Kenya is a country in East Africa with a coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands. It’s home to wildlife such as lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi, which is the nation’s capital, safaris often visit the Maasai Mara Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park, which has views of Tanzania’s 5,895 meter Mt. Kilimanjaro. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about Kenya.
1. Kenya is Africa’s most popular safari destination and it’s capital, Nairobi, is East Africa’s economic hub. Kenya has a decent tourist infrastructure with many resorts along its coastline. It’s a testament to the country’s many natural attractions that tourists continue to visit despite being under the official Travel Warning list in several countries including the United States.
2. Professor Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist, was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She won the prize in 2004.
3. Kenya is home to 11% of the world’s bird species with 1,089 varieties of birds.
4. Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa.
5. Kenya is home to three natural and three cultural UNESCO world heritage sites.
6. Kenya has over 100 known endemic species. This means that you will only find these species in Kenya.
7. The country is come to the world’s largest alkaline lake, which is called Lake Turkana.
8. Kenya’s international airport, Jomo Kenyatta, is East Africa’s largest with direct routes to Europe, the Middle EAst, the Far East and the rest of the African continent.
9. Kenyan’s are world renowned for producing amazing runners and, since their participation at the Melbourne 1956 Olympics, they have won 56 medals in long distance running events.
10. Julius Kiplagat Yego is a Kenya track and field athlete who competes in the javelin throw. He currently holds the best throw in the world since 2006, which also set a new African record at 91.39 meters.
11. Kenyan athletes currently hold 20 World Records in outdoor athletics.
12. The country’s economy is described as a liberal market without government control. The only thing that the government does control about the economy is the price of certain commodities.
13. Telecommunication is the biggest sector in Kenya’s economy. It makes up 62% of Kenya’s total GDP. Agriculture is next, which comprises 22% of the GDP.
14. Its government is a Devoted Republic. They have an elected President and a Parliament. The country gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963, and declared themselves a Republic in 1964.
15. The nation’s main exports include herbs and tea. They also produce a substantial amount of oil, but most of it is used within the country, or exported to some of the neighboring countries.
16. The two official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili, but there are dozens of indigenous languages that are spoken throughout the country.
17. Scientists have estimated that the Great Rift Valley found in Kenya was formed over 20 million years ago, when the Earth’s crust began to split.
18. A new constitution was founded in 2010, which split the power of the country into 47 counties.
19. 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. The dowries start at 10 cows.
20. Kenya doesn’t have a middle class. It’s citizens are either very rich or living well below the poverty line.
21. Coffee is a huge export in Kenya, but it’s not consumed by many Kenyans. This is because Kenyans believe that all of the coffee they produce should be sold outside of their country, so they stick to tea or beer.
22. Malaika Firth is a Kenyan born British model who rose to fame after being the first black model in 20 years to be booked in a Prada campaign. She had her runway debut at New York Fashion Week 2012.
23. Tour De France winning cyclist Chris Froome was born in Nairobi and trained from a young age on the slopes of Mt. Kenya.
24. American writer, Ernest Hemingway, is reputedly the man who introduced the Swahili word “safari” to the western world with his book, “The Green Hills of Africa.”
25. Richard Dawkins, the famous evolutionary biologist, was born in Kenya.
26. The total number of mobile subscribers in Kenya stands at 29.7 million, increasing the penetration of mobile telephony services to 75.4%.
27. The Kenya East Territory set a goal that by 2030, half of the Kenyan population will be Salvationists.
28. There are 49 different tribes represented in the territory. When an officer moves to a new appointment, he or she is expected to learn the local tribal language within 3 months.
29. Most Kenyans sleep under a mosquito tens in order to keep from getting bit. Many diseases can be transferred by mosquito bites, so sleeping under a net is a safety precaution.
30. It’s free for children to attend school in Kenya, but many don’t go as they’re busy helping their families work the land, fetch water and other necessary tasks for survival.