Regions and Towns
The Rift Valley
The Central Highlands
Nairobi lies at an altitude of 5,500 ft
above sea level and has no real variations in the climate. Average temperatures
range from 21°C in January to 16°C in July.
What once was a
remote railway outpost has become the largest city between Johannesburg and
Cairo and is Kenya's capital city and the world's safari capital. It has long
been the commercial centre of Eastern Africa and one of the world's cross-roads
with its' international airport servicing most of the world's airlines. Nairobi
has a population of over 2 million people with all the main religious
demoninations being represented.
Nairobi came into existence with the
building of the Kenya-Uganda Railway in 1899 and it has grown into a very
modern, cosmopolitan, lively, interesting and pleasantly landscaped city.
You'll meet travellers from all over the world here. If you've travelled
through Africa from the West you will be refreshed with the ease of getting
bureaucratic matters sorted out, good bookshops, restaurants, efficient banks,
efficient telecommunications systems, a place where you can get things done
with the minimum amount of fuss in a timely fashion. However, the downside is
the security , in recent years there has been an increase in robberies and
muggings, you just have be extra cautious.
Some of the places to visit
whilst in Nairobi include; the National Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, McMillan
Memorial Library, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Parliament
Buildings, Nairobi National Park, the Snake
Park, National Museum, Bomas of Kenya (for traditional dancing and tribal
villages,), Nairobi Races (hose racing on Sundays), and the National
International Show (August/September/October). Nairobi also have several modern
cinemas in the city centre and two drive-in cinemas.
City Market (63kb)on Muindi Mbingu Street is worth a visit if you
are shopping for curios. Depending on how good your bartering is, you can get a
good bargain be it soapstone carvings wood carvings or other handicrafts .Don't
be put off by the stall holders who can be a bit overbearing.
The Kenyan Coastline has a history
dating back over 1,000 years and is home to the Miki Kenda civilisation, of
which there are nine tribes who inhabit the area. Along the palm fringed
coastline lies a spectacular coral reef running, almost uninterrupted, for a
stretch of almost 480 kilometres. The area is teeming with marine life, lagoons
and creeks and numerous species of birdlife who live in the mangrove forests or
on overhanging cliffs. The coastline is one of the most popular tourist
destinations in Africa, with many tourist class hotels offering a full range of
Mombasa is Kenya's oldest town
with its origins dating back as far as 500BC and up until
recent times has been Africa's trading centre with Asia. The town has a large
population of Asians and the whole region is strongly Islamic.
Mombasa has the oldest fort in Africa, Fort Jesus, built by Portugese explorers
in the 16th century.The fort is now a national museum and houses well preserved
artefacts and relics, some dating back 300 years.
main attraction is the tourist industry, with more and more hotels being built
along the coastline, this is often the first port of call onward to a nearby
seaside retreat. Sightseeing within the town can be done within a day and the
main attractions are Fort Jesus, the old town with fine Arab style buildings,
Mandhry mosque and the municipal market.
Watamu Net is a resource site about Watamu and the surrounding areas of natural
beauty, a UN Biosphere.
Malindi is one of the
oldest towns in Eastern Africa, mentioned in the 12th century by an Arab
trader. Chinese porcelain has been found dating back to the 9th century,
brought in ships from the Persian Gulf, Arabia and India, returning with ivory,
mangrove poles, leopard skins and slaves.
In 1417 Malindi was visited
by a Chinese fleet and they took a Giraffe to the Chinese Emperor. Vasco da
Gama. the Portuguese explorer, visited Malindi in 1498 and was welcomed by the
friendly King , who supplied his ships with fresh fruits, water and most
important a pilot/navigator.
Malindi was at that time a wealthy town,
with multi-storied buildings, surrounded by walls. In the 16th Century
Malindi's prosperity declined due to the fact that Mombasa had better harbor
and facilities. The English farmers rediscovered Malindi for its relaxed
ambiance, beautiful beaches and water sport like deep-sea fishing and goggling.
Tourism in Kenya started in Malindi, as Europeans were looking for
safari and beach holidays, in 1960 mass tourism started by charters landing in
Mombasa and put Malindi on the world map. In 1980 the Italians found Malindi
the " IN " place for building their private homes, followed by hotels and
Malindi town has not changed much since the last hundred
years, old houses, small shops, beautiful beach and friendly people. The local
residents Arabs, Giriama's and Swahilis are used to visitors and love to mix
with them in their own unhurried pace.
Malindi is the place for kite
surfing, diving, goggling, deep-sea fishing and many other water sports. Also a
perfect start for your Safari to Tsavo National Park or Masai Mara Game
(Text kindly provided by Holiday
Located off the
northern coastline of Kenya, Lamu is an historical town with many old
buildings, narrow streets and friendly Arab population. It has been trading
center and already in the 11th Century dhows sailed along the East African
coast to Arabia, Persia and India. But with the abolition of slavery in 1907
the economy of the island went into decline.
