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Kenya...

A naturalist's and photographer's dream.

Introduction to Kenya

A naturalist's and photographer's dream. Kenya is one of the few places in the world to view some of the great animals, lion, elephant, rhino, cheetah, leopard, and whale shark. If all this excitement gets too much there is always the beach to recharge the batteries before donning the backpack and climbing Mt Kenya, the second highest peak in Africa.

Kenya is ideal for those seeking adventure, anything can happen !!! In your hotel there is no doubt you'll come across cheeky monkeys on the watch for food, on your transfer keep the eyes peeled for game, on the beach look out for the nests of loggerhead turtles. Even if your transport does break down you'll be met with a huge grin and remember 'Hakuna Matata', the essence of Africa!!

Our Kenya Holidays

Safaris & Tours

Kenya Safaris.

Liveaboards

MY Kisiwani.

Resorts & Hotels

Kenya Resorts overview, Hemingways Resort, Pemba Lodge, Turtle Bay.

Kenya - our rough guide

History

Kenya is known as the 'Cradle of Mankind'. Recent finds near Kenya's Lake Turkana indicate that hominids lived in the area 2.6 million years ago. Cushitic-speaking people from northern Africa moved into the area that is now Kenya beginning around 2000 BC. Arab traders began frequenting the Kenyan coast around the first century A.D. Kenya's proximity to the Arabian Peninsula invited colonization, and Arab and Persian settlements sprouted along the coast by the eighth century. During the first millennium A.D., Nilotic and Bantu peoples moved into the region, and the latter now comprises three-quarters of Kenya's population.

The Portuguese briefly ruled for a hundred years during the 16th century before being ousted by the Islamic reign of the Imam of Oman. Both colonists ruled from the coast and only ventured inland where the slave trade had its source. This despicable trade involved 1.2 million slaves with an estimated one in ten dying on the way. Finally in 1873 the British passed a decree prohibiting the export of slaves which resulted in its collapse. The Sultans power gradually eroded and in 1895 the British announced Kenya a protectorate before formal colonisation in 1920. Kenya gained its independence in 1963 after nearly 10 years of rebellion and it's founding president Jomo Kenyetta held office until his death in 1978. Daniel Moi stood down in December and was replaced by Mwai Kibaki. Not an unusual occurrence you might think but a big sign to Kenyans that their country is one of the most stable in the continent.

Diving

The Kenyan coastline commences not far south of the equator, at the country's border with Somalia, and winds its way down to Tanzania in the south for a total distance of approximately 290 miles. The tropical warm waters are best dived from the beginning of October through to the beginning of April, with November and February/March the optimum with visibility of 15-20m.

This short stretch of coast in divided into two marine parks that of Watamu and Kisite and the big draw of both is the Whale Shark.

Underwater Photography

Comment on the underwater photography for this destination....

Highlights

  • Safari: Masai Mara (Migration), Amboseli (Kilimanjaro), Nakuru (Flamingoes).
  • Mount Kenya.
  • Lamu: Beach, History, Culture.
  • Watamu & Kisite Marine Parks.

Climate & Weather

The coast is always hot with an average daytime temperature of 27-31C whilst inland they range from 21-26C. Broadly speaking winter is July and August, January and February is dry, March - May wet, June to September dry and October to December wet.

General Information

  • People: There are 70 tribal groups distinguished by 4 languages Bantu, Nilotic, Cushitic and Swahili making a population of 30 million.
  • Religion: Christianity is the dominant religion although Islam is predominant along the coast.
  • Language: The official language is English whilst the national language is Kiswahili.
  • Visas: British Tourists must obtain a visa. This can be bought in advance from the Kenyan High Commission at: 45 Portland Place, London, W1N 4AS. Tel No 0207 636 2371/5. Transit Visas: Valid for a single entry up to a maximum stay in Kenya of 6 nights/7days costing £15. Single Entry Visa: Valid for stays of up to 3 months costing £35.
  • Health: Compared to some other African countries Kenya is a healthy place to visit. However one should be very aware of the dangers of Malaria and H.I.V which are endemic in the region. The water is safe to drink but for short stays bottled water is recommended. Medical facilities and prescription drugs are easily available in Nairobi, Mombasa and populated tourist areas. Being close to the equator sunburn and dehydration are particular problems and measures should be taken to avoid this.
  • Time: GMT + 3 hours
  • Electricity: 220 Volts, 3 pin square plugs
  • Clothing: Light weight cottons, preferably brown, beige or khaki so not to alarm the animals if on safari. Warmer clothes are needed for those inland for the cool evenings. Also for the evening wear clothes that cover as much of the body as possible to avoid mosquito bites. Men & women should not wear revealing clothes along the coastal region whilst outside your hotel in respect of the local culture.
  • Currency: Kenyan Shilling. Denominations are Ksh1000, Ksh500, Ksh200, Ksh100, Ksh50 Coins are Ksh20, Ksh10, Ksh5. Local banks deal with foreign currencies and travellers. Cash dispencing machines are becoming more widespread in the major tourist destinations. Banking hours are Monday-Friday 09.00 - 15.00.
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