HISTORY OF KENYA
The first inhabitants of Kenya were hunters, and then herders moved there and then Arabs sailed there. Some settled and married the local people which produced the Swahili culture along the coast. Vasco Da Gama was the first European to reach Kenya in 1498. The Portuguese then dominated the coast, but NOT INLAND, for at least 2 centuries. They brought crops like maize and cassava to Kenya.
Kenya came under British control in the 19th century. The British built a railway across Kenya taking the best land and the natives were forced onto reservations.
Indians started to enter Kenya and were trading with the middle class people of the country.
The Africans were not happy with the way they were treated and in 1921 they formed an Association to fight for their rights. Schools were founded and the Africans became better educated. Many of them fought in the Second World War, but were still treated as second class citizens afterwards. Their resentment eventually caused the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. They formed in 1952 and took secret oaths to kill Europeans and African collaborators. Kenya declared a state of emergency in 1952. In 1953 the British began to detain Kikuyu in concentration camps. They slowly hunted down the insurgents and by the end of 1956 the uprising was over.
Unfortunately for them, the movement towards African independence was unstoppable. In 1961 an African Political Party was formed and in 1963 KANU won the majority of seats in the Kenyan assembly.
Kenya became independent on December 12th 1963. In 1964 Jomo Kenyatta became the president of Kenya and the country joined the Commonwealth.
The country prospered between 1960 and 1970 and there was lots of agricultural development. The leader, Kenyatta died in 1978 and Daniel ArapMoi took over, after which he banned all opposition political parties and in 1987 changed the constitution of the country to strengthen his powers. He did though, in the early 1990 have some opposition and was forced to allow other political parties. Despite the opposition he was still re-elected in 1992-1997.
In 1998 there was a bomb explosion in the US embassy in Nairobi that killed 224 people. It had a devastating effect on tourism in Kenya.
In 2002 another leader, MwaiKibaki took over and introduced free primary education.
There is now new leadership in Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta became the president in 2013. He is the son of the former president, Jomo Kenyatta.
Despite droughts in the past, the economy of Kenya is growing fast.
KENYA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:
1. MAASAI MARA
The Maasai Mara holds one of the highest lion densities in the world and over 2000 000 wildebeests, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle migrate annually during July-October.
The reserve is about 580 sq. miles and rises 1500-2170 meters above sea level.
The Maasai Mara is also known for their abundance of big cats, lion, leopard and cheetah.
2. NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
Nairobi National Park is the only protected area in the world with animals and birds close to a capital city. The park has a rich birdlife with over 400 species recorded. It is one of the most successful rhino sanctuaries that is generating a stock for reintroduction in the species and other upcoming sanctuaries. Anybody that visits this park is certain to see a black rhino in its natural habitat.
3. LAKE NAKURU
Known as one of the Rift Valley Soda Lakes, Lake Nakuru is elevated at 1754m above sea level. It is protected by the Nakuru National Park.
The algae in the lake attracts thousands of flamingos. Birds flourish in this area as well as warthogs, baboons and other large mammals. Both the black and white rhino have been introduced to this area.
The name Nakuru means “Dust” in the Maasai language. The lake is protected under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands.
4. KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM
Located 10km from the city centre, the museum belongs to a different time period in the history of Kenya. The farm house gained international fame with the release of the movie “Out of Africa”, an Oscar winning film.
5. TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK
Jointly together, the Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks form one of the largest National parks in the world and covers 4% of Kenyas total land area.
Some of the largest elephant herds in Kenya can be found in this park.
6. GIRAFFE CENTRE
This was once the breeding centre for the endangered Rothschild giraffe. They operate now as a conservation and education facility for Kenyan school children.
7. BOMAS OF KENYA
Here you can see the wonderful diversity of cultures that make Kenya a fascinating country.
The word, Bomas was derived from “Boma”, a Swahili word for enclosed homestead.
8. NATIONAL MUSEUMS OF KENYA
State corporation established by an Act of Parliament. Their role is to collect, preserve, study, document and presend Kenya’s past and present cultural and natural heritage. This way they can enhanced knowledge, apprecation, respect and sustainable utilization of these resources for the benefit of Kenya and the world.
They also strive to contribute in a unique way to the task of national development.
9. TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
Tsave West and Tsavo East were once a single park, but were separated decades ago because of the Mombasa Highway. They now feel like two parks with different eco-systems.
10. SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE
Samburu lies in the northern part of Kenya and are renowned as the “big game country”, because it attracted lots of famous hunters. It is now protected and has a rich assortment of flora and fauna.
11. HELL’S GATE NATIONAL PARK
This park lays northwest of Nairobi. There are over 100 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux’s Eagles, augur Buzzard and Swifts. Buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson Gazelle and baboons are common in this park. The klipspringer and the Chanler’s mountain reedbuck can also be found in the park.
12. RUINS OF GEDI
This town is an unknown treasure, a lost city lying in the depths of the ArabukoSokoke forest.
This is a place of great mystery, a puzzle that continues to engender debate among historians. Nobody could ever figure out what happened to this town and its people.
The entire town was suddenly abandoned by all of its residents, leaving it to ruination in the forest. There are no signs of battle, plague, disturbance or any cause for this sudden desertion.
The ghostly ruins of Gedi lay within the forest that has overgrown and consumed the town. It is a mysterious place to visit.
13. DIANI BEACH
Diani Beach is a major beach resort about 30 kilometers south of Mombasa. The beach is about 10 km long and known for its coral reefs and black and white colobus monkeys.
