ABOUT KENYA

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a sovereign state in Africa. Its capital and largest city is Nairobi. Kenya lies on the equator with the Indian Ocean to the south-east, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west,  South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east.

Kenya is named after a mountain of the same name. The Kikuyu people, who lived around present day Mt Kenya, referred to it as “Kirinyaga” or “Kerenyaga”, meaning mountain of whiteness because of its snow-capped peak. Mt Kirinyaga, which was the main landmark, became synonymous with the territory the British later claimed as their colony. However, the name ‘Kenya” arose out of the inability of the British to pronounce Kirinyaga correctly.

EARLY VISITORS

The first people to settle in Kenya were indigenous African communities who migrated from various parts of the continent. Other visitors included traders, explorers and tourists who came in from various parts of the world such as Portugal, Arabia, Roman empire, India and Greece. They visited mainly the East African Coast from as early as the first century A.D. While the majority of the visitors went back to their countries, some settled, and intermarried with the local populations giving rise to a new Swahili culture along the Coast.The civilisation base of craft industries, farming, fishing and international trade gave rise to both Coastal city states such as Siu, Pate, Lamu, Malindi, Gede, Mombasa and Vanga . Islam and Kiswahili language were also introduced. The traders from overseas brought such items as clothes, beads, wines, iron weapons, porcelain and handicrafts. These were exchanged for ivory, timber, gold, copper, rhinoceros horns, animal skins and slaves.

 

The first major European presence in East Africa started with the arrival of the Portuguese in the East African waters in 1498 when Vasco Da Gamas fleet made its initial forays on its way to the East Indies. On the first voyage his only negotiations were with the ruler of Malindi and, indeed, for the next hundred years this alliance was the foundation of the Portuguese network in the region. Their quest to control and dominate the lucrative Indian Ocean trade, the conquest of several city-states along the coast, and the establishment of their dominance, lasted 200 years.

 

The Portuguese presence was however, hated and resisted and there were many insurrections against them. For example, on the 16th August 1631, the Arab Sultan of Mombasa called Dom Jeronimo Chingulia entered the Portuguese Citadel of Fort Jesus with a band of followers through the passage of the Arches. He killed the Portuguese Captain, Pedro Leitao de Gamboa, and then gave the signal to his followers outside the Fort to set fire to the Portuguese houses in the town. There was no marked resistance and in the course of the next two weeks all the Portuguese were killed. The Portuguese were finally kicked out of the Coastal towns through a combination of local nationalisms, aided by the Omani Arabs. To ensure the Portuguese did not return, Sultan Seyyid Said of Oman moved his capital to Zanzibar and ruled the entire East African Coastline until the establishment of British rule.

COLONIAL RULE

The scramble for colonies in Africa among European countries reached fever pitch in 1884, when the Berlin Conference was convened to partition Africa amongst European colonial rivals. Among British acquisitions was the land we today call Kenya. A British trading company, Imperial British East Africa Company, was set up and posted to administer Kenya under the name British East Africa Protectorate.

 

When it was realised that the company could not contain Kenya’s hostile communities the British declared the country a colony and Protectorate on 1st July 1895 and posted the first Governor, Sir Arthur Hardinge, to establish a formal British administration.The seventy years of colonial rule in Kenya were characterised by punitive economic, social and political policies. Most outstanding among these policies was racial discrimination. Huge fertile land was alienated for white settlement, and harsh labour laws were enacted to force the Africans to work at low wages on settler farms and public works. In addition, African political participation was confined to local government.It was against this scenario that African protest movements began in earnest from the early 1920s.

 

Several political associations, including the Young Kikuyu Association, East African Association, Young Kavirondo Association, North Kavirondo Central Association and Taita Hills Association, were formed to articulate African grievances against forced labour, low wages, heavy taxation, continuing land alienation, and racial discrimination.Between 1944 and 1960 African political activity and pressure were intensified. In 1944, the first countrywide nationalist party, Kenya African Union (KAU) was formed. And in the same year the first African, Eliud Mathu, was nominated to the settler dominated Legislative Council. Unhappiness with the slow political and economic change led to the breakdown of law and order in the early 1950s, and in 1952 Governor, Sir Everlyn Baring declared a state of emergency following the outbreak of the Mau Mau rebellion, whose major grievances included land alienations, racial discrimination and lack of political progress.

