Culture and History Travel Tour to Kenya
Safari ( journey in Swahili Lang) does not mean much to a majority if not for this country in eastern Africa .. Kenya . Revered by anthropologists as the "cradle of humanity , Kenya is the epicenter of African safaris, showing a wide variety of wildlife. And no matter how many Tarzan films have been seen, since no one will be ready for the spectacular annual migration of the mass of Venus.
Unfortunately, in urban centers in Kenya, the lesser crime may be considered as one of the few flourishing industries of the country. Nevertheless, the African country offers beautiful parks, pristine beaches, magnificent coral reefs, memorable mountain scenery and ancient Swahili cities. Just need to avoid traveling with valuable items.
General Information about Kenya
Republic of Kenya
583,000 km ²
Nationalities and ethnic groups
Kikuyu 22%, 14% luyha, Luo 13%, 12% Kalenjin, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, 16% others
English, Swahili, various tribal languages
Protestant 35%, 30% Catholic, 30% Muslim, 5% Animist
Major economic resources
food processing, oil refining, cement, tourism
|Visas||All visitors require a visa except citizens of some countries within the Commonwealth and of Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway, South Africa and Sweden. It should be handled well in advance, especially if requested by mail.|
|Health conditions||malaria (except in Nairobi and in areas of higher altitude), cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, typhoid, schistosomiasis, HIV, Rift Valley fever and yellow fever|
|Local time||GMT + 2 in winter, GMT +1 in summer|
|Major trading partners||Uganda, Tanzania, Britain, Germany, UAE, South Africa|
|Weights and measures||Metric|
|Tourism||About 700,000 visitors a year|
Best Time to Travel to Kenya
The peak tourist months are January and February when the weather is hot and dry apart from being the time when flocks of birds migrating over to the lakes of the Rift Valley. Between June and September, the time is stable. The rains in March, sent in May, and occur with less intensity between October and December. Over recent months, tourism is much smaller, easier to find accommodation and prices are cheaper. In general the rainfall does not adversely affect the mobility of travelers
Mean Events and Holidays in Kenya
The most spectacular annual event in the country is played by an unusual group: Nus flocks. Millions of these ungainly antelopes move en masse during July and August from the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania) in search of fresh grass and about again in October to move into the south. The best place to watch this phenomenon is found in the Masai Mara National Reserve. Other events include Orthodox national holidays such as a Day (October 20th) and Independence Day (December 12)
Most Attraction Places to Travel in Kenya
Kenya's capital city is cosmopolitan, lively, interesting and well developed. The neighborhood where there are major companies and offices can be crossed on foot in just 20 minutes and is a good place to tune into the most modern African urban life. Unfortunately, it is also an excellent area to suffer a robbery. Security, especially at night, often a concern. That is why its inhabitants have nicknamed Nairobbery (Nairrobo).
Nairobi grew with the construction of the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda. What was just a swampy watering hole for Maasai tribes, in 1900 had become an important location. Five years later, replaced Mombasa as capital of the British protectorate. Although today is the largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg, its population of 1.5 million people is sparse compared to global benchmarks.
It has a busy commercial district and a market, houses inhabited by the middle classes and offices, mansions and spacious gardens, owned by the richest. The shopping area full of energy, aspirations and opportunism, where artisans, exhausted drivers matatus (minibuses), unemployed, criminals and vagrants and disoriented mingle with globetrotter, prostitutes, shopkeepers, school students, food vendors, security guards sleepy and some people who trade in illegal goods. This neighborhood, very central, is called River Road, and his visit is highly recommended. Most travelers choose to stay to dinner in this area, but offers the possibility of staying in a hotel in a quiet street.
As for the sights, the National Museum, the Museum of the National Archives and Snakes are interesting and easy to find. The latter contains much more than the usual austere documents, and includes exhibitions of paintings and crafts. On the outskirts of the metropolis is one of the most accessible natural wonders of the country, the Nairobi National Park. Visitors with children can spend a day at the nearby Park of the Ostrich.
The largest port in the East African coast, Mombasa is a historic city with a warm and humid climate. It goes back to the twelfth century and was a Muslim place for centuries. In 1505 she was attacked by the Portuguese and razed by fire. Despite its rapid reconstruction, it was again reduced to rubble because of renewed fighting against the European power. The old city is a testimony of that tumultuous era. Replete with ornate windows and balconies, walk through its streets poses a constant pleasure.
