Kenya Facts

Kenya facts below cover geography, wildlife, government, economy, history, culture, the people and demographic of Kenya.

Quick Kenya Facts

Population: 47,588,092 (January 2016 est.)
Capital: Nairobi; 3,915,000 (2015 est.)
Second largest city: Mombasa: 1,104,000 (2015 est.)
Area: 580,367 sq km (224,081 sq ml)
Language: English, Kiswahili, numerous indigenous languages
Religion: Christian 82.5% (Protestant 47.4%, Catholic 23.3%, other 11.8%), Muslim 11.1%, Traditionalists 1.6%, other 1.7%, none 2.4%, unspecified 0.7% (2009 census)
Currency: Kenyan shilling (KSh or KES)
Life Expectancy: 63.77 years
GDP per capita: U.S. $3,300 (2015 est.)

Geography of Kenya

Kenya is located in East Africa. The country boarders Ethiopia (867 km), Somalia (684 km), Tanzania (775 km), Uganda (814 km) and South Sudan (317 km). Total land boundaries: 3,457 km. Coastline: 536 km.

Kenya occupies an area of 580,367 square kilometers. In comparison with other countries it is 49th in the world. It is five times the size of Ohio and slightly more than twice the size of Nevada. Kenya’s geographic coordinates are 1 00 N, 38 00 E.

The main rivers are the Tana River and the Galana River. However, the Ewaso Ng’iro is a very important river supplying water from Mt. Kenya to the northern part of the country.

The two main lakes are Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the main reservoir of the Nile River. It has a surface area of 26,600 sq ml, a maximum depth of 275 feet and an average depth of 131 feet.

Lake Turkana is the largest desert lake in the world and the most saline in East Africa. It extends 180 ml from North to South and 27 ml at its widest point with an average depth of 98 feet.

For more see this page on the geography of Kenya and also map of Kenya.

Kenya Weather – Facts About Kenya

Kenya weather is generally sunny year round and only moderately wet. The main rainy seasons are from March to May (‘long rains’) and from November through to December (‘short rains’). The amount of rainfall varies each year.

Central Kenya is located on a plateau and the high altitude keeps the heat index at a comfortable level. Average temperatures in this region vary from a minimum of 50°F to 57.2°F to a maximum of 71.6°F to 82.4°F.

The Kenyan coast remains steadily hot for most of the year, though on the beach the humidity is kept at bay by the ocean breeze. With average sea temperatures rarely dropping under 79°F the year-round conditions for swimming are magnificent. See more on Kenya weather.

Climate of Kenya – Facts About Kenya

Kenya’s climate essentially depends on 3 major factors: temperature, rainfall and humidity. These 3 factors are controlled by altitude and generally the higher you go the cooler it becomes.

The main exceptions are the coastal region and the area along the shores of Lake Victoria. Both are hot with high rainfall and humidity.

The climate of Kenya can be categorised into 7 different climatic zones: Hot and wet, Very hot and very dry, Hot and dry, Hot and dry for most of the year, but with a reliable and fairly abundant seasonal rainfall, Warm with moderate and reliable rainfall, Cool and wet, and Cold and wet.

See more on the climate of Kenya.

Wildlife – Kenya Facts

Kenya is Africa’s most popular safari destination. It is blessed with diverse wildlife, spectacular landscapes, beautiful beaches at the coast and colourful tribal culture.

Nairobi, the capital is East Africa’s economic hub. Tourist attractions include Nairobi National Park, Bomas of Kenya, the Masai Market, several museums and a vibrant and energetic nightlife. Nairobi is also home to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (MBO), which is the largest airport in East and Central Africa.

Mombasa is Kenya’s second-largest city. Some of the attractions in Mombasa are Fort Jesus, the Old Town, beaches, beach resorts, marine parks, and a vibrant nightlife.

Top African safari destinations include Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Samburu,Tsavo and Amboseli. Each year between July and October, Masai Mara is host to one of natures most spectacular event – the great wildebeest migration.

During the migration over 2 million wildebeests, and thousands of gazelle, zebra and eland trek from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania through the Masai Mara National Reserve and back again in search of water and pasture.

Among the highlights of the spectacle is when the ungulates have to cross the crocodile infested Mara River.

Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest peak after Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m). The mountain which is situated in central Kenya offers easy or challenging ascents with spectacular scenic beauty.

Snow atop Mount Kenya

Trekking tours to the third highest peak, Point Lenana (4,985 m), take 4 – 6 days. There are also trekking tours to Mt Kilimanjaro.

Safari and beach are a popular holiday combination. Vacationers at the coast can enjoy relaxing in the palm fringed beaches, watersports such as wind surfing, kite surfing, kayaking, snorkelling as well as sky diving. Popular destinations at the coast include Diani, Malindi, Watamu and Lamu.

Economy of Kenya - Kenya Facts

The three largest contributors to Kenya's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) are the services sector, agriculture and the industry and manufacturing sector. Currently tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner, followed by flowers, tea and coffee.

GDP per capita: U.S. $3,300 (2015 est.)

As of May 2016, economic prospects are positive with 7-8% GDP growth expected, largely because of expansions in tourism, telecommunications, transport, construction and a recovery in agriculture.

See more in economy of Kenya and tourism in Kenya.

Culture of Kenya - Facts About Kenya

The Kenyan culture has evolved over the centuries and is diverse. There are over 40 tribes each with their own traditions and customs. The Kenyan culture can be seen in the visual arts, applied arts, Kenyan food, music, dance, sports, fashion, literature, theatre and the Kenyan people.

Some communities such as the Maasai and Samburu have managed to retain most of their traditional way of life and a cultural safari is a good way to experience their culture. See more on the Kenyan culture.

People of Kenya - Facts About Kenya

The people of Kenya are made up of 3 primary groups: the Bantu, Nilotic and Cushitic people. These 3 indigenous groups make up 99 percent of Kenya’s population and the remaining 1 percent consists of non-African groups (Arab, European and Asian).

The ethnic composition of Kenya's population is as follows (2009 census): Kikuyu - 22%, Luhya - 14%, Luo - 13%, Kalenjin - 12%, Kamba - 11%, Kisii - 6%, Meru - 6%, Other African - 15%, Non-African (Arab, Asian and European) - 1%. See more on the people of Kenya.

Demographics of Kenya - Kenya Facts

The demographics of Kenya show that the country has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Currently the population growth rates stands at 2.46 percent. As of January 2016 Kenya’s population is estimated at 47,588,092 inhabitants.

As of January 2016 Kenya’s population age distribution is as follows: under 15 years 42.4%, between 15 and 24 years 18.8%, between 25 and 54 years 32.4%, between 55 and 64 years 3.6%, and 65 years and older 2.7%. See more on demographics of Kenya and United Nations Gender Statistics.

Kenya History Facts

Kenya’s history dates as early as 2000 BC when a patchwork of ethnic groups, settled in the country from every corner of the African continent. The Turkanas came from Ethiopia, the Kikuyu, Akamba and Meru from West Africa; and the Maasai, Luo and Samburu from the southern part of Sudan.

The colonial history of Kenya dates from 1885 when East Africa was first divided into territories of influence by the European powers. The British Government founded the East African Protectorate in 1895 and soon after, opened the fertile highlands to white settlers. Kenya was officially declared a British colony in 1920.

See precolonial history of Kenya and Kenya’s history after independence for more.

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