Kenya

Capital:                       Nairobi – largest city

Independence: 1963 from the United Kingdom1963

Area: Total 580,367 km2                             

Population: 39,002,772(2010 estimate]

GDP (PPP) 2009 estimate: US$65.059 billion

Per capita: US $1,600 – nr 201 out of 230 countries.

The Republic of Kenya is a country in East Africa. Lying along the Indian Ocean to its southeast and at the equator, it is bordered by Somalia to the northeast, Ethiopia to the north, Sudan to the northwest, Uganda to the west and Tanzania to the south. Lake Victoria is situated to the southwest, and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania. With its capital city in Nairobi the country is named after Mount Kenya, a significant landmark and second among Africa’s highest mountain peaks.

The word Kenya, originates from the Kikuyu, Embu and Kamba names for Mount Kenya, “Kirinyaga”, “Kirinyaa” and “Kiinyaa”. The English meaning of the words, in all three languages, is “place with ostriches” – in reference to the black and white plumage of male ostriches. When viewed from a distance the snow-capped peak of the mountain is like the white feathers of a male ostrich. Mount Kenya is the highest peak in Kenya at 5,199 m Kenya is named after the mountain.

History:

Archaeological research indicates modern man first appeared in Kenya and as a result, the country with its East African neighbors is almost certainly considered the cradle of mankind. Fossils found in East Africa suggest that primates roamed the area more than 20 million years ago. Recent finds near Kenya’s Lake Turkana indicate that hominids such as Homo Habilis (1.8 and 2.5 million years ago) and Homo erectus (1.8 million to 350 000 years ago) are possible direct ancestors of modern Homo sapiens and lived in Kenya during the Pleistocene epoch. In 1984 one particular discovery made at Lake Turkana by famous paleo – anthropologist Richard Leakey and Kamoya Kimeu – was the skeleton of a Turkana boy belonging to Homo erectus from 1.6 million years ago.

In the centuries preceding colonization, the Swahili coast of Kenya was part of the east African region which traded with the Arab world and India especially for ivory and slaves. Initially these traders came mainly from Arab states, but later many came from Zanzibar. Close to 90% of the population on the Kenya coast was enslaved.

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the governors of British East Africa (as the Protectorate was generally known) and German East Africa agreed a truce in an attempt to keep the young colonies out of direct hostilities. Lt Col Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck took command of the German military forces, determined to tie down as many British resources as possible. Completely cut off from Germany, von Lettow conducted an effective guerilla warfare campaign, living off the land, capturing British supplies, and remaining undefeated. He eventually surrendered in Zambia, eleven days, after the Armistice was signed in 1918. To chase von Lettow the British deployed the British Indian Army troops from India and then needed large numbers of porters to overcome the formidable logistics of transporting supplies far into the interior by foot. The Carrier Corps was formed and ultimately mobilised over 400,000 Africans, contributing to their long-term politicization.

During the early part of the 20th century, the interior central highlands were settled by British and other European farmers, who became wealthy farming coffee and tea ( 1937). By the 1930s, approximately 30,000 white settlers lived in the area and gained a political voice, because of their contribution to the market economy. The area was already home to over a million members of the Kikuyu ethnic group, most of who had no land claims in European terms, and lived as itinerant farmers. To protect their interests, the settlers banned the growing of coffee, introduced a hut tax, and the landless were granted less and less land in exchange for their labor. A massive exodus to the cities ensued as their ability to provide a living from the land dwindled.  By the 1950s, the white population numbered 80,000.

From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule.

The capture of Warũhiũ Itote (aka General China) on 15 January 1954, and the subsequent interrogation (??) led to a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure. Operation Anvil opened on 24 April 1954, after weeks of planning by the army with the approval of the War Council. The operation effectively placed Nairobi under military siege, and the occupants were screened and the Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps. By the end of the emergency, the Home Guard had killed 4686 Mau Mau, amounting to 42% of the total insurgents.

During this period, substantial governmental changes to land tenure occurred, the most important of which was the Swynnerton Plan, which was used to both reward loyalists and punish Mau Mau.

