Published on October 8, 2009
KENYA Volume 1
Welcome to Volume One of ‘Best of Kenya’ ‘Best of Kenya’ is a celebration of the success of varied and valued enterprises in both Publisher: Intermac Communications Limited private and public sectors and sets a trend we will continue in the coming months with Volume II. Sales Director: Simon Mugo Sales Team: Chris Nyaoro, Leonard Sichemo, We are all proud to join the distinguished GVP family and, through showcasing success in Shane Mwigereri, Derrick Wanjawa enterprise and entrepreneurship, play a role in marketing Kenya to the rest of the world as a place where business survives and thrives. Editorial Director: W Kwendo Opanga We hope that by celebrating these success stories and taking their uniqueness to the Editorial Team: Matthew Gathigira, Mike Ngwalla, world, we will encourage many more entrepreneurs and enterprises to devise ways and Matiko Bohoko means of joining the very best locally and globally. Administration: Josephine Wambui, Stephen Otieno Please sit back and enjoy the features on and images of articles on Kenya, its sporting Creative Direction: Allan Anjeo, Extreme Designs prowess, uniqueness, banks, hotels, education, birthplace of Barrack Obama Snr, the father of the 44th President of the United States of America, among other delightful Photography: Walter Boermeester, Yahya Mohamed, articles. Sam Ouma, Noor Khamis, Kenya Tourism Board, Kenya Film Commission, Department of Film Services. We single out one enterprise for special mention. This is the story of Ranalo Foods, a well liked eatery in Nairobi that is run by an amiable and humble couple that started their Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the business from the humblest of beginnings and locations. accuracy of the information in Best of Kenya Vol.1. Neither Best of Kenya nor Intermac Communications In Volume II we will dwell at length on Kenya as a tourist destination and also look at the Limited can take responsibility for any errors or omissions. government’s blueprint – Vision 2030 - for transforming the country into a developed nation by 2030. All rights reserved: No part of this publication shall be reproduced, copied, transmitted, adapted or modified Karibu in any form or by any means. This publication shall not be stored in whole or in part in any form in any retrieval system. BEST OF Contact details: Vision Plaza, Second Floor, Room 37, Mombasa Road. Kenya Telephone: +254 20 2525253/4/5 Cellphone: +254 72 240 1739 / +254 72 278 7345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Website: www.GVPedia.com Regional Head Offices Bangalore • Brussels • Cairo • Casablanca • Copenhagen • Dubai • Johannesburg • London • Santiago • Singapore • Sydney • Washington DC Best of Kenya 1
Hotels & Casinos 2 Best of Kenya
National Anthem O God of all creation, Bless this our land and nation. Justice be our shield and defender, May we dwell in unity, Peace and liberty, Plenty be found within our borders. Let one and all arise With hearts both strong and true. Service be our earnest endeavour, And our Homeland of Kenya, Heritage of splendour, Firm may we stand to defend. Let all with one accord In common bond united, Build this our nation together, And the glory of Kenya, The fruit of our labour, Fill every heart with thanksgiving. Best of Kenya 3
Foreword from the President Foreword I am pleased to write a foreword for this attractive and insightful publication about Kenya. In this book, you will find many things said about Kenya, some of which may be new, and others that you already know. It is my hope that the book will enable readers to broaden their knowledge of our country and experience a new understanding and perception of Kenya and its people. Kenya remains a relatively stable and peaceful nation, despite the challenges we have faced over the years. The stability and success of our nation demonstrates that we are a resilient people, and we are always ready to find solutions to our problems. And more importantly, we have been swift to seize the challenges that confront us and transform them into opportunities for enhancing the political, social, and economic development of our society. In this respect, the Grand Coalition Government, working together with Parliament, passed various legislation this year to enable the government to implement various reforms to ensure transparency in the management of the affairs of our nation. I am confident that, as a people, we are capable of overcoming the problems we face, and building a united, stable and prosperous nation. I therefore want to assure our friends and well-wishers that Kenyans are determined to uphold our nationhood. We are committed to living in unity, while recognizing the diversity of our people. Indeed, all of us, regardless of ethnicity, race or religion, are inextricably tied together, with a common destiny. That destiny, as spelt out in Vision 2030, aims at building a prosperous and equitable nation that is an example