Facts: Geography

Kenya's “breathtaking” wilderness is the subject of a new book by renowned photographer Michael Poliza

  • Poliza, who has received acclaim for his pictures Antarctica, South Africa and elsewhere, has just published a volume of photographs of the Kenyan wilderness.
  • In the introduction to the new book, entitled “Kenya,” Poliza writes that the Kenyan landscape “offers an abundance of breathtaking unspoiled wilderness.”
  • The book features images of natural beauty throughout Kenya, including Mount Kenya, Aruba Rock, the Chalbi Desert and the Lake Turkana region – all, according to the well-traveled Poliza, among “the most unique areas of the world.”

Source: The Huffington Post

Kenya is home to six United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites.

  • Fort Jesus – constructed by the Portuguese in the late 1500s – and the Kenya Lake System in Kenya's Rift Valley were both added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in June 2011.
  • Kenya is also home to four other World Heritage Sites – the Lake Turkana National Parks, Mount Kenya National Park and Natural Forest, Lamu Old Town and the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests.
  • UNESCO's World Heritage List includes 936 properties around the world that form “part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee regards as having outstanding universal value.”

Sources: AFP 1, AFP 2, UNESCO

Kenya has the second highest peak in Africa

  • Mount Kenya, from which Kenya derives its name, is a dormant volcano that last erupted 2.6 million years ago.
  • At 17,021 feet, Mount Kenya is second only to Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro as the tallest mountain in Africa.
  • The mountain has 11 melting glaciers, which provide a steady water source for over two million people.

Sources: Kenya Tourism BoardEarth PolicyUNESCOMt. Kenya.org

Kenya is one of the top overseas destinations for American tourists

  • In 2008, more than 89,400 American tourists visited the country, experiencing the culture and taking in the natural beauty firsthand.
  • More than 9,000 American citizens are currently living in Kenya.
  • To cater to the American audience, the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism is developing an Obama Route that will take tourists from Nairobi through the picturesque Rift Valley to Kogelo, the village where President Obama?s father grew up.

Source: U.S. Department of StateGlobalAtlanta.com

Kenya is home to the tallest tower in all of East and Central Africa

  • The Times Tower is located in Nairobi and stands 38 stories high
  • This magnificent facility took four years to construct and was completed in 2000
  • The Times Tower is home to the Kenya Revenue Authority

Sources: Howard Humphreys Consulting EngineersKenya Revenue Authority

Kenya's Lake Turkana National Park and Mount Kenya National Park are UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • Inaugurated in 1997, Lake Turkana, Africa's most saline lake, is commonly used as a laboratory for the study of plant and animal communities.
  • The national parks serve as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and are major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and a variety of venomous snakes.
  • The deposits from Lake Koobi Fora are rich in mammalian and molluscan fossils, and have contributed to the understanding of paleo-environments more than any other site on the continent.

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre

The Equator divides Kenya into two almost equal parts

  • Straddling it almost exactly, with 5 degrees of latitude north and 4.40 degrees south, Kenya, as a result, is divided climatically.
  • The region north of the Equator is hot and receives comparatively little rain, while the southern region falls into three meteorological zones: the coast is humid, the highlands are relatively temperate and the Lake Victoria region is tropical.
  • The rainy seasons occur from October to December and April to June, although the weather phenomenon, El Niño, recently complicated this pattern.

Source: Kenya Project

Kenya's gold deposits are substantial enough to support commercial mining

  • The Department of Mines and Geology estimates that the Western Kenya belt that borders Tanzania (dubbed Migori belt) could produce up to 34 tons of gold per year.
  • The government is currently working with mining companies to develop a mining strategy.

Source: Business Daily Africa

Kenya is home to the original “safari”

  • When translated from Swahili, “safari” means journey and a trip through Kenya will take you through some of the world's most breathtaking views.
  • Kenya boasts more than 65 national parks and wildlife preserves, each populated with distinct wildlife.

Source: Kenya Tourist BoardInterpolPeace Corps

Some of the oldest known paleontological records of man on earth have been found in Kenya

  • Several hominid fossils found in Kenya, including a homo habilis skull, which dates back 1.4 million years, and a homo erectus skull, dated at 1.5 million years old, have tagged Kenya the “cradle of mankind”.
  • These fossils have contributed greatly to scientists being able to trace the history of the human species.

Source: New York Times