Facts About Kenya's Culture, Geography, and History
Kenya is another very interesting country located in East Africa. It is bordered in the south by the Indian Ocean. Covering an area of 581,309 km2 (224,445 sq mi), the terrain of the land is made of savannas, mountains and valleys.
The country is situated at top the East African Rift which makes for some very interesting geographical features. The city of Nairobi is the capital of Kenya. Read on to find out 12 interesting facts about Kenya
12. Kenya has a liberal economy.
A liberal economy is an economy that operates without the interference of the government. In Kenya, the government leaves the market to set prices for different commodities.
It only intervenes to set the price for commodities that are essential to Kenyans. This type of market is very attractive to investors. This is seen in the expansion of a number of sectors in Kenya.
Among the expanding sector are the tourism, telecommunications, services, and agriculture sector.
11. Agriculture employs over 75% of Kenya’s citizens.
Though the agriculture sector is underdeveloped in Kenya, more than 75% of the population depends on it for employment. Kenya's main export crops are tea and horticultural products.
Farmers plant tea, flowers, coffee, corn, and wheat for sale in the highlands. In the low-lands, farmers plant sugarcane, pineapples, cashew nuts, and coconut. They also practice pastoral farming.
The sector, however, suffers from droughts, poor irrigation, and inability to access markets due to bad roads and lack of transportation. This reduces the profitability of farmers and the sector.
10. Kenya’s main exports include herbs and tea.
Many Kenyans make a living from growing herbs and tea for export. Kenya is, in fact, the 3rd largest exporter of cut flowers in the world. In 2016, tea export revenue made up 22% of the total revenue gained from exportation.
Cut flowers contributed 12% to the export revenues. Another product that contributes much to export revenues is oil. Oil extracted from Kenya's oil deposits is used locally and some exported to neighboring countries.
9. The two official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili
With the British being the last colonizers of Kenya it is no surprise that English is one of the official languages.
The government, schools, and businesses use English in their daily activities Swahili is spoken by most Kenyans and is used to communicate with people from other African countries especially those in the Great Lakes region.
However, as there are over 40 different ethnic groups, over 64 indigenous languages are spoken in Kenya.
8. Lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalo can all be found running free in Kenya.
The savanna region of Kenya is home to lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalo. Every year millions of tourists travel to Kenya to go on Safaris to watch these animals as they move around in their natural habitats.
As a result of this, tourism is the largest earner of foreign exchange in Kenya. The Masai Mara Game Reserve is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kenya as visitors are guaranteed to see lions, buffalo, elephants, and other wildlife roaming the area.
7. The country is named after Mt. Kenya
At 17, 057 feet high, Mt. Kenya is the highest point in Kenya and the second-highest point in Africa. As you might be able to tell, the country Kenya got its name from the mountain. Mt. Kenya is a stratovolcano.
There are several glaciers on the mountain. An interesting fact about this mountain is that it provides water to most of Kenya.
There is also a national park around the center of the mountain. The mountain acts as a life source of several ethnic groups that live on the slopes.
6. Kenya is widely known around the world for its distance runners.
When the Olympics come around every year and its time for the long-distance races come around, Kenya reminds us that they produce some the best long-distance runners.
Sports commentators always ask how comes Kenya has some great long-distance runners. The answer is nowhere in sight but no one can question the fact that Kenya produces some of the best long-distance runners.
Among the list of great Kenyan athletes are Catherine Ndereba and Henry Rono.
5. Scientists have estimated that the Great Rift Valley found in Kenya was formed over 20 million years ago
The Great Rift Valley is a geographic trench in Kenya that occurred because of plate tectonics. The Rift Valley itself has lakes, mountains, valleys, and a few active volcanoes.
Among the lakes are the three largest lakes in Africa; Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria. Geologists postulate that over 20 million years ago, powerful subterranean forces tore the earth's crust.
Chips of the earth's crust fell into the cavity created and molten rock came to the surface in volcanic eruptions.
4. Dowries are still traditional in Kenya.
Kenyans still practice the tradition of paying dowries for brides. Kenyan wedding practices begin with the groom, his father and uncles meeting the woman's family to express the man's interest.
During this time, the groom sits quietly and the family hides the woman until the elders call her to confirm the man's identity.
The families meet a second time to negotiate a dowry or a bride price for the bride. The dowry is usually paid in the form of cattle starting at 10 cattle.
3. Coffee is a huge export in Kenya, but it is not consumed in the country.
Kenya makes quite a lot of the exportation of coffee. The majority of the coffee is cultivated by small farmers in the highlands. Kenya coffee isis prized by coffee considers it has a rich and intense flavor.
Kenyans however, do not consume much of their coffee as they believe it is solely for exportation. As a result of this, most Kenyans are tea drinkers and not coffee drinkers.
2. Kenyans use songs, poems, and stories to pass down their culture from generation to generation.
Kenyans pass down traditions and beliefs in the form of stories, songs, and poems. Storytelling or reciting poems is an important part of every Kenya event, from weddings to funerals.
In the evenings, children gather to listen to supernatural or moral stories from their parents. Oral tradition is so ingrained in Kenyans that they sing as they work on the farm, do housework, and other daily activities.
1. Scientists believe that Kenya may have been the birthplace of human beings.
In 1984, paleontologists discovered the Turkana Boy. The Turkana boy is a fossil of a homo erectus boy dated back to 1.8 million years ago. Before that, scientists also discovered the fossils of a homo habilis.
These finds indicated to scientists that the homo erectus and the homo habilis are likely to be direct ancestors of humans as we know them today.
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