14. HALLER PARK
This nature park is home to a variety of plant and animal species. It is situated on the North Coast of Mombasa.
15. MOMBASA MARINE NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE
This marine is located in Mombasa town. It comprised of sea water, mangroves, sea grasses and sea weeds. It is home to a variety of marine life. Very popular for snorkeling and diving.
16. ARABUKO SOKOKE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
About 110 km north of Mombasa, this is the largest existing fragment of the tropical forests and an important habitat for endangered birds, insects and mammal species.
It is an important monument as a remnant of the coastal tropical forests.
17. SHIMBA HILLS NATIONAL RESERVE
Shimba Hills lies 30km from Mombasa and just south of Kwale town. It was declared a National Forest in 1903. A fenced elephant corridor connects the Shimba Hills with Mwaluganje Forest Reserve to the north.
18. NGONG HILLS
Located only 22km southwest of Nairobi, the Ngong Hills are a very popular weekend destination for visitors from all over the country. It is very popular for runners and people worshipping in the hills.
The highest peak is about 2460km above sea level and the reserve covers about 21 000 sq. km
19. NAIROBI RAILWAY MUSEUM
This museum is located in an old railway building on the Uhuru Highway. The museum has a main gallery, a resource center, auditorium as well as an outdoor collection of locomotives, wagons and coaches.
You can find a lot of answers on questions concerning the early history of the railway and Kenya’s development in this museum.
20. WATAMU MARINE NATIONAL PARK
This national park is a part of a complex of marine and tidal habitats along the Kenya’s north coast. It is surrounded by the Malindi Marine National Reserve as well as the Malindi Marine National Park.
Lots of rock, sand, mud, fringing reefs and coral gardens, coral cliffs, sandy beaches and the mangrove forest can be found in this area. It is also a paradise for bird species.
21. NAIROBI ARBORETUM
The Nairobi arboretum was established in 1907 to try and introduced forestry trees to Kenya. It became a national reserve in 1932.
The Uganda railway line helped save indigenous forests in Kenya. Seeds were obtained from all over the world and planted in an effort to compile a comprehensive collection of indigenous and exotic trees and shrubs.
22. JAMIA MOSQUE
The Jamia Mosque is located in the heart of the Central Business District in Nairobi. It is the largest mosque in the country.
The mosque is the location of choice for most Muslims.
The mosque is recognizable by its 3 silver domes, and four minarets signifying a symbolic presence of Islam within the Central Business District and the Capital City.
23. UHURU GARDENS
Located along Langata road, 15 minutes’ drive from the city center, is Uhuru Gardens, Kenya’s largest Memorial Park. Uhuru is a Swahili word meaning “freedom”.
24. UHURU PARK
Uhure Park is a green reserve park in the heart of Nairobi.
25. MOMBASA ISLAND
Located off the coast of Kenya on the Indian Ocean, Mombasa Island is about 5 km x 3 km and consists of a coral outcrop which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. The city of Mombasa is located on this island.
26. MANDA ISLAND
Manda Island is known for the prosperous 9th century ports of Takwa and Manda Town. The island is linked by ferry to Lamu. The Manda Airport is also located on this island.
The island is separated from the mainland by the narrow Mkanda channel.
The island had a big lack of water and was first abandoned by people. It is only when they built concrete catchments for rainwater when families started to move back onto the island and start farming with maize and cotton.
27. MWALUGANJE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
The elephant sanctuary operates to benefit the local community. Human wildlife conflict use to be a major problem, because of the farming communities on both sides of a corridor that elephants use for migrating. A lot of families have voluntarily given their land to the sanctuary to minimize this conflict. They therefore do not farm the land anymore, but make it available for the elephants. The community manages the fully fenced area and work as guides, gatekeepers and game scouts. This made it very profitable, because locals now earn more money than what they did with farming this area. They constantly improve the roads and water supplies and even build classrooms for education. This sanctuary is the top priority for the community.
Menengai crater is a massive shield volcano with one of the biggest calderas in the world. The crater is located in the Great Rift Valley and farmland occupies its flanks.
29. RUSINGA ISLAND
Rusinga Island is about 10 miles from end to end and about 3miles at its widest point. It lies in the eastern part of Lake Victoria. It is connected to Mbita Point on the mainland by a causeway.
30. MUTHAIGA COUNTRY CLUB
This club is located about 15 minutes out of the city center of Nairobi.
It became a gathering place for the elite White society of British East Africa and is still used today by the local elite. It offers accommodation and has a golf course for the clients.
Mnarani is a very unique place. It is located in Kenya’s Coast Province. This is the place where your heart connects to nature.
32. CATHEDRAL BASILICA OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Cathedral Basilica is a Roman Catholic Cathedral. It is located in Nairobi. The church was designated a basilica in 1982.
33. HYRAX HILL
Hyrax Hill is a museum located in Nakuru town. It is a former farmhouse that was declared a monument in 1965. A museum was opened here where artifacts from the hill site and other sites are displayed. Sites around the hill belong to different time periods with the oldest dating back to the Neolithic period. There is evidence in the sand of this beach that shows that a fresh water lake once existed at the base of the hill. The hill was name after hyraxes which are found in abundance, living in cracks within rocks found in this area.
34. NYALI BEACH
Nyali beach is a white sandy beach in Mombasa. The Nyali International Beach Hotel and Spa is a place with a unique history that provide guests with an experience that is indulgent and exquisite.
35. BAMBURI BEACH
Located 12km north of Mombasa, Bamburi beach lies within the protected reef corals of the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve. It the only beach that is still open to the public along this coastline.