The most prominent attraction is the old Fort Jesus, which dominates the port entrance. Initiated by the Portuguese in 1593, changed hands nine times between 1631 and 1875. Now turned into a museum, is a fascinating mix of architectural styles, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic.
Mombasa lies along the island of the same name. The railway station is located in the center of the island, close to many hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. South of the town, the coast presents a series of magnificent beaches.
Nairobi and Mombasa are connected by a large number of flights, trains and buses daily, in addition, several regular bus lines and ferries depart from Mombasa to Tanzania.
National Park and Reserve Marsevit
Located to the north, this park is inhabited by large mammals in Kenya, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, rhinos, buffalo, wild boar, zebras, giraffes, hyenas and gazelles. The dense forest that covers the area prevented, however, easily, unless they are kept waiting, preferably camping at Lake Paradise. This is a great place to enjoy for a few days in nature and, indeed, few places in the country can rival it in terms of landscape beauty and tranquility.
A bus line connects the nearest location to the park (Marsabit) in Isiolo, a town located in central Colombia, near Mount Kenya.
Place of fantasy and dream, Lamu is enveloped in a cloak of medieval romance. With a population almost exclusively Muslim, is one of the oldest existing cities in Kenya and has experienced very few changes, both from his appearance as a character throughout the centuries. Remote and introverted, this port city, once thriving and wonderful, is now a wonderful and relaxing tourist destination. No other Swahili town, with the exception of Zanzibar, banquet size can provide a cultural and traditional architecture as uncorrupted. Two hours at the Museum of Lamu, on the seafront, are sufficient to penetrate the city's history. And if this has aroused the interest of the traveler by the Swahili culture, may also find the beautifully restored building that houses the Casa-Museo Swahili. On the other hand, one of the most unique attractions in the area is the Asylum of donkeys. In Lamu is almost mandatory to hang on a dhow, the traditional Arabic boat.
Nestled away on the island of Lamu, just above the east coast of Kenya, the city communicates with the rest of the country by boat from diesel Mokowe, but there is also an airport in the neighboring island of Manda.
Masai Mara National Reserve
The Mara (as the older they like to call the reserves) is the most popular protected area in Kenya. With an abundance of wild animals, and including much of the Serengeti National Park, this 320 km ² reserve offers visitors an unforgettable experience, as part of its traverse vast savannahs or sidestep the annual stampede of Nus. In the western boundary of the park is the spectacular escarpment Esoit Oloololo. The largest concentrations of wild animals inhabit the border area of the park. Everywhere, you can observe large herds of lions, and is not too unusual to see them hunting. Live large number of elephants, buffalos, zebras and hippos. And a reserve that is a national park: the Maasai are allowed to hunt and graze their flocks on the premises, including a Masai village open to tourists.
Two daily flights to Nairobi reported Masai Mara, where the potential for accommodation. Narok, a small provincial town, a few hours away by road west of Nairobi, is the primary access to the park.
Kakamega Forest Reserve
Kakamega is a superb extension of virgin forest in the heart of an intensively cultivated agricultural area in western Kenya. It houses a huge variety of birds and animals, and worth making the effort to get there. In the forest are several species of primates including red-tailed monkey, Colobus monkey black and white, and blue monkey. To appreciate the beauty of the jungle, it is best visited on foot, there are several routes of trails that start from the forest stations. The Forestry Department maintains a superb residence in the reserve.
Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Sites
On the outskirts of Nakuru, about 200 km northwest of Nairobi, the site was first studied in 1937, when the archaeologist Mary Leakey began to search for traces of prehistoric life. The excavations, which lasted until the 1980s, indicating the presence of three settlements, the oldest of which has an approximate age of 3000 years and more recently between 200 and 300. The extensive collection of objects found in burial pits of the hill and around a real puzzle includes six Indian coins, one of them 500 years old, and two from 1918 and 1919. Hyrax Hill is on the road to Nairobi.
Amboseli National Park
392 sq km, Amboseli is a park not too long, but offers the possibility of seeing the black rhino, an endangered species. It also houses large herds of elephants, the image of one of them moving slowly on the green plains with Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) as a backdrop, can be a real African cliché, but it is an experience that leaves a lasting impression. Microlight flights are a popular way of capturing the majesty of this spectacular region of southern Kenya. Most visitors arrive from Namanga to Amboseli, the main border post between Kenya and Tanzania. There are also daily flights from Nairobi.