 

The state of emergency, however, intensified political resolve for independence, forcing the colonial government to come up with constitutional proposals. Under the Lyttleton constitution of 1954 Africans were allowed to directly elect their representatives to the Legislative Council. The elections were held in 1957, and eight African leaders – Ronald Ngala, Tom Mboya, Daniel arap Moi, Mate, Muimi, Oginga Odinga, Oguda and Muliro, were elected. They stepped up agitation for widened representation and independence. After considerable discussion, it was decided to form a mass organization to mobilize the people for the final assault on colonialism, hence the birth of Kenya African National Union, (KANU). KANU was formed in March 1960, at Kiambu town, and on 11 June 1960, it was registered as a mass political society. But as the objective of freedom became evident, many of the smaller communities feared domination by the larger ethnic groups, and on June 25, 1960 they formed the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU). The first election on a broad electoral register was held in 1961, and was won by KANU. In another election in May 1963, KANU captured 83 of the 124 seats in the House of Representatives and formed the Madaraka Administration on 1st June 1963, and the independence Government on 12th December 1963, under Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

INDEPENDENT KENYA

The first Government of independent Kenya immediately had to deal with some pressing economic and political problems. The priorities were acceleration of growth, Kenyanisation of the economy and redistribution of incomes. None of this, however, could be achieved without political stability, and it was first felt necessary to neutralize those elements in the country who supported extreme policies and who were undermining, rather than building confidence in the new nation.

 

Thus, Kenya embarked on the road to peace and stability, which has made it possible for the country to realize great strides in development.The country has had three Presidents since independence. Upon Jomo Kenyattas death on 22nd August 1978, Daniel arap Moi took over the leadership. He retired on 30th December 2002 in line with a constitutional Provision which limits the Presidential term to a maximum 10 years of 5 years each. This provision took effect in 1991 following the re-introduction of multipartism. Previously Kenya was a single party state.

 

Mwai Kibaki took over from Moi on 30th December 2002 to become Kenya’s third President. Kibaki and his National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) won with a landslide in the December 27 2002 general elections, thus ending KANU’s forty year dominance.

In December 2007, President Kibaki under the Party of National Unity (PNU) ran for re-election against the main opposition party candidate, Raila Odinga, of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). After the outcome of those elections, a Grand Coalition Government was formed in which Raila Odinga became the Prime Minister. On 4th August 2010, a constitutional referendum was held in which a new Constitution was adopted by the majority of Kenyan voters. The new Constitution was promulgated on 27th August, 2010.

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta is the fourth and current President of Kenya, in office since 9th April, 2013. This follows the 4th March 2013 general elections and the upholding of those elections by the Supreme Court on 30th March, 2013. The election of Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, had been contested by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who came in second place.

Location

Kenya lies astride the equator on the eastern coast of Africa. It is bordered by South Sudan on the north-west, Ethiopia on the north, Somalia on the east, Uganda on the west, Tanzania on the south and the Indian Ocean on the south-east. Much of the country, especially in the north and east, is arid or semi-arid. From the Indian Ocean the land rises gradually through dry bush to the fine arable land of the highlands.

Area

Kenya covers an area of approximately 586,600 square Kilometers.

Climate

In the low-lying districts, particularly along the coast, the climate is tropical, hot and humid. On the Plateau and in the highlands the climate is more temperate. Western Kenya and most parts of Nyanza experience heavy conventional rain and have two rain seasons, the long rains from April to June and the short rains from October to November.

Kenyas warm climate is favourable for tourism during the drier season that is between September and March.

Principal commercial cities and towns

Nairobi is the capital city and a commercial center. It is situated 300 miles from the Coast and lies midway between the capitals of Uganda and Tanzania. It is the largest city in East Africa and houses two UN agencies, UNEP and Habitat.

Mombasa is Kenyas main port and a popular holiday city. It is situated on an island in a natural sheltered inlet. It is the only port that serves not only Kenya but land locked countries like Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan.

Kisumu is the Chief Port city on the shores of lake Victoria. It serves western Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nakuru is an agricultural and industrial town in the Rift Valley basin.

