Republic of Kenya
Jamhuri ya Kenya (Swahili)
Motto: “Harambee” (Swahili)
“Let us all pull together”
Capital and largest city Nairobi
Official languages English-Swahili
National language Swahili
Kenya (/ˈkɛnjə/; locally [ˈkɛɲa]
English pronunciation ke’njə or ki: ‘njə], formally Republic of Kenya ( English : Republic of Kenya ), is a sovereign state and republic of East Africa , by the Indian Ocean , bordering on Ethiopia , Somalia , South Sudan , Tanzania and Uganda . In the country lies Mount Kenya , Africa’s second highest mountain after Kilimanjaro. With a population of more than 52.2 million people, Kenya is the 27th most populous country. Kenya’s capital and largest city is Nairobi while its oldest city and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu City is the third largest city and also an inland port on Lake Victoria. Other important urban centres include Nakuru and Eldoret.
Kenya has considerable land area devoted to wildlife habitats, including the Masai Mara, where blue wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large scale annual migration. More than 1 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras participate in the migration across the Mara River.
The “Big Five” game animals of Africa, that is the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros, and elephant, can be found in Kenya and in the Masai Mara in particular. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and game reserves in the country. The annual animal migration occurs between June and September with millions of animals taking part, attracting valuable foreign tourism. Two million wildebeest migrate a distance of 2,900 kilometres (1,802 mi) from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya, in a constant clockwise fashion, searching for food and water supplies. This Serengeti Migration of the wildebeest is a curious spectacle listed among the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
Tourism in Kenya is the second-largest source of foreign exchange revenue following agriculture. The Kenya Tourism Board is responsible for maintaining information pertaining to tourism in Kenya. The main tourist attractions are photo safaris through the 60 national parks and game reserves. Other attractions include the wildebeest migration at the Masaai Mara which is considered the 7th wonder of the world, historical mosques and colonial-era forts at Mombasa, Malindi, and Lamu; the renowned vast scenery like the snow white capped Mount Kenya, the Great Rift Valley; the tea plantations at Kericho; the coffee plantations at Thika; a splendid view of Mt. Kilimanjaro across the border into Tanzania and the beaches along the Swahili Coast, in the Indian Ocean. Tourists, the largest number being from Germany and the United Kingdom, are attracted mainly to the coastal beaches and the game reserves, notably, the expansive East and Tsavo West National Park 20,808 square kilometres (8,034 sq mi) in the southeast.
Largest cities or towns in Kenya
Rank Name County Pop.
1 Nairobi Nairobi 3 375 000
2 Mombasa Mombasa 1 200 000
3 Kisumu Kisumu 409 928
4 Nakuru Nakuru 307 990
5 Eldoret Uasin Gishu 289 380
6 Kehancha Migori 256 086
7 Ruiru Kiambu 238 858
8 Kikuyu Kiambu 233 231
9 Kangundo-Tala Machakos 218 557
10 Malindi Kilifi 207 253
11 Naivasha Nakuru 181 966
12 Kitui Kitui 155 896
13 Machakos Machakos 150 041
14 Thika Kiambu 139 853
15 Athi River Machakos 139 380
16 Karuri Kiambu 129 934
17 Nyeri Nyeri 125 357
18 Kilifi Kilifi 122 899
19 Garissa Garissa 119 696
20 Vihiga Vihiga 118 696
Popular Kenyan musician Jua Cali.
Kenya has a diverse assortment of popular music forms, in addition to multiple types of folk music based on the variety over 40 regional languages.
The drums are the most dominant instrument in popular Kenyan music. Drum beats are very complex and include both native rhythm and imported ones, especially the Congolese cavacha rhythm. Popular Kenyan music usually involves the interplay of multiple parts, and more recently, showy guitar solos as well. There are also a number of local hip-hop artists, including Jua Cali afro-pop bands such as Sauti Sol, and musicians who do local genres like benga, such as Akothee.
Lyrics are most often in Kiswahili or English. There is also some emerging aspect of Lingala borrowed from Congolese musicians. Lyrics are also written in local languages. Urban radio generally only plays English music, though there also exist a number of vernacular radio stations.
