Anyone who’s seen “The Lion King” film probably knows who Simba, Timon and Pumba are. The film’s comedic trio have made the African savanna their home, but did you know that a large number of Simba’s cousins are found in Kenya? Nestled in East-Africa is a country that was once under Brtish ruling, until it became a free country in 1963. It’s a land where wildlife roams freely, and where religious freedom is happily embraced. Keep on reading to learn 60 facts about Kenya.
Fact 1: Kenya is a country in Africa.
- Its neighbouring countries are Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
Fact 2: Kenya currently has a population of 49,364,325 people.
- It has the 27th highest population in the world.
Fact 3: The African country’s capital is Nairobi.
- In the popular Spanish crime drama series, “Casa de Papel”, one of the female protagonists took on the name Nairobi during the heist.
Fact 4: Agriculture is the country’s largest sector.
- Kenya’s traditional cash crops include tea and coffee, while fresh flowers are its fast-growing export.
Fact 5: The country’s diverse wildlife and panoramic geography bring in large numbers of touring visitors.
- It’s important to note that tourism is an important contributor to Kenya’s economy, and the money that is brought in from tourism gets spent on new roads, clinics and schools.
Fact 6: Kenya gained its independence from the United Kingdom on December 12, 1963.
- The country declared itself a Republic in 1964.
Fact 7: The world’s second largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria, flows through Kenya.
- The country shares the enormous lake with Uganda and Tanzania.
Fact 8: Kenya has a rich tradition of oral and written literature.
- This includes numerous fables that speak of the virtues of determination and perseverance, which is a reflection of the country’s experience during its struggle for independence.
Fact 9: Over 2.03 million tourists visited Kenya in 2018
- It was a 37.7% spike in international tourist arrivals compared to the previous year.
Fact 10: The country was named after Mt. Kenya, which is the tallest mountain in the country and the second-highest in Africa after Kilimanjaro.
- The highest peak of the mountain is Batian – 5,199m.
Fact 11: Kenya was a colony of the United Kingdom from 1920 to 1963.
- Great Britain took over Kenya because they wanted to increase their economic power, and they thought that the lands might be of agricultural value.
Fact 12: Researchers think that Kenya could possibly be the birthplace of humans.
- This assumption is supported by the fact that the bones of one of the earliest human ancestors were discovered in Kenya.
Fact 13: A town in Kenya called Mombasa was first developed by the Portuguese in the 19th century.
- Perhaps the oldest and most unique building in the town is the famous Fort Jesus. The structure served as a sanctuary for the Portuguese during the siege.
Fact 14: Kenya’s coastline stretches up to 536km along the Indian Ocean.
- Apart from the Indian Ocean, Kenya has several lakes, both freshwater and salty.
Fact 15: Kenya is known for its top notch Olympic athletes.
- Among them is Bernard Kipchirchir Lagat, who is a Kenyan-American middle and long-distance runner.
Fact 16: Kenya is home to many beautiful lakes including Lake Victoria, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Lake Bogoria.
- With so many rivers, it’s actually possible for visitors to travel by boats instead of cars in some areas of Kenya.
Fact 17: The country also has a few very diverse national parks.
- Some of the most frequently visited parks include the Nairobi National Park, Tsavo Game Reserve, Maasai Mara Game Reserve, and Amboseli National Park.
Fact 18: Many Kenyans don’t own refrigerators, so they keep their food at room temperature.
- This means that they also drink all their beverages at room temperature.
Fact 19: It’s not unusual for Kenyan men to have multiple wives.
- This practice is usually called ‘polygamy’.
Fact 20: Scientists suggest that the Great Rift Valley, found in Kenya, was formed over 20 million years ago, at the same time as the Earth’s crust began to split.
- The Great Rift Valley is geologically active, and features volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and frequent earthquakes.
Fact 21: The year 2010 marked the founding of the new Kenyan constitution.
- This led to the power of the country being split into 47 semi-autonomous countries.
Fact 22: When marrying a Kenyan woman, it’s customary for the groom to give a dowry to the bride’s parents.
- A dowry is a transfer of parental property, gifts, or money at the marriage of a daughter.
Fact 23: The country’s currency is called Kenya Shillings.
- When visiting Kenya, you can exchange your foreign currency at banks, forex bureaus, hotels and airports.
Fact 24: Kenyans don’t drink coffee.
- Quite ironic since the Arabica coffee farmed in Kenya is considered one of the best in the world.
Fact 25: Malaria is a major health scourge in Kenya.
- Malaria is caused by a parasite in the bloodstream spread via the bite of the female anopheles mosquito.
Fact 26: Kenya boasts a variety of handicrafts from different tribes or regions.
- Among the most common souvenir items are the Kisii stone (soap stone) carvings, Maasai jewelry, Mkonde wood carvings, Lamu chairs and batiks.
Fact 27: Kenya only has 2 seasons.
- The country only has rainy or dry season. But it does have two types of rainy season. First, “season of long rains” lasts from April to June and the other one, “season of short showers” is between October and December.
Fact 28: A number of ethnic groups reside in Kenya.
- Among these are the Luo people, the Kamba, Samburu, Kikuyu and Maasai people among others.
Fact 29: The last time a volcano erupted in Kenya was 1922.
- Quite surprising given the fact that the Great Rift Valley is found in the country.
