Kenya PDF Print E-mail

Agriculture

Agriculture is the main stay of Kenya's economy, providing livelihood to approximately 75 per cent of the rural population. It accounts for one-third of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), generating about 60 per cent of the total foreign exchange earnings. In addition, agriculture provides direct employment to over 274,000 people. The sector has strong forward and backward linkages with the manufacturing sector providing most of the basic raw material inputs to local agro-industries.

The major agricultural activities in Kenya are crop production, horticulture, dairy and livestock farming. As a result of the varied ecological zones, a wide range of crops are cultivated and livestock reared. Traditionally, the major foreign exchange earners have been tea, coffee and horticulture. Other products exported from Kenya are sisal, cut flowers, cashew nuts, pyrethrum, fruits and vegetables, beef and dairy cattle.

The livestock industry comprises mainly of dairy, meat production and hides and skins from cows, sheep, goats and poultry. It accounts for about 7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. The sector is also dominated by small scale producers.

The horticultural sector is one of the fastest growing sectors. The main export products are cut-flowers, French beans, pineapples, mushrooms, asparagus, mangoes, avocados, passion fruits, melons etc.

A number of tour operators offer agricultural tours, according visitors the opportunity to visit production areas, see the activities at all the stages of production as well as sample the final product. For more information, please contact those of our Members who offer such tours.

Sandy Beaches


The Kenyan Coast is a distinctive part of Kenya's unrivalled tourism attractions and is home to over nine communities whose dialects gave the basis of the Kiswahili language, Kenya's national language. Being the gateway to East Africa, the Kenya coast has a striking and colourful mixture of people and cultures that have defied the passage of time. It's white sandy beaches stretch for over 480kms (300 miles) from North to South, bordered by a spectacular coral barrier reef with wonders of under water explorations. The coast has a protective coral reef, creating calm waters that are ideal for swimming and water sports. The Coast also offers plenty of aquatic adventures such as para-sailing, water skiing, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing etc.

Culture


Kenya has over 42 different tribes with distinct languages and several dialects. Each ethnic group has a diverse and contrasting way of life such that as you travel within Kenya, you will find different and fascinating cultures such as the Maasai to the South, the Swahili along the Coast, the Samburu to the North and many others.

For those with a strong interest in cultural tourism, it is possible to arrange village or home-stays in many parts of Kenya.

For more information, please contact those of our Members who offer such tours.

History


Kenya is a country with a very rich historical background. The inhabitants of Kenya today are almost all immigrants whose ancestors reached the country less than 10,000 years ago.

The first foreigners to arrive along the Kenyan Coast were the Arabs who came during the third and fourth century and settled at the Coast. There was trade of goods and culture which created a unique society where outside influence blended with the local culture. This culture became known as Swahili. To the North, the island town of Lamu remains a Swahili community unchanged by the outside world. There are no cars on the island and the most common mode of transport remains the donkey. Major attraction in this area is the Gedi ruins, an enigmatic puzzle to historians and archaeological sites. Gedi remains a mystery, and its ghostly ruins in the depths of the forest make for a fascinating morning and afternoon visit.

The Arabs were later followed by the Portuguese, who built Fort Jesus in 1598 over the harbour in Mombasa (see picture above). This remains one of the major attractions in Mombasa town.

Kenya was declared a British Protectorate in 1895 and remained so until 1920 when it became a colony. During the early 20th century, the hinterland was penetrated by European settlers and Indian Traders and a railway line was constructed from Mombasa to the shores of Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile. Construction of the railway line began in 1896 but was later halted by man-eating lions in 1899, creating one of Africa's best known stories “The Man-eaters of Tsavo”.

Kenya gained independence in 1963 and is today a multi-party democracy. The country has a rich variety of exciting and vibrant modern arts, music, theatre and dance, alongside proud displays of traditional arts and culture.

For more information on historical tours, please contact any of our Members who offer this type of tour.

Landscape & Geography

Kenya occupies a total area of 582,644 sq. km and straddles the Equator. It shares common borders with 5 (five) nations namely; Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, Sudan and Ethiopia to the north and Somali to the east. The country has a rich diversity of land forms from glacial ice to arid desert, mountains to rich savannas, large lake and dense forests. Kenya has 4 distinct physical features namely; the Great Rift Valley, Central highlands, Arid and Semi arid areas in North and Eastern Kenya and the Coast. The Great Rift Valley extends about 5,000 km from Jordan in the north to Mozambique in the south. Within the Rift Valley, there are 8 lakes some fresh and some alkaline with a high concentration of birdlife. The wide plains and savannah of the Rift Valley have become the grassland home of grazing herds, and the kingdom of lions and other predators. There also exist volcanic hot springs and geysers in the valley.

The Central Highlands encompass three mountain ranges namely Mt. Kenya, the Aberdare and Mau. This is an area of rich agricultural land and dense forests. The Arid and Semi arid areas occupy nearly two thirds of the country's surface area. These areas are inhabited by pastoralists and apart from domestic animals, there is also plenty of wildlife.

The Coastal strip runs approximately 480 km in length and reaches inland between 16 and 30 km. White sandy beaches shaded by waving palms fringe the Indian ocean and the coral reefs run along the coastline creating a spectacular underwater world. They also serve to protect the shoreline and inland waters from storms and sharks.

