Did you know that over 60 languages are spoken in Kenya? This is just one of the many fascinating facts you’re about to learn about the country. Keep reading to find out more.
🇰🇪 People and Culture
Kenya is a true melting, a richly diverse country steeped in the traditions of its people.
Traveling across the vast expanse of the country, you’ll feel the diversity for yourself in the distinct traditions, dress, and personalities of the people you meet.
1. The population of Kenya is 47.5 Million
According to the 2019 census, this is an increase from 38.6 million in 2010.
2. There Are 47 Tribes in Kenya
At least, these are the ones officially recognized by the government. However, there are many more fighting for full recognition. Read the full list here.
3. Kenyans Speak at Least 68 Languages
Again, its probably more than that.
The official languages of Kenya are Kiswahili and English.
4. The Kenyan Flag
The Kenyan flag symbolizes peace, unity, and defence of the nation.
The black represents the Kenyan people; the red represents the blood spilled in the fight for Kenya’s freedom and independence; and the green represents the natural beauty and wealth of Kenya.
The traditional Maasai shield and spears at the centre represents the defence of all these.
The flag’s design is a combination of elements from the Kenyan African National Union (KANU) – the political party that led the fight for Kenyan independence – and Marcus Garvey’s Pan-African movement, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.
The Kenyan flag was officially adopted when Kenya gained independence in 1963. It’s a deeply symbolic flag, with numerous layered meanings behind its design.
Kenyans are very proud of their flag, and you will see it everywhere, including the bead bracelets that are a popular fashion across the country.
🏞️ Geography and Wildlife
Like everywhere in Africa, Kenya is much bigger than it looks at most maps.
Its huge, with diverse landscapes full of spectacular beauty and exotic animals.
5. Kenya Borders 5 Countries
To the West, Kenya is bordered by Uganda and a little bit of South Sudan; to the south you’ll find Tanzania; and in the north Ethiopia and Somalia. You’ll see influences from each country throughout Kenya.
6. Kenya Has 1,420 km of Coastline
Along this coastline, you’ll find many beautiful beach resorts, including Lamu, Watamu, Kilifi, and Diani.
7. Kenya Has 25 National Parks
You probably know some of the famous ones: Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Hell’s Gate, Nairobi National Park.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Kenya also has 18 smaller national reserves, and 6 marine parks dotted throughout the country.
8. Kenya is home to all the Big Five
Elephant, Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, and Rhino – you can see them all here.
The Big Five didn’t get their nickname because of their sizes. They were considered by early poachers to be the most difficult but rewarding catches.
*Bonus Fact: Nairobi National Park is the national park in the world that’s in a city. *
Kenya is an economic powerhouse, and one of the biggest economies in Africa.
9. Kenya’s No.1 Export Is…. Coffee!
In the past, coffee has mostly been regarded as a commodity to be exported, with Kenyans showing very little interest in drinking it themselves.
Coffee is gaining popularity, however, with speciality coffee shops springing up all over Nairobi and the Coast.
Kenyans looooove talking about politics and you’ll quickly get a crash course in every possible scandal, feud and corruption case in the country.
10. The Current President of Kenya is Uhuru Kenyatta
Mr. Kenyatta is the son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta. Because Kenyan’s presidents have a two-term limit and Uhuru Kenyatta is serving his second term, he won’t be up for re-election in Kenya’s 2021 general election.
Religions in Kenya are almost as diverse as the people practising them.
11. Kenya is a Predominantly Christian Country
Over 85% of Kenyans identify as practising Christians.
Islam is the Second Largest Religion in Kenya, with 10.91% of Kenyans adhering.
12. Kenya is Becoming Slightly More Secular
Based on the 2019 census, at least 1.5% of Kenyans identify as non-religious or irreligious. This is nearly four times more than in the previous census.
🧐 Frequently Asked Questions
Kenya is named after Mt. Kenya, which was sacred to the Kikuyu people living in its foothills. However, the Kikuyu called the mountain Kirinyaga, which means ‘Mountain of Whiteness’.
Then the British turned up. Apparently, nobody in the British colonial government could pronounce Kiringaya, and it quickly became ‘Kenya’ instead. Eventually, in 1920, they decided to name the whole colony Kenya.
So it stuck
Do You Know Any Surprising Facts About Kenya?
Share them in the comments and we’ll add them to the list.