Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa bordered by Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the east, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest, with the Indian Ocean running along the southeast border. It is equivalent in size to France, and is a bit smaller than the US state of Texas. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and the most significant city in the country. It is a sophisticated and multicultural spiritual city, with many immigrants from former British colonies, including India, Somalia and Sudan. This is highlighted in the number of churches, mosques, temples and gurdwaras within the city. As a mirror image of the cities multicultural composition, the night life offers a diverse range of watering holes. Nairobi has the informal title “The Green City in the Sun”. Nairobi is not a most important tourist destination, but it does have several tourist attractions. The most famous is the Nairobi National Park. The national park is unique, in being the only game-reserve of this nature to border a capital city, or city of this size. The park contains many animals including lions and giraffes. The park is home to over 400 species of bird, which is more than the entire British Isles. to be found just 10 mins from the city centre off Langata Road, its ideal to get your first feel of what Kenya has to offer, or for those quick visits without the time to see the Mara, Serengeti, Amboseli etc. It’s the ideal park to visit.
Nairobi has several museums. These include the Nairobi Railway Museum and the National Museum of Kenya, which houses many artifacts as well as the full remains of a homo erectus boy. The National Museum is currently closed due to renovation, but is due to be reopened in 2007. Nairobi is also home to the largest ice rink in Africa, the Panari Sky Centre. The rink covers 15,000 square metres and can accommodate 200 people.
Langata is a suburb of Nairobi, lying south west of the city centre and south of Karen. It is home to a large European population, and to a giraffe centre. The center was established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe, that is found only in the grasslands of East Africa. The main attraction for visitors is feeding giraffes from a raised observation platform. A tourist village Bomas of Kenya is in Langata. Bomas (homesteads) exhibits traditional villages belonging to the several Kenyan tribes. Langata also has the famous Carnivore restaurant and Carnivore grounds, where many concerts are hosted. The Karen Blixen Museum situated in the suburb “Karen” was the home of the author Karen Blixen between 1917 and 1931. She spent much of her life in Africa, Kenya in particular, and wrote the book Out of Africa. The museum includes many books from Karen Blixen’s library and also a number of her African portrait paintings.
Mombasa, the second largest city in Kenya, is to be found on an island (Mombasa Island) in the Indian Ocean. It is connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. The city is the centre of the coastal tourism industry. There are more than a few places to visit in Mombasa, including Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese, and the Old Town, which is by now in bad need of revamp but still shows abundance of examples of the old Islamic architecture. Biashara Street in Mombasa which in Swahili means Trade Street is also an old part of the city where the Indian and Arab merchants set up shop and one can now find kangas and kikoys being sold in these small authentic shops. Kenya is a great destination for beach holidays and has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, located along the coastal regions and the city of Mombasa.
The Lamu district includes the Lamu archipelago and vast ranges of pretty inaccessible bushland on the mainland. It is the jewel of the Kenya coast, a place to chill out and relax. Leave the mobile and laptop behind and immerse yourself in a medieval peace only punctuated by the grating of donkeys and the call to prayer from the many mosques on the island.
There are many other islands of the Lamu archipelago to explore through local dhow (a traditional Arab sailing vessel with one or more lateen sails) operators or on more formal prearranged visits and Lamu district also incorporates vast ranges of bushland on the mainland occupied by mesmerizing ethnic groups such as the hunter-gatherer Boni people and the pastoralist Orma. It is although pretty unreachable for the informal visitor or sightseer.
The Rift Valley, a province of Kenya, is also a major tourist attraction. It is named for the Great Rift Valley that runs all the way through Kenya starting in the north-west where it crosses over from Ethiopia, and south via a series of lakes including, Turkana, Baringo, Bogoria, Nakuru, Elmenteita, Naivasha and Natron. Access to the Rift Valley from Nairobi is only a matter of a 30 minute drive to a spectacular view point overlooking the volcanoes, Suswa and Longonot, on the road to Naivasha (a freshwater lake) and Nakuru (a soda lake and an ornithologists paradise mainly due to the vast populations of flamingos that live around).
Kenya has some of the world’s best parks (which may be referred to as National Parks or Game Reserves) where you can see some of the premium African flora and fauna. They are renowned for Lions, Giraffe, Elephant and huge herds of Zebra, Wildebeest or Buffalo.
The annual Wildebeest migration (from Masaai Mara to the Serengeti) is an awesome sight and best experienced via a balloon safari. It has been a popular event for filmmakers to capture. Kenya is also becoming a number one golf holiday destination, with an abundance of beautiful courses around the major urban areas.
Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperate inland and very dry in the north and northeast parts of the country. The country receives a immense deal of sunshine all the year round and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. However, it is usually cool at night and early in the morning. The long rain season occurs from April to June. The short rain season occurs from October to December. The rainfall is occasionally heavy and frequently falls in the afternoons and evenings. The hottest period is from February to March and coldest in July to August.