According to shoe-wiki, Kenya is located on the east coast of the African continent at the equator. Moreover, the equator runs right in the middle of the country and divides it into two almost equal parts. Physically, Kenya consists of several zones. The Great Rift Valley stretches from north to south and in some places reaches 65 km wide and 600-900 m deep. This is perhaps the most beautiful part of the country, dotted with lakes, on the banks of which the world’s largest colony of pink flamingos lives. To the east of the Great Rift Valley is the extinct volcano Mount Kenya, 5199 m high, which is the second highest mountain in Africa. This is the most fertile part of Kenya. To the south, the Great Rift Valley turns into the savannah that personifies Kenya, and is used as an endless pasture.
From the east, the country is washed by the waters of the Indian Ocean. The coast of Kenya is simply magnificent and conducive to relaxation: white sand beaches stretch for more than 480 km, and the warm sea (water temperature never drops below 25-24 degrees) is protected from sharks by coral reefs.
In the central part of the country (where most of the national parks are located) the climate is very even without large seasonal fluctuations with temperatures of 21-26°C all year round. There is neither heat nor cold here. By some estimates, it has the best climate in the world. On the coast of the ocean, the temperature is even all year round – 27-31 degrees, the climate is more humid than on the continental part of the country. There are two rainy seasons: “big” in April-June, and “small” in November, but in Kenya there are practically no long, prolonged rains. During these periods, as a rule, it rains at night, while in the daytime their duration does not exceed 1 hour.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Kenya is rightly called the front door of Africa. The pearl of the country is its national parks with a fantastic world of wildlife. Most of the country’s territory is occupied by savannah. The slopes of Mount Elgon and Mount Kenya are covered with evergreen forests up to a height of 2000 m, and then up to 3000 m there are bamboo forests, after which ragwort and giant lobelia (large prickly corn with pineapple leaves) begin to grow.
The fauna of Kenya is no less diverse than the flora. In the savannah, you can see the “big five”: lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos. In addition to the “five”, cheetahs, gazelles, giraffes, zebras, warthogs and a great many other animals live in Kenya. It is a mistake to think that the Kenyan savannah is teeming with snakes. In fact, snakes can be seen mainly in special parks where they are kept in large cages. To meet a snake in the wild is considered a great success, which falls to the lot of only a few.
The quality of food in Kenya is excellent. Fruits and vegetables have a significant difference in taste from vegetables and fruits sold in Europe. This is especially true for avocados, mangoes, pineapples and coconuts. You can taste Kenyan meat in small restaurants outside the cities, where it is cooked simply inimitable. Sometimes Kenyan cuisine includes such unusual foods as the meat of zebra, crocodile, ostrich, warthog, giraffe and some other wild animals. In particular, the restaurant Carnivore (Predator) in Nairobi offers meat from African wild animals. Prices in restaurants are not high. Dinner will cost you from $2 in an ordinary restaurant or bar to $20-25 in an expensive one. The main products are rice, potatoes, maize (corn), chicken, beef or goat meat. Some restaurants will serve you spinach and sukumaviki (a green vegetable that looks a bit like cabbage). A cheap restaurant differs from an expensive one not in the quality of food, but in variety. The menu of an inexpensive restaurant has a limited choice of dishes and no vegetables and salads.
In addition to national dishes in Kenya, there are also dishes characteristic of a region or tribe. The most interesting from a gastronomic point of view is Swahili cuisine, which is based on coconuts and tamarinds. In the Kikuyu tribe, Irio is very popular – a mixture of potatoes, peas and corn. At Luo you can try fried tilapia (fish) with spicy tomato sauce and quench corn porridge.
Soft drinks and freshly squeezed fruit juices are quite cheap and are sold literally everywhere. Bottled water is sold everywhere except in small villages and costs about $1 for a 1.5 liter bottle. In Kenya, Tusker, White Car and Pilsener local beers are very common and have an exquisite taste. A large number of wine varieties are produced, most of which are sweet and fruity. Papaya wine stands out in particular. The best of the grape wines is Naivasha (white and red).
Spirits imported from abroad are very expensive. But you can buy fine local Kenya Cane rum or very high quality coffee liqueur Kenya Gold.
When visiting Kenya, it is worth trying the local drink chang’aa, the main components of which are maize and sugar. It is said to be so strong that one could die from tasting it. Much more palatable is pombe (beer) brewed with sugar, millet, or bananas.
National currency – Kenyan shilling; 1 USD = about 50 – 60 KSh.
Time in Kenya in winter coincides with Moscow, and in summer it is 1 hour behind, which greatly facilitates acclimatization.