Fact 30: According to UNESCO, Kenya has an adult literacy rate of 78.73%.
- The breakdown shows male literacy rate is 83.78%, while female literacy is 74.01%, showing a gap between the sexes.
Fact 31: Kenya makes use of Hydroelectric power.
- Hydroelectric power is when you harness the power of water and use it for electricity.
Fact 32: Kenya has a lot of incredibly scenic and unique places.
- Among them are places like the “Fourteen Falls” in Thika, which is ranked among the longest and steepest falls in East Africa.
Fact 33: “Ugali” is a staple Kenyan food.
- Ugali is a dish made from cornmeal or maize flour.
Fact 34: Kenya’s official languages are Swahili and English.
- The English language, however, was inherited from English colonizers. Also, there are more speakers of Swahili than English in Kenya.
Fact 35: Lamu Island is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Kenya.
- The town was founded in 1370.
Fact 36: One of the world’s rarest and most endangered antelope, the Hirola, is found in Kenya.
- The Hirola is endemic to north-east Kenya, and south-west Somalia.
Fact 37: Kenya has its fair share of poisonous animals.
- The Puff Adder holds the record for causing the most snake-bite deaths in the country. The snake’s venom includes cytotoxin, which destroys the body’s tissues as necrosis sets in around the point of impact.
Fact 38: Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is one of the largest airports in the East African region.
- It’s also the 9th busiest airport in Africa.
Fact 39: Dr. Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
- She was born in Kenya in 1940. Sadly, she died of cancer in 2011.
Fact 40: Over 6,000 donkeys are used for transporting goods and people on Lamu Island.
- Another surprising fact is that there are just two cars on the island, and one of these is an ambulance for the donkeys.
Fact 41: Long-distance runners often train in Iten and run 20 to 30 mile distances each day.
- Iten is a town in Kenya that has miles of hilly dirt roads, situated on at perfect altitude for long distance running, attracting elite athletes from all over the country and the world to train.
Fact 42: Freedom of religion is one of the constitutional rights of the Kenyans.
- Although Christians make up most of the Kenyan population, other religious groups also exist in the country, including Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.
Fact 43: Kenya is home to the father of the former U.S. President Barack Obama.
- The former president recently visited the country to promote the opening of a sports and training centre that his half-sister, Auma Obama, founded through her charitable foundation.
Fact 44: Children can attend school in Kenya for free.
- Unfortunately, many children do not go as they are too busy helping their families work the land, fetch water, and completing any other necessary tasks.
Fact 45: In Kenya, a child is brought up by the community and the society at large, and not just by the family members alone.
- This makes it easy for people to develop feelings of concern and helpfulness towards others, strangers or not.
Fact 46: The “Maasai’s Shuka” is a common piece of clothing in the country.
- It’s a red/ pink/ maroon piece of clothing, worn around people’s shoulders/ waists/ necks.
Fact 47: Kenya has 40 different ethnic groups.
- With so many indigenous groups, it’s no surprise the country has over 60 spoken languages.
Fact 48: Kenya is home to 5 very deadly animals.
- Included in the list are the Cape buffalo, hippos, lions, the venomous puff adder, and the Nile crocodile.
Fact 49: The highest recorded temperature in Nairobi this year was 35°C, which was recorded in March 2019.
- The lowest recorded temperature in Nairobi this year was 4.4°C, August 2019.
Fact 50: Wildlife, such as Lions, leopards, elephants and buffalo can all be found running free in Kenya.
- Due to this, many tourists who visit the country go on safaris.
Fact 51: Kenya’s national sport is football.
- It’s also the most popular sport in the country, followed by rugby.
Fact 52: Coffee is the biggest foreign income generator for Kenya.
- Surprisingly, only 3% of the coffee grown in Kenya is consumed locally.
Fact 53: According to the current exchange rate, a single US dollar is already equivalent to approximately 100 Kenyan Shillings.
- Sadly, the exchange rate of the Kenyan shilling slumped dramatically in mid-2011, from about 83 shillings per US dollar to about 100 shillings per US dollar in late 2011, and to 105 shillings in September 2015.
Fact 54: You can find the fastest animal on earth in Kenya.
- Cheetahs are capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 mph.
Fact 55: Kenya is also home to the Great Wildebeest Migration.
- This event sees the migration of approximately 1.7 to 2 million animals (including gazelle, zebra, and eland) move between Serengeti in Tanzania, and Maasai Mara in Kenya, in search of new food sources.
Fact 56: The famous ‘Crying Stone’ in Kakamega is also found in Kenya.
- The unique stone stands at around 7ft. and produces a streak of water that makes it appear like it is crying.
Fact 57: You can ride an Ostrich at the Maasai Ostrich Farm in Kenya.
- The Ostrich is the largest living species of bird on the planet and is capable of running at a speed of 40-60 miles per hour.
Fact 58: One of the largest densities of lion in the world can be found in Kenya.
- A large population of lions inhabit the town of Maasai Mara.
Fact 59: There’s a city in Kenya that seems to defy gravity.
- A certain step portion of the highway in Machakos city seems to defy gravity, here things normally go upward instead of downward.
Fact 60: In Kenya, they drive on the left-hand side of the road.
- Just like other countries such as Ireland, U.K., Australia and India.