to the region and the world of what Africa is capable of achieving. Accordingly, the theme of this publication is not only appropriate but also timely. Over the last six years, the government has implemented a variety of reforms to make our country investor- friendly. We welcome investors to take advantage of the unique and abundant opportunities we offer to put their money in various sectors of our economy. Indeed, Kenya is today one of Africa’s most well endowed countries in terms of human capital, entrepreneurship and work ethic. The country has a large portfolio of investment opportunities, ranging from the diverse natural resources and a vibrant agricultural sector to sophisticated infrastructure as well as the financial and information services sectors. In this regard, Nairobi has grown to become the region’s financial, transport and tourism hub, while Mombasa is the gateway to the Eastern Africa region. Investors will find well developed infrastructure, including roads, railways, air transport, and telecommunications linking Kenya to the rest of Africa and the world. Investors will also be happy to know that Kenya has a large pool of highly talented and skilled labour. This publication is, therefore, also an invitation to investors, friends and well-wishers to visit Kenya. I assure you that you will not be disappointed. Kenya is a land of contrasts – of enchanting landscapes, a snow-capped mountain on the Equator, expansive savannas that are home of the Big Five and countless, varied wildlife in their natural habitats that make Kenya a true safari country. Moreover, Kenya’s coastal region tells the story of hospitality and of timeless contacts with the rest of the world, a story that is still eloquently told by the numerous historical monuments and sites, while the beautiful, white sandy beaches and an all-year-round warm climate assure our visitors a fun-filled holiday experience. Welcome to Kenya. H.E. Mwai Kibaki President of the Republic of Kenya 4 Best of Kenya
Foreword from the Prime Minister It is my pleasure to write the foreword to this useful fact-book on Kenya, especially at this particular time when our country has regained its balance following the political crisis that engulfed it in early 2008. Kenya is back in business as a gateway to the vast and fast growing African market on the eastern seaboard. We have reclaimed our reputation and position as the destination of choice for investment, trade and tourism in Eastern and Central Africa. We in Kenya firmly believe that the private sector provides the main engine for sustainable economic growth. The Government of Kenya is firmly committed to working closely with both the domestic and foreign private sector to generate wealth in the fight against poverty and underdevelopment. Kenya offers guaranteed lower production and operational costs and faster business set-up than most other countries, through the following measures: • a one-stop-shop system for required licenses upon entry. • a ten-year Corporate Tax holiday and a 25 per cent tax rate reduction for 10 years thereafter. • a ten-year withholding Tax holiday on non-resident remittances. • duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption on imported or locally sourced raw materials, construction equipment and other business inputs except motor vehicles and some fuels. • a 100 per cent investment deduction on capital expenditure within 20 years. • exemption from Stamp Duty. The Government places great emphasis on providing a conducive and enabling environment for business. Maintaining Kenya’s highly skilled labour force is a top priority alongside issues of security, affordable energy supply, responsiveness of the public sector to business needs, upgrading infrastructure and ensuring a pleasant multicultural environment to live in. Kenya’s unique geographical position offers time flexibility in cross-interaction with businesses in other time zones from Auckland in New Zealand to Los Angeles in the U.S., without loss of sleep! Nairobi is the regional hub for air and sea transport for East, Central and Southern Africa, offering daily air connections to West Africa and other parts of the world. As a founder-member of the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Kenya offers access to a vast market of more than 400 million people. Kenya hosts a large number of regional bodies, multinationals and international organizations. This, together with the multi-racial fabric of Kenyan society, makes most cities and urban centres in this country global in matters of faith, education, culture, cuisine and character. Welcome to Kenya! You will enjoy visiting or doing business in Kenya. Raila Amolo Odinga Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Best of Kenya 5
