Welcome to Volume One of ‘Best of Kenya’
‘Best of Kenya’ is a celebration of the success of varied and valued enterprises in both Publisher: Intermac Communications Limited
private and public sectors and sets a trend we will continue in the coming months with
Volume II. Sales Director: Simon Mugo
Sales Team: Chris Nyaoro, Leonard Sichemo,
We are all proud to join the distinguished GVP family and, through showcasing success in Shane Mwigereri, Derrick Wanjawa
enterprise and entrepreneurship, play a role in marketing Kenya to the rest of the world as
a place where business survives and thrives. Editorial Director: W Kwendo Opanga
We hope that by celebrating these success stories and taking their uniqueness to the Editorial Team: Matthew Gathigira, Mike Ngwalla,
world, we will encourage many more entrepreneurs and enterprises to devise ways and Matiko Bohoko
means of joining the very best locally and globally.
Administration: Josephine Wambui, Stephen Otieno
Please sit back and enjoy the features on and images of articles on Kenya, its sporting
Creative Direction: Allan Anjeo, Extreme Designs
prowess, uniqueness, banks, hotels, education, birthplace of Barrack Obama Snr, the
father of the 44th President of the United States of America, among other delightful Photography: Walter Boermeester, Yahya Mohamed,
articles. Sam Ouma, Noor Khamis, Kenya Tourism Board, Kenya
Film Commission, Department of Film Services.
We single out one enterprise for special mention. This is the story of Ranalo Foods, a
well liked eatery in Nairobi that is run by an amiable and humble couple that started their Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the
business from the humblest of beginnings and locations. accuracy of the information in Best of Kenya Vol.1.
Neither Best of Kenya nor Intermac Communications
In Volume II we will dwell at length on Kenya as a tourist destination and also look at the Limited can take responsibility for any errors or
government’s blueprint – Vision 2030 - for transforming the country into a developed
nation by 2030.
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Best of Kenya 1
O God of all creation,
Bless this our land and nation.
Justice be our shield and defender,
May we dwell in unity,
Peace and liberty,
Plenty be found within our borders.
Let one and all arise
With hearts both strong and true.
Service be our earnest endeavour,
And our Homeland of Kenya,
Heritage of splendour,
Firm may we stand to defend.
Let all with one accord
In common bond united,
Build this our nation together,
And the glory of Kenya,
The fruit of our labour,
Fill every heart with thanksgiving.
Best of Kenya 3
Foreword from the President
I am pleased to write a foreword for this attractive and
insightful publication about Kenya.
In this book, you will find many things said about Kenya, some of which may be new, and
others that you already know. It is my hope that the book will enable readers to broaden their
knowledge of our country and experience a new understanding and perception of Kenya and its
Kenya remains a relatively stable and peaceful nation, despite the challenges we have faced
over the years. The stability and success of our nation demonstrates that we are a resilient
people, and we are always ready to find solutions to our problems. And more importantly, we
have been swift to seize the challenges that confront us and transform them into opportunities
for enhancing the political, social, and economic development of our society.
In this respect, the Grand Coalition Government, working together with Parliament, passed
various legislation this year to enable the government to implement various reforms to ensure
transparency in the management of the affairs of our nation. I am confident that, as a people, we
are capable of overcoming the problems we face, and building a united, stable and prosperous
I therefore want to assure our friends and well-wishers that Kenyans are determined to uphold
our nationhood. We are committed to living in unity, while recognizing the diversity of our
people. Indeed, all of us, regardless of ethnicity, race or religion, are inextricably tied together,
with a common destiny. That destiny, as spelt out in Vision 2030, aims at building a prosperous
and equitable nation that is an example to the region and the world of what Africa is capable of
Accordingly, the theme of this publication is not only appropriate but also timely. Over the last
six years, the government has implemented a variety of reforms to make our country investor-
friendly. We welcome investors to take advantage of the unique and abundant opportunities we
offer to put their money in various sectors of our economy.
Indeed, Kenya is today one of Africa’s most well endowed countries in terms of human capital,
entrepreneurship and work ethic. The country has a large portfolio of investment opportunities,
ranging from the diverse natural resources and a vibrant agricultural sector to sophisticated
infrastructure as well as the financial and information services sectors.
In this regard, Nairobi has grown to become the region’s financial, transport and tourism hub,
while Mombasa is the gateway to the Eastern Africa region. Investors will find well developed
infrastructure, including roads, railways, air transport, and telecommunications linking Kenya to
the rest of Africa and the world. Investors will also be happy to know that Kenya has a large pool
of highly talented and skilled labour.
This publication is, therefore, also an invitation to investors, friends and well-wishers to
visit Kenya. I assure you that you will not be disappointed. Kenya is a land of contrasts – of
enchanting landscapes, a snow-capped mountain on the Equator, expansive savannas that are
home of the Big Five and countless, varied wildlife in their natural habitats that make Kenya a
true safari country.
Moreover, Kenya’s coastal region tells the story of hospitality and of timeless contacts with the
rest of the world, a story that is still eloquently told by the numerous historical monuments and
sites, while the beautiful, white sandy beaches and an all-year-round warm climate assure our
visitors a fun-filled holiday experience.
Welcome to Kenya.
H.E. Mwai Kibaki
President of the Republic of Kenya
4 Best of Kenya
Foreword from the Prime Minister
It is my pleasure to write the foreword to this useful fact-book on Kenya, especially at this
particular time when our country has regained its balance following the political crisis that
engulfed it in early 2008.
Kenya is back in business as a gateway to the vast and fast growing African market on the
eastern seaboard. We have reclaimed our reputation and position as the destination of choice
for investment, trade and tourism in Eastern and Central Africa.
We in Kenya firmly believe that the private sector provides the main engine for sustainable
economic growth. The Government of Kenya is firmly committed to working closely with both
the domestic and foreign private sector to generate wealth in the fight against poverty and
underdevelopment. Kenya offers guaranteed lower production and operational costs and faster
business set-up than most other countries, through the following measures:
• a one-stop-shop system for required licenses upon entry.