Eldoret lies on the main road and rail route to Uganda. It is mainly an agricultural town that serves wheat and Maize farmers from the North Rift

Population

According to the national population and housing census carried out in 2009, there are an estimated 38,610,097 Kenyans dispersed around the country. In the semi arid north and northeast regions, population density hardly reaches 2 per sq km, whereas in the rich and fertile western, population density rises to 120 persons per sq km. In the well endowed Rift Valley, population density varies from one area to another with an average of 13 inhabitants per sq km.

Nearly 25% of the total population is concentrated in the large cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu including large towns such as Nakuru. Women account for 50.48% of the total population.

Ethnic Composition

Cushites: This group includes the Somali, Orma, Rendille, and Borana.

Bantu: This includes the Gikuyu, Luhya, Kamba, Embu, Meru, Kisii, Mijikenda, Taveta, Taita, Pokomo, Bajuni, Boni and Sanye.

Nilotes: Includes the Luo, Kalenjin, Maasai, Teso and Samburu.

Religions

Protestants : 38%
Catholics : 28%
Indigenous religions : 26%
Muslims : 7%
Others 1%

Languages

English (Official), Swahili (national), local languages.

Kenya is a great sporting nation. Away from the big game found in the countrys Parks and Reserves, there are plenty of other Big Games to see.

Athletics

The Kenyan love for sports means that there is plenty for the visiting sports enthusiast to see and do. This is the ideal destination for the sporting traveller. The name Kenya has become a byword for athletic prowess. At many recent Olympic games and other international athletic competitions, the sight of Kenyans holding the gold, silver and bronze medals for a single athletic event has become commonplace.

The Lewa Downs Marathon

Lewa Downs, a private ranch and rhino conservation area, hosts an annual marathon that is undertaken through the property. This race is run over a bush course that winds its way across open plains, through forests and hills.

The race is a charity fund-raiser set up to raise money for the conservation of wildlife, in particular rhinos. The event attracts many international competitors, and is open to both professional and amateur runners.

The Lewa marathon is a race with a difference, often watched from the roadside by many of the species it has been set up to protect.

The Rhino Charge

Another local event raising money for conservation is the annual Rhino Charge a 4WD rally through the wilderness. The exact route for the race is never revealed in advance, but more often than not it is in the Laikipia region.

The race involves 4WD vehicles following a course through extremely rough terrain to reach a series of pre-arranged points in the fastest possible time. The course is designed with challenge in mind, and each year these off road vehicles are pushed to their absolute limits. .

The Rhino Charge vehicles are crewed by a full team of driver, navigator and support crew. The race is definitely a light-hearted affair, and is a social event in itself. Large camps are set up to support the race, and these are the venue for both pre and post race celebrations.

Golf

Golfers will be delighted to discover some of the finest golf courses in Africa. Tee off in the pure highland air with views of both Mt Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance, and discover what a real Game safari is all about. Kenyas golf courses range from the beach clubs set among palms and casuarina trees with stunning views of the sapphire Indian Ocean, to those dominated by the perennial snow cap of Mount Kenya. Many courses are at an altitude of more than 1500 meters (5000 ft), truly giving you an additional 10% yardage to your stroke.

 

The Safari Rally

The East African Classic safari title is an annual competition rally that traverses Kenya and Tanzania. The cars cross to Tanzania through the Usambara Mountains and the valley of Horogwe. The cars cover a distance of 4,500 km. The nine-day rally is organised by the East African Safari Rally that is inscribed in the F’ed’eration Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) events. It is organised in compliance with the prescriptions for Long Distance rally regulations of the FIA and the Supplementary Regulations and Appendices.

Rugby Sevens

The Tusker Safari Sevens held in June at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds in Nairobi, is now a world recognized tournament in the global Sevens Rugby Series. Past participants include Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Belgium and Kenya. The Tusker Safari Sevens is a world-class rugby tournament, with spectators attending from all parts of the globe. Its an action packed tournament with plenty of excitement and entertainment both on and off the pitch.

Sports Fishing

Kenya enjoys a well deserved reputation for being one of the worlds saltwater sports fishing destinations, a reputation that each season is further endorsed by the capture and almost invariably these days, the release of a staggering number of fish. There are barely a handful of destinations scattered around the world where that most elusive member of the billfish clan, the nocturnal broadbill swordfish is regularly caught. Kenya is probably the best. Many species of shark can be encountered off the Kenyan Coast, but in recent years it is the fearsome tiger shark that has attracted the most attention from anglers.