BEST OF THE WORLD Welcome to the world’s premier platform for showcasing and Growth and Opportunity networking governments, leading companies and entrepreneurs in business, tourism and lifestyle. Through our Best of publishing Exchanging knowledge, skills and economies of scale in media series and gvpedia.com we showcase an ever expanding Atlas of Success and Sustainability across multiple continents and With regional head offices in 5 continents, the organisation is currently industries. involved in more than 30 territories where the ‘Best of’ series is published. GVP has a 5-year growth plan to develop a further 150 economic territories organically, through each continent’s regional head Brand Image office, and through partnerships with companies and individuals that have the expertise to showcase their city, state or country. Branding a Nation, a City and its People GVP brands and builds the image of the world’s most exciting Corporate Social Responsibility economic regions to affect a change in the perception of a nation, a city and its people by the rest of the world. This then promotes the region There is no success without ethics and sustainability in terms of its investment opportunities, key industries, innovations, people, culture, tourism potential and international objectives. The best of world business, travel and lifestyle within the Global Village is dependent on more than monetary profit. There is no success without core values such as sustainability, integrity and Corporate Product - The Books Social Responsibility (CSR). GVP’s exclusive client base is selected by invitation only based on these criteria, with the added focus of Celebrate your success dedicated chapters covering CSR, sustainability, green innovation and giving back to the community. The ‘Best of…’ publishing series produces annual maxi format book publications in over 30 territories, from Bangalore to Belgium. These detail success stories of people and companies making positive inroads into the commercial fibre of both mature and emerging markets. The books showcase entrepreneurial spirit; establishing powerful global networks and the creation of individual brand awareness by bridging cultures. The result is the ultimate interactive corporate gift and P.R. marketing tool for governments, companies, hotels and business people providing leading products and services for their region. REGIONAL HEAD OFFICES = Bangalore = Brussels = Cairo = Casablanca = Copenhagen = Dubai 6 Best of Kenya
GVPedia.com Success, Sustainability and Culture Join the Global Village Business Network We are identifying leading companies and organisations across 100 industry sectors that are able to profile their economic and environmental sustainability in order to provide a global network of the most reliable companies to do business with. Please apply by adding your company profile online to the Global Village Business Network: Full Company Profile includes: - 100 word summary / value proposition - 2 large images or logos - 1000 word company description - full contact details and website link - company address pin pointed on a google map - anti-spam contact box - search engine optimised categories and key words linked to your company site - use of the "Top Company" widget library to enable links to your profile from any website or email Product - www.gvpedia.com Connecting the world’s most interesting people and organisations The portal provides GVP customers an interactive Public Relations Box managed by a user friendly ‘Enterprise Content Management System’ that allows clients to upload their value proposition, photos, fast facts and management profiles. The latest networking add-ons and social media applications are integrated within the site providing maximum reach and feedback. The value proposition for subscribers to gvpedia.com essentially covers four elements: exposure, expertise, exclusivity and networking. Success is a Choice! = Johannesburg = London = Santiago = Singapore = Sydney = Washington DC Best of Kenya 7
ChapterS Best of Kenya Kenya at a Glance Hotels and Resorts 10-47 48-57 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Fashion Healthcare 76-81 82-95 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Banking and Finance Technology 116-123 124-137 Chapter 10 Chapter 9 Property and Real Estate Media and Marketing 148-151 152-163 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 8 Best of Kenya
Dining and Eating Out Shopping and Retail 58-67 68-75 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Coffee, Tea and Horticulture Corporate Profile 96-107 108-115 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Transport and Logistics 138-147 Chapter 11 Education and Training 164-183 BEST OF Kenya Chapter 14 Best of Kenya 9
CHAPTER 1 Kenya at a Glance 10 Best of Kenya
Best of Kenya 11
