Kenya Country Overview

Kenya. Officially the Republic of Kenya, it is an East African country, which borders Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the east, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west and Sudan to the northwest, with the Indian Ocean washing its southeast coast. Its capital is Nairobi.



According to SOFTWARELEVERAGE, Kenya is traversed from north to south by the East African Trench, which forms the Lake Turkana basin (to the north) and the Rift Depression (to the south). This valley divides two great mountainous regions: the Sierra de Mau and the Aberdade Mountains. The crystalline plateaus are interrupted by imposing isolated massifs, such as Mount Kenya, the highest mountain in the country, at 5,199 m.

In southwestern Kenya is Lake Victoria. The plateau that forms its basin maintains an average height of 1,070 m above sea level and develops between the Mau Escarpment and Lake Victoria. Between the eastern mountains and the coastal strip lies the broad Nyika plain. Arid and semi-arid regions cover most of northern Kenya.


Hydrography is made up of numerous streams and streams of little flow, affected by meteorological changes. The most notorious is the Tana River, which runs through the entire country from the eastern mountains to the Indian Ocean.


The average temperature in the strip and the interior plain is 27 ° C. There it rains abundantly, while the northern regions are drier. There are two wet seasons: the less abundant rains (October to December) and the heaviest rains (April to June).


The vegetation varies according to the regions. The highlands display vast fields of bamboo scattered among patches of dense jungle. The arid areas of the north produce thickets of thorny shrubs. To the east and west of the mountains, low trees can be found among grasslands, 1.50 to 2 m high. In the coastal strip, closed thick bushes of tall bushes alternate with jungle areas and some clearings.

Inland grasslands of Kenya

WWF divides Kenya into 10 ecoregions:

  • Xerophilous Maasai grassland and scrub (in the north)
  • Shrubby savanna of Somalia (in the northeast)
  • Kenyan bush savanna (in the west and south)
  • Jungle and Savanna Mosaic of the Lake Victoria Basin (far west)
  • Shrubby savanna of Tanzania (in the southwest)
  • Zanzibar Coastal Mosaic Jungle (along the coast)
  • East African mangrove (in various coastal enclaves)
  • Eastern African montane rainforest (in the western and central mountains)
  • Eastern African montane wasteland (in the higher areas of the central mountains).
  • Eastern Rift Arc Jungle (in the southern mountains)


Wildlife includes species such as elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, lions, leopards, zebras, jackals, hippos, antelopes, gazelles, and crocodiles.


As of 2007, Kenya has a population of 36,913,721 residents. The official languages are English and Swahili. Life expectancy is 55 years. The average number of children per woman is 4.82. 85.1% of the population is literate.

Kenya is a country of great ethnic diversity. The tension between the different ethnic groups has been one of the main sources of conflict in the country. In the early 1990s, inter-ethnic unrest caused the death of thousands of people and left tens of thousands homeless. It was precisely this ethnic division that allowed former President Daniel Arap Moi, in power from 1978 to 2002, to remain in power for four consecutive terms.

Ethnic groups: Kĩkũyũ 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 15%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African groups 12%, non-African (Asian, European and Arab) 1%.

The culture of Kenya is very diverse, given the enormous differences between the various ethnic groups that coexist in the country. The influence of British colonization is manifested above all in the widespread use of the English language in both commercial and cultural spheres.

Most Kenyan literature is written in English, although some authors, such as Rocha Chimera, have made Swahili their literary language. Ngugi wa Thiongo started out writing in English, but currently writes mainly in Kikuyu. Other prominent English writers include Meja Mwangi, MG Vassanji, Grace Ogot, Wahome Muthahi, and Binyavanga Wainana, winner of the 2002 Caine Award.

Economic development

Tourism is the main source of income, although it has the most diversified industry in East Africa. Crops (30% of GDP): coffee and tea stand out. The main port of the country is Mombasa.

According to the studies on the HDI of 2006, it was the country with the least differentiation of wages between the sexes (0.83). The wealth of the Kenyan population is concentrated in a single place in this nation, that is why it is called a poor country but at the same time, rich.

Capital and most important cities

Nairobi: The capital is located between the Athi grasslands and the Gikuyu mountain ranges. It originated with the arrival of the colonial railroad, at the end of the last century, and became the capital of the British protectorate of East Africa, in1905. Throughout the 20th century it was the destination of countless peasants who came from the interior of the country, which has allowed it to grow rapidly.

It has excellent communications: railways and main routes to Tanzania, Mombasa, Lake Victoria and Uganda. Embakasi airport is one of the most important in Africa. This has made Nairobi the main transport hub in East Africa, as well as the headquarters of some regional services of the United Nations (UN).

Mombasa: It is the second largest city in Kenya and its main port. It is located on an island in one of the bays of the Indian Ocean and communicates with the mainland through raised roads, bridges and ferry. Founded by Arab merchants in the11th century, it was disputed between the Persians, Portuguese, Arabs and Turks until the arrival of the English in the 19th century. It has enormous natural beauties (coral soils, golden sand beaches and lush vegetation) and two ports. There are also industries (shipping, metallurgy, cement) and sugar and oil refineries.

Kenya Country Overview

You may also like...