For more information on the various tours one can undertake, please contact any of our Members listed on the members page.

 

Sports

Kenya is world famous for its international Athletes, who have held many world records. Our athletes are renowned as Olympic and Commonwealth champions, sometimes crossing the finishing line in first, second and third place in the same race.

Kenya's dominance in athletics is attributed to the high altitude location of the training grounds located in the beautiful western highlands.

The Kenya tourism product offers several sporting activities such as golf, horse riding, gliding, water sports, Mountaineering, camel safaris, etc. There are several other sporting events such as football, boxing, rugby, cricket, polo, horse racing etc and these are held throughout the year.

One popular conservation oriented sporting event is the Rhino Charge, geared at raising money for wildlife conservation. The event entails off-road 4-wheel rallying through Northern Kenya to raise money for wildlife conservation. For marathon runners, Kenya is well suited for this activity, with marathon running being held at the Lewa Downs Conservancy as a charity event to raise money for wildlife each year.

Kenya is also a haven for Golf enthusiasts (see separate write-up on Golfing in Kenya).

For more information on how to book a sporting holiday, please contact any of our Members who offer such tours.

 

Wildlife


Kenya's prolific wildlife is unparalled anywhere else in the world. This is a land where the world's remaining population of big cats, big mammals and plains game still roam free in their natural habitats. Besides being the home of the 'Big Five' (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo), Kenya accommodates industrious dung beetles, brilliant-coloured butterflies, rare chameleons, birds to the breath taking fauna and flora that surrounds the same.

The country's terrain ranges from rugged snow capped peaks of Mt. Kenya, the Highlands, the Savannah, the Great Rift Valley and its lakes as well as the simmering sands of the Coast. Each of these regions is home to different types of wildlife that are unique to each area.

Kenya has a total of over 50 National Parks and Reserves, including Marine Parks. These are supplemented by private sanctuaries and game ranches which form about 10 per cent of Kenya's surface area. The most popular Parks & Reserves are Maasai Mara, Samburu, Tsavo, Amboseli, and Lake Nakuru.

The Great Wildebeest Migration, considered to be one of the world's most impressive natural spectacles, takes place between the Maasai Mara on one side and the Serengeti in Tanzania on the other.

For more information on how to book a wildlife safari, please contact any of our Members who offer such tours.

 

Golfing in Kenya

One of Kenya's best kept secrets is its numerous golf courses. Few places in the world offer such perfect ingredients for a fantastic golf holiday, as Kenya does. The opportunity to play your favourite game, to see wildlife (sometimes on the course!) and to relax on the beautiful white sandy beaches all during the same holiday is unique.

Soon after their arrival in the 1900's, British colonists began developing golf courses all over the country. They realized that Kenya had the year round climate and most beautiful settings to construct some of the world's most desirable courses.One of the most appealing features of golfing in Kenya is the variety. From the beach clubs set among palms and casuarinas with stunning views of the sapphire Indian Ocean, to those dominated by the perennial snowcap of Mount Kenya there is a medley of courses each vying for priority as the most attractive for location and interest. One is even built on the slopes of an extinct volcano!Kenya has 40 golf courses of which 12 are 18-hole, all of which are used for championship events. 7 are within a 20 mile radius of Nairobi - Kenya's bustling capital.

The oldest 18 hole course is Royal Nairobi Golf Club founded in 1906, the latest is the David Jones design pay and play 9 holes golf course Golf Park within the Nairobi race course.There are several new courses under construction and a number are being upgraded from 9 holes to 18 holes.The weather in Kenya is ideal for golf all year round. On occasions you mighty need a sweater or a jersey, but you will usually play in a polo shirt.In the highland areas the temperatures are in the low 20's and at the coast in the high  20's or low  30's.

There are 12 hours of day light and, depending on the season, 4 to 9 hours of sunshine. During the two rainy seasons, (April and November) the rain usually falls before 10 am and after 5 PM and almost never when you are playing! More and more clubs have installed sophisticated  fairway watering systems to keep the course green during the dry seasons. Many courses are at an altitude of more than 1500 meters (5000 ft) truly giving you an additional 10% yardage to your stroke. Most clubs have a pro-shop where you can buy whatever you need.

Though there are no golf carts available, Kenya has the luxury of caddies .Usually the caddies are very good players themselves and will not only carry your bag and look for your ball in the rough, but advice on local rules, assist with your swing and generally be your companion and mentor.

Most of Kenya's golf clubs are private membership clubs and are generally very quiet and especially so during weekdays. However visitors to Kenya who want to play golf are best advised to use the services of a tour operator specialized in organizing golf holidays. Apart from giving you very personalized service they will book your hotel, transfer you to the golf courses, book tee-times and make sure your golf holiday is a success.

Kenya's private membership golf clubs organize many competitions, but also at club nights and weekends most courses are closed for visitors, and it is advised to book your tee-times through a specialized golf tour operator, to avoid disappointment if the golf courses are closed.

For the visiting golfer, Kenya has a broad appeal. There is everything for the fanatic golfer, whilst the avid golfer can fashion his safari to include some wildlife viewing as well. A golfer who prefers to laze on the beach can still fit in a game or two and the business traveller, with an afternoon off, can easily play his favourite game right on his doorstep.

Article courtesy of Tob Cohen (www.kenya-golf-safaris.com)

 

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