Facts about Kenya

Read all about Kenya on this page. Below is an overview of all the facts about Kenya on this website, in the form of handy fact sheets and concise articles. Are you missing any information about Kenya? Post your question here and I may add extra facts about Kenya in the Q&A section.

Kenya is a country in East Africa which is comparable in size to the US state of Texas. Scientists believe that the first humans originated in this area.

masai warrior, kenya

Kenya is the major safari country in Africa, and Nairobi the safari capital of the world. Kenya has a system of well-managed nature reserves across the country, where lions, rhinos, elephants and many, many zebras, antelopes and birds can be seen in the wild. One large nature reserve lies just outside Nairobi and can be visited by taxi from the capital. From Nairobi airport, one can often see giraffes grazing.

It is less well known that Kenya also has beautiful white sand beaches along its more than 500-kilometre coastline, with palm trees, blue seas and resorts with cool Martinis.

Kenya was last colonized by the British, which left many marks on the language, culture and legal system. A struggle for independence led by the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party under Jomo Kenyatta, finally secured independence for the country in 1963. He ruled the country from 1963 to 1978, the year he died.

tusks, mombasa's symbol, kenya
The tusks are the symbol of
Mombasa, Kenya's second city

After this, KANU strongman Daniel ArapMoiin 1978, following the death of Jomo Kenyatta, ruled the country for 24years. He consolidated his power by banning opposition parties. In the 1990s, western countries began to demand political and economic reforms, leading Moi to legalize opposition parties. In 1991 he won the first multiparty elections, though most cited irregularities in the elections. He continued his reign until 2002 when he was finally beaten in the elections by the main opposition party NARC (National Rainbow Coalition), after which Mwai Kibaki became President on the promise of eliminating the corruption that permeates the country. His reign was also coupled with major huddles, and fighting corruption seemed a dream. Mwai Kibaki was succeeded by the current and fourth president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, after his second term ended in 2013, under The National Alliance(TNA), part of the Jubilee Alliance.

The current hot topic in the political arena has to do with the International Criminal Court (ICC). In March 2011, this court indicated six prominent Kenyans including the presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity, following the violence after the 2007 disputed elections.

Kenya’s economy has been inconsistent since independence. Kenya is still largely a developing country. Poverty is widespread, but mainly concentrated in the rural areas. Currently those living below the poverty line stands at 45.9%.

A small class of very rich Kenyans take a great deal of money out of the system, often through corruption, which according to the NGO MS Kenya accounts for 42% of the country’s GDP.

Politicians unfortunately care more about buying ever more expensive Mercedes cars than about addressing the big problems: AIDS, poverty, crime and the widespread corruption. Although this factor is decreasing in importance, the tribe you belong to is still one of the main facts of social life. The Kikuyu tribe is the biggest and dominates the country politically and economically. The first president, Jomo Kenyatta, was a Kikuyu, as was President Mwai Kibaki and the current president Uhuru Kenyatta.

HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence are declining in the country. The infection rates recently fell from 7.2% to 5,6%. Still, 700 people die of AIDS every day. Literacy is high in Kenya: 87.4% of people above 15 can read and write.

Watch my movie "Facts about Kenya":

Overview of all Fact Sheets

Below are links to short articles with more facts about Kenya. Again, if you miss any facts about Kenya, send me a message through the contact form and I'll see if we can add a page.

Search all the factsheets on this website:

More facts about Kenya - A fact sheet with dates and numbers about Kenya's population, geography, politics, the economy, communications and so on.

Kenya Travel Advice - Information about the safety of travel to Kenya after the political unrest of the first weeks of 2008. Luckily the situation has improved a lot after the peace deal that was reached. Maps of Kenya - On this page you'll find some small electronic-picture maps of Kenya, as well as where you can find bigger, more detailed maps (electronically or on paper).

Kenya's Flag - The flag of Kenya was adopted in 1963. It's colors are taken from the traditional colors of the African liberation movement and each have a special meaning.

Kenya's National Anthem - The Kenya National Anthem, like it's flag, was adopted in 1963 - the date of Kenya's independence. Written in Swahili, the title translates as "Oh, God of All Creation".

Kenya's Climate - Kenya's climate various accross the country. Generally it has a tropical climate with sun throughout the year. Two times per year, the weather changes from rainy to dry season. The north and north-east part of the country are generally dry. The coast region is hotter than inlands, and in the mountains it's outright cold.

Lakes in Kenya - Though Kenya rather conjures up images of hot and dry savannahs, it also has some huge and amazing lakes. Here's a page describing some main lakes: Lake Victoria, Lake Turkana, Lake Naivasha, Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Magadi.

History of Kenya - Before 1963, Kenya has been invaded and colonized for many centuries. First by Arabs who crossed the Indian Ocean, later by the Portuguese and the British. A summary of historical facts about Kenya.

Colonial Kenya - This page looks in more detail at colonialism in Kenya: Arab domination from the 8th century on, the Portuguese invaders after 1598 and later the Germans and British.

Referendum in Kenya - In 2005, all Kenyans voted on a new Constitution. But since the draft, that had a lot of support among the population and civil organizations, was changed by President Kibaki shortly before the vote, it was voted down.

Kenya and the Cold War - Since Kenya was on the side of the West during the Cold War, it received a lot of Western aid despite rampant corruption by it's political leaders. Here's the full story.

Poverty in Kenya - Despite some positive developments, poverty in Kenya continues to be a big problem. This page looks at the facts, the causes and the remedies.

Corruption in Kenya - While there's some corruption in any country, the problem is particularly big in Kenya. The average Kenyan pays 16 bribes a month and Kenya is among the 20% most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International.

