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Major cities in Kenya are Nairobi (the capital city), Mombasa city and Kisumu city. Major towns include Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Thika and Kakamega. From its history and facts to people and culture, to adventure and lifestyle, there are many ways one can learn and experience Kenya’s heritage. Within the borders of the country, you will find savannahs rich with big game, timeless cultures unchanged by the modern world e.g. the maasai, pristine beaches and coral reefs, equatorial forests and mighty snow-capped mountains, searing deserts and cool highland retreats.

The road network is well developed and extensive, with an efficient road transport system. Well established bus companies with comfortable coaches ply between the various towns and cities. In addition, there are numerous taxi services within the town and cities. Visitors can bring their personal cars to Kenya and will receive a three months free passage at the border. Water transport is found only in the Mombasa and Kisumu. In Mombasa, ferry services connect the north coast and the south coast to Mombasa Island. This service is free for commuters but vehicles are usually charged a fee. Kenya has an extensive network of paved and unpaved roads. The railway system links the nation’s ports and major cities. There are 15 airports with paved runways.

Most of Kenya’s visitors arrive in the country by air. In fact, there are several major airlines-including a Kenyan airline-that offers flights to Kenya from the united states, Europe, Asia, The Middle East, Australia and many African countries. There are three main international airports in Kenya: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Mombasa International Airport (MIA) in Mombasa and Eldoret international airport. Wilson Airport in Nairobi handles light aircrafts and scheduled and also chartered domestic flights. Jomo Kenyatta is the main gateway to Kenya’s flights arriving from all over the world as well as many regional destinations. The entry requirements for Kenya are: visas, embassies, consulates and customs information. Full details of requirement are also available from the respective Kenya mission offices.

In Kenya, the main languages spoken are English and Swahili. English is the official language while Swahili is the national language. Most people in the urban areas speak English, while the vast majority in both the urban and rural areas speaks Kiswahili.

Generally, because Kenya is an equatorial country, there is little variation in weather throughout the year, and the weather is generally good and pleasant all year round. February and March are the hottest months while the coldest periods are July and august.
The weather at the coastal region is generally humid with temperatures ranging from 21 to32 degrees Celsius. This weather is suitable for beach life on the Kenyan coastline of approximately 536 km fronting the Indian Ocean, with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The long white sandy beaches are home to some of the most diverse marine life in the oceans, with the abundance of beautiful bright corals, dolphins, butterfly fish, sharks and turtle, complimented by the large number of yellow and red tuna and snappers.

Kenya has considerable land area of wildlife habitat, including the Maasai Mara which is a perfect tourist destination for fun and adventure; the place is affordable, it has natural beauty, it enjoys a wonderful tropical climate, the people are hospitable and they have amazing cultures and breath-taking wildlife.

The following are the top attractions in Kenya: The Maasai Mara, Lamu island, Lake Nakuru National Park, Mount Kenya, Amboseli National Park, Lake Turkana, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Karen Blixen Museum, Tsavo National Park, Malindi and Watamu, laikipia conservancy, Amboseli, Kenya’s south coast, north of Mombasa, Gedi ruins in malindi, Fort Jesus in Mombasa, giraffe centre in Nairobi, David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Haller Wildlife Park(Lafarge ecosystems), Nairobi National Park, Nairobi Animal Orphanage, Hell’s Gate National Park and  Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo springs national reserves.

The “BIG FIVE” animals of Africa can also be found in Kenya: lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and game reserves in Kenya.

Kenya’s national parks and reserves are a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, offering a variety of Kenyan animals and accommodations to suit all prefences. From low budget camping to moderately priced lodges to top-notch luxury bush lodges, theres something for everyone to enjoy.

The most famous of all Kenya’s game parks is Maasai mara national reserve. The Maasai mara is best known for its wildebeest migration but it is also home to Kenya’s “big five” animals more than 400 hundred species of birds and varying topography. In addition to the “big five”, you will find plenty of interesting Kenyan wildlife such as the hippos, jackals, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, wildebeests, hyenas, antelope, cheetahs, crocodiles and much more.

Activities that can be done in Kenya along the coast are swimming, sun bathing, surfing, jet skiing, snorkeling and scuba diving. The Kenya’s coral coast is the nations region for the water sports enthusiasts, especially in the resorts of bamburi, kilifi, malindi, Wasini Island among others. The coral coast lies to the north and south of Mombasa and features fine sandy beaches and a deluge of coral reefs.

Modern Kenya cuisine consists mainly of Asian and European influences, particularly British, while traditional Kenyan fare is quite rustic. For traditional food from the country, head to the coast and try some Swahili cuisine, which is basically an Arab or Hindu mixture using local ingredients and include many vegetarian recipes and spices.
Nairobi and Mombasa offer the best restaurants of which are extremely reasonably priced. Restaurants like the tamarind in Mombasa and Nairobi offers all kinds of exotic animals such as zebra, game antelopes, crocodiles and wildebeest, as well as the usual beef and veal dishes. Meat is the main staple of Kenya’s cuisine, with “nyama choma” (roast meat) being the favored dish. One of the most popular foods in Kenya is the “ugali”, which consists of boiled corn flour balls and originates from the neighboring Uganda . Fish are also popular on the coast. Examples of fish eaten at the coast are: Nile perch, tilapia, trout and shark.

The variety and diversity of the people of Kenya is beautifully reflected in the art and craft products found in the numerous craft markets and shops throughout in main trading centers. Kenya is known for the kiondo, the kikoy, and art and craft artifacts spread all over the country.
Handicrafts are big sellers in Kenyan markets, particularly stone carvings, wood carvings and jewellery. Types of handicraft items usually denote a particular tribe and region of Kenya; some of the most popular being: kisii stone (soap stone) carvings made by the kisii, mkonde wood carvings, Maasai jewellery, and lamu chairs and batiks e.t.c. Nairobi and mombasa are again the main centers for shopping, with maasai market in downtown Nairobi having the largest selection of handicraft items in Kenya. Kamba and Maasai men sell their wares on the beaches of the south coast. They usually offer a good deal on quality carvings and necklaces. In addition, Kenyan music is obviously very popular here.

WELCOME TO KENYA, THE ULTIMATE TOURIST DESTINATION.

By Suhaima Hamid Mohamed
Mama Ngina Girls Secondary School
Mombasa, Kenya.