The name Kenya is synonymous with the African Safari Experience
Kenya Travel Blog› entry 1 of 16 › view all entries
Having grown up in neighboring Uganda, Kenya did not seem like such a big deal. In fact most Ugandan's think the Kenyans are not as hospitable as they should be considering they are such a hot spot for tourism in Africa. I did visit Kenya on occasion and to date I have probably been there more than 35 times (I lose count). As I actively got involved in tourism through my first employer (a newspaper publishing company), I learned quickly what Kenya means in the international scene - when people talk of going on an African Safaris, they talk of Kenya. In fact on my very first visit to the United States in 1999, I entered a McDonalds and there was a huge promotion in which winners got to go on an African Safari to Kenya (smile), how exciting for them I thought.
First, Kenya is the second largest of the five East African countries and lies on the Indian Ocean coastline, it is crossed by the equator and is a trading post for a land locked country like Uganda. Kenya is boarded on the south by Tanzania, Somalia in the northeast, Ethiopia in the north, Sudan in the northwest and west by Uganda and Lake Victoria. The capital of Kenya is Nairobi. Kenya boasts of popular National wild life reserves like Masai Mara and the second highest peak in Africa (Mt. Kenya). The adventure of an African safari still remains one of the most sought after tourism activity in the world.
A little background on Kenya; The first Arabian and Persian traders came to East Africa and settled in Kenya as early as the 8th century. Some of the Arab traders stayed and with them the influence of Muslim culture. They inhabited most areas of Kenya and majority of the trading was done in the coastal areas where the sea ports were; Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu became important trading centers. Slave trade seemed to flourish and many Africans converted to Islam to avoid being sold into slavery.
The currency used in Kenya is the Kenya shillings, but most foreign currencies can be exchanged once in Nairobi. The bank rates are not as competitive as the Forex rates, I advise you use the Forex Bureaus for better rates. Traveler’s cheques are cashed at a much lower rate than the actual bill. For US dollars, if you carry cash, be sure to take currency dated 2003 and up, anything with a date below 2003 will fetch a lower exchange rate. I wish I could explain why they do it, but something to do with when African nations transact internationally. The national language is "Swahili" but many Kenyans speak English well. In the coastal area of Mombasa Arabic is widely spoken too.
PS: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain