Welcome to Kenya
Jambo na Karibu! Hello and welcome! This is the greeting you will hear widely in Kenya, a greeting as warm and welcoming as the people and climate in this magical East African paradise. Kenya’s diversity is astounding – with 42 vibrant cultures, abundant game from the Big Five to the small five, natural beauty including the spectacular Great Rift Valley, powdery white beaches, snow-capped Mountain peaks and world famous game parks including the Maasai Mara, Samburu and Amboseli, Kenya offers safari lovers the ultimate treat.
Flamingos abound in Lake Nakura, while rivers, forests and savannahs support a profuse wildlife population – a highlight of which is the annual Wildebeest Migration from approximately mid-August to late October. This is home to no less than six UNESCO World Heritage sites including Fort Jesus, Kenya’s Lake systems and the Mijikenda Kaya Forests. This allure of natural beauty stretches across vast plains to the Kenyan coastline, with its six marine reserves and palm fringed tropical beaches.
A great destination for the fit and adventurous – hiking, camel and hot air balloon safaris, and mobile camping are all uniquely exciting ways to unwrap Kenya.
Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest peak, is regarded as the realm of Ngai, god of the local Kikuyu people. Traditionally, all Kikuyu homes were built to face this sacred peak. They call it Kirinyaga, or “Place of Light”.
The mountain is an awe-inspiring sight. Its ragged series of peaks are crowned with snow and ice, and its slopes are thick with forest. The mountain is best seen at dawn, when the day’s early light silhouettes its impressive summit high over the surrounding plains.
While the 5,199 metre summit is a difficult technical climb, the lesser peak of Point Lenana (4,985 metres) can be easily reached by any fit trekker. The trek takes between 3 and 5 days, through a fascinating world of forests, wildlife, unique montane vegetation including podocarpus and groundsel, and finally one of the world’s rarest sights, equatorial snow.
Mombasa is a place steeped in history, yet at the same time a fascinating commercial and cosmopolitan port town. Mombasa is an island connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. The town overlooks a wide harbour, where commercial shipping mingles with traditional sailing dhows.
The true heart of Mombasa is found in the exotic old town, among the narrow winding streets and Arab architecture. The air here is always heavy with the scent of spices. Women wearing the traditional bui bui fill the narrow streets and busy markets. At the dhow dock, fresh fish and goods from all along the coast arrive daily.
The streets are alive with the bright colours of the traditional coastal khanga and kikoi, the all purpose wraparound cloth worm by both men and women. At the waters edge is Fort Jesus, an imposing fort that stands watch over the harbour.
Mosques, Hindu Temples and Christian churches surround streets that thrive with a world of cultures. Mombasa is a place where both history and progress are greatly valued, where a busy harbour existence is lived at its own unique, tropical pace.