Volleyball

In volleyball, Kenyan women have carved a niche for themselves, repeatedly winning tournaments around the African continent. The Kenyan womens national team have represented Africa in various World Championships as well as in Olympic games. The Kenya Prisons Womens team are the African Club Champions.

Other Sports

From athletics, cricket and hockey to the world’s most gruelling off road Safari Rally, there is a wide range of spectator sports throughout the year. There are also new and unusual sporting spectacles born of our exotic cultural heritage. .

Why not take a front row seat at the annual Donkey races in Lamu or the traditional Bullfights in Kakamega? If you don’t want to just sit back and spectate, Kenya can certainly keep you busy. We take sport seriously and have world class sporting facilities to prove it.

Traditional African beliefs play a significant role in the lives of Kenyans in spite of adapting to modern values. Kenyans practice traditional values of humility, concern for neighbors and maintenance of kinship ties. Beliefs in superstition are not common except deep in the rural areas. On the other hand, there has been an explosive growth in the number of Christian churches and Islamic mosques.

 

There is wide appreciation of the importance of a modern education and most people speak English though with varying accents depending on ethnic origin. A typical visitor may be surprised at the contradiction in professing traditional and modern beliefs simultaneously. Several commentators have interpreted this characteristic of Kenyans as a lack of commitment to either beliefs. To the Kenyans, however, the two beliefs contain elements that compliment each other. Its not necessary for an individual to completely embrace modernity and abandon tradition, or vice-versa. What most people do (subconsciously) is to take the components from either set of beliefs that are relevant to their lives, and then combine them into a lifestyle.

 

Some communities have retained more of the traditional African lifestyle than others. They live in huts, walk barefoot, dress in robes and decorate their hair with colored soils. The Maasai tribe is famous for maintaining a nomadic way of life revolving around cattle and the search for pasture. This fiercely proud tribe of warriors has resisted numerous attempts at modernization and consequently has gained great respect (and curiosity) internationally.

 

A visit to the bustling cities, towns and villages of Kenya will be an eye opener to the determination of the people. Right from casual workers in sprawling industrial complexes to executives at the stock market and further onwards to the roadsides where men and women of all ages are earning a living for their families. Everyday has its fortunes: sometimes business is good, other times they walk home with nothing. Entrepreneurship is the locomotive engine behind these attributes of hard work and perseverance as Kenyans remain united in the quest for success and fulfillment.

The Mass Media in Kenya is a vibrant industry. It includes daily newspapers, television and radio stations.

Regulations

The communications industry in Kenya is regulated by an independent authority, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK). Its role is to license and regulate telecommunications, radio communication and postal/courier services in Kenya. This responsibility translates to several functions including: licensing (telecoms and postal/courier) operators; regulating tariffs for monopoly areas; establishing interconnection principles, type-approving communications equipment, managing the radio frequency spectrum and formulating telecommunication numbering schemes and assigning them to network operators.

Newspapers

The two major newspapers by circulation are the Nation and the Standard Newspapers. Online editions of these newspapers are available.

Television

Television stations include the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), Kenya Television Network (KTN), Nation Television (NTV), Citizen TV, K24, etc.

Radio

Radio stations include KBC, Easy FM, Capital FM, Kiss 100, Radio Citizen, etc. Radio stations in local languages are also available.

About Kenya

Kenya is named after a mountain of the same name. The Kikuyu people, who lived around present day Mt Kenya, referred to it as “Kirinyaga” or “Kerenyaga”, meaning mountain of whiteness because of its snow-capped peak. Mt Kirinyaga, which was the main landmark, became synonymous with the territory the British later claimed as their colony. However, the name ‘Kenya” arose out of the inability of the British to pronounce Kirinyaga correctly.

EARLY VISITORS

The first people to settle in Kenya were indigenous African communities who migrated from various parts of the continent. Other visitors included traders, explorers and tourists who came in from various parts of the world such as Portugal, Arabia, Roman empire, India and Greece. They visited mainly the East African Coast from as early as the first century A.D. While the majority of the visitors went back to their countries, some settled, and intermarried with the local populations giving rise to a new Swahili culture along the Coast.The civilisation base of craft industries, farming, fishing and international trade gave rise to both Coastal city states such as Siu, Pate, Lamu, Malindi, Gede, Mombasa and Vanga . Islam and Kiswahili language were also introduced. The traders from overseas brought such items as clothes, beads, wines, iron weapons, porcelain and handicrafts. These were exchanged for ivory, timber, gold, copper, rhinoceros horns, animal skins and slaves.