• a ten-year Corporate Tax holiday and a 25 per cent tax rate reduction for 10 years
• a ten-year withholding Tax holiday on non-resident remittances.
• duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption on imported or locally sourced raw materials,
construction equipment and other business inputs except motor vehicles and some fuels.
• a 100 per cent investment deduction on capital expenditure within 20 years.
• exemption from Stamp Duty.
The Government places great emphasis on providing a conducive and enabling environment
for business. Maintaining Kenya’s highly skilled labour force is a top priority alongside issues
of security, affordable energy supply, responsiveness of the public sector to business needs,
upgrading infrastructure and ensuring a pleasant multicultural environment to live in.
Kenya’s unique geographical position offers time flexibility in cross-interaction with businesses
in other time zones from Auckland in New Zealand to Los Angeles in the U.S., without loss of
sleep! Nairobi is the regional hub for air and sea transport for East, Central and Southern Africa,
offering daily air connections to West Africa and other parts of the world.
As a founder-member of the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern
and Southern Africa (COMESA), Kenya offers access to a vast market of more than 400 million
Kenya hosts a large number of regional bodies, multinationals and international organizations.
This, together with the multi-racial fabric of Kenyan society, makes most cities and urban
centres in this country global in matters of faith, education, culture, cuisine and character.
Welcome to Kenya! You will enjoy visiting or doing business in Kenya.
Raila Amolo Odinga
Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya
Best of Kenya 5
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6 Best of Kenya
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Best of Kenya 7
Best of Kenya
Kenya at a Glance Hotels and Resorts
Banking and Finance Technology
Property and Real Estate Media and Marketing
8 Best of Kenya
Dining and Eating Out Shopping and Retail
Coffee, Tea and Horticulture Corporate Profile
Transport and Logistics
Education and Training
Best of Kenya 9
Kenya at a Glance
Kenya at a Glance
POPULATION ECONOMY CURRENCY
Estimated in 2007 at 37,183,924 Free market enterprise Kenya shilling (at current rates KSh75
exchanges for One US dollar)
LAND AREA GOVERNMENT
591,383 square kilometres Coalition of parties LANGUAGES
English and Swahili are the main and
CAPITAL CITY PARLIAMENT official languages and there are over 40
Nairobi A single Chamber of 210 elected and 12 other local vernaculars
nominated Members whose term lasts
PRINCIPAL TOWNS five years
Nakuru MAIN GATEWAYS
Kisumu Jomo Kenyatta International Airport,
Moi International Airport, Mombasa
Wilson Airport, Nairobi
A version of this chapter was published
for the Brand Kenya Board under the title
Kenya: The World's Favourite Destination.
12 Best of Kenya
Inviting Savannah: Open and expansive
grasslands home to varied and valued game
Best safari time
A visit to Kenya is a truly unique and
unforgettable experience. The best times to
fulfill one’s lifetime dream for a great safari to
Kenya (ideally for two to three weeks) is July
to February, although the country is hospitable
and attractive to visitors throughout the year.
The time for an idyllic game viewing safari is
July to September, when one of the greatest
spectacles on earth takes place as more
than a million wild animals, mainly wildebeest
and zebra, cross the Mara River into Kenya’s
world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve.
The Great Migration has been classified the
Eighth Wonder of the World and is the only
living event among the Wonders, and also one
of the very oldest, far older even than Egypt’s
Kenya Airways, affectionately tagged
“The Pride of Africa”, flies to more than 48 Up, up and away: Balloon safaris are popular events in the
destinations in Africa, Europe, the Middle and world famous Masai Mara Game Reserve
Far East and is soon to fly to the US.
Best of Kenya 13
Kenya at a Glance
Kenya: Land of infinite variety historic splendour of the Rift Valley, a geographic feature that is
visible from space, to the beautiful shores of the Indian Ocean,
Renowned globally as the Cradle of Mankind, Kenya is a land lined with unique mangrove forests, and to Lake Turkana, the
of great variety and spectacular physical and climatic contrasts world’s largest desert lake.
and beauty that are so diverse they are usually found in an
entire continent. From the modern social and cultural hub of Nairobi (the only
city in the world with a national park within its boundaries),
These range from high snow-capped mountains with alpine to the vast breathtaking expanses of wildlife parks such as
forests to hot dry deserts and lovely sandy beaches. There is so the Tsavo, Mt Kenya, the Masai Mara and Amboseli, a visit to
much to be seen and enjoyed in Kenya, ranging from the pre- Kenya presents the ultimate dream for any traveller.
Elephants in Amboseli: The game and view, with Mt
Kilimanjaro in the background, are stunning
14 Best of Kenya
The world’s only wildlife capital: No other city on earth has a national park full of wild animals and birds in Tusks of Mombasa: They are like an emblem for the
their natural habitat. Ostriches strut and groom themselves against the background of Nairobi’s skyscrapers. historic coastal city that is the gateway to East Africa
Fresh water lake: Fishing boat on Lake Victoria,
the world’s second largest fresh water lake
In the words of the 1954 Nobel laureate water bodies. The highlands are mild and
for literature Ernest Hemingway, “Kenya cool, with relatively high rainfall patterns.
is unknowable, unimaginable, and
unbelievable”. The popular Kenyan Coast, along the Indian
Ocean, and the regions around Lake Victoria,
In terms of size, this great East African the second largest freshwater body in the
country is some 583,000 kilometres square, world and the source of the River Nile, are
lying at the centre of the eastern part of the usually hot, or warm and humid. A visitor to
continent of Africa, and right on the Equator. Kenya can experience and enjoy these varied
climatic conditions within a short time.
