By Carissa Hickok
Kenya is located in East Africa along the Indian Ocean. Kenya is bordered by Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. The capital city of Nairobi is also its most populated city. There are approximately 47 million people living in Kenyan, though that number could be higher due to the increasing instability in the region and the growing refugee population in Kenya. The official languages are English and Kiswahili. While a majority of Kenyans are Christians, there is a sizable group of Muslims. To reach Kenya, take a flight to Nairobi, though it may require a layover somewhere in Europe.
Kenya has quite a few safari parks within its borders. The most famous is probably the Maasai Mara National Reserve in southwest Kenya, which stretches 583 sq. miles and is home to an abundance of Big Cats and the Maasai Mara people. The Maasai Mara are known for their colorful clothing and fierce warrior reputation. They are a semi-nomadic cattle rearing people who have retained many of their tribal traditions and maintained their way of life. Maasai Mara is a 4-5 hour drive from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, or a 45-minute flight from Nairobi.
Amboseli National Park covers 244 sq. miles and is home to elephants roaming the grassland plains with Mount Kilimanjaro looming in the background. You can find the Big Five (lion, elephant, cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) here. Amboseli is about a 4-hour drive from Nairobi or a 45-minute flight from Nairobi.
Mount Kenya, at 5,199 meters, is the second tallest mountain in Africa, right behind Mount Kilimanjaro. Take a trip to this impressive World Heritage Site and you are bound to see not only abundant wildlife but a wildlife environment that is not found elsewhere. Mount Kenya’s summit is capped with permanent snow while the mountain acts as an important water source as it provides water for about 50% of the population and produces 70% of the country’s hydroelectric power. The Kikuyu, Bantu-speaking people who live at the foothills of Mount Kenya, consider the mountain to be a place that is sacred, and a crucial aspect of their creation story. Mount Kenya National Park is about 109 miles from Nairobi which roughly translates to a 3-4 drive.
Lake Nakuru National Park is small in size but brilliant in color. The park has been growing in size as it takes on increased responsibilities for other animals. But its most enticing sight is the gathering of 1-2 million pink flamingoes around the shores of the shallow soda lake.
Aside from safari parks, Kenya boasts 333 miles of coastline. Kenya’s most popular coastal town is Mombasa. Mombasa’s white sandy beaches and the Indian Ocean’s warm waters are sure to draw you in. Mombasa has been influenced by Portuguese, Arab, and British settlers, as is evident in the architecture, culture, and food around the city.
Carissa enjoys traveling so much that she left the corporate world to work as a freelancer, which allows her to up and go on a regular basis. She lives with her dachshund, Daphne in central Florida.