The Aberdares National Park
This protected area covers essentially the moor and the forest of Kinangop Plateau, 60 km in length. Rarely appears in the itineraries of safari agencies, and get even less visits by solitary adventurers. But if you are willing to face the inclement weather, this remote and formidably dense jungle deserves, without doubt, the effort. The park offers a variety of fauna, flora and landscapes unmatched, except perhaps of Mount Kenya. Are also in the territory of the dramatic Gura Falls, over 300 m, and the remote possibility of seeing a black leopard, an elephant, a rhino or bongo (antelope antlers of spiral).
Activities in Kenya
The main tourist activity in Kenya is the safari, but there are many ways to practice. With camel safaris in areas inhabited by the Turkana and Samburu tribes, between Isiolo and Lake Turkana, are surely the most attractive. The most renowned national park in the country is emblematic of Masai Mara National Reserve, west of Nairobi. Other parks are highly valued by their Amboseli black rhinos, the dense Kakamega, with more than 330 species of birds, and the equally prolific Lake Baringo.
Mount Kenya is one of the most popular sites for trekking in the mountains, but there are other areas of the country also suitable, such as Mount Elgon on the border with Uganda, and even the Ngong Hills near Nairobi. Kenya is famous for sport fishing near the coastal town of Malindi, and the decline of white water in the river Athi / Galana, which is gaining great popularity. For a wonderful and silent aerial view of the Serengeti, several hotels in the Masai Mara National Reserve offering the chance to travel by balloon. Some coastal towns such as Malindi and Lamu Archipelago, you can practice diving, windsurfing or simply enjoy its splendid beaches.
History of Kenya
The first human footprints were tagged on Kenyan soil were printed in 2000 BC by nomadic tribes from Ethiopia. A second group appeared a thousand years later and occupied much of the central area of the country. Other ancestors of the tribes that populate the country emigrated from all parts of the continent between 500 BC and 500 AD Bantu-speaking tribes (such as the Gusii, Kikuyu, akamba and Meru) arrived from West Africa while the Nilotic-speaking peoples (Maasai, Luo, Samburu and Turkana) came from the Nile valley in southern Sudan. With the migration to the interior, Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula and shirazis of Persia (now Iran) settled along the coast of eastern Africa from the eighth century.
Attracted by the aroma of spices and money, the Portuguese appeared in the region in the fifteenth century. After venturing ever farther to the west coast of Africa, Vasco da Gama finally doubled the Cape of Good Hope and began to ascend the eastern seaboard of the continent in 1498. Seven years later, began the looting of Kenya. In the sixteenth century, almost all of the Swahili trading towns, including Mombasa, had been attacked or occupied by Portuguese troops, marking the end of the Arab monopoly on trade in the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese stayed long in the area, applying a harsh colonial rule, the sultans and facing each other. But their dominance was always unstable and that their shipments were supplied in Goa, India. The Arabs gained control of the coast in 1720.
During the rest of the eighteenth century, the Omani dynasties from the Persian Gulf began their raids along the eastern seaboard of Africa. The ravages of the Portuguese era and constant quarrels among the Arab governors caused a decline in trade and prosperity of the area, so the economic superpowers (Britain and Germany) did not have much interest in getting this portion of the East Africa until the mid-nineteenth century.
With Europeans suddenly traveling throughout the African continent in search of fame and fortune, including the unexplored hinterland of Kenya was invaded. Until the 1880s, the Rift Valley and the Aberdare highlands remained the home of the proud warriors of the Masai tribe. In the late nineteenth century, civil war erupted between the two opposing factions in this town and its consequences have led to famines and diseases that decimated the population. The British used this opportunity to negotiate a treaty with laibon (chief or spiritual leader) of the Maasai, and to begin work on the railway line between Mombasa and Uganda, which was grazing land.
From this moment, the decline of the tribe and would be unstoppable. White settlers demanded more fertile land and the Maasai were confined to ever smaller reservations. The Kikuyu, a Bantu people of farmers from the highlands west of Mount Kenya, they also looted large tracts of land.
White settlement in the early twentieth century were initially disastrous, but, once deigned to know the surface characteristics of the land, the British succeeded in founding a colony acceptable. Other European settlers soon established coffee plantations and in the 1950s the population of white and rose to about eighty thousand people. Without many more options than to adapt to the economy introduced by the Europeans, tribes like the Kikuyu maintained, however, a strong opposition. Harry Thuku, one of the first leaders of the Kikuyu political association, was imprisoned by the British in 1922. His successor, Johnstone Kamau (later Jomo Kenyatta) would be the country's first president after independence.
