Summary: Kenya is in eastern Africa against the Indian Ocean to the south of Ethiopia and north of Tanzania, and is mostly low plains rising to central highlands tipped with mountains and glaciers and split by the Great Rift Valley with a fertile plateau in the west. Independent since 1969 and now a proven democratic society working to eliminate corruption, the country often thought of as the Cradle of Humanity has an economy based on agriculture and tourism while working with the UN to combat AIDS.
Time Zone: UTC+3
Languages: English, Kiswahili, Indigenous Languages
Power: 240V, 50 Hz
Currency: Kenyan Shilling
- Currently 1 KES = 0.0119 USD $
Climate: Kenya has a varied climate, from tropical along the coast to arid in the interior. The rains run from March to May, with a secondary rainy season from October to December.
- Currently 72º, Partly Cloudy
Somalian Shebab Group Warns Kenya Against Inteference - Nasdaq - Mar 08 10:02 AM
Ormat wraps up financing for Kenya project phase 2 - Haaretz Daily - Mar 08 4:17 PM
Germany to deliver 9 pirate suspects to Kenya - AP via Yahoo! Finance - Mar 08 7:01 AM
Educator to Share Kenya's Masai Mara Photos, Tales - The Lakeland Ledger - 1 hour, 22 minutes ago
Ormat closes financing for Kenya geothermal project - Globes Online - Mar 08 12:02 AM
| Nairobi: Nicknamed the Green City in the Sun, Nairobi is known for parks and colonial architecture and one of the largest cities in Africa. Take a walk from the National Archives to the City Square, through the crowded City Market, and then cross the Nairobi River to spend an afternoon at the National Museum. Along the way, you will pass parks and gardens but they dwarf in comparison to the Nairobi National Park just outside the city, and the nearby Bomas of Kenya, a cultural display of Kenyan life.|
| Mombasa: Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city and has been an Arab port dating back to the 12th century with several nice resorts and beaches in the area. The Old Town section has a strong Arab flair, and on their first day in town most tourists visit the nearby Fort Jesus, which dates to the 16th century and has a museum on its grounds. Afterwards, go and visit the massive tusks forming the letter M which make physical gateways into the city and are one of the most memorable sights. |
| Nakuru: Nakuru is a busy town with a market to match that is an excellent gateway to the area. About 90 miles northwest from Nairobi, outside of Nakuru, the Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Site has been a rich archaeological dig site for 50 years until the 1980s and is an interesting daytrip. Nearby parks, Kakamega Forest Reserve, a virgin rainforest 85 miles to the west offers overnight stays and guides, and Aberdare National Park, a less touristy forest 30 miles to the east with Gura Falls which tumble 985 feet, will satisfy most ecotourists.|
| Masai Mara National Reserve: About 170 miles due west from Nairobi is the Masai Mara National Reserve, the most famous sign that the country is taking steps to control the country’s ecosystem. Safaris typically include the Siria Escarpment, and range through the savanna to find leopards, hippos, elephants and lions and other wildlife. Accommodations are available at the park from tents to lodges, and note that the nights get cool, as the park is at around 5,000 feet in altitude.|
Local Customs: Casual dress is accepted everywhere, and bring sweets if invited into a local home. Shaking hands is the norm, but try to avoid discussing politics. Tribal life is very comfortable, and the Masai are known for being welcoming; admiring the herds of cattle or goats will certainly win their favor.
Safety and Travel: Avoid demonstrations, and be very wary when traveling through city streets, particularly at night. Keep a low profile, keep valuables in a safe place, and don’t carry a wallet or purse - carry money against your skin in a hidden pouch. The northern corners of the country are less safe and will require extra attention to navigate safely.
Currency Exchange: Credit cards are widely accepted, and although currencies and traveller’s checks can be exchanged in the local banks, you will find commission-free rates at the exchange bureaus in the larger cities.
When To Visit: Kenya has two main tourist seasons, from January to February, and June to September, both coinciding with the drier conditions throughout the country and higher rates for flights and hotels. October will give you lower rates but avoids the thick of the rainy season, and is also the best time to catch the annual migration of the wildebeests heading south, and you can also help celebrate Kenyatta Day on October 20th.
Food: Traditional Kenyan cooking is simple but filling, and includes nyama choma, barbecued goat, and other meats or fish with beans and sauces. Washing down a meal with a beer is common practice.
Tipping: Tipping is common practice, so check your bill as a service charge may have been added, and add up to an additional 5% for excellent service if it has, and 5% to 10% if it has not. Add a few dollars a day for guides and drivers when on safari.
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