In the early 1970s, Lamu
was discovered by "hippies " and they loved the laisser faire attitude of its
people and ambiance. They have gone, but tourist are still coming to Lamu, it
has now some good hotels, and guesthouses. In recent years, some wealthy people
have restored the beautiful grand houses in authentic style and hose houses are
sometimes for rent, inclusive cook, staff and all comforts. Life for the
Arab/Bajuni people has not changed much, men still wear full length robes (
khanzus ) and caps ( kofia ), the ladies in bui-bui.
Lamu can be
reached by small aircraft from Malindi or Mombasa, flights are fairly
inexpensive. Alternatively, you can use local bus and ferry, but the road is
very rough and slow. There have been problems in the past with armed bandits,
jumping the buses, as they slow down for pot-holes and demanding cash and
valuables from passengers.
Once there, Lamu Island is a worthwhile
place to get away from it all. Tourism, although important, is small scale
compared to the rest of Kenyas' coastline. There are no discos and being
predominantly Islamic, very little alcohol, the food is excellant with an
emphasis on seafood, and the atmosphere very laid back. The island is vehicle
free with the only form of transport is donkeys. 15 minutes walk from Lamu town
is a long stretch of sandy beach. The town itself has been designated a
national monument and funds are being raised to restore the old coral-rag
houses. The locals are reknown for their friendliness and relaxed attitude to
A popular activity whilst in Lamu is to take dhow trip to one of
the nearby islands. Snorkelling gear can be hired and it is best to try and get
a group of about 6 - 8 people together to share the costs
provided by Holiday Solutions - http://www.kenya-travel.com)
THE RIFT VALLEY
The Great Africa Rift Valleys runs
from North to South through the whole of Kenya. Its' narrowest point is just
north of Nairobi amd the whole area contains several lakes, extinct volcanos
and small game parks. The views are absolutely breathtaking particularly at the
viewing points just north of Limuiru and the main Naivasha and from the top of
the Mau escarpment on the Kericho road.
Lake Baringo is
the most northerly of the rift valley lakes, being 1168 sq kms in size and
having a maximum depth of 12mtrs. The area is one of Kenya's most popular
locations for bird-watches, with over 470 species in the area being spotted;
including flamingos, Goliath herons, Verreaux's eagle, great white egrets and a
wide variety of hornbills. The lake is home to an abundant variety of fish,
hippos, crocodiles and monitor lizards.
Lying just south of Lake Baringo, Bogoria is a long, thin
soda lake with boiling hot springs and steaming geysers set in rocky outcrops
creating a magnificient scene. It is also a popular birding spot and there are
plenty of flamingos, especially when Lake Nakuru's water level is low. The area
is a national park, so an entry fee is charged. You may encourter the rare
greater kudu, as well as cheetah, hyena, jackal and leopard in the area.
The park entrance lies 6km from Nakuru town
and the main attraction is Lake Nakuru, a shallow alkaline soda lake set
beneath the high cliffs of the eastern Rift Valley. It is an ornithologists'
paradise offering the spectacular view of up to 2 million flamingos at one time
(during the season) along with hundreds of other species including birds of
prey. An area of 190 sq km around the lake is fenced in as a national park and
has been made a sanctuary for Rothschild giraffes and black rhinos.
This is the largest freshwater lake along the
Kenyan section of the Rift valley. Because it is the nearest lake to Nairobi it
attracts many residents as well as tourists. Fishing here is good but it's main
attraction is the bird life, best observed by taking a boat trip to the
wildlife sanctuary on Crescent Island. Opposite Hippo Point, a few kms past
Fisherman's Camp is Elsamere, the former home of the late Joy Adamson of the
Born Free fame, the area is now a small meseum and conservation centre. The
Naivasha vineyards are located on the southern shoreline.
This is the highest of the Rift volcanos at 2,886mtrs. The
crater is 1km in diameter and can be seen from the main Rift viewpoint. The
climb is steep but can be done in six hours from the range station and round
the circumference of the rim. An admission fee is charged
Located very close to Lake Naivasha, the National Park covers
a small area, but the landscape is impressive and can be explored on foot. The
entrance to the gorge is marked by Fischer's Tower, a 25mtr tall volcanic
pinnacle. Girafffe, hartebeast, zebra, Thomson's gazelle, buffalo, eland and
impala can be seen grazing on the grasslands.
THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
The peak of the Aberdares, Ol-Doinyo Lesatima, at
3,999mtrs is the third highest in Kenya and the mountain range for the steep
eastern edge of the Rift Valley.The area contains one of the country's largest
protected forest area and is rich in wildlife although catching sight of the
animals is difficult because of the dense vegetation. Many of the game lodges
provide purpose built viewing platforms. There is no cheap accommodation in the
park (apart from a couple of basic campsites) and without your own transport is
is difficult to get to. Walking is not permitted in the area.
Africa's second highest mountain at 5,199mtrs, it
is an extinct volcano lying on the equator. It's snow capped peaks, Batain and
Nelion are in view for miles around on the clear day. These peaks are regularly
scaled by experience climbers, though few make it to the ery top. Lenana, the
third peak, is the most popular for climbing as it is relatively easy. The
scenery is stunning and quite breathtaking. It is also a botanist's paradise,
with a wide variation in flora as the altitude changes.
More information coming soon!!
The Masai Mara
Saiwa Swamp National Park