That Kenya is a "land of contrasts" is not a traveller's guidebook cliche. The country straddles the equator, lies between parallels four degrees South and North. The south-easterly shores are washed by the Indian ocean, and to the East Kenya shares the waters of Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake in the world, with Uganda and Tanzania. The vegetation varies from the dense tropical forests of the Arabuko Sokoke forest reserve and the mangrove forests along the coast, to the shrubbery of the arid desert lands of the North to the thick mountainous forests and alpine vegetation along the slopes of the snow-capped Mount Kenya. Kenya's landscape ranks among the most fascinating and diverse the world over: from the low lying coastlands to the snow-capped Mt Kenya that rises to 17,058 ft above sea level. From the tree-dotted plains to the jagged escarpment that marks the sudden drop into the floor of the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley with its alkaline lakes. With such contrasting topography, Kenya has an equally varied climate. The humid and hot coastal belt greatly contrasts the highlands where the temperatures could be as low as five degrees centigrade! The Lake Victoria region has tropical storms, while the north has a typical desert climate where rain at times does not fall for periods of up to one year. And Kenya boasts some of the richest and diverse varieties of game. The game reserves abound with elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, lions, leopards, cheetahs and are also home of the rare green turtle, the endangered sable and hirola antelope and over a thousands of bird species.Kenya has over 40 indegenous ethnic communities, these distinct communities speak close to 80 different languages and dialects. Then there are the migrant Arabic, Asiatic and European people. Like light filtering through a prism the different communities display diverse cultures that blend to form the rainbow that is this multi-ethnic and multi-racial nation. Kenya's history stretches back to the origin of man. Archaeological excavation at Koobi Fora discovered the remains of Homo Habilis, the ancestor of modern man who walked the northern Kenyan arid lands at least a million years ago! The well preserved dig contrasts sharply with the urban sky-scrapers and modern infrastructure to be found in Nairobi, the capital city.

Kenya - The Country
The British colonial policy was based on control of the source of the river Nile as part of the strategic protection of the Suez Canal. It was believed that whichever power controlled the Nile controlled Egypt. In order to gain this control Britain entered into agreements with the rulers of the kingdoms in present-day Kenya's neighbour, Uganda. The British efforts then completely ignored Kenya as of no significance. It was the need for an outlet to the ocean that suddenly transformed the strategic planning in the region. However, it was not until 1895 that Kenya was declared a British colony. When Kenya attained independence in 1963 it opted for the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy which has been in place since then the country has enjoyed political stability and relative calm. It has a fast developing middle class and is already the commercial capital of the East African region.

Kenya Wildlife Service
Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve
Wildlife is one of the country's most precious national and international heritage. Kenya Wildlife service is charged with the protection and conservation of the country's bio-diversity as presented by its fauna and flora. KWS's role is as diverse as the country itself. The organisation's conservation programmes which are well documented have yielded very successful results with regard to saving endangered and threatened species such as the sable, hirola and roan antelopes - and, of course, the rhino, elephant and the giant sea turtles - as well as working with communities to meet the country's conservation goals. To give a feel of Kenya's diversity, let's take a journey through the country, region by region, to see what Kenya has to offer the visitor seeking a lifetime experience. Some 120 kilometres north of Mombasa lies the largest surviving stretch of coastal forest in East Africa, the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve. Arabuko Sokoke and Mida Creek comprises an ecosystem of great diversity, containing many rare species of butterflies, amphibians and plants. While Arabuko Sokoke is home to a large number of fascinating "dudus" (invertebrates) it is its diversified bird-life for which the forest is locally and internationally known. With a high concentration of endangered bird species, Arabuko Sokoke is classified as one of the two most important sites for bird conservation in Africa.
If you were to come to Kenya by sea you would land at the port of Mombasa as millions of others have done since the fifth century. Mombasa was the door to the Persians, the Phoenicians, the Arabs, and in the 16th century the first European explorers. Its deep harbour, well protected by a coral reef, made it a natural place for the establishment of one of the city states that dotted the coast.The influence of Arabia is all too pervasive as one walks through the narrow streets of Mombasa Old Town. The architecture is heavily influenced by the Islamic culture as are the bui-bui covered women and kafiyeh and kanzu-clad men.The imposing figure of Fort Jesus stands sullenly overlooking the entrance of the old harbour. It is a reminder of days long gone when Mombasa was a military might.The fort was built by the Portuguese to defend the island from the Omani Arabs.

