Kenya Travel Information

Photo Welcome to Kenya, it straddles the equator and shares a border with Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Its coast is lapped by the Indian Ocean and it shares the vast waters of Lake Victoria with its western neighbors. The humid coastal belt includes the Tana River estuary and a string of good beaches for you to see.

The vast plains of the south are dotted with flat-topped acacia trees, thorn bushes and the distinctive bottle-shaped baobab tree. With the numerous game parks throughout the country, exotic wildlife can be found wherever you look. This is also common throughout the wilds of the country.

Kenya's climate varies enormously from place to place. The Rift Valley offers the most agreeable weather, while the arid bush lands and semi-desert regions can range from daytime highs of up to 40 degrees Celsius to lows of about 20 degrees Celsius at night.

English and Swahili are the languages taught throughout the country, but there are many other tribal languages. It's extremely useful for the traveler to have a working knowledge of Swahili, especially outside the urban areas and in remote parts of the country. Another language you'll come across is Sheng, spoken almost exclusively by the younger members of society. A fairly recent development, Sheng is a mixture of Swahili and English along with a fair sprinkling of other languages.

In 1999 Kenya had a labor force of 15.1 million people. Farming occupies 19 percent of the workers, most of whom earn their living by subsistence farming. According to government statistics, the number of people involved in wage labor totaled about 3 million in 1993. About half of these laborers earned their living in what is called the jua kali sector—that is, through informal employment as mechanics, metalworkers, or in some other small-scale skilled craft.

The Government of Kenya took some positive steps on reform, including the 1999 establishment of the Kenyan Anti-Corruption Authority, and measures to improve the transparency of government procurements and reduce the government payroll. In July 2000, the IMF signed a $150 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, and the World Bank followed suit shortly after with a $157 million Economic and Public Sector Reform credit. By early 2001, however, the pace of reform appeared to be slowing again, and the IMF and World Bank programs were in abeyance as the government failed to meet its commitments under the programs.

Important: Travel to Kenya may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Kenya visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Kenya
Capital city: Nairobi
Area: 580,367 sq km
Population: 43,013,341
Ethnic groups: Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African
Languages: English
Religions: Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, Muslim 10%, indigenous beliefs 10%, other 2%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Mwai KIBAKI
Head of Government: President Mwai KIBAKI
GDP: 71.21 billion
GDP per captia: 1,700
Annual growth rate: 4.4%
Inflation: 14%
Agriculture: tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables
Major industries: small-scale consumer goods
Natural resources: limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower
Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania
Trade Partners - exports: Uganda 9.9%, Tanzania 9.6%, Netherlands 8.4%, UK 8.1%, US 6.2%, Egypt 4.9%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4.2%
Trade Partners - imports: China 15.3%, India 13.8%, UAE 10.5%, Saudi Arabia 7.3%, South Africa 5.5%, Japan 4%