Like its spectacular variety of wildlife,
physical and climatic conditions, Kenya is Melting Pot of Cultures
a linguistic and cultural melting pot, with at
least 42 different communities and people Kenya is a melting pot of varied, valued and
of different races who live harmoniously vibrant cultures.
Each of Kenya’s 42 main ethnic communities
The rich vegetation that acts as cover for has a strong and dynamic culture that it is
some of Kenya’s spectacular landscapes also proud of.
provides shelter for a great variety of wildlife.
This is not to suggest that the people of
The varied altitudes of Kenya give the country Kenya are stuck in the past. These cultures
unique climatic features. The lower areas of are dynamic, which is why they have survived
the country have high temperatures, with despite the strong influences they have been
humidity dependent on their proximity to subjected to or come into contact with.
Best of Kenya 15
Ministry joins their group or passes by them without
uttering a word of greeting.
The centrality of culture in Kenyan society
is perhaps best explained by the creation of Perhaps the best demonstration of greeting-
the Ministry of Culture, which is specifically as-a-demonstration-of-goodwill is attested
tasked with recognition and promotion of the to by the popularity of the Kiswahili word
country’s myriad cultures. Jambo. Indeed, a local band has made the
greeting popular abroad with its track of the
The 42 main ethnicities, while distinctly same name and chorus and it is a common
different, are brought together by Kiswahili, feature at tourist resorts across the country.
which is Kenya’s official language and
English, the medium of instruction in schools Cultural Festivals
through colleges and universities and the
language of international commerce and In Kenya’s primary and secondary, private
diplomacy. or public schools, the annual countrywide
music and drama competitions, which are
Greeting meant to mainly showcase the talents of
young people, often turn into celebrations
For example, in most parts of Kenya or of both the dominant and the little-known
Melting pot of culture: Various Kenyan peoples in among Kenya’s varied communities, a cultures of the country.
their traditional regalia representing Kenya’s rich greeting is a demonstration of goodwill.
and varied culture and heritage Indeed, among some cultures, especially However, given that media, communication
at the Coast, people will be offended if one and technology keep bringing the various
Song, dance and drum extravaganza: An expression
of sound, acrobatic action and vibrant colours is
the unmistakable trade mark of the Kamba dance
troupes from Kenya’s Eastern province.
16 Best of Kenya
continents of the world ever closer together,
the music and plays in the schools through
universities and outside the school system
depict the dynamism of Kenya’s cultures.
Indeed, song and dance, drama and film are
the vehicles of choice for those who seek to
showcase both the dynamism and resilience
of Kenya’s cultures. Each of Kenya’s eight
provinces also hosts annual cultural events
that are also festivals of culture.
The Bomas of Kenya is a cultural awareness-
creation centre started by the Government in
1971 with the express purpose of preserving,
maintaining and promoting the rich diverse
cultural values of the country’s multiplicity
of ethnic communities. A wholly-owned
subsidiary of the Kenya Tourist Development
Corporation (KTDC) Bomas’s mandate is
to preserve the authenticity of the nation’s
cultural values and portray them in pure form
for educational and entertainment purposes.
Just as Kenya’s peoples have different
cultures so also do they have varied religions,
and while Christianity and Islam predominate,
there are still many Kenyan peoples who
believe in the power of their ancestors, spirits
and medicine men and women to influence
their lives in very fundamental ways.
Kenya’s Coast Province, perhaps because of
the Indian Ocean and proximity to the Arab
world, is home to the majority of the country’s
Muslim population, followed by the North
Eastern and Eastern provinces. Islam is,
however, spread throughout the country.
Kenya’s interior is home to the Christians.
Catholics are in the majority, followed by
several Protestant faiths, chief among
them being the Anglicans, Presbyterians,
Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists,
Lutherans, and the Evangelicals.
Brilliant vision for a beautiful country
Kenya’s vision is to become a middle- Going for the Jugular: The Maasai community are famed for their drinking of mixtures of cow’s milk and
income industrialised economy by the year blood during ceremonial rites of passage such as circumcision. Here a group of morans are drawing blood
2030 and towards this end the Government from the jugular vein of a cow. The animal survives the ritual because it is not let to bleed and is cared for
has developed a comprehensive blueprint until it recovers and heals.
Best of Kenya 17
Twin Peaks: The two tallest buildings in Kenya and the Eastern African region, Nairobi‘s
International Conference Centre (KICC) in the foregound with its amphitheatre built in the
shape of a traditional African hut. In the background is the hulking Times Tower.
called Vision 2030. This blueprint is housed
City of the future: An artist’s impression of Nairobi in the next 25 years as by the Ministry for Planning, National
depicted in Kenya’s blueprint for economic transformation called Vision 2030 Development and Vision 2030.
The Government is committed to achieving
Vision 2030 through a series of planned
and well-coordinated initiatives aimed at
increasing productivity and ensuring that
the living standard of the majority of the
population is positively transformed. In
this respect Vision 2030 clearly spells out
the social, economic and political priorities
that the country needs to focus on in
order to achieve rapid industrialisation and
economic self-reliance within the next 25 to
The Government is already putting in place
measures to drive this transformation;
notable among these being the creation of a
favourable investment climate for both local
and external entrepreneurs.
