Kenya Country Facts

By | June 14, 2024
Capital city Nairobi
Surface 580,367 km²
Population 54,986,000
Road network length 8,933 km
Length of highway network 78 km
First highway 2012
Motorway name Expressway
Traffic drives Left
License plate code EAK

Kenya, formally the Republic of Kenya (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Kenya), is a country in eastern Africa. The country is located on the Indian Ocean and has 55 million inhabitants. The capital is Nairobi. The country is about 15 times the size of the Netherlands.


Kenya is located in East Africa, located on the Indian Ocean. The country further borders Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, South Sudan and Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the east. The country measures a maximum of almost 800 kilometers from east to west and 900 kilometers from north to south.

The country has a diverse landscape, with a green and low-lying coastal strip, an arid and desert-like east and savanna in much of the rest of the country. In the center of the country are isolated mountain ranges that rise high above the plateau, the highest of which is the 5,199-metre-high Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania, but is also clearly visible from Kenya. The plateau in the middle of the country is usually at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,000 meters. Kenya has several lakes, including part of the large Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana in the north. The only larger river is the Tana River.

Due to the varied terrain, Kenya also has diverse climates ranging from tropical on the coast to a desert climate in the east and a more temperate climate in the highlands. The average maximum temperature in Nairobi at 1700 meters is between 22 and 26 °C and it rarely exceeds 30 °C. In the coastal town of Mombasa, however, temperatures are higher, between 29 and 34 °C. In the west and south of Kenya there is approximately 1000 mm of precipitation per year, with a dry and wet season, although the dry season also has some precipitation. Precipitation peaks in April-May and again in November-December.


Kenya is a rapidly growing country, from 6.1 million inhabitants in 1950 to 31.4 million in 2000 and 55 million today. There are two major cities, the capital Nairobi has 3.4 million inhabitants and the port city of Mombasa has 1.2 million inhabitants. Nairobi is one of the largest cities in East Africa. Kenya is relatively urbanized, there are 20 towns with more than 100,000 inhabitants, the majority of which have between 100,000 and 300,000 inhabitants.

The country is demographically diverse, with numerous ethnic groups, the largest parts of which belong to the Bantu and Nilots. The country has numerous indigenous languages, the official languages ​​being English and Swahili. English is used by the government, many media and in education. Swahili is a limited lingua franca, but it is not as widely spoken as elsewhere.


Kenya is a developing country and low income and poverty is widespread, although the proportion of residents living on less than $1.25 a day is lower than in many neighboring countries. About 75% of the population works in agriculture, both for their own food supply and for export. Kenya’s main export products come from the agricultural sector, the country has relatively few raw materials. Although Kenya is the most industrialized country of the Great Lakes Region, it accounts for only 14% of the economy. The industry is dominated by food processing, which is exported through the port of Mombasa. The capital Nairobi is relatively modern and is considered the most developed city in East Africa. Kenya is one of the most important tourist destinations in Africa, especially for safaris.


Under the Swahili, Mombasa already became an important port. In the 17th century, the area was also under the influence of Arab slave traders, particularly from Oman. In 1885 Germany tookthe coastal regions of the sultanate of Zanzibar, including the coast of modern-day Kenya. In 1890 this was handed over to the British, who named it the East Africa Protectorate. The British built a railway from Uganda to Mombasa, important for the development of the interior. During World War I, there was fighting between British Kenya and the German colony in what is now Tanzania. In 1920 the East Africa Protectorate was granted colony status and was renamed Kenya after Mount Kenya. In the early 20th century, many Europeans cultivated coffee in the interior of Kenya and created wealth there. In the 1950s, about 80,000 whites lived in Kenya.

In the period 1952-1959 there was a state of emergency in Kenya because of the Mau Mau uprising. This rebellion was eventually crushed but caused a rift between the colony and the United Kingdom. The first elections followed in 1957, after which Kenya became independent in 1963. In the 1960s, Kenya had a conflict with Somalis in the northeast of the country, leading to a defense pact with Ethiopia, which is still in force today. Between independence in 1963 and 2002, Kenya had only two presidents. Since 2011, Kenya has been involved in the internal conflict in neighboring Somalia, sending troops to fight the Islamist terror group Al-Shabaab, which has also carried out attacks in Kenya.


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