On 12 December 1964 the Republic of Kenya was proclaimed, and Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya’s first president.  At Kenyatta’s death in 1978, Daniel Arap Moi became President. DanieL Arap Moi retained the Presidency, being unopposed in elections held in 1979, 1983 (snap elections) and 1988, all of which were held under the single party constitution. The 1983 elections were held a year early, and were a direct result of an abortive military coup attempt on 1 August 1982.

Economy:

A major African nation, Kenya is classified as a developing and sometimes an emerging African nation. Its economy is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa and Kenya’s capital, Nairobi is a major commercial hub. The country traditionally produces world renowned tea and coffee. Recently, it has developed a formidable horticultural industry thereby becoming a major exporter of fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is driven by telecommunications sector which is one of the most successful and innovative in Africa.

Nairobi continues to be the primary communication and financial hub of East Africa. It enjoys the region’s best transportation linkages, communications infrastructure, and trained personnel. A wide range of foreign firms maintain regional branch or representative offices in the city.

A deal allowed for China’s state-controlled offshore oil and gas company, CNOOC, to prospect for oil in Kenya, which is just beginning to drill its first exploratory wells on the borders of Sudan and Somalia and in coastal waters. In the first quarter of 2010, China’s CNOOC discovered unconfirmed but significant quantities of natural gas in North Eastern Kenya. An ongoing assessment will determine whether the gas quantities are commercially viable before a formal announcement is made. The gas discovery has raised hopes for that it is only a matter of time before oil is discovered.

Kenya’s development assistance has come from increasingly diverse sources in recent years with China taking an increasingly more prominent role than the west. The share of funding provided by the United Kingdom has fallen significantly, while that of multilateral agencies, particularly the World Bank and the European Development Fund, has increased. The most active investors currently are the Chinese.

Agriculture in Kenya:

Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP), after the service sector. The principal cash crops are tea, horticultural produce, and coffee; horticultural produce and tea are the main growth sectors and the two most valuable of all of Kenya’s exports. The production of major food staples such as corn is subject to sharp weather-related fluctuations.

Tea, coffee, sisal, pyrethrum, corn, and wheat are grown in the fertile highlands, one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. Livestock predominates in the semi-arid savanna to the north and east. Coconuts, pineapples, cashew nuts, cotton, sugarcane, sisal, and corn are grown in the lower-lying areas.

Industry and manufacturing:

Kenya is the most industrially developed country in East Africa, manufacturing still accounts for only 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Industrial activity, concentrated around the three largest urban centers, Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, is dominated by food-processing industries such as grain milling, beer production, and sugarcane crushing, and the fabrication of consumer goods, e.g., vehicles from kits. There is a vibrant and fast growing cement production industry. Kenya has an oil refinery that processes imported crude petroleum into petroleum products, mainly for the domestic market.

Tourism:

Kenya has considerable land area of wildlife habitat, including the Masai Mara, where Blue Wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 blue wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. The “Big Five” animals of Africa can be found in Kenya and in the Masai Mara in particular: the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and game reserves in the country. The annual animal migration – especially migration of the wildebeest – occurs between June and September with millions of animals taking part.

Tourism has seen a substantial revival over the past several years and is the major contributor to the pick-up in the country’s economic growth. Tourism is now Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earning sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee.

Religion:

The vast majority of Kenyans are Christian with 45% regarding themselves as Protestant and 33% as Roman Catholic. Sizeable minorities of other faiths do exist (Muslim 10%, indigenous beliefs 10%), but estimates for the percentage of the population that adheres to Islam or indigenous beliefs vary widely.

NAIROBI:

Nickname:      The Green City in the Sun

Area: 696 km2

Population: 3,138,295 (2009)

Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi Province. The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to “the place of cool waters”. However, it is popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun” and is surrounded by several expanding villa suburbs.  The people of Nairobi are popularly nicknamed ‘Nairobians’.

Founded in 1899 as a simple rail depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda, the town quickly grew to become the capital of British East Africa in 1907 and eventually the capital of a free Kenyan republic in 1963. During Kenya’s colonial period, the city became a centre for the colony’s coffee, tea and sisal industry.