18 Best of Kenya
population size, Kenya has often been at Nairobi in the highlands, and since then what
the centre of global attention and affairs. was once a small group of huts has been
Kenya’s prowess in sports, peace-keeping spectacularly transformed into East Africa’s
missions and capacity as a safe haven for most modern metropolis. Nairobi attained city
refugees have positioned the country as a status in 1950.
high profile and impactful regional and global
player. Mombasa: Romantic, historic island port
In addition, Kenya holds some of the most The island town of Mombasa is the main
valuable treasures on the origins and global Seagate on the eastern African coastline
distribution of various life forms, giving it and is Kenya’s oldest and second largest
unique potential to positively contribute to metropolis. The port city has a rich romantic
the future of the world and humankind. As a history, going back over a millennium.
young and vibrant developing nation, Kenya
is determined to forge ahead and join the The unrivalled beauty of the Kenyan coastline
developed post-industrial countries. is a distinctive feature of the country’s
Nairobi: Green City in the Sun
Mombasa, a splendid city, is home to a rich
Nicknamed the Green City in the Sun, the historic civilisation that gave East Africa
modern city of Nairobi, with a population the Swahili language. Kiswahili is Kenya’s
of around 4.5 million inhabitants, occupies lingua franca and is now spoken across half
a unique place in the world, being the only of Africa. One of the most famous Swahili
global metropolis with a large wildlife park words that has not only found its way into the
close to its central business district! English dictionary but also is a brand name for
a wide range of products, from perfumes to
It is also the only city of a developing country sport, is safari.
that hosts the global headquarters of several
United Nations’ specialised agencies. Close to the palm-fringed beaches lies the
natural marvel of the coral reef, which runs
Its moderate climate, rich history, modern uninterrupted for close to 500km. The Kenyan
facilities and central location make Nairobi Coast teems with various wonders of marine
the most ideal starting point for a Kenyan life, mysterious lagoons and creeks that
safari adventure. attract exploration.
Situated just 140km south of the Equator, There are also the mangrove forests and
494km west of the port of Mombasa on awesome cliffs overhanging some of the
the Indian Ocean and 338km east of Lake beaches. Another great coastal spectacle is
Victoria, at an altitude of 1,670 metres, the variety of wildlife, especially birds.
Nairobi is not only Kenya’s principal city but
also East Africa’s economic and business Fort Jesus, built by Portuguese adventurers
focal point. during the 16th Century, is one of the most
important historical monuments in the city of
In 1907, the British transferred their colonial Mombasa.
administration from Mombasa at the Coast to
In order to realise the goals of Vision 2030,
Kenya requires massive investments from
both domestic and external sources. The
priority areas in the Vision present enormous
investment opportunities for both public
and private investors. Apart from a visionary
political leadership, Kenya has a number
of advantages that make it one of the few
countries on the African continent most likely
to achieve a socio-economic transformation
in the near future.
A well-educated, youthful and vibrant
population, vast, largely untapped natural
resources, enormous investment in
infrastructure and a well developed private
sector are among the country’s assets.
Small country, big reputation
Although a relatively small country in Green City in the Sun: A view of Nairobi’s Central Business District as seen from
the world in its geographical extent and nearby Uhuru Park, centre for recreation and national and cultural events
Best of Kenya 19
Kenya at a Glance
Takes your breath away: The vegetation on the ground and
clouds above combine to form breathtaking views
Loving and caring: A baby elephant and its With such exciting features, together with a The surrounding region is rich in culture
mother take a leisurely walk wide variety of entertainment, a visit to the and history, with many intriguing and
Kenyan Coast is a must for the discerning historic sites, among them Rusinga
visitor. The experience is truly memorable. Island, the weeping stones and forests of
Kakamega, and a variety of wild flora and
Kisumu: Lively lakeside fishing town fauna to be found all the way to Mt Elgon.
The lively lakeside city of Kisumu, formerly For a visitor looking for a warm and
known as Port Florence, is situated along tranquil resting place, Kisumu is the ideal
Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest place. Kenya Airways, the national airline,
freshwater body and only about 80km and other local carriers, operate daily
southeast of Nyang’oma Kogelo, the flights between Nairobi and Kisumu.
ancestral home of the father of the 44th
President of the United States of America, The Great Rift Valley
Barack Obama. Kisumu is Kenya’s third
largest city. The Great Rift Valley is one of the most
awesome and breathtaking natural
Located 355km to the west of Nairobi, physical phenomena on earth. Estimated
Kisumu is a thriving, tourist, fishing to have formed some 20 million years ago,
and commercial city which is steadily it is visible from space.
positioning itself as the socio-economic
hub of Western Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda The name Great Rift Valley was coined
and the Great Lakes region. by the Scottish explorer and geologist
20 Best of Kenya
Pretty in pink: Tens of thousands of flamingo lie in the shores of Lake Nakuru, feeding on algae and creating one of the most spectacular sites in all of nature
John Walter Gregory in his book The These lakes are rich in sodium carbonate, The Masai Mara: Eighth Wonder
Great Rift Valley (1896). which creates an ideal breeding ground of the World
for algae. Several species of fish, tilapia in
With its steep and jagged escarpment particular, thrive in this environment. As a Lying 224km to the south-west of Nairobi, the
walls, mountains and flat floor, the result, millions of birds flock to these soda Masai Mara Game Reserve provides one of
Great Rift Valley is one of the most lakes to feast on the abundant algae and nature’s most dramatic and awesome spectacles
attractive and popular parts of Kenya. fish, making these lakes a unique spot for ever; the annual Great Migration of over a million
It is also among the most agriculturally bird watching, the most spectacular being wildebeest and zebra, teeming from the south to
productive, providing most of Kenya’s the flamingoes of Lake Nakuru. cross the Mara River into the Game Reserve.
wheat, maize and dairy products.
Then there is the dramatic Hell’s Gate near The migration, which has come to be known
The floor of the valley is at its lowest Lake Naivasha, a truly awesome natural as the Eighth Wonder of the World, takes place
near Lake Turkana, where there is wonder, with steep and deep walls and a between July and September, making this the
virtually no distinction between the cavernous emptiness dug by nature. The most ideal time for a classic safari.
