Have you recently decided that you are going to join the wonderful world of international volunteer programmes? Kenya is a very popular place to go, and for good reason. There’s so much to see and do there when you aren’t busy volunteering. Before you hop on that plane and jet off to this amazing country, we have a whole bunch of fun facts that will whet the appetite of those who are looking to find out some more about the place as well as those who just love general trivia.
Here are our fun facts about Kenya!
Fun Fact 1
Wangari Maathai, who is Kenyan, was the First African Woman to Win a Nobel Peace Prize back in 2004. She was a renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist.
Fun Fact 2
Did you know that Jambo is the most widely-used greeting? If you are greeting the locals when you are in Kenya, simply say Jambo! as this is the closest translation to hi/hello in the English language.
Fun Fact 3
If you are travelling from the UK to Kenya, it might be a welcome surprise to know that cars are driven on the left-handed side of the road, just like at home, so it won’t be as confusing for you!
Fun Fact 4
Kenya is the proud home of the world-famous Maasai Mara. Here you can find Big Five game animals; the Lion, elephant, leopard, black/white rhinoceros and buffalo. The Maasai Mara hosts an annual wildebeest migration.
The Wildebeest Migration, is one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World”; there’s no other place on the planet that has a movement of animals as enormous as the wildebeest migration, with more than two million animals migrating from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. This takes place from July through to October.
Maasai Mara is also where the Maasai people call home. The Maasai occupy a total land area of 160,000sq kilometres, with a population of approximately half a million people! They are well-known for being great warriors, the way they dress and their incredible jumping dance skills.
Fun Fact 5
Kenya boasts no fewer than 536KM of coastline. You might not think of Kenya straight away when you think of glamorous beach destinations, but Kenya has some truly incredible coastline that features beautiful white sand and enticing turquoise waters.
Diani Beach, Malindi and Watamu are just a handful of the hot picks when it comes to beach destinations included in this vast stretch of coastline.
Fun Fact 6
Around 54 -60 language varieties are spoken in Kenya! While some are closely related, the five largest groups, with more than a million speakers each, are:
· Kikuyu (20%)
· Luo (14%)
· Luyia (13%)
· Kamba (11%)
· Kalenjin (6%)
Swahili and English are the official languages of Kenya and around 16% of the population are able to competently speak English. Swahili is spoken as a first language mainly in coastal areas, however, it’s spoken as a second language by around 70% of Kenyans.
Fun Fact 7
Agriculture is a vital part of Kenya’s economy. This is an industry that the majority of locals work in. Coffee is recognised as one of the most valued exports in the country, while flowers and tea are also important products too.
Fun Fact 8
In Kenya, the seasons are a little different from the Western World. We see four; spring, summer, autumn and winter, but in Kenya, there are two distinct seasons; the rainy season and dry season.
Fun Fact 9
In Kenya, education is free. At the primary education level (8-14) it is also compulsory. Secondary school-level education is also free, but students don’t have to attend school once they get to this age (14) as it’s not mandatory.
Fun Fact 10
When you come to Kenya, you will learn about a staple meal called ugali. It’s widely regarded as a staple dish across all of East Africa, with Kenya sticking to this too.
You may well be wondering what this dish is. Well, ugali is a type of maize porridge which is typically served to accompany stews, meats and vegetables. It tastes salty and slightly chewy - resembling a texture similar to that of mashed potatoes - but a slightly coarser. It’s a must-have when you’re eating in Kenya!
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