Republic of Kenya (English) or Jamhuri ya Kenya (Swahili) is located in East Africa. Nairobi is the capital city and the country’s population is around 53 million. Kenya is synonymous with safaris and is famed for its vast wildlife reserves. But there is more to this stunningly beautiful country than just the ‘Big Five’. Curious to learn more? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Kenya.
7 Interesting Facts about Kenya
1. More than 60 languages are spoken in Kenya
Kenya has two official languages: English and Swahili. However, more than 60 languages are spoken. There are more than 40 ethnic groups too. Kikuyu is the largest ethnic group in Kenya, accounting for around 17% of the country’s population. The majority of the country (85.5%) identifies as Christian and 11% as Muslim.
2. Kenya has 536 kilometres of coastline
Looking for a beach holiday? Pack your bags for Kenya. With 536km of coastline along the Indian Ocean, Kenya has some of the best beaches in Africa. Malindi, Diani Beach and Watamu are some of the most popular beach resorts.
3. Trophy hunting is illegal in Kenya
Kenya is home to the Big Five. Game hunters used this term to describe the hardest animals in Africa to hunt. The Big Five animals are lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceros and Cape buffalos. Thankfully, it is illegal to hunt any protected animal in Kenya. The country banned trophy hunting in 1977.
4. Kenya has over 50 reserves and parks
To help protect the Big Five, as well as many other species, the Kenyan Government set up more than 50 wildlife reserves and parks. Across the country, there are 23 National Parks, 4 National Marine Parks, 28 National Reserves, 6 National Marine Reserves and 4 National Sanctuaries. With so many protected areas it is no wonder that so many people come to Kenya for a safari holiday.
5. Kenya once was a British colony
Kenya was part of the British Empire in Africa from 1920 until 1963. The Kenyans gained their independence and became a republic in 1963. Kenyan’s celebrate independence day on the 12th of December. This holiday is also called Jamhuri Day. Jamhuri is the Swahili word for “republic”.
6. Kenya is the ‘Cradle of Humankind’
Palaeontologists call Kenya the ‘Cradle of Humankind’. This is due to the remarkable and abundant archaeological discoveries uncovered in Kenya that contribute to the story of human evolution. For instance, in the Tugen Hills in Kenya, French palaeontologist Brigitte Senut and French geologist Martin Pickford uncovered Africa’s oldest human remains. These are over 7 million years old. In 1984, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Meave Leakey and her team found an almost-complete fossilised skeleton in Kenya’s Lake Turkana. The skeleton is famously known as “Turkana Boy” and dates to about 1.5 million years ago.
7. The second tallest mountain in Africa is in Kenya
Kenya is home to some impressive geological features. For instance, Lake Turkana in the Kenyan Rift Valley is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the world’s largest alkaline lake. The highest mountain in Kenya is Mount Kenya. This extinct volcano rises to 5,199 meters (17,057 feet) and is the second-highest mountain in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro. Kenya’s is also home to the Great Rift Valley. This formed around 20 million years ago.