Kenya is one of the countries in Eastern Africa, bordering Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. A country of great diversity, both physically and culturally, it has become an ultimate destination for travel enthusiasts with its gorgeous beaches and breath-taking safari destinations. Read on to know some of most interesting facts about the country!
1. Did you know the former US President Barack Obama’s father was born in Kenya?
2. Kenya has the best wildlife safari in the world where you can encounter the big five. These are the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, black and white species of rhinoceros and the African leopard.
3. Masai Mara Nature Reserve in Kenya is best-known for the Great Wildebeest Migration when, every year, more than a million wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate clockwise around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem. Maasai Mara is also home to the Maasai people, known for their jumping dance and warrior skills.
4. Interestingly, Kenya could possibly be the birthplace of humans. This assumption is supported by the fact that the bones of one of the earliest human ancestors ever found were discovered in Kenya.
5. The first, and so far, only person in the world to ever run under 1:41 in the 800 meters run, David Lekuta Rudisha, is a Kenyan. Following him closely is Eliud Kipchoge, another famous Kenyan long-distance runner who is the first and only man to break the 2-hour barrier in the marathon with a record time of 1:59:40.
6. Kenyan men can have more than one wife. The practice is known as polygamy and it was passed as legislation in 2014.
7. Primary education is free and compulsory. Secondary education can also be taken without payment, but it’s not mandatory.
8. Elizabeth became Queen while she was in Kenya. She was staying at the ‘The Treetops Hotel’ with her husband, now Prince Philip, when she got the news that her father, King George VI, had passed away. Of course, she had to go back home and get coronated, but technically, she became Queen of England while in Kenya.
9. A part of the Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater lake, flows through Kenya. The country shares the lake with Tanzania and Uganda.
10. Dowries are still traditional in Kenya. The groom’s parents must pay a dowry to the bride’s family otherwise their son will not be able to wed his bride. Dowries start at 10 cows.
11. Kenya is also famous for its Crying Stone in Kakamega. As one approaches this town from Kisumu city, there is a unique, tall stone, around seven feet, that produces a streak of water that makes it appear like it is crying. The droplets of water, which local scientists have failed to understand, normally appear like tears.
How to reach?
There are five major airports in Kenya – Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kisumu International Airport, Eldoret International Airport, Moi International Airport and Wilson Airport. The country is quite well-connected to various destinations. Jet Airways, Air India, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Kenya Airways are some of the carriers flying from India’s metro cities to Kenya’s cities. Kenya Airways has a non-stop flight from Mumbai to Nairobi.
Maasai Mara National Reserve: How can we not mention place? Maasai Mara National Reserve is the best tourist attraction in Kenya and is a must visit. The game reserve is globally well known for its incredible annual migration of wildebeests and zebras. The “Great Migration” takes place every year from July to October when millions of animals migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania. It is one of the best places in Africa for big cat sightings: lions, leopards and cheetahs are all easy to spot.
Lake Nakuru: Lake Nakuru National Park, in Central Kenya, is famous for its huge flocks of pink flamingos. The birds’ throng on Lake Nakuru itself, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes that comprises almost a third of the park’s area. Pelicans, cormorants, the African fish eagle, Verreaux’s eagle, the Goliath heron and hammerkops are also seen around the lake. In addition, you can spot black and white rhinos, Rothschild’s giraffes, lions and cheetahs throughout the national park.
Mount Kenya: Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in the country and the second highest in Africa. Its slopes and the surrounding area are covered by a thick forest and moorland, making the place one of the most popular sightseeing destinations in the country. Travelers hoping to summit can either hike to Point Lenana, one of the three peaks, taking the world’s highest via ferrata route, or climb to the highest point, Batian Peak, though this requires experience of technical climbing.
Malindi: Malindi is a beautiful coastal town which is famous for its spectacular beaches and marine parks. This is the place where all the travellers come to relax on the white sands of Watamu Beach, indulge is various water activities and explore the marine life of Malindi and Watamu Marine National Parks, and get to know more about the Swahili history in the historic town.
Lamu Island: Lamu is one of the oldest towns in the country and has retained all the charm and character built up over centuries. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to thrilling cultural festivals. There are no roads on Lamu Island, just alleyways and footpaths, and therefore, there are few motorized vehicles on the island.