Kenya is among one of the most well-known countries in Africa.
With hundreds of miles of coastline featuring stunning beaches, it’s no wonder tourism is on the rise.
To fully appreciate this country, let’s check out these top 10 facts about Kenya!
Kenya is the best place in the world for a Safari.
In general, people often think Africa is a great place for a safari. But you can’t generalize an entire continent!
So where IS the best place for a safari? Kenya tops any other country in the world!
The Big Five is a term used by hunters to describe Africa’s hardest animals to hunt: Lions, Elephants, Leopards, Rhinoceros, and Cape Buffalo.
These days, laws are in place to protect most of these animals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t admire them from afar.
All of these exotic animals can be found in Kenya’s National Reserve, Maasai Mara which is the best place for an African Safari!
Coffee is a huge export.
Interestingly enough, Kenyan’s mostly drink tea over coffee.
Not much of this dark and beany demand is sold domestically.
Nonetheless, coffee is one of Kenya’s biggest exports!
It grows so well in the country because of the acidic soil in central Kenya, along with the perfect amount of sunlight and rainfall.
Coffee from Kenya is similar to Colombian mild, making Kenyan coffee one of the most sought out coffees in the world.
Kenya is home to the Maasai people.
The Maasai are a group of indigenous people who live in the National Reserve, Maasai Mara.
They are known for their jumping dance and warrior skills.
Occupying a land area of almost 100,000 square miles, the Maasai have an estimated population of 500,000 people.
This group of people is semi-nomadic, although they are reasonably dependent on the market economy.
They will often go into major towns and cities of Kenya to sell goats, cows, beads, grain, charcoal, and other items.
For the most part, the Maasai consume meat, milk, and blood from cattle for protein and health needs.
Cow blood is drunk on special occasions, and often by elders to reduce the effects of a hangover!
Kenya has a Car-free island.
Off the coast of Kenya is Lamu Island.
It is home to Lamu Old Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Kenya’s oldest constantly occupied settlement – its origins date all the way back to the 12th century!
Lamu Old Town remains one of the oldest and best conserved Swahili communities in East Africa.
To get around, residents will walk, take a boat, or use donkeys to transport items.
Cars are banned for the general public, and there aren’t roads that can even accommodate vehicles.
Some have wanted to rebuild the town to accommodate modern life.
Fortunately, there are laws in place the forbid anyone from taking down any of the town’s structures.
Kenya is named after a mountain.
Officially, Kenya is actually The Republic of Kenya.
In fact, before the arrival of European colonists in the late 19th Century, the land was just a part of a larger region simply called East Africa.
No one is sure what Kenya was called before colonization, and the name is relatively new.
In fact, the borders were only finalized in 1895, and even then they didn’t have a real name.
It wasn’t until 1920 when it was finally christened Kenya in honor of Mount Kenya which is the second tallest mountain in Africa.
So then where did Mount Kenya get its name?
The local indigenous peoples in the area called the mountain “kenia” which translates to “glitter” or “shine.”
The mountain was known as “the mountain that shines” because it is often capped with snow even though it is in a tropical climate.
Kenya is a pretty new country.
As we know Kenya was a British colony, it didn’t gain its independence until December 12, 1963.
The path to freedom was sadly a violent one.
Part of this is due to the Mau Mau, who was a militant group of mostly Kikuyu people who led a vicious uprising against authorities and white settlers.
Unfortunately, they also targeted Africans who refused to join them.
Many people were murdered including a massacre in 1953 when over 100 men, women, and children were killed for their cause.
The British countered this with military action and detained tens of thousands of suspected Mau Mau guerrillas in labor camps.
Prisoners were poorly treated in overcrowded camps and often tortured for information.
The uprising, however, swayed the British to transition Kenya into a state of independence which finally happened in 1963.
There are two official languages of Kenya.
The two main languages of Kenya are Swahili and English.
Both of these make sense, considering the African location, and the British colonization.
While these are the main and official languages, there is a total of 68 spoken languages in Kenya.
Most of the other languages spoken in Kenya can be divided into two language groups: Niger-Congo, and Nilo-Saharan.
The Niger-Congo group is the third-largest language family in the world by ranking of native speakers.
In total, around 700 million people speak a language in this group.
The Nilo-Saharan group is significantly less with only 50-60 million people speaking a language in this family.
Kenya is home to a famous migration.
There’s more to Kenya’s wildlife than just The Big Five.
In addition, the largest overland migration in the world happens here, aptly called The Great Migration.
It involves over 1.5 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras.
During each migration, the animals travel a total of at least 800 kilometers.
Of course, not all of the animals make it.
Around 250,000 wildebeest and 30,000 zebras die during the migration due to thirst, hunger, exhaustion, and of course predators.
There are over 3,000 lions that follow the migratory herds across the reserve.
Their flag is filled with meaning.
Like any other country flag, everything about the Kenyan flag has a reason.
The flag was adopted on the same day as the country’s newfound independence.
It is based on the Kenya African National Union flag, which is a political party that helped fight for Kenya’s independence.
All of the colors hold meaning. The black represents the Kenyan people, the red represents blood, the green represents natural wealth, and the white represents peace.
The shield and spears of the Masai are featured as a representation of the defense of freedom.
Kenyans have won a lot in the Olympics.
To date, no Kenyan has ever won a medal in a winter sport at the Olympics.
However, Kenyan athletes have won over 100 medals, mostly from track and field events.
Between the Summer Olympics of 2008, 2012, and 2016, Kenya earned 42 medals which is almost half of the total medals won.