Zilizopendwa is a genre of local urban music that was recorded in the 1960s, 70s and 80s by musicians such as Daudi Kabaka, Fadhili William and Sukuma Bin Ongaro, and is particularly revered and enjoyed by older people—having been popularised by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s Kiswahili service (formerly called Voice of Kenya or VOK).
The isukuti is a vigorous dance performed by the Luhya sub-tribes to the beat of a traditional drum called the Isukuti during many occasions such as the birth of a child, marriage and funerals. Other traditional dances include the Ohangla among the Luo, Nzele among the Mijikenda, Mugithi among the Kikuyu and Taarab among the Swahili.
Additionally, Kenya has a growing Christian gospel music scene. Prominent local gospel musicians include the Kenyan Boys Choir.
Benga music has been popular since the late 1960s, especially in the area around Lake Victoria. The word benga is occasionally used to refer to any kind of pop music. Bass, guitar and percussion are the usual instruments.
Amboseli National Park, formerly Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve, is in Kajiado County, Kenya. The park is 39,206 hectares (392 km2; 151 sq mi) in size at the core of an 8,000 km2 (3,100 sq mi) ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The local people are mainly Maasai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area, average 350 mm (14 in), one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world with 400 species of birds including water birds like pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, hamerkop and 47 raptor species.
The park protects two of the five main swamps, and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semiarid vegetation.
About 240 km (150 mi) southeast of Nairobi, Amboseli National Park is the second-most popular national park in Kenya after Maasai Mara National Reserve.
he park is famous for being the best place in the world to get close to free-ranging elephants. Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet Maasai and visit a Maasai village. The park also has views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Amboseli was home to Echo, perhaps the most researched elephant in the world, and the subject of many books and documentaries, followed for almost four decades by American conservationist Dr Cynthia Moss. Echo died in 2009 when she was about 60 years old.
Amboseli National Park offers some of the best opportunities to see African wildlife because the vegetation is sparse due to the long, dry months. The protected area is home to African bush elephant, Cape buffalo, impala, lion, cheetah, spotted hyena, Masai giraffe, Grant’s zebra, and blue wildebeest. A host of large and small birds occur too.
The park has several rules to protect the wildlife: Never leave the vehicle, except at designated spots; do not harass the animals in any way; always keep to the tracks; no off-road driving; and always give the animals the right of way. The roads in Amboseli have a loose surface of volcanic soil that is dusty in the dry season and impassable in the wet season.
Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya at 13,747 square kilometres. Situated in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert it opened in April 1948, and is located near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta County of the former 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.
Inside Tsavo East National Park, the Athi and Tsavo rivers converge to form the Galana River. Most of the park consists of semi-arid grasslands and savanna. It is considered one of the world’s biodiversity strongholds, and its popularity is mostly due to the vast amounts of diverse wildlife that can be seen, including the famous ‘big five’ consisting of lion, black rhino, cape buffalo, elephant and leopard. The park is also home to a great variety of bird life such as the black kite, crowned crane, lovebird and the sacred ibis. Tsavo East National Park is generally flat, with dry plains across which the Galana River flows. Other features include the Yatta Plateau and Lugard Falls.
Tsavo West National Park is more mountainous and wetter, with swamps, Lake Jipe and the Mzima Springs. It is known for birdlife and for its large mammals. It is also home to a black rhino sanctuary
The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known local populations internationally due to their residence near the many game parks of the African Great Lakes, and their distinctive customs and dress. The Maasai speak the Maa language (ɔl Maa), a member of the Nilo-Saharan family that is related to the Dinka, Kalenjin and Nuer languages. Some have become educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania, Swahili and English. The Maasai population has been reported as numbering 841,622 in Kenya in the 2009 census, compared to 377,089 in the 1989 census.
The Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, but the people have continued their age-old customs.Many Maasai tribes throughout Tanzania and Kenya welcome visits to their villages to experience their culture, traditions, and lifestyle, in return for a fee
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