Kenya is a country in East Africa with coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, Lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands. It’s also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi, the capital, safaris visit the Maasai Mara Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania’s 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Kenya, an East African nation, spans more than 224,000 sq. miles (582,000 sq. Km), making it only slightly smaller than the state of Texas in the United States. Kenya is situated on the equator and is bordered by five countries: Uganda (to the west), Sudan (to the northwest), Ethiopia (to the north), Somalia (to the northeast), and Tanzania (to the south). Along its southeast edge, Kenya’s tropical coastline connects the country to the Indian Ocean.
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is located in the southwest. Other major cities include Mombasa (situated on the coast), Nakuru and Eldoret (found in the west-central region), and Kisumu (located in the west on the shores of Lake Victoria).
Kenya is blessed with a wide range of topographical features – from the low plains found along the coast, bisected by the Great Rift Valley, to the fertile plateau in the west. The Great Rift Valley is home to a number of lakes, arid and rugged landscapes, and volcanic landforms with areas of active hot springs and geothermal activity.
Kenya has a population of more than 38 million people, with about four million residing in its capital city, Nairobi. There are 42 ethnic groups who call Kenya home; each group has its own unique language and culture. Although Kikuyu is the largest ethnic group, the Maasai are the most well known due to both their long-preserved culture and their involvement in Kenyan tourism. Kenya is also home to immigrants of other nationalities, including Europeans, Asians, Arabs and Somalis. Kenya’s official languages are English and Swahili.
Game Safaris and wildlife tours are Kenya’s biggest attractions, drawing many visitors to the country each year. Kenya manages more than 20 national parks and national game reserves, where visitors can view some of the country’s most spectacular wildlife, including the “Big Five” animals. In fact, the “Big Five” are the central focus of the majority of safari tours and wildlife expeditions offered within the parks. Kenya’s most popular game park is the Masaai Mara, which borders the Serengeti plains in Tanzania. Between July and September, visitors can witness the remarkable annual wildebeest migration which takes place at the Mara.
Kenya’s many beaches along the Indian Ocean are the country’s second biggest tourist attraction. Visitors can enjoy clean beaches lined with palm trees and studded with luxury resorts, with coral reefs located just offshore. The City of Mombasa is the entry point to the coast, with beaches extending south to Malindi and north to Lamu Archipelago, a world heritage site.
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