Kenya at a Glance Kenya at a Glance POPULATION ECONOMY CURRENCY Estimated in 2007 at 37,183,924 Free market enterprise Kenya shilling (at current rates KSh75 exchanges for One US dollar) LAND AREA GOVERNMENT 591,383 square kilometres Coalition of parties LANGUAGES English and Swahili are the main and CAPITAL CITY PARLIAMENT official languages and there are over 40 Nairobi A single Chamber of 210 elected and 12 other local vernaculars nominated Members whose term lasts PRINCIPAL TOWNS five years Mombasa Nakuru MAIN GATEWAYS Kisumu Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi Moi International Airport, Mombasa Wilson Airport, Nairobi A version of this chapter was published for the Brand Kenya Board under the title Kenya: The World's Favourite Destination. 12 Best of Kenya
Inviting Savannah: Open and expansive grasslands home to varied and valued game Best safari time A visit to Kenya is a truly unique and unforgettable experience. The best times to fulfill one’s lifetime dream for a great safari to Kenya (ideally for two to three weeks) is July to February, although the country is hospitable and attractive to visitors throughout the year. The time for an idyllic game viewing safari is July to September, when one of the greatest spectacles on earth takes place as more than a million wild animals, mainly wildebeest and zebra, cross the Mara River into Kenya’s world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve. The Great Migration has been classified the Eighth Wonder of the World and is the only living event among the Wonders, and also one of the very oldest, far older even than Egypt’s pyramids. National carrier Kenya Airways, affectionately tagged “The Pride of Africa”, flies to more than 48 Up, up and away: Balloon safaris are popular events in the destinations in Africa, Europe, the Middle and world famous Masai Mara Game Reserve Far East and is soon to fly to the US. Best of Kenya 13
Kenya at a Glance Kenya: Land of infinite variety historic splendour of the Rift Valley, a geographic feature that is visible from space, to the beautiful shores of the Indian Ocean, Renowned globally as the Cradle of Mankind, Kenya is a land lined with unique mangrove forests, and to Lake Turkana, the of great variety and spectacular physical and climatic contrasts world’s largest desert lake. and beauty that are so diverse they are usually found in an entire continent. From the modern social and cultural hub of Nairobi (the only city in the world with a national park within its boundaries), These range from high snow-capped mountains with alpine to the vast breathtaking expanses of wildlife parks such as forests to hot dry deserts and lovely sandy beaches. There is so the Tsavo, Mt Kenya, the Masai Mara and Amboseli, a visit to much to be seen and enjoyed in Kenya, ranging from the pre- Kenya presents the ultimate dream for any traveller. Elephants in Amboseli: The game and view, with Mt Kilimanjaro in the background, are stunning 14 Best of Kenya
The world’s only wildlife capital: No other city on earth has a national park full of wild animals and birds in Tusks of Mombasa: They are like an emblem for the their natural habitat. Ostriches strut and groom themselves against the background of Nairobi’s skyscrapers. historic coastal city that is the gateway to East Africa Fresh water lake: Fishing boat on Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest fresh water lake In the words of the 1954 Nobel laureate water bodies. The highlands are mild and for literature Ernest Hemingway, “Kenya cool, with relatively high rainfall patterns. is unknowable, unimaginable, and unbelievable”. The popular Kenyan Coast, along the Indian Ocean, and the regions around Lake Victoria, In terms of size, this great East African the second largest freshwater body in the country is some 583,000 kilometres square, world and the source of the River Nile, are lying at the centre of the eastern part of the usually hot, or warm and humid. A visitor to continent of Africa, and right on the Equator. Kenya can experience and enjoy these varied climatic conditions within a short time. Like its spectacular variety of wildlife, physical and climatic conditions, Kenya is Melting Pot of Cultures a linguistic and cultural melting pot, with at least 42 different communities and people Kenya is a melting pot of varied, valued and of different races who live harmoniously vibrant cultures. together. Each of Kenya’s 42 main ethnic communities The rich vegetation that acts as cover for has a strong and dynamic culture that it is some of Kenya’s spectacular landscapes also proud of. provides shelter for a great variety of wildlife. This is not to suggest that the people of The varied altitudes of Kenya give the country Kenya are stuck in the past. These cultures unique climatic features. The lower areas of are dynamic, which is why they have survived the country have high temperatures, with despite the strong influences they have been humidity dependent on their proximity to subjected to or come into contact with. Best of Kenya 15