Today it is a museum and houses the memorabilia of centuries of conflict between forces keen to control the whole East African coast and passage to the Far East. If you choose to experience the abundance of the marine life then you could never be at a better place than the Kenya coast.
Marine Parks & Reserves
Kenya was the first African country to create marine parks and reserves to protect the sensitive aquatic ecosystems. The country now has seven Marine National Parks and Reserves. Beneath the placid waters a whole universe unfolds. Beautifully coloured coral reefs, weeds and fantastically coloured fish swim in abundance.The Kenyan coast is rich with turtles, dugongs, dolphins and whale sharks. Also to be found in the area are the virtually extinct actococcans. There are two groups of whales, the baleen whale and the toothed whale. A diving safari here is unforgettable.
Shimba Hills National Reserve

Some 30 minutes south of Mombasa we are in Shimba Hills National Reserve. Within the Reserve is the
67-bed Shimba Lodge. This is the only tree hotel along the Kenyan coast. All the rooms overlook the water holes and allow for unrestricted game viewing. Our journey next takes us to the North of Mombasa island. We stop to walk through the mystical Gede ruins. The ruins, which were only discovered recently, show evidence of a flourishing civilisation that inexplicably waned in the 16th century.
Tsavo East
Tsavo East is one of Kenya's oldest and largest parks. It covers some 11,747 square kilometres. Its beautiful landscapes and scenic beauty, along with its proximity to the coast, makes it a popular safari destination for beach tourists. Tsavo entered "frontier" lore as the place where two lions killed and ate close to 50 workers who were constructing the Kenya-Uganda Railway at the turn of the century. These lions have been immortalised in the book, Man-Eaters of Tsavo written by Colonel JH Patterson. Here bushy grassland and open plains alternate with semi-arid acacia scrub and woodland. Green swathes cross the park where the river banks give rise to bush vegetation. The open expanse of savannah is the favourite hunting ground of the lioness. The lucky visitor would witness this great beast stalk and run-down her prey. Other game includes elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo, zebra, kudu, gerenik and the hirola. There is abundant and luxurious accommodation in true safari style. The Safari Lodge is ideal for those who prefer the less safari-ish atmosphere of the tented camps. Tented camps include Satao luxury tented camp at Mkwaju, Galdesa, Epiya Chapeyu and Westerveld on the Galana River. KWS also operates a number of campsites.
Tsavo West
Tsavo West has important historical connections as a major battleground between British and German soldiers during World War I. The animals found in Tsavo West are basically the same as in Tsavo East. However, the Cheetah amongst all these animals is associated more with Tsavo West. Mzima Springs, is a star attraction, and probably the most visited site in Tsavo West. Like an oasis in the middle of the semi-arid grassland, the fountain of cool clear water is refreshing. The water makes its way for miles underground from the snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. There is a lot that is magical at Mzima Springs, the icing on the cake being the underwater observatory from which you can see hippos, schools of fish and crocodiles frolicking in their natural habitat.