Economy of Kenya - The country's economy has seen growth almost each year since 1990. Main sectors are tea, coffee, flowers and of course tourism. Here are all the facts about Kenya's economy.

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) - The KCB is the biggest bank in Kenya, catering not only to companies but to the general public as well. It has a country-wide network of branches and ATMs in Kenya.

Finding jobs in Kenya - It's not easy for foreigners to find jobs in Kenya. Like elsewhere the rule is, if a Kenyan can be found, a foreigner will not be hired. Still, some sectors do accomodate some foreigners as well. Here are the facts about Kenya jobs.

Kenya Real Estate - This sector has seen a lot of growth in Kenya in recent years, although limited mainly to rich Kenyans and foreigners, and commercial property for tourism (resorts, lodges). There are some legal things to check well, such as unclear land rights.

Government of Kenya - Kenya is a republic with an elected head of state (the President) and an elected parliament (the National Assembly). At least if there isn't any election fraud. The system is not so different from many Western countries.

Kenya Law - The legal system of Kenya functions largely like those of the USA or Great Britain - at least on paper. Read the facts about Kenya's legislative and judicial branches of government here.

Kenya and human rights - While Kenya's human rights situation has considerably improved during the last decades, it's record isn't spotless. Here are the details.

Central Bank of Kenya - The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has similar tasks to the central banks that other countries have. The CBK was founded in 1966 and sets interest rates, handles the country's money supply and often also loans out money to commercial banks and the government itself.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) - The KRA was founded in 1995 to drastically improve Kenya's tax system, and it has partly succeeded in this. Here are the facts about Kenya's version of the IRS.

Education In Kenya - Kenya has a similar school system as Anglosaxon countries: the 8-8-4 system. After 8 years of primary school, there's 4 years of secundary education and then 4 years of college or university for those who can afford it.

Kenya Institute of Management - The Kenya Institute of Management is a management and business development organization with many faces. Next to being a business school, it also offers programs for further corporate development. Their services run the managerial spectrum from motivation, training and employment recruitment to education.

Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) - The purpose of the HELB is to help those looking to attend college or university, by providing financing in the form of affordable loans and scholarships.

Kenya's Religion - The majority of Kenyans consider themselves to be Christian, of varying denominations. However, many Christians mix their faith with traditional beliefs. The next most popular religion is Islam. Together they represent about 90% of Kenya's people.

Solar Energy in Kenya - A page with sunny facts about Kenya. The big rise in the use of solar energy in Kenya has received a lot of attention from the Western media.

Kenya's Mobile Phone Network - Can you use your cell phone in Kenya? Yes, generally. Here are all the details.

Kenya's Postal Corporation - This corporation, also known as Kenya Post, is responsible for getting your mail to Kenya.

Mount Kenya - If you're in Kenya, you'll have the chance of hiking up the second highest mountain in Africa (Mt Kenya) with no mountaineering experience. Anybody who's in good shape can do it.

Snow in Kenya - Mount Kenya is the only place in Kenya where there's permanent snow and ice. Here are all the details.

Mountains in Kenya - Kenya has more mountains than just Mount Kenya - other important mountains are Mount Elgon, Mount Longonot and Namanga Hills which is also known as Ol Doinyo Orok mountain.

Biggest Kenyan Cities - A page listing all cities in Kenya with over 100,000 inhabitants.

Kenya Expensive? - Is Kenya cheap or expensive for travellers? Find out here.

Kenya Sports - A page about sports in Kenya. Kenyans are crazy about football (soccer), though rugby is gaining popularity fast and may now become the top sport. The country has achieved remarkable successes in long-distance running, and to a lesser extent in cricket. For tourists, the country offers good options for hiking, diving, deep-sea fishing and dhow sailing.

Kenya Cricket - Kenya is doing very well in international cricket. The Kenyan national cricket team upsets many countries. Kenyan cricket has faced several crises recently, but it seems it's getting up it's feet again.

Kenya Top Bar Hives - KTBH's are used for beekeeping and have been first used on a large scale in Kenya by development ngo's as they are much cheaper to build than regular hives used for beekeeping.

Kenya National Flower - Does Kenya have one? Many school children have emailed me about this, so I set out to clear up this mystery.

Kenyan Men and Women - What's the attitude of Kenyan men towards women? A visitor asked me about this. Well, they can be nice, but generally don't count on them being equally 'enlightened' as European or North American men...

Gays in Kenya - The situation for homosexuals in Kenya isn't terribly good. Homosexual acts are forbidden by law. While the law is often not enforced, the culture is still opposed to homosexuality, so Kenyan gays are still largely in the closet.

Kenya Adoptions - In case you're considering to adopt a child from Kenya: it's quite a lenghty process with a lot of legal stuff to arrange. Here are the facts about Kenya's adoption system.

Choosing Kenya Property - How to go about choosing and buying property in Kenya.

Donating to Kenya - If you feel you want to donate to Kenya, here are some considerations and options. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime!

Post Your Kenya Help Request - If you'd like to post a request for funds or other support for a non-profit (charity) cause in Kenya, you can do so on this page. Or you can respond to existing requests. Please note that this site is not endorsing any requests - I'm just giving people an opportunity to publish them here.

The Abandoned Baby Center (Nairobi) – The opening of the Abandoned Baby Center (ABC) in Nairobi in 2001 received a lot of media attention. Its mission is to provide a home for children under the age of 4 who have been abandoned by their parents, often because they died of AIDS or because their mother couldn’t support them and simply left them somewhere. This page has the facts about Kenya's orphans.

Kenya prayers - A page with requests and resources.

Buying real estate in Kenya - Another page about buying property in Kenya, with some hints and warnings.

Are you missing any facts about Kenya on this page? Post your question here and hopefully you'll get an answer.

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