Great Rift Valley and the surrounding name is deceptive for this is no hell on
desert. Lake Turkana, which is 400km earth! The stunning Savannah grasslands with
north of Nairobi, is the largest desert scattered shrubs stretch for as far as the eye can
lake in the world. Among the Great Rift Valley’s unique see. They are an endless spectacle of nature’s
features is Lake Turkana. Also known as the most creative designs. In the vast landscape can
As it heads south, the Great Rift Valley Jade Sea for the unique turquoise colour be seen the cheetah, the fastest animal on earth,
walls form sheer cliffs rising to 1,900km of its waters, it has shores longer than the chasing antelope and gazelle, in the Mara River
(6,232ft) at Lake Naivasha, thereafter entire Kenyan Coast. hippos bathe, and, on the banks, crocodiles sun
the valley descends again to 580 themselves.
metres (1,902 feet) as it approaches the This lake not only has an abundance of
border with Tanzania. the delicious tropical fresh-water fish, the It is in the predator-infested waters of the Mara
Tilapia, but also contains the world’s largest that thousands of wildebeest, hundreds of zebra,
Subterranean movement is still crocodile population. Fishing and livestock eland and gazelle must fight for their lives in a
common as the Rift Valley is home to rearing and agriculture are among the vast theatre of the jungle’s law of survival of the
30 active and semi-active volcanoes activities within and around the lake. fittest.
and countless hot springs. This string
of alkaline lakes and boiling springs There are numerous spectacular natural For the nature loving and adventurous visitor,
includes lakes Baringo, Bogoria, wonders that surround the lake, with the wildebeest migration is a must-see event.
Nakuru, Elementaita, Naivasha, and fantastic opportunities for the intrepid A balloon safari provides an exciting birds’- eye
Magadi in the south. adventurer. view of this mighty African wilderness.
Best of Kenya 21
Just a glimpse of Kenya: (From top to bottom)
22 Best of Kenya Wildebeest, the people, Rhino and Zebra
Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha: home of Elsa the Lioness befriended by Joy
and George Adamson and featured in Joy’s
Home of flamingoes book Born Free and film of the same name.
About 160km west of Nairobi, Lakes
Nakuru and Naivasha, and the thousands of Almost similar in the variety of flora and fauna
flamingoes that reside in them, together form are the three wildlife reserves of Samburu,
a bewitching spectacle, beloved of many a Shaba and Buffalo Springs located about
local and foreign visitor. 342km to the north of Nairobi along the Uaso
Nyiro River. Rising to the heavens: The hot springs of Lake
Naivasha is best seen by boat. Within close Bogoria in the Rift Valley
proximity of Nakuru town and covering The Meru National Park is home to the rare
an area of 200 square kilometers, Nakuru species of grazing white rhino. It lies in a A tantalising mixture of mountain rain
National Park is undoubtedly a great semi-arid, open savannah plain broken forest, moorland, thick bamboo forests and
ornithological wonder of the world. occasionally by small rugged hills. sub-alpine plants make up the vegetation
in this park. Giant heath and tussock grass
It is the congregation point of an estimated Mount Kenya: cover the moorlands, which are crossed by
100,000 to two million flamingoes and wandering trout-inhabited streams that, in
over 400 other species of birds. With the Snow and wildlife on the Equator some places, cascade into scenic waterfalls
wildlife sanctuary greatly expanded since its Snow-capped Mount Kenya is Africa’s second and rapids.
creation in 1961, and extensive ecological highest peak, a stunning and challenging
clean-up of the area, wildlife of a wide destination for adventurous tourists, climbers Amboseli:
variety can now be seen in the park. and trekkers.
Expansive pride of the Maasai
Lake Bogoria, to the north of Nakuru, features Below the mountain’s alpine meadows roam The imposing, ever-present view of
enticing hot springs, made even more inviting elephant, black rhino, Cape buffalo and Kilimanjaro provides the main background
by the sight of fishermen in papyrus boats and antelope. On its lower slopes is Ol Pejeta, a feature for this unique wildlife habitat
the rare greater kudu. Nakuru boasts the rare private ranch and rhino sanctuary, and nearby situated some 260km south of Nairobi.
Rothschild Giraffe and an extraordinary rhino is the famous Mount Kenya Safari Club. The Amboseli has some of Kenya’s largest
sanctuary. herds of elephants. Hemingway once wrote
The Aberdare Ranges sport high alpine of the Amboseli as “the essence of Africa”,
Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo: moorland and primeval aloe forest. Here one where elephants rummage in the lower
can visit the famous Treetops Hotel, where forests, leopards prowl the salt flats while
A tale of three parks leopards are regular visitors and can be antelope graze the expansive grasslands; all
The arid and semi-arid regions of northern viewed in the act of refreshing themselves. these against the backdrop of Kilimanjaro’s
Kenya, framed by volcanic mountain ranges Treetops is renowned because the then majestic peak. Few natural scenes in the
and dotted with lakes, provide a uniquely Princess Elizabeth visited in 1952, went up world are more inspiring.
picturesque holiday for the visitor. Treetops, received word of King Edward VI’s
death and came down as Queen. Apart from the patches of acacia forest, the
Throughout the region, rare animals such as Amboseli grasslands are dotted with shrubs
the reticulated giraffe, oryx, Grevy’s zebra, The Aberdare Ranges were named by Joseph and fragile saline grass. The dry volcanic ash
and long-necked gerenuk abound. Thomson in 1883 after Lord Aberdare, can support little more.
who was the then president of the Royal
Between the drier northern region and the Geographical Society. Lying in these The melting snows of Kilimanjaro feed
imposing, densely forested Mt Kenya lies the mountains, this park covers an area of 770 rivers and springs that supply water to
serrated and beautiful Meru National Park, square kilometres. the swamps and the Amboseli, which
Best of Kenya 23
Kenya at a Glance
Two of the Big Five: The Rhino, famed for its size
and insecure because of its horn, and the Buffalo,
known for its sharp horns and sharper temper
is usually completely dry. Occasional Tsavo East and West: The Tsavos have the world’s largest and most
flooding of the rivers occurs during rainy World’s largest game sanctuary important concentration of elephants, with a
seasons. population estimated at more than 20,000.