The first major European presence in East Africa started with the arrival of the Portuguese in the East African waters in 1498 when Vasco Da Gamas fleet made its initial forays on its way to the East Indies. On the first voyage his only negotiations were with the ruler of Malindi and, indeed, for the next hundred years this alliance was the foundation of the Portuguese network in the region. Their quest to control and dominate the lucrative Indian Ocean trade, the conquest of several city-states along the coast, and the establishment of their dominance, lasted 200 years.

The Portuguese presence was however, hated and resisted and there were many insurrections against them. For example, on the 16th August 1631, the Arab Sultan of Mombasa called Dom Jeronimo Chingulia entered the Portuguese Citadel of Fort Jesus with a band of followers through the passage of the Arches. He killed the Portuguese Captain, Pedro Leitao de Gamboa, and then gave the signal to his followers outside the Fort to set fire to the Portuguese houses in the town. There was no marked resistance and in the course of the next two weeks all the Portuguese were killed. The Portuguese were finally kicked out of the Coastal towns through a combination of local nationalisms, aided by the Omani Arabs. To ensure the Portuguese did not return, Sultan Seyyid Said of Oman moved his capital to Zanzibar and ruled the entire East African Coastline until the establishment of British rule.

COLONIAL RULE

The scramble for colonies in Africa among European countries reached fever pitch in 1884, when the Berlin Conference was convened to partition Africa amongst European colonial rivals. Among British acquisitions was the land we today call Kenya. A British trading company, Imperial British East Africa Company, was set up and posted to administer Kenya under the name British East Africa Protectorate.

When it was realised that the company could not contain Kenya’s hostile communities the British declared the country a colony and Protectorate on 1st July 1895 and posted the first Governor, Sir Arthur Hardinge, to establish a formal British administration.The seventy years of colonial rule in Kenya were characterised by punitive economic, social and political policies. Most outstanding among these policies was racial discrimination. Huge fertile land was alienated for white settlement, and harsh labour laws were enacted to force the Africans to work at low wages on settler farms and public works. In addition, African political participation was confined to local government.It was against this scenario that African protest movements began in earnest from the early 1920s.

Several political associations, including the Young Kikuyu Association, East African Association, Young Kavirondo Association, North Kavirondo Central Association and Taita Hills Association, were formed to articulate African grievances against forced labour, low wages, heavy taxation, continuing land alienation, and racial discrimination.Between 1944 and 1960 African political activity and pressure were intensified. In 1944, the first countrywide nationalist party, Kenya African Union (KAU) was formed. And in the same year the first African, Eliud Mathu, was nominated to the settler dominated Legislative Council. Unhappiness with the slow political and economic change led to the breakdown of law and order in the early 1950s, and in 1952 Governor, Sir Everlyn Baring declared a state of emergency following the outbreak of the Mau Mau rebellion, whose major grievances included land alienations, racial discrimination and lack of political progress.

The state of emergency, however, intensified political resolve for independence, forcing the colonial government to come up with constitutional proposals. Under the Lyttleton constitution of 1954 Africans were allowed to directly elect their representatives to the Legislative Council. The elections were held in 1957, and eight African leaders – Ronald Ngala, Tom Mboya, Daniel arap Moi, Mate, Muimi, Oginga Odinga, Oguda and Muliro, were elected. They stepped up agitation for widened representation and independence. After considerable discussion, it was decided to form a mass organization to mobilize the people for the final assault on colonialism, hence the birth of Kenya African National Union, (KANU). KANU was formed in March 1960, at Kiambu town, and on 11 June 1960, it was registered as a mass political society. But as the objective of freedom became evident, many of the smaller communities feared domination by the larger ethnic groups, and on June 25, 1960 they formed the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU). The first election on a broad electoral register was held in 1961, and was won by KANU. In another election in May 1963, KANU captured 83 of the 124 seats in the House of Representatives and formed the Madaraka Administration on 1st June 1963, and the independence Government on 12th December 1963, under Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

INDEPENDENT KENYA

The first Government of independent Kenya immediately had to deal with some pressing economic and political problems. The priorities were acceleration of growth, Kenyanisation of the economy and redistribution of incomes. None of this, however, could be achieved without political stability, and it was first felt necessary to neutralize those elements in the country who supported extreme policies and who were undermining, rather than building confidence in the new nation.

Thus, Kenya embarked on the road to peace and stability, which has made it possible for the country to realize great strides in development.The country has had three Presidents since independence. Upon Jomo Kenyattas death on 22nd August 1978, Daniel arap Moi took over the leadership. He retired on 30th December 2002 in line with a constitutional Provision which limits the Presidential term to a maximum 10 years of 5 years each. This provision took effect in 1991 following the re-introduction of multipartism. Previously Kenya was a single party state.

Mwai Kibaki took over from Moi on 30th December 2002 to become Kenya’s third President. Kibaki and his National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) won with a landslide in the December 27 2002 general elections, thus ending KANU’s forty year dominance.

In December 2007, President Kibaki under the Party of National Unity (PNU) ran for re-election against the main opposition party candidate, Raila Odinga, of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). After the outcome of those elections, a Grand Coalition Government was formed in which Raila Odinga became the Prime Minister. On 4th August 2010, a constitutional referendum was held in which a new Constitution was adopted by the majority of Kenyan voters. The new Constitution was promulgated on 27th August, 2010.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is the fourth and current President of Kenya, in office since 9th April, 2013. This follows the 4th March 2013 general elections and the upholding of those elections by the Supreme Court on 30th March, 2013. The election of Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, had been contested by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who came in second place.

Location

Kenya lies astride the equator on the eastern coast of Africa. It is bordered by South Sudan on the north-west, Ethiopia on the north, Somalia on the east, Uganda on the west, Tanzania on the south and the Indian Ocean on the south-east. Much of the country, especially in the north and east, is arid or semi-arid. From the Indian Ocean the land rises gradually through dry bush to the fine arable land of the highlands.

Area

Kenya covers an area of approximately 586,600 square Kilometers.

Climate

In the low-lying districts, particularly along the coast, the climate is tropical, hot and humid. On the Plateau and in the highlands the climate is more temperate. Western Kenya and most parts of Nyanza experience heavy conventional rain and have two rain seasons, the long rains from April to June and the short rains from October to November.

Kenyas warm climate is favourable for tourism during the drier season that is between September and March.

Principal commercial cities and towns

Nairobi is the capital city and a commercial center. It is situated 300 miles from the Coast and lies midway between the capitals of Uganda and Tanzania. It is the largest city in East Africa and houses two UN agencies, UNEP and Habitat.

Mombasa is Kenyas main port and a popular holiday city. It is situated on an island in a natural sheltered inlet. It is the only port that serves not only Kenya but land locked countries like Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan.

Kisumu is the Chief Port city on the shores of lake Victoria. It serves western Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nakuru is an agricultural and industrial town in the Rift Valley basin.

Eldoret lies on the main road and rail route to Uganda. It is mainly an agricultural town that serves wheat and Maize farmers from the North Rift

Population

According to the national population and housing census carried out in 2009, there are an estimated 38,610,097 Kenyans dispersed around the country. In the semi arid north and northeast regions, population density hardly reaches 2 per sq km, whereas in the rich and fertile western, population density rises to 120 persons per sq km. In the well endowed Rift Valley, population density varies from one area to another with an average of 13 inhabitants per sq km.

Nearly 25% of the total population is concentrated in the large cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu including large towns such as Nakuru. Women account for 50.48% of the total population.

Ethnic Composition

Cushites: This group includes the Somali, Orma, Rendille, and Borana.

Bantu: This includes the Gikuyu, Luhya, Kamba, Embu, Meru, Kisii, Mijikenda, Taveta, Taita, Pokomo, Bajuni, Boni and Sanye.

Nilotes: Includes the Luo, Kalenjin, Maasai, Teso and Samburu.

Religions

Protestants : 38%
Catholics : 28%
Indigenous religions : 26%
Muslims : 7%
Others 1%

Languages

English (Official), Swahili (national), local languages.

Primary Education

In Kenya, Primary education is in essence the first phase of formal education system. It usually starts at six years of age and runs for eight years. The main purpose of primary education is to prepare children to participate fully in the social, political and economic well being of the pupils. The new primary school curriculum has therefore been designed to provide a more functional and practical education to cater for the needs of children who finish their education at the primary school level and also for those who wish to continue with secondary education.