Ministry joins their group or passes by them without uttering a word of greeting. The centrality of culture in Kenyan society is perhaps best explained by the creation of Perhaps the best demonstration of greeting- the Ministry of Culture, which is specifically as-a-demonstration-of-goodwill is attested tasked with recognition and promotion of the to by the popularity of the Kiswahili word country’s myriad cultures. Jambo. Indeed, a local band has made the greeting popular abroad with its track of the The 42 main ethnicities, while distinctly same name and chorus and it is a common different, are brought together by Kiswahili, feature at tourist resorts across the country. which is Kenya’s official language and English, the medium of instruction in schools Cultural Festivals through colleges and universities and the language of international commerce and In Kenya’s primary and secondary, private diplomacy. or public schools, the annual countrywide music and drama competitions, which are Greeting meant to mainly showcase the talents of young people, often turn into celebrations For example, in most parts of Kenya or of both the dominant and the little-known Melting pot of culture: Various Kenyan peoples in among Kenya’s varied communities, a cultures of the country. their traditional regalia representing Kenya’s rich greeting is a demonstration of goodwill. and varied culture and heritage Indeed, among some cultures, especially However, given that media, communication at the Coast, people will be offended if one and technology keep bringing the various Song, dance and drum extravaganza: An expression of sound, acrobatic action and vibrant colours is the unmistakable trade mark of the Kamba dance troupes from Kenya’s Eastern province. 16 Best of Kenya
continents of the world ever closer together, the music and plays in the schools through universities and outside the school system depict the dynamism of Kenya’s cultures. Indeed, song and dance, drama and film are the vehicles of choice for those who seek to showcase both the dynamism and resilience of Kenya’s cultures. Each of Kenya’s eight provinces also hosts annual cultural events that are also festivals of culture. Cultural Centre The Bomas of Kenya is a cultural awareness- creation centre started by the Government in 1971 with the express purpose of preserving, maintaining and promoting the rich diverse cultural values of the country’s multiplicity of ethnic communities. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC) Bomas’s mandate is to preserve the authenticity of the nation’s cultural values and portray them in pure form for educational and entertainment purposes. Religion Just as Kenya’s peoples have different cultures so also do they have varied religions, and while Christianity and Islam predominate, there are still many Kenyan peoples who believe in the power of their ancestors, spirits and medicine men and women to influence their lives in very fundamental ways. Kenya’s Coast Province, perhaps because of the Indian Ocean and proximity to the Arab world, is home to the majority of the country’s Muslim population, followed by the North Eastern and Eastern provinces. Islam is, however, spread throughout the country. Kenya’s interior is home to the Christians. Catholics are in the majority, followed by several Protestant faiths, chief among them being the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists, Lutherans, and the Evangelicals. Brilliant vision for a beautiful country Kenya’s vision is to become a middle- Going for the Jugular: The Maasai community are famed for their drinking of mixtures of cow’s milk and income industrialised economy by the year blood during ceremonial rites of passage such as circumcision. Here a group of morans are drawing blood 2030 and towards this end the Government from the jugular vein of a cow. The animal survives the ritual because it is not let to bleed and is cared for has developed a comprehensive blueprint until it recovers and heals. Best of Kenya 17
Twin Peaks: The two tallest buildings in Kenya and the Eastern African region, Nairobi‘s International Conference Centre (KICC) in the foregound with its amphitheatre built in the shape of a traditional African hut. In the background is the hulking Times Tower. called Vision 2030. This blueprint is housed City of the future: An artist’s impression of Nairobi in the next 25 years as by the Ministry for Planning, National depicted in Kenya’s blueprint for economic transformation called Vision 2030 Development and Vision 2030. The Government is committed to achieving Vision 2030 through a series of planned and well-coordinated initiatives aimed at increasing productivity and ensuring that the living standard of the majority of the population is positively transformed. In this respect Vision 2030 clearly spells out the social, economic and political priorities that the country needs to focus on in order to achieve rapid industrialisation and economic self-reliance within the next 25 to 30 years. The Government is already putting in place measures to drive this transformation; notable among these being the creation of a favourable investment climate for both local and external entrepreneurs. 18 Best of Kenya