Nairobi is now one of the most prominent cities in Africa politically and financially. Home to many companies and organisations, including the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN Office in Africa, Nairobi is established as a hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and second oldest exchange.It is ranked fourth in terms of trading volume and capable of making 10 million trades a day.

After the end of World War II, this friction developed into the Mau Mau rebellion. Jomo Kenyatta, the future president, was jailed for his involvement even though there was no evidence linking him to the rebellion. Pressure exerted from the locals onto the British resulted in Kenyan independence in 1963, with Nairobi as the capital of the new republic.

After independence, Nairobi grew rapidly and this growth put pressure on the city’s infrastructure. The United States Embassy in Nairobi was bombed in August 1998 by Al-Qaida, as one of a series of U.S. embassy bombings. Over two hundred civilians were killed.

Tourism

Nairobi is not a prime tourist destination, but it does have several tourist attractions. The most famous is the Nairobi National Park. The national park is unique, in being the only game-reserve of this nature to border a capital city, or city of this size. The park contains many animals including lions, giraffes, and black rhinos. The park is home to over 400 species of bird. The Nairobi safari walk is a major attraction to the Nairobi national park as it offers a rare on-foot experience of the animals.

Places of interest:

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Museum

Uhuru Gardens

Karen Blixen Museum

Bomas of Kenya

Giraffe Centre

David Sheldrick Centre

Archers Post:  !!!!???? – please, let me know what you find there!!!

Accommodation in Archers Post (1)

Ewaso Ngiro Lodge

MARSABIT:

Marsabit is a town in northern Kenya, located 170 km east of the center of the East African Rift. It is located in the Eastern Province and is almost surrounded by the Marsabit National Park and Reserve. It serves as the capital of Marsabit District, and lies southeast of the Chalbi Desert in a forested area known for its volcanoes and crater lakes.

The town of Marsabit is an outpost of urban civilization in the vast desert of northern Kenya. The town is situated on an isolated extinct volcano, Mount Marsabit, which rises almost a kilometer above the sea of desert. The hills here are heavily forested, in contrast to the desert beyond, with their own “insular” eco-system.

In addition, Marsabit has an airstrip and a mountain peak (Mount Marsabit), with “singing” wells just outside the town. Elephants can also often be seen in the local wildlife refuge that surrounds the town, occasionally breaking down fences and causing damage to local farmer’s crop beds.

Marsabit is approximately 550 kilometers or two days’ drive from Nairobi via the towns of Isiolo and Archer’s Post, by either hanging on top of the trucks or hiking lift in government vehicles a list in transport.

Marsabit town is a trading and commercial center, with three petrol stations, a bank, post office, shops, restaurants, lodges and even a dry cleaner. The town facilitates the supply and movement of goods and services between Moyale (goods from Ethiopia) and Isiolo (goods from Nairobi). Agriculture also plays a role, as many grow millet and maize to be consumed locally and nomadic people supply beef by selling their cows.

Lake Paradise (which attracts game animals such as elephants and buffalo), and Bongole Crater located in the heart of the forest are both local attractions for tourists. The town and surrounding area are of rich cultural interest to anthropologists and other researchers.

WALDAA VILLAGE:

No Info to be found.

This area is inhabited by the Borana Oromo, also called the Boran, are a pastoralist group living in southern Ethiopia (Oromia) and northern Kenya.

The Oromo are an ethnic group found in Ethiopia, in northern Kenya, and to a lesser extent in parts of Somalia. With 30 million members, they constitute the single largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and approximately 34.49% of the population according to the 2007 census.

The Oromo are one of the Cushitic-speaking groups of people living in Northeast and East Africa. Cushitic speakers have inhabited parts of north-eastern and eastern Africa for as long as recorded history. Oromos are found predominantly in Ethiopia (99%) but are spread from as far as northern Ethiopia (southern Tigray Region) to northern Kenya, even as far south as Lamu Island. The Oromo represent one of the largest Cushitic-speaking groups inhabiting the Horn of Africa. Their physical features, culture, language and other evidences unequivocally point to the fact that they are indigenous to this part of Africa. Available information indicates that the Oromo existed as a community of people for thousands of years in East Africa and is a very ancient race.

Most of the information comes from Wikipedia, Wikitravel end Lonely Planet.

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