The entire Tsavo ecosystem, about 333km
A wide variety of wildlife that include to the east of Nairobi, is possibly the Peacemaker:
antelope, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, world’s biggest game sanctuary. It is an Kenya’s esteemed place on world map
elephant, rhino and buffalo, the predatory expansive model wildlife sanctuary in terms
lion, the cheetah and occasionally the of geographical and ecological features, with Kenya continues to play important roles on
elusive and secretive leopard are attracted a great variety of plant and animal life. The the international scene. Over the years, this
to these rivers and swamps. Tsavo is situated halfway between Nairobi country has been a regional peacemaker.
and Mombasa. Peace talks to end internal and external
As much a part of the Amboseli landscape conflicts in various African countries have
are the Maasai people who graze their The two adjacent sprawling animal parks are been held in Nairobi, with Kenya playing
cattle here. Amboseli is home of the ideal for visitors who wish to include both a vital mediation role. Peace talks on the
colourful and iconic Maasai, with their rich wildlife safari and coastal luxury on their conflicts in the Democratic Republic of
and proud cultural heritage. itinerary. Sunsets in the Tsavo offer a peculiar Congo (DRC) and Burundi have been hosted
display, filling the sky with an incredibly by Kenya.
Amboseli National Park was in 1991 beautiful spectrum of colour and splendour.
declared a biosphere reserve by In Tsavo East roam red elephants, so-called As a result of its engagement in numerous
UNESCO. It has some 380 bird species, because of the colour of the rich volcanic soil efforts to end conflicts around the world,
over 56 animal species and an elephant that they throw over their bodies with their Kenya has gained a reputation as a peace-
population that has been studied for more trunks to diminish the effects of the tropical loving nation. Whenever the international
than two decades. sun. community seeks a suitable place in which
24 Best of Kenya
Son of Kenya: Barack Obama, then the Senator from Illinois, now the 44th President of the United States,
chats with elders in Nyang’oma Kogelo Village during his visit to Kenya in August 2006. Kogelo is the
ancestral village of the President’s father, the late Barack Obama Snr. Below: Obama is escorted into the
Standard Media Group’s offices in Nairobi in 2006.
to hold talks on matters ranging from war to rule of this country’s internationally respected
climate change, Kenya is often among the first President, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
countries considered. More recently, Kenya has also spearheaded
successful peace processes for the Sudan
Visits by world leaders and Somalia under the leadership of former
President Daniel Moi and current President
Prominent world leaders have been to Kenya Mwai Kibaki.
on various occasions to attend both regional
and global events or simply on holiday. In The United Nations in Nairobi
November 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-Moon was in Kenya to help broker peace Nairobi is the only city in the developing
in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). world that hosts global headquarters for
Kenyan soldiers and police officers have a number of United Nations specialised
served in numerous peace-keeping missions agencies.
on the African continent and around the
world. It is the world headquarters of the United
Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)
Under the aegis of the United Nations, Kenya and the United Nations Centre for Human
has sent peacekeeping forces to Bosnia, Settlements (UN Habitat). It is also the
Namibia and Sierra Leone. During the past regional headquarters for Africa of several
four decades, Kenya has initiated, guided other UN bodies. Kenya has been a full and
and hosted peace talks for troubled African committed member of the United Nations
countries, starting with Angola, during the Organisation since Independence in 1963.
Best of Kenya 25
Kenya at a Glance
Rich and diverse heritage respectively as well as the most widely
From the pre-historic times of the evolution
of humankind through the eras of slavery, Dominating distance athletics
voyages of discovery and colonisation to the
modern post-Independence period, Kenya Kenya is a global giant in long-distance
has always occupied a unique place in athletics, having produced a long line of
human development. world class runners since 1968. At the
Beijing Olympics in 2008, Kenya led Africa
In fact, Kenya and the East African region with a record harvest of 8 gold, 8 silver and
are often referred to as the Cradle of 5 bronze medals. Kenyan athletes have won
Mankind due to the discovery by world- almost every known city marathon or road
renowned palaeontologists of pre-historic race in the world.
remains of the ancestors of modern homo
sapiens. Track sensation Pamela Jelimo won not only
an Olympic gold medal in her 800m specialty
The Museums of Kenya, rich with all forms in Beijing, but also scooped the International
of heritage, are among the most interesting Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) US$1
places to visit for a view of the development million Golden League Jackpot.
of humankind and African culture.
Kenya is now also one of the top swimming
Melting pot of cultures nations in Africa, with several continental
titles. Other major sports in the country
Inhabited by different races and a total of 42 include football (most popular), sport-
ethnic communities with varying historical shooting, sailing, motor rallying (the world
and cultural backgrounds, Kenya is a prime famous Safari Rally), horse racing, golf,
example of harmony in diversity, a true boxing and angling.
melting-pot of religions, races and cultures.
Conferencing in Kenya
The majority of its people are black Africans
from different linguistic and cultural stocks, Many important regional and global
with migrant minorities of Middle Eastern, meetings and forums are often held in
European (Caucasian) and Asian extraction. Nairobi. They include the UN Conference on
More than 40 different languages are spoken Climate Change in 2006, the UN Women’s
in Kenya. Swahili (a mixture of Arabic and Decade Meeting in 1985 and the joint World
local vernacular languages) and English Bank/IMF Meeting in Nairobi in 1975. There
are the national and official languages was also the UNCTAD conference in 1979.
Tower, ceremonial dress and warrior dance: (From top to bottom) The Kenyatta
International Conference Centre, a warrior and the postcard Maasai jump
26 Best of Kenya
The power and
the glory: Kenya’s
the world and bring
fame to the country
Best of Kenya 27
Hotels & Casinos In 2007, there was the World Social Forum, one of the largest
conferences ever held anywhere on earth, with more than 20,000
delegates from around the globe.
Conference facilities in Kenya include the famous Kenyatta
International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi. Various
regional and global meetings take place in Kenya on a regular
basis since it is the main organisational and communications hub
in the entire eastern Africa region.