There are three high-class lodges within the park with a bed capacity of 276. There are also four tented lodges with a total of 154 beds. For those keen to get closer to nature there are several campsites, plus three self-help bandas.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli is one of the most popular parks in Kenya. The principal attraction here are the vast herds of buffaloes and elephants with Mt Kilimanjaro in the backdrop. Difficult as it is to believe, Mt Kilimanjaro is almost on the equator but is snow-capped all year. Apart from herds of elephants which attracts many visitors, birdwatchers too have a field day at Amboseli. Amboseli has four exquisite lodges with a total of 602 beds for the more luxurious evenings.There are also a number of tented lodges located just outside the park. From any of the lodges one has a beautiful sight of the water hole and the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Mt. Kenya National Park
The most dominant land feature in Kenya is the snow capped Mt. Kenya. The mountain has always been enigmatic. To the local people Mt. Kenya was the seat of God. It had the name "Kere Nyaga" or seat of God. When the first European explorers reported back to Europe that there was a snow-capped mountain astride the equator, their findings were treated with scepticism. How could there be snow on the equator! Mt. Kenya rises to 17,058 ft. It is the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro. Mt. Kenya, and its two adjacent salients, make up the Mt. Kenya National Park. It is possible to get well over half the height of the rugged mountain on an all-weather road without leaving the comfort and security of a car. Visitors can enjoy getting in touch with raw nature under the watchful eyes of KWS rangers who will offer protection and guidance if needed. There are black and white colobus and sykes monkey, bush-buck, buffalo, elephant olive baboons, water-buck, black fronted duiker, leopard, giant forest hog, genet cat, bush pig, hyena and the bongo - a rare type of forest antelope. Nature has done a great deal to make Mt. Kenya National Park an indescribable paradise.KWS has introduced more activities in the park. You now have a choice between guided nature walks, bird watching, mountaineering, biking, horseback safaris, up-market fishing at Lake Alice and normal lake and river fishing.

The Park, which is only 175 kilometres from Nairobi, has a wide choice of accommodation from five-star Mt. Kenya Safari Club, to several lodges, bandas and African huts.
Aberdares National Park
Aberdares National Park is famed as the place where the then Princess Elizabeth visited one February evening in 1952 and left next morning as Queen following her father÷s death in England. The Aberdares is not only ideal for educational visits, it also has great potential for research in both animals and plants. From the moorlands walks can be made to the highest point in the North Satima 13,120 ft and the Kinangop 12,860 ft to the South. The world famous Treetops Lodge and The Ark are situated right in the park and offer an exquisite stay. Camp Tusk is a six-bed banda located on the edge of the salient and on route to the moorlands. It is ideal for smaller and/or family groups.Special campsites used by royalty from whom some of the camps derive their names include the Prince Charles and the Queen Beatrix. All the special campsites are located in the Aberdares forest salient and a few public campsites exist on the moorland.

According to the Kikuyu people folklore, the Aberdare ranges are one of the homes of ”Ngai’, or God. A visit to the Aberdares would convince one that there could be some truth in that belief.
Lake Nakuru National Park
From the 14,000ft. Aberdare ranges our journey takes us down the Laikipia escarpment into the bottom of the Rift Valley. Its floor is dotted with alkaline lakes. The most famous of these lakes is Lake Nakuru which is the home of the world-renowned Lesser Flamingo. In order to protect the birds, Lake Nakuru National Park was established. The park is a beacon for ornithologists, scientists and wildlife film makers.It offers an attractive range of wooded and bush grassland around the lake - offering wide ecological diversity from Lake water, woodland to the rocky escarpment and ridges.

The park, 157 kilometres west of Nairobi,has two lodges with a total of 244-bed capacity. There are also all categories of accommodation in the nearby Nakuru town.
Hell's Gate National Park
The name Hell's Gate even for a National Park must conjure horrid images that makes it sound like a no-go place. And in a way, those who thought of it as a gate way to hell could be excused. With all the hissing steam from the underground and dungeon like caves; not to mention pillars of stones that threaten to unleash their masses to any creature within their vicinity - it is hard to imagine a more hellish environment. The Hell÷s Gate National Park is only an hour÷s drive out of Nairobi. It is popular with those who love not only to go game viewing, but also who enjoy nature and picnicking in the beautiful and picturesque scenery of the Park. The scenic beauty of Hell÷s Gate has attracted a number of film producers to the park to shoot segments of their movies.Among the films shot at Hell÷s Gate National Park are Sheena, Queen of the Jungle and The Elephant Boy shot in 1984 and 1994 respectively.One unique aspect of this 68 sq. kilometre park is that unlike most of the parks, this is a"Walking" park. Despite the abundance of wildlife, it is considered safe enough for visitors to walk around the park provided one does not make undue noise or any threatening gestures. There have been no incidents of animal attacks on visitors since the park was opened in 1987. This is what makes Hell's Gate ideal for nature lovers and eco-tourists.