population size, Kenya has often been at Nairobi in the highlands, and since then what the centre of global attention and affairs. was once a small group of huts has been Kenya’s prowess in sports, peace-keeping spectacularly transformed into East Africa’s missions and capacity as a safe haven for most modern metropolis. Nairobi attained city refugees have positioned the country as a status in 1950. high profile and impactful regional and global player. Mombasa: Romantic, historic island port In addition, Kenya holds some of the most The island town of Mombasa is the main valuable treasures on the origins and global Seagate on the eastern African coastline distribution of various life forms, giving it and is Kenya’s oldest and second largest unique potential to positively contribute to metropolis. The port city has a rich romantic the future of the world and humankind. As a history, going back over a millennium. young and vibrant developing nation, Kenya is determined to forge ahead and join the The unrivalled beauty of the Kenyan coastline developed post-industrial countries. is a distinctive feature of the country’s tourism industry. Nairobi: Green City in the Sun Mombasa, a splendid city, is home to a rich Nicknamed the Green City in the Sun, the historic civilisation that gave East Africa modern city of Nairobi, with a population the Swahili language. Kiswahili is Kenya’s of around 4.5 million inhabitants, occupies lingua franca and is now spoken across half a unique place in the world, being the only of Africa. One of the most famous Swahili global metropolis with a large wildlife park words that has not only found its way into the close to its central business district! English dictionary but also is a brand name for a wide range of products, from perfumes to It is also the only city of a developing country sport, is safari. that hosts the global headquarters of several United Nations’ specialised agencies. Close to the palm-fringed beaches lies the natural marvel of the coral reef, which runs Its moderate climate, rich history, modern uninterrupted for close to 500km. The Kenyan facilities and central location make Nairobi Coast teems with various wonders of marine the most ideal starting point for a Kenyan life, mysterious lagoons and creeks that safari adventure. attract exploration. Situated just 140km south of the Equator, There are also the mangrove forests and 494km west of the port of Mombasa on awesome cliffs overhanging some of the the Indian Ocean and 338km east of Lake beaches. Another great coastal spectacle is Victoria, at an altitude of 1,670 metres, the variety of wildlife, especially birds. Nairobi is not only Kenya’s principal city but also East Africa’s economic and business Fort Jesus, built by Portuguese adventurers focal point. during the 16th Century, is one of the most important historical monuments in the city of In 1907, the British transferred their colonial Mombasa. administration from Mombasa at the Coast to In order to realise the goals of Vision 2030, Kenya requires massive investments from both domestic and external sources. The priority areas in the Vision present enormous investment opportunities for both public and private investors. Apart from a visionary political leadership, Kenya has a number of advantages that make it one of the few countries on the African continent most likely to achieve a socio-economic transformation in the near future. A well-educated, youthful and vibrant population, vast, largely untapped natural resources, enormous investment in infrastructure and a well developed private sector are among the country’s assets. Small country, big reputation Although a relatively small country in Green City in the Sun: A view of Nairobi’s Central Business District as seen from the world in its geographical extent and nearby Uhuru Park, centre for recreation and national and cultural events Best of Kenya 19
Kenya at a Glance Takes your breath away: The vegetation on the ground and clouds above combine to form breathtaking views Loving and caring: A baby elephant and its With such exciting features, together with a The surrounding region is rich in culture mother take a leisurely walk wide variety of entertainment, a visit to the and history, with many intriguing and Kenyan Coast is a must for the discerning historic sites, among them Rusinga visitor. The experience is truly memorable. Island, the weeping stones and forests of Kakamega, and a variety of wild flora and Kisumu: Lively lakeside fishing town fauna to be found all the way to Mt Elgon. The lively lakeside city of Kisumu, formerly For a visitor looking for a warm and known as Port Florence, is situated along tranquil resting place, Kisumu is the ideal Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest place. Kenya Airways, the national airline, freshwater body and only about 80km and other local carriers, operate daily southeast of Nyang’oma Kogelo, the flights between Nairobi and Kisumu. ancestral home of the father of the 44th President of the United States of America, The Great Rift Valley Barack Obama. Kisumu is Kenya’s third largest city. The Great Rift Valley is one of the most awesome and breathtaking natural Located 355km to the west of Nairobi, physical phenomena on earth. Estimated Kisumu is a thriving, tourist, fishing to have formed some 20 million years ago, and commercial city which is steadily it is visible from space. positioning itself as the socio-economic hub of Western Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda The name Great Rift Valley was coined and the Great Lakes region. by the Scottish explorer and geologist 20 Best of Kenya