There are sufficient world-class conference facilities, excellent
accommodation, entertainment and diverse cuisine in all the
major cities and within the wildlife parks.
Centre for international media
Many major international media organisations and news agencies
have their Africa regional offices based in Nairobi.
From the Kenyan capital, which enjoys excellent communication
with the rest of the world, media representatives from around the
world can cover events and transmit news across continents.
The local media are among the most vibrant and diversified
in the developing world. Media freedom is guaranteed in the
Constitution. The Nation Media Group is the largest in eastern
and Central Africa, with the Daily Nation and its sister publication
the Sunday Nation being by far the most widely read daily and
Sunday newspapers in the region.
Parks of the Big Five
The famous Big Five wild animals, the elephant, rhino, lion,
leopard and buffalo, are all found in Kenya’s national parks and
The lion is known for its strength and power, speed and stealth,
attributes that make it a menacing predator and which have given
it the deserved nickname of King of the Jungle.
The rhino is a one-tonne creature, with a pair of horns for which it
is hunted by poachers. It is often found alone or in small groups.
The leopard is also a solitary animal but its strength is such that
it can haul its prey vertically up a tree. It is also known for speed,
stealth and surprise.
The buffalo has a fierce temper and will fearlessly stand up to
the lion. Lions prey on buffalo, the reason why the two are mortal
Elephants move in a herd and, like buffalo, keep the calves in the
middle of the group, a strategy designed to fend off predators. It
is this unique behaviour of these animals that make them a joy to
Best tea, coffee and flowers
Kenya produces the best tea, coffee and cut flowers in the world.
As a leading producer and global exporter of very high quality
aromatic Arabica coffee and excellent brown teas, Kenya is well-
placed to supply large quantities of the popular beverages to any
market around the world.
Home of the Big Five: Some of the world’s most amazing wildlife has its
natural home in Kenya, including, from top, the King of the jungle, the lion,
the seemingly armour-plated rhino, the treeclimbing leopard, the often
angry buffalo and the gentle-giant elephant, the largest land-based animal
28 Best of Kenya
Coming to a cottage near you: An elephant march
past parade in a resort in the Taita Hills
Kenya is the leading exporter of cut flowers Theatre is popular in Kenya, which has
in the world. Its flowers are renowned, witnessed a major recent revival of the Kenya
particularly in the large European Union National Theatre to the accompaniment of a
market, for their freshness and beauty. A wide resurgence of local plays and programming
variety of juicy tropical and temperate fruits on all leading television channels in the
and vegetables are also produced in Kenya country.
for both domestic consumption and export.
Visitors to Kenya are able to enjoy numerous
Art and film out of Kenya plays and cultural events, especially the
popular Kenya School and College Drama
As a filming destination, Kenya has few Festivals that takes place every year.
equals, with spectacular landscapes and a
wide variety of flora and fauna, natural light Curios and curiosity
(more than 200 days of sunlight annually)
, a pool of talent and some of the world’s most The best and most popular wood carvings
warm-hearted and hospitable peoples. depicting the country’s rich wildlife and
cultural heritage are on sale in almost all
The spectacular landscape of Kenya has major towns countrywide.
featured in many internationally acclaimed Curios and curiosity: Exquisite handmade baskets
films, notable among them being King Some of the most exquisite carvings are and wood carvings depict Kenya’s rich heritage
Solomon’s Mines, made in the 1950s, made from Kisii soapstone, a unique natural
stone that lends itself well to the mallet and
Sydney Pollack’s multiple Oscar-winning chisel.
Out of Africa, The Constant Gardener, White
Mischief, Born Free, The Rise and Fall of Idi Kenya is also renowned worldwide for its
Amin, Tomb Raider, Cradle of Life, Walk With handmade traditional baskets known as
the Lions were all shot in Kenya. kiondo or chiondos from various materials,
including sisal fibre, reeds and grass.
Kenyan filmmakers, with the Kenya Film
Commission, are making their presence felt on World class beers
the international stage.
Kenyan beers, especially the Tusker, Tusker
The city of Nairobi teems with art galleries, Malt, White Cap and Pilsner brands, have
among them Gallery Watatu, Ramoma, African won awards at the International Monde
Heritage and Elimo Njau’s Paa Ya Paa, all with Selection for their excellent taste, high quality Tip-top tipples: Kenya’s beers have won many
global name recognition. and purity. internationally recognised awards
Best of Kenya 29
Kenya at a Glance
Tusker Lager, which embodies Kenya’s
great heritage, has found its place along
other world popular beers, especially in
America and Europe.
Nobel for noble cause
Kenya’s first Nobel laureate (Peace,
2004), Professor Wangari Maathai, was
so honoured because of her relentless
crusading for the environment.
The country hosts the global headquarters
of UNEP, and in Prof Maathai has the first
African woman to win the Nobel Peace
Prize. She was a Member of Parliament
and assistant minister for the environment
and natural resources in 2003-2007.
United we share power
Kenya was the first country in Africa to
succeed in reaching a power-sharing
agreement between the government and
the opposition after a disputed General
Election, in December 2007.
The power-sharing agreement and the
resultant Coalition Government have
become models for Africa and enhanced
Kenya’s reputation as a politically stable
Prof Wangari Maathai country in a turbulent continent.
Swords into ploughshares: President Mwai Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga (seated) sign the National Peace Accord on
February 28, 2008, ending the post-election violence. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (white-haired) and other dignitaries look on`.
30 Best of Kenya
The Grand Coalition Government also Drumbeat: A Chuka troupe from Eastern
underscored the undying desire of Kenyans Province drums to thrill
for peace and security and an environment
that enables them to thrive in business.
Investing in education
In preparation for Kenya’s transformation
in line with its economic blueprint, the
Government introduced free primary and
secondary school education in 2003 and
Kenya has 26 universities, some of which
are branches or affiliates of well-known
European, American, Australian and other
centres of learning around the world.