Prior to independence, primary education was almost exclusively the responsibility of the communities concerned or non governmental agencies such as local church groups. Since independence the government has gradually taken over the administration of primary education from local authorities and assumed a greater share of the financial cost in line with the political commitment to provide equal educational opportunities to all through the provision of free primary education.

Almost all primary schools in the country are now in the public sector and depend on the Government for their operational expenses. The Government provides teachers and meets their salaries. Government expenditure on school supplies and equipment are minimal as these are financed by fees levied on parents by Parent Teacher Associations. In addition responsibility for the construction and maintenance of schools and staff housing is shouldered by the parents. Indeed almost all primary schools built and equipped after independence have initially been the result of harambee or self-help efforts.

The government of Kenya recognizes that provision of universal primary education as an important milestone to economic and social development. In particular it has been established that by providing primary education to women, a society is able to hasten its development. The government, since January 2003, has managed to implement free primary school education programme that has seen a tremendous increase in the number of children attending school.

The Government has also increased its budgetary allocation to education as well as introducing a Constituency Bursary Fund for efficient facilitation of education at the grassroots level. The implementation of the Universal Free Primary Education, as part of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), has earned Kenya the prestigious Education Award

Secondary Schools

Secondary school education usually starts at fourteen years of age and, after the introduction of the 8 4-4 system of education which replaced the 7-4-2-3 system, runs for four years. The current secondary education programme is geared towards meeting the needs of both the students that terminate their education after secondary school and those that proceed for higher education. In this context, the new secondary school curriculum lays greater emphasis on job-oriented courses, such as business and technical education. There are two categories of secondary schools in Kenya, namely public and private schools.

The public secondary schools are funded by the Government or communities and are managed through a Board of Governors and Parent Teacher Associations. The private schools, on the other hand, are established and managed by private individuals or organizations.

Kenya is a great sporting nation. Away from the big game found in the countrys Parks and Reserves, there are plenty of other Big Games to see.

Athletics

The Kenyan love for sports means that there is plenty for the visiting sports enthusiast to see and do. This is the ideal destination for the sporting traveller. The name Kenya has become a byword for athletic prowess. At many recent Olympic games and other international athletic competitions, the sight of Kenyans holding the gold, silver and bronze medals for a single athletic event has become commonplace.

The Lewa Downs Marathon

Lewa Downs, a private ranch and rhino conservation area, hosts an annual marathon that is undertaken through the property. This race is run over a bush course that winds its way across open plains, through forests and hills.

The race is a charity fund-raiser set up to raise money for the conservation of wildlife, in particular rhinos. The event attracts many international competitors, and is open to both professional and amateur runners.

The Lewa marathon is a race with a difference, often watched from the roadside by many of the species it has been set up to protect.

The Rhino Charge

Another local event raising money for conservation is the annual Rhino Charge a 4WD rally through the wilderness. The exact route for the race is never revealed in advance, but more often than not it is in the Laikipia region.

The race involves 4WD vehicles following a course through extremely rough terrain to reach a series of pre-arranged points in the fastest possible time. The course is designed with challenge in mind, and each year these off road vehicles are pushed to their absolute limits. .

The Rhino Charge vehicles are crewed by a full team of driver, navigator and support crew. The race is definitely a light-hearted affair, and is a social event in itself. Large camps are set up to support the race, and these are the venue for both pre and post race celebrations.

Golf

Golfers will be delighted to discover some of the finest golf courses in Africa. Tee off in the pure highland air with views of both Mt Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance, and discover what a real Game safari is all about. Kenyas golf courses range from the beach clubs set among palms and casuarina trees with stunning views of the sapphire Indian Ocean, to those dominated by the perennial snow cap of Mount Kenya. Many courses are at an altitude of more than 1500 meters (5000 ft), truly giving you an additional 10% yardage to your stroke.

 

The Safari Rally

The East African Classic safari title is an annual competition rally that traverses Kenya and Tanzania. The cars cross to Tanzania through the Usambara Mountains and the valley of Horogwe. The cars cover a distance of 4,500 km. The nine-day rally is organised by the East African Safari Rally that is inscribed in the F’ed’eration Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) events. It is organised in compliance with the prescriptions for Long Distance rally regulations of the FIA and the Supplementary Regulations and Appendices.