There is no accommodation within the park; however, the fabulous range of nearby hotel lodges, luxury ranch and home-stays around Lake Naivasha provide ample accommodation for all budgets.
Some of the country's most picturesque lands are in the western region. Here we arrive at the water-head of Lake Victoria. The great water mass influences the climate in this region. The blazing sun causes evaporation and as the humidity rises, a cool wind blows from the surrounding semi-circle of hills. This causes the torrential rains and thunderstorms so common in the area.
Kisumu Impala Sanctuary
This famous sanctuary was established to provide a habitat for impala which for years roamed the outskirts of the town. In addition to impala, the sanctuary provides grazing grounds for hippos from the nearby lake and home for a variety of birds, small mammals and reptiles. This unique sanctuary also acts as a holding point for captured problem animals from the surrounding region. A journey into the lake will take you to a place more like paradise - The Ndere Island.
Ndere Island National Park
Ndere Island is only 4.2 square kilometres and is one of the many islands on the lake. This small Island National Park is home to the impala and the sitatunga, as well as hippos and crocodiles. Ndere Island is famous for its abundance of bird species. Fish eagles and a dense population of swifts abound. KWS scientists are still recording the number of birds species on this Island of great scenic beauty.
Ruma National Park
Ruma National Park lies within the Lambwe valley, covers 120 square kilometres and is ten kilometres from the shores of Lake Victoria. The park has an abundance of wildlife species which include buffalo, topi, Jackson÷s hartbeast, Rothschild giraffe, reedbuck, oribi, hyena and leopard among others. It is particularly famous for its unique herds of Roan antelope for which the park is the last home. KWS is undertaking a special project at the park to protect the endangered roan antelope in Kenya. Ruma is one of the least crowded parks in the country and must be heaven to the eco-tourist. The famous Rusinga Island with its excellent Nile perch (Mbuta) fishing is only 45 kilometres away. Apart from camping and wildlife viewing, Ruma also offers excellent opportunities for hiking and walking. We get back to Kisumu and head due west through the Nandi escarpment. The journey takes us through beautiful landscape. The vegetation gradually changes as we approach the Kakamega Forest.
Kakamega Forest National Reserve
Kakamega Forest National Reserve covers some 250 sq. kilometres. The reserve is 418 kilometres west of Nairobi. The reserve was established to protect the only surviving tropical forest in Kenya, a remnant of the rain-forests that once stretched from West Africa through Zaire and Uganda all the way to the Indian Ocean. It is now a refuge to many endangered species of animals and plants. Kakamega Forest famous for its bird-life has some

145 species found nowhere else in Kenya. The forest is also home to a variety of butterflies, some exceptionally rare.

This forest Reserve also has over 30 species of snakes whose relations are only found in West Africa. It is home to the deadly gabon viper and the black mamba. Also found here are rare species of primates such as the Red-tailed monkey and the Blue monkey.
Mt Elgon National Park
This park is unique, with its magnificent Kitum and Makingeny caves and natural salt-licks and nesting sites for birds. The caves and the mammals that enter them, including elephants, are a major tourist attraction. Mt. Elgon is also home to buffalo, bush-buck, duiker and primates including the endangered De-Braza monkey, blue monkey, black and white colobus monkey and olive baboon. For visitors wishing to enjoy a more active holiday, the park offers wonderful climbing opportunities. With its thick forests, Mt Elgon is a major water catchment area for Western Kenya. The Nzoia, Turkwel, Kerio and Suam rivers which empty into Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana have their sources here. The experience of Mt Elgon is unforgettable.
There are altogether eight game parks and reserves in Northern Kenya namely Nosolot, South Turkana, Losai Arawale and Marsabit National Reserves. Others are Sibiloi, Central Island and South Island National Parks. These parks are known for their great scenic beauty, desert landscape, crater lakes as wll as their historic import. Sibiloi and Marsabit are perhaps the most representative.
Marsabit National Reserve
Marsabit is 620 kilometres due north from Nairobi. It is a forested mountain which rises spectacularly from the middle of a desert wilderness. It has three beautiful crater lakes with a myriad of resident birdlife. In the local language Marsabit means "Mountain of Cold". It is like an oasis in the middle of a desert as it is the only source of permanent surface water in the region. Marsabit is ideal for game viewing. Elephants and greater kudu are the most prominent species. Other game include giraffe, bushbuck, leopard and carcal. Over 370 bird species have been recorded and a special treat is the rare lammergeyer vulture. The park is especially good for butterfly viewing, with a wide variety of species.
Sibiloi, Central Island and South
Island National Parks
Sibiloi National Park is one of the world's greatest treasures where proof of man÷s origin was found. It has unique pre-historic and archaeological sites. Sibiloi's shores also provide a habitat for a diverse aquatic birdlife, crocodiles and hippos, while zebra, topi oryx, giraffe, greater kudu and Grant÷s gazelle occupy the terrestrial habitats.

