Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interesting Facts about Kenya

The term Kenya was borrowed from the Mount Kenya, which is the highest mountain in the country and the second highest in Africa, its highest peak teaching 5199m above sea level. The mountain, found in the central highlands region bears much significance since time immemorial. The Kikuyu community, which resides around the mountain, believed that their God lived on it, and so they considered it a holy place and would pray facing it. Well, with lots of tourist attractions, below are some interesting facts about this wonderful country that you might not have known.
  • The main food in Kenya is corn, and it is consumed in different forms. It can be turned into flour and made into a firm cake known as Ugali or be used to prepare porridge. It can also be boiled together with beans to make Githeri. Mukimo can also be prepared by boiling corn and beans and then mashed together with potatoes or bananas. Nyama Choma, 'roast meat' also commonly accompanies ugali.

  • Tea is the main hot beverage and is widely preferred than coffee. The beverages are taken warm or hot and never cold.
  • World heritage sites in Kenya include Lake Turkana National Park, Mount Kenya national Park, Lamu old town, fort Jesus, sacred Mijikenda Kaya forest and Kenya’s Rift Valley Lake system.
  • Kenya boasts one of the wonders of the world, the Wildebeest Migration in the Masai Mara game reserve.

  • The American president Barrack Obama’s father was a Kenyan.
  • Kenya boasts over 50 National parks and game reserves and is home to the big five, namely Elephant, Lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo.
  • Some of the world’s best known archaeological sites are found in Kenya such as Koobi Fora, Hyrax hill, Lake Turkana, and Turkana basin
  • English and Swahili are the official languages in Kenya. The indigenous languages are also spoken widely.
  • Majority of the population comprises Christians, followed by Muslims, and Asians. Of the Christians, majority are Protestants, followed by Catholics.
  • The Capital City of Kenya is Nairobi, located in the central region, and hosts the Jomo Kenyatta international Airport, the biggest in East Africa.

  • Kenya’s main port is Mombasa, and boasts one of the deepest natural harbors in the world.
  • There is also an inland port in Kisumu, along Lake Victoria, the biggest lake in Africa, and a source of River Nile, the longest river in the world.
  • The Great Rift Valley runs through Kenya.
  • The Late Professor Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to win a Nobel peace prize in the year 2004.
  • Kenya boasts some of the best track athletes in world, and has won in major competitions such as long distance races at the Olympics.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The National Museum Of Kenya-Nairobi

There are a number of museums in Kenya, where one can learn so much cultural and historical information about this wonderful country. The National Museum of Kenya is located in Nairobi, around Museum Hill. It is worth paying a visit on a Nairobi excursion. It is set on a beautiful environment, overlooking a river on one side and a flyover road on another.  In the same environment, there is also the Nairobi snake park and a Botanical garden. There are also curio shops where one can buy carvings, ornaments, and other works of art and crafts. The Museum is so full of information that by the time you leave, you will have learnt a big part of Kenya’s history as well as culture.

There is a section with a vast collection of Kenyan birds. There are thousands of bird species in Kenya. The preserved birds are enclosed in a unit with a glass front. They are categorized in their families and species, and a description put beside them, containing their names, diet, physical characteristics, habitats and place they are found in Kenya. This just shows what a bird watcher’s paradise Kenya is. There are also preserved mammals in the museum, such as a buffalo, okapi, baboon, monkeys, zebras, lions and others. There are also the remains of an elephant that was christened the name Mohammed. It was given 24 hour protection in the later years during the 1970s. The late president Jomo Kenyatta declared this in a bid to curb poaching of elephants.

There is also a section of the history of Kenya. These date from the pre colonial period to the recent past. It captures life before the coming of Europeans to Africa, the colonial period, fight for independence, and post colonial period. There is a fantastic structure of the Kenya-Uganda railway, which ends in a painting on the wall, depicting how it was built. There are also pictures of war heroes in the struggle of independence. Standing out was the jacket and pair of shorts of Dedan Kimathi, a prominent figure in the independence struggle. There are also pictures of MauMau detention camps, and so much more. There is a gallery displaying guns that were used at that period.

The cultural section displays items such as traditional music instruments that are used by various tribes in Kenya. There is also a display of clothing and ornaments. Beaded ornaments that are used by the Masai and Samburu are also on display. Traditional medicine that was used by medicine men is displayed. Charms and amulets that were used either for bewitching others or keeping the evil spirits at bay will be found here. Besides all these, the main foods consumed by Kenyan people are also shown. A picture gallery also shows exemplary Kenyan sportsmen.

There is a theatre where documentaries are shown. These documentaries focus on diverse topics such as Kenya’s history, especially the independence struggle, cultural practices such as circumcision and weddings, wildlife in Kenya and so on.

Lastly, there is an art gallery where paintings by Kenyan artists are displayed. They are mainly for sale and come with varying prices. The name of the artist and the title is also displayed. The National Museum of  Kenya is certainly a fabulous place to visit for all and is fantastic for a family safari in Kenya.