Rugby Sevens

The Tusker Safari Sevens held in June at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds in Nairobi, is now a world recognized tournament in the global Sevens Rugby Series. Past participants include Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Belgium and Kenya. The Tusker Safari Sevens is a world-class rugby tournament, with spectators attending from all parts of the globe. Its an action packed tournament with plenty of excitement and entertainment both on and off the pitch.

Sports Fishing

Kenya enjoys a well deserved reputation for being one of the worlds saltwater sports fishing destinations, a reputation that each season is further endorsed by the capture and almost invariably these days, the release of a staggering number of fish. There are barely a handful of destinations scattered around the world where that most elusive member of the billfish clan, the nocturnal broadbill swordfish is regularly caught. Kenya is probably the best. Many species of shark can be encountered off the Kenyan Coast, but in recent years it is the fearsome tiger shark that has attracted the most attention from anglers.

Volleyball

In volleyball, Kenyan women have carved a niche for themselves, repeatedly winning tournaments around the African continent. The Kenyan womens national team have represented Africa in various World Championships as well as in Olympic games. The Kenya Prisons Womens team are the African Club Champions.


Other Sports

From athletics, cricket and hockey to the world’s most gruelling off road Safari Rally, there is a wide range of spectator sports throughout the year. There are also new and unusual sporting spectacles born of our exotic cultural heritage. .

Why not take a front row seat at the annual Donkey races in Lamu or the traditional Bullfights in Kakamega? If you don’t want to just sit back and spectate, Kenya can certainly keep you busy. We take sport seriously and have world class sporting facilities to prove it.

Traditional African beliefs play a significant role in the lives of Kenyans in spite of adapting to modern values. Kenyans practice traditional values of humility, concern for neighbors and maintenance of kinship ties. Beliefs in superstition are not common except deep in the rural areas. On the other hand, there has been an explosive growth in the number of Christian churches and Islamic mosques.

There is wide appreciation of the importance of a modern education and most people speak English though with varying accents depending on ethnic origin. A typical visitor may be surprised at the contradiction in professing traditional and modern beliefs simultaneously. Several commentators have interpreted this characteristic of Kenyans as a lack of commitment to either beliefs. To the Kenyans, however, the two beliefs contain elements that compliment each other. Its not necessary for an individual to completely embrace modernity and abandon tradition, or vice-versa. What most people do (subconsciously) is to take the components from either set of beliefs that are relevant to their lives, and then combine them into a lifestyle.

Some communities have retained more of the traditional African lifestyle than others. They live in huts, walk barefoot, dress in robes and decorate their hair with colored soils. The Maasai tribe is famous for maintaining a nomadic way of life revolving around cattle and the search for pasture. This fiercely proud tribe of warriors has resisted numerous attempts at modernization and consequently has gained great respect (and curiosity) internationally.

A visit to the bustling cities, towns and villages of Kenya will be an eye opener to the determination of the people. Right from casual workers in sprawling industrial complexes to executives at the stock market and further onwards to the roadsides where men and women of all ages are earning a living for their families. Everyday has its fortunes: sometimes business is good, other times they walk home with nothing. Entrepreneurship is the locomotive engine behind these attributes of hard work and perseverance as Kenyans remain united in the quest for success and fulfillment.

The Mass Media in Kenya is a vibrant industry. It includes daily newspapers, television and radio stations.

Regulations
The communications industry in Kenya is regulated by an independent authority, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK). Its role is to license and regulate telecommunications, radio communication and postal/courier services in Kenya. This responsibility translates to several functions including: licensing (telecoms and postal/courier) operators; regulating tariffs for monopoly areas; establishing interconnection principles, type-approving communications equipment, managing the radio frequency spectrum and formulating telecommunication numbering schemes and assigning them to network operators.

 

Newspapers

The two major newspapers by circulation are the Nation and the Standard Newspapers. Online editions of these newspapers are available.

Television

Television stations include the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), Kenya Television Network (KTN), Nation Television (NTV), Citizen TV, K24, etc.

Radio

Radio stations include KBC, Easy FM, Capital FM, Kiss 100, Radio Citizen, etc. Radio stations in local languages are also available.

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