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.
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.
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.
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 & GeographyKenya 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.