In almost every field of endeavour, Kenya
has a well-focused, highly skilled and hard-
working pool of talent.
Kenya also has the world’s oldest primary
school pupil, Kimani Maruge, whose
unique feat won him an invitation to UN Beachside barbeque: Dining by the
Headquarters in New York and made him a Indian Ocean, Kenyan style
permanent feature at National Day events
besides being entered in the Guinness
Book of World Records. He died in August
2009, aged 90.
Investment opportunities in Kenya
Kenya is East Africa’s leading economy,
stable and vibrant, with considerable growth
spurred by several key factors.
It is more than double the size of Uganda’s
economy, US$60 billion.
airports provides investment opportunities 20 years of civil war, broadened Kenya’s
Kenya prides itself on having a well-educated and facilitates enterprise. bazaar spectrum for goods ranging from
and skilled human resource, an effective and manufacturing commodities to foodstuffs.
well-managed port which serves as gateway Kenya’s strategic location in the heart of
to the East and Central African hinterland. eastern Africa offers a pivotal transport link, The African Growth and Opportunity Act
a regional conveyance hub where several (AGOA) passed by the US Government
Kenya has a robust tourism sector stimulated international airlines make frequent stopovers granting duty-free entry to its markets
by a range of wildlife and a vast coastline of to drop and pick up transit cargo and for exports from Kenya in 2000 and its
white sand beaches. There are beckoning passengers. subsequent extension to 2015 offered Kenya
world class tourist hotels managed by a a chance to increase her exports, mainly
proficient and hospitable staff. Kenya has two major international airports – textiles and apparels. The Eighth AGOA
the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Forum was held in Kenya in August 2009
The hospitality of the Kenyan people is in Nairobi and the Moi International Airport in
legendary Mombasa – which together handle over 15 There has also been increased investment
million passengers yearly. in ICT and mobile telephony services, hence
Kenya has a stable government committed to strategising the country as an important
implementing business reforms and providing The Kisumu and Eldoret airports are currently Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) hub.
an enabling environment and attractive being upgraded to international status.
investment incentives for foreign investors. The Kenya Government lays emphasis
Both JKIA and Moi serve as a fundamental on the development of ICT, and therefore
The elimination of bureaucratic red tape link and transport artery for landlocked enacted a telecommunication policy in 1997
in business licensing and registration countries like Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and that underscored the desire to have a well-
procedures, enacted a few years ago, has the eastern part of the Democratic Republic developed communications network by
given the country the impetus to improve her of Congo (DRC). 2015.
positioning in Doing Business (DOB), ranking
globally from 83 in 2006 to 72 in 2007. The opening up of the Southern Sudan The policy aims to bring down
trade market after the signing of the communication costs, improve accessibility
A superb infrastructural paradigm with a well- Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) with and create jobs by positioning the country as
maintained road and rail network and modern the Arab-dominated north in 2004, ending a regional ICT outsourcing focal point.
Best of Kenya 31
Port transport sector, JKIA is undergoing a major In 2007 the national flag carrier won the Public
and deserving rehabilitation programme Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) award for
The port of Mombasa is Kenya’s only deep- to expand and equip it with state-of-the- Excellence for In-house Publication Msafiri,
sea port and freight gateway for half-a- dozen art modern passenger and cargo handling the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) and
nations in East and Central Africa, a market facilities. Ektron All-Star Win – Best Travel Site.
for over 130 million people.
The construction of aprons linking taxiways Other awards won by KQ in 2006 were East
To serve this expansive and increasingly with associated airside roads, the expansion Africa’s Most Respected Company and the
demanding hinterland, the port is involved in a of terminals to a total floor area of 15,700sq prestigious African Aviation Award.
major modernisation programme that will see kms and the renovation of passenger
it become one of the world’s top 20 gateways terminal buildings which, once completed, The airline was also voted East Africa’s Most
in terms of reputation and performance by will be able to comfortably accommodate 9 Respected Company in 2005.
2010. million passengers, is ongoing.
In 2004, KQ scooped a triple win as Best
The port’s advantageous location in the KQ Domestic Airline 2003, Best Regional Airline
centre of the East African coastline makes 2002 and 2003 and Best In-flight Magazine
it an excellent export base and many goods Kenya Airways, otherwise referred to as The 2002 and 2003 awarded by Travel News &
are exempt from import duties, Kenya being Pride of Africa, is the country’s national flag Lifestyle magazine.
a signatory to several international Customs carrier and continues to buoy up spirits in
agreements. the transport sector. In 2001 KQ was voted Best User of
Information Technology in Kenya by the
To be compliant with global privatisation It is a shining example of how privatisation Computer Society of Kenya as well as named
initiatives, the Mombasa port is being can work miracles in a former State- African Airline of the Year for the third year
prepared for transformation into a landlord dominated air transport economy. running by African Aviation magazine, among
port authority, with most of the cargo handling others.
and complementary services being opened up KQ operates to over 48 destinations in 39
to the private sector. countries throughout the world and has an
expansive fleet of 26 aircraft – 23 Boeing
Airports planes and 3 Embraer 170 jets.
The unprecedented growth in aviation fuelled Since its transformation into semi-
by tourism and horticultural exports has autonomous status, KQ has continued
enabled the Kenya Airports Authority’s (KAA) to document record results, with soaring
flagship brand, Jomo Kenyatta International profits complemented by great industry
Airport, to develop into a regional hub served awards.
by more than 33 airlines.
KQ won the COYA (Company of the Year)
JKIA continues to record an impressive top awards for strategic planning and
growth in passenger and freight numbers due emergency preparedness in 2008, as well as
to its efficiency and modern facilities. the African Airline of Choice, Best Regional
Airline, Best Frequent Flier Programme
To address challenges of the ever increasing and its magazine – Msafiri – Best In-flight
and changing priorities in the global air Magazine.
Best of Kenya 33