With the growing opposition to colonial rule came the African National Union (KAU), which made his demands in an increasingly forceful. Other companies soon joined by similar voices calling for freedom, including that of the Mau Mau, whose members (mainly Kikuyu) vowed to drive the white settlers in Kenya. But these activists were finally defeated in 1956, ending their rebellion with a balance of more than 13,500 dead guerrillas, civilians and soldiers, and just over one hundred casualties in Europe.
Kenyatta spent years in jail or under house arrest but was freed in 1961 and became the leader of the reincarnated KAU, the Kenya African National Union (KANU). Independence came from his hand on December 12, 1963, and under his presidency, the country became one of the most stable and prosperous nations of the continent. After Kenyatta's death in 1978, rose to power Daniel Arap Moi, a member of the tribe Tugen.
Moi's mandate was marked by division and discord. Highly resistant to criticism, led to the dismantling of tribal societies and riots in the universities. In 1982, an attempted coup d'etat by the air force was crushed by members loyal to the president. The air forces were dismantled and replaced by a new military training. With the winds of democratic pluralism that swept the continent in the late eighties and early nineties, the international community suspended aid to Kenya.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and major aid donors demanded that repression cease and relaxes the embargo policy Moi. He acceded to the demands, but saw with satisfaction how the opposition undermined their own choices in the 1993 elections. The Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD) was unable to find a consensus leader, and was divided into three distinct parts. Moi benefited from this situation and won the elections to get a third of the total vote.
In 1995 he founded a new party in an attempt to unify the divided opposition. Safina was created by Richard Leakey, a famous anthropologist, elephant advocate and political activist. Despite the almost constant harassment by the government, Safina has been some progress.
In late 1997, new elections were held. Despite recurring allegations of election fraud and intimidation of opposition candidates, Moi again won by a narrow margin, with just over 40% of the vote. Although he promised to end corruption in government, the country seemed mired in an atmosphere of resignation.
Since 1997, the country has suffered major floods, cholera epidemics and malaria, various ethnic and increased drought. HIV remains a major problem. In August 1998, terrorists bombed the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), with more than 250 dead and over 5,000 wounded, illustrating the vulnerability of Kenya to the growing social and political upheaval. Just when the situation seemed to improve, there was a suicide bombing at a hotel north of Mombasa in November 2002. Later this year, Moi decided to retire with a generous retirement pay. In the December 2002 elections, KANU was defeated by the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) led by Mwai Kikabi, which caused a feeling of optimism in the country.
In March 2004, expected to draft a new constitution was released, but was not approved by parliament.
Culture and people of Kenya
In Kenya there are over seventy tribal groups. Distinctions between many of them are rather vague, since the advance of Western culture and the disintegration of traditional values. However, while the average African has apparently gone away from their traditions, the tribe is still the most important element in the identity of individuals.
The languages taught in schools around the country are English and Swahili, but there are many other tribal languages, such as the Kikuyu, the luyha, the Luo and kikamba, and other minorities. It is extremely useful for the traveler to have a basic knowledge of Swahili, especially outside urban areas and remote areas of the country. Another language in which foreigners will encounter is the often Sheng, spoken almost exclusively by the younger members of society. Recently emerged, is a mixture of Swahili and English, along with elements of other languages.
Most Kenyans are in the interior of a Christian denomination or another, while the inhabitants of the coast are mostly Muslims. About 30% of the population is Muslim. In the more remote tribal areas, mingle Muslims, Christians and those who maintain their ancestral tribal beliefs.
The musical style known as Benga is a contemporary dance music that sweeps the country. Emerged among the Luo people in western Kenya, and became popular in this area in the 1950s. Some familiar examples include the Benga Shirati Jazz, Jazz and Victoria Ambira Boys. For much of the We stern public, the vision for Kenya is nearest the film Out of Africa (Sydney Pollack, 1985), starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.
Kenyan cuisine generally consists of a mixture of potato with beans or meat sauce. In reality, nothing more than a diet of survival for the locals: the most ideal for filling the stomach at minimal cost. If I had to nominate a national dish, will be the nyama choma (goat meat on the grill). Kenyan food is not just for gourmets, or vegetarians. Beer lovers, on the other hand, are well supplied, as Kenyans like to drink that much barley as their dance and the country has a growing beer industry.