Pretty in pink: Tens of thousands of flamingo lie in the shores of Lake Nakuru, feeding on algae and creating one of the most spectacular sites in all of nature John Walter Gregory in his book The These lakes are rich in sodium carbonate, The Masai Mara: Eighth Wonder Great Rift Valley (1896). which creates an ideal breeding ground of the World for algae. Several species of fish, tilapia in With its steep and jagged escarpment particular, thrive in this environment. As a Lying 224km to the south-west of Nairobi, the walls, mountains and flat floor, the result, millions of birds flock to these soda Masai Mara Game Reserve provides one of Great Rift Valley is one of the most lakes to feast on the abundant algae and nature’s most dramatic and awesome spectacles attractive and popular parts of Kenya. fish, making these lakes a unique spot for ever; the annual Great Migration of over a million It is also among the most agriculturally bird watching, the most spectacular being wildebeest and zebra, teeming from the south to productive, providing most of Kenya’s the flamingoes of Lake Nakuru. cross the Mara River into the Game Reserve. wheat, maize and dairy products. Then there is the dramatic Hell’s Gate near The migration, which has come to be known The floor of the valley is at its lowest Lake Naivasha, a truly awesome natural as the Eighth Wonder of the World, takes place near Lake Turkana, where there is wonder, with steep and deep walls and a between July and September, making this the virtually no distinction between the cavernous emptiness dug by nature. The most ideal time for a classic safari. Great Rift Valley and the surrounding name is deceptive for this is no hell on desert. Lake Turkana, which is 400km earth! The stunning Savannah grasslands with north of Nairobi, is the largest desert scattered shrubs stretch for as far as the eye can lake in the world. Among the Great Rift Valley’s unique see. They are an endless spectacle of nature’s features is Lake Turkana. Also known as the most creative designs. In the vast landscape can As it heads south, the Great Rift Valley Jade Sea for the unique turquoise colour be seen the cheetah, the fastest animal on earth, walls form sheer cliffs rising to 1,900km of its waters, it has shores longer than the chasing antelope and gazelle, in the Mara River (6,232ft) at Lake Naivasha, thereafter entire Kenyan Coast. hippos bathe, and, on the banks, crocodiles sun the valley descends again to 580 themselves. metres (1,902 feet) as it approaches the This lake not only has an abundance of border with Tanzania. the delicious tropical fresh-water fish, the It is in the predator-infested waters of the Mara Tilapia, but also contains the world’s largest that thousands of wildebeest, hundreds of zebra, Subterranean movement is still crocodile population. Fishing and livestock eland and gazelle must fight for their lives in a common as the Rift Valley is home to rearing and agriculture are among the vast theatre of the jungle’s law of survival of the 30 active and semi-active volcanoes activities within and around the lake. fittest. and countless hot springs. This string of alkaline lakes and boiling springs There are numerous spectacular natural For the nature loving and adventurous visitor, includes lakes Baringo, Bogoria, wonders that surround the lake, with the wildebeest migration is a must-see event. Nakuru, Elementaita, Naivasha, and fantastic opportunities for the intrepid A balloon safari provides an exciting birds’- eye Magadi in the south. adventurer. view of this mighty African wilderness. Best of Kenya 21
Just a glimpse of Kenya: (From top to bottom) 22 Best of Kenya Wildebeest, the people, Rhino and Zebra
Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha: home of Elsa the Lioness befriended by Joy and George Adamson and featured in Joy’s Home of flamingoes book Born Free and film of the same name. About 160km west of Nairobi, Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha, and the thousands of Almost similar in the variety of flora and fauna flamingoes that reside in them, together form are the three wildlife reserves of Samburu, a bewitching spectacle, beloved of many a Shaba and Buffalo Springs located about local and foreign visitor. 342km to the north of Nairobi along the Uaso Nyiro River. Rising to the heavens: The hot springs of Lake Naivasha is best seen by boat. Within close Bogoria in the Rift Valley proximity of Nakuru town and covering The Meru National Park is home to the rare an area of 200 square kilometers, Nakuru species of grazing white rhino. It lies in a A tantalising mixture of mountain rain National Park is undoubtedly a great semi-arid, open savannah plain broken forest, moorland, thick bamboo forests and ornithological wonder of the world. occasionally by small rugged hills. sub-alpine plants make up the vegetation in this park. Giant heath and tussock grass It is the congregation point of an estimated Mount Kenya: cover the moorlands, which are crossed by 100,000 to two million flamingoes and wandering trout-inhabited streams that, in over 400 other species of birds. With the Snow and wildlife on the Equator some places, cascade into scenic waterfalls wildlife sanctuary greatly expanded since its Snow-capped Mount Kenya is Africa’s second and rapids. creation in 1961, and extensive ecological highest peak, a stunning and challenging clean-up of the area, wildlife of a wide destination for adventurous tourists, climbers Amboseli: variety can now be seen in the park. and trekkers. Expansive pride of the Maasai Lake Bogoria, to the north of Nakuru, features Below the mountain’s alpine meadows roam The imposing, ever-present view of enticing hot springs, made even more inviting elephant, black rhino, Cape buffalo and Kilimanjaro provides the main background by the sight of fishermen in papyrus boats and antelope. On its lower slopes is Ol Pejeta, a feature for this unique wildlife habitat the rare greater kudu. Nakuru boasts the rare private ranch and rhino sanctuary, and nearby situated some 260km south of Nairobi. Rothschild Giraffe and an extraordinary rhino is the famous Mount Kenya Safari Club. The Amboseli has some of Kenya’s largest sanctuary. herds of elephants. Hemingway once wrote The Aberdare Ranges sport high alpine of the Amboseli as “the essence of Africa”, Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo: moorland and primeval aloe forest. Here one where elephants rummage in the lower can visit the famous Treetops Hotel, where forests, leopards prowl the salt flats while A tale of three parks leopards are regular visitors and can be antelope graze the expansive grasslands; all The arid and semi-arid regions of northern viewed in the act of refreshing themselves. these against the backdrop of Kilimanjaro’s Kenya, framed by volcanic mountain ranges Treetops is renowned because the then majestic peak. Few natural scenes in the and dotted with lakes, provide a uniquely Princess Elizabeth visited in 1952, went up world are more inspiring. picturesque holiday for the visitor. Treetops, received word of King Edward VI’s death and came down as Queen. Apart from the patches of acacia forest, the Throughout the region, rare animals such as Amboseli grasslands are dotted with shrubs the reticulated giraffe, oryx, Grevy’s zebra, The Aberdare Ranges were named by Joseph and fragile saline grass. The dry volcanic ash and long-necked gerenuk abound. Thomson in 1883 after Lord Aberdare, can support little more. who was the then president of the Royal Between the drier northern region and the Geographical Society. Lying in these The melting snows of Kilimanjaro feed imposing, densely forested Mt Kenya lies the mountains, this park covers an area of 770 rivers and springs that supply water to serrated and beautiful Meru National Park, square kilometres. the swamps and the Amboseli, which Best of Kenya 23
Kenya at a Glance Two of the Big Five: The Rhino, famed for its size and insecure because of its horn, and the Buffalo, known for its sharp horns and sharper temper is usually completely dry. Occasional Tsavo East and West: The Tsavos have the world’s largest and most flooding of the rivers occurs during rainy World’s largest game sanctuary important concentration of elephants, with a seasons. population estimated at more than 20,000. The entire Tsavo ecosystem, about 333km A wide variety of wildlife that include to the east of Nairobi, is possibly the Peacemaker: antelope, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, world’s biggest game sanctuary. It is an Kenya’s esteemed place on world map elephant, rhino and buffalo, the predatory expansive model wildlife sanctuary in terms lion, the cheetah and occasionally the of geographical and ecological features, with Kenya continues to play important roles on elusive and secretive leopard are attracted a great variety of plant and animal life. The the international scene. Over the years, this to these rivers and swamps. Tsavo is situated halfway between Nairobi country has been a regional peacemaker. and Mombasa. Peace talks to end internal and external As much a part of the Amboseli landscape conflicts in various African countries have are the Maasai people who graze their The two adjacent sprawling animal parks are
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