve which encircles it. The Government of Kenya had four reasons for creating a national park on and around Mount Kenya. These were the importance of tourism for the local and national economies, to preserve an area of great scenic beauty, to conserve the biodiversity within the park, and to preserve the water catchment for the surrounding area. The national park has an area of 715 square km (276 sq mi), most of which is above the 3,000 m (9,800 ft) contour line. The forest reserve has an area of 705 square km (272 sq mi). A small portion of this park’s borders near heavy populations have electrified fences to keep the elephants out of the surrounding farmland. Volcanic sediment in the surrounding region’s soil and the huge volume of fresh water coming down the slopes makes the area particularly favorable for agriculture. At lower altitudes Colobus and other monkeys and Cape Buffalo are prevalent.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, Top Ten Mountains, Top Ten African Mountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kenya_National_Park,
  5. Mombasa Beaches


    Description:
    Links: Beaches, Top 100 Beaches, Top Ten African Beaches,
  6. Lake Nakuru National Park



    Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes at an elevation of 1,754 m above sea level. It lies to the south of Nakuru, in the rift valley of Kenya and is protected by Lake Nakuru National Park. The lake’s abundance of algae attracts the vast quantity of flamingos that famously line the shore. Other birds also flourish in the area, as do warthogs, baboons and other large mammals. Black and white rhinos have also been introduced. The lake’s level dropped dramatically in the early 1990’s but has since largely recovered. Nakuru means “Dust or Dusty Place” in the Maasai language. Lake Nakuru National Park, close to Nakuru town, was established in 1961. It started off small, only encompassing the famous lake and the surrounding mountainous vicinity, but has since been extended to include a large part of the savannas.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nakuru_National_Park,
  7. Nairobi


    Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to “the place of cool waters.” However, it is popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun” and is surrounded by several expanding villa suburbs. Founded in 1899 as a simple rail depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda, the town quickly grew to become the capital of British East Africa in 1907 and eventually the capital of a free Kenyan republic in 1963. During Kenya’s colonial period, the city became a center for the colony’s coffee, tea and sisal industry. Nairobi is also the capital of the Nairobi Province and of the Nairobi District. The city lies on the Nairobi River, in the south of the nation, and has an elevation of 1,795 m above sea-level. Nairobi is the most populous city in East Africa, with a current estimated population of about 3 million. Nairobi is currently the 12th largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs. Nairobi is now one of the most prominent cities in Africa politically and financially. Home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the main coordinating and headquarters for the UN in Africa & Middle East, the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and 2nd oldest exchange. It is ranked 4th in terms of trading volume and capable of making 10 million trades a day. The Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) defines Nairobi as a prominent social center.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten African Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nairobi,
  8. Aberdares National Park



    The Aberdare National Park covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Range of central Kenya and the Aberdare Salient to their east. Rhino Ark is a charity devoted to the protection of this critical habitat area.
    Links: Top Ten Waterfalls, Top 100 Birdshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdares_National_Park,
  9. Tsavo National Park


    Tsavo National Park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya at 11,747 square km. Opened in April 1948, it is located near the village of Voi in the Taita-Taveta District of Coast Province. The park is divided into east and west sections by the A109 road and a railway. Named for the Tsavo River, which flows west to east through the national park, it borders the Chyulu Hills National Park, and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania. The western part is a more popular destination on account of its magnificent scenery, Mzima Springs, rich and varied wildlife, good road system, rhino reserve, rock climbing potential and guided walks along the Tsavo River.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsavo_West_National_Park, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsavo_East_National_Park,
  10. Ukerewe (Lake Victoria)
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    Lake Victoria or Victoria Nyanza (also known as Ukerewe, The Eye of the Rhino, Nalubaale, Sango, or Lolwe) is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named for Queen Victoria of the UK, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to visit this lake. With a surface area of 68,800 square kilometers (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropical lake in the world. Lake Victoria is the world’s 2nd largest freshwater lake by surface area (only Lake Superior in North America is larger). In terms of its volume, Lake Victoria is the world’s 8th largest continental lake, containing about 2,750 cubic km (2.2 billion acre-feet) of water. Lake Victoria receives most of its water from direct precipitation or from thousands of small streams. The largest stream flowing into this lake is the Kagera River, the mouth of which lies on the lake’s western shore. There are two rivers that leave the lake, the White Nile (known as the “Victoria Nile” as it leaves the lake), flows out at Jinja, Uganda on the lake’s north shore and the Katonga River flows out at Lukaya on the western shore connecting the lake to Lake George. Lake Victoria occupies a shallow depression in Africa and has a maximum depth of 84 m (276 ft) and an average depth of 40 m (130 ft). Its catchment area covers 184,000 square km (71,040 sq mi). The lake has a shoreline of 4,828 km (3,000 mi), with islands constituting 3.7% of this length, and is divided among three countries: Kenya (6% or 4,100 square km/1,600 sq mi), Uganda (45% or 31,000 square km/12,000 sq mi) and Tanzania (49% or 33,700 square km/13,000 sq mi). Lake Victoria supports Africa’s largest inland fishery.
    Links: Top Ten Lakes, Top Ten African Lakes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Victoria,
  11. Bonus: Lamu

    Lamu town is a small town on Lamu Island, which in turn is a part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamu_Old_Town,
  12. Bonus: Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests


    The Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests consists of 11 separate forests spread across an area 200 km (120 mi) along the coast. It contains the remains of fortified villages built during the 16th century by the Mijikenda, which are considered sacred sites.
    Links: Top Ten Forests, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Mijikenda_Kaya_Forests,
  13. Bonus: Fort Jesus

    Fort Jesus is a Portuguese fort built in 1593 by order of King Philip I of Portugal, then ruler of the joint Portuguese and Spanish Kingdoms, located on Mombasa Island to guard the Old Port of Mombasa, Kenya. It was built in the shape of a man (viewed from the air), and was given the name of Jesus. In 2011, the fort was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, highlighted as one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th century Portuguese military fortifications.
    Links: Top Ten Forts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Jesus,
  14. Bonus: Nairobi National Park

    Nairobi National Park is a national park in Kenya. It is located approximately 7 kilometers (4 mi) south of the centre of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, with only a fence separating the park’s wildlife from the metropolis. Nairobi’s skyscrapers can be seen from the park. Indeed, the proximity of urban and natural environments has caused conflicts between the animals and local people and threatens animals’ migration routes. Still, despite its proximity to civilization and relative small size for an African national park, Nairobi National Park boasts a large and varied wildlife population. Migrating herbivores gather in the park during the dry season and it is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, Top 100 Birds, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nairobi_National_Park,
  15. Links: Top Ten Lakes, Attractions, African Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenya,

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