The three parks, Sibiloi, Central Island and South Island, form a single complex that is unified by Lake Turkana. The two Islands lie within the lake. Central Island is a 5-kilometre park, while South Island covers an area of 39.8 kilometres. Lakeshore habitats form the long Western boundary of Sibiloi National Park. Lake Turkana, which is 265 km. long with an average width of 35km, contains 60 species of fish and provide the lifeline for thousands of flamingos, pelicans, ducks and other water birds. Central Island has three scenic crater lakes, namely crocodile, flamingo and tilapia.The Island is an important breeding ground for crocodiles. Turtles are also found in the lake waters.
South Island is mainly barren rock with very scarce vegetation but a great scenic landscape. These three parks are 882 kilometres north of Nairobi have all weather airstrips and are more easily reached by air. The parks are popular for adventure safaris, but the rough and tough terrain makes them accessible only on 4WD for those who do not wish to fly. The parks are also great for hiking, biking, camping, sport fishing, bird watching and archaeological and geological safaris. Camel and horse safaris are also available and can be arranged with a tour operator. Boat trips in the lake are also available. The accommodation is as interesting as the place itself. The Alia Bay has three campsites. Our journey draws to a close as we leave the northern region of Kenya. Seeing the cradle of mankind along the Sibiloi is an eye-opening experience. We realise that Man has come a long way since those days when our forefathers rose up and began forever to walk on their legs. The Kenyan experience is a once in a lifetime experience, something that should not be missed.
Visitor Information
Travel Documents
Passport are a necessity.
Check with your Travel Agent if you need a visa.
Car Hire
Car hire available at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi and Moi International Airport, Mombasa.
Electric power in Kenya is 40 volts.
Electric appliances should be the three-pin 13-amp type.
Currency & Banks
The unit of currency is the Kenya Shilling.
Check with your bank on the prevailing exchange rates.
Many international banks have branches in Kenya and most credit cards are accepted.
Largely Christian with Islam coming second.
English and Kiswahili are the official languages.
Safari Seasons
Kenya offers an all-year-round holiday.
Main Holiday Sports
Fishing, mountaineering, sailing, swimming, snorkelling, surfing, golf, cricket, polo, hockey, squash and game walks. Fitness clubs are available in Nairobi and Mombasa. Some major hotels in the country have fitness facilities.
Kenya is three hours ahead of GMT.
Valid yellow fever vaccination is required if you arrive from infected or yellow fever area. Consult your doctor on antimalaria medicine.
Verbal declaration is required to be made on things carried and one may be required to open luggage for inspection by customs officials. Importation of firearms into Kenya is prohibited.
We cannot do justice to what Kenya has to offer in this limited space. We hope, however, that this serves as an exciting eye opener. One really has to experience it to enjoy the beauty and magic of this great land of contrasts. When you come, come with a spirit of adventure, a childlike curiosity and time to spare, because it would be a shame to rush this lifetime experience. Welcome, or in Swahili - KARIBU!

For more information please contact:
P.O. Box 40241, NAIROBI, KENYA Phone: 254 2 504164
Fax: 254 2 501752