20 Things Kenya Is Known And Famous For

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Kenya is known for its diverse wildlife and safari, breathtaking natural scenery, and rich cultural heritage.

Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa that is often considered a must-see destination to experience Africa’s natural beauty. It accommodates some of the most iconic national parks in the world, known for their abundance of wildlife.

The country is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Kenya is a culturally diverse nation with over 40 ethnic groups, each with its traditions and customs. It is an intriguing and exciting place for anyone interested in African culture and nature.

What Is Kenya Known For?

Kenya is known for its incredible wildlife, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons to visit Kenya is to see some of the world’s most iconic wildlife at the Africa Kenya Safari.

However, Kenya is also famous for its beautiful coastline, which stretches over 500 kilometers and features pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. The warm tropical climate of the country makes it an ideal destination for beachgoers and water sports enthusiasts.

Aside from the sightseeing adventure, there is still much to learn about their culture, dance, craft, and Kenyan food. You can visit traditional villages, attend cultural festivals, and participate in activities such as beadwork, weaving, and dance to immerse yourself in the local culture.

With so much to see and experience, Kenya should be one of the destinations on your bucket list.

History, Culture, And Traditions Kenya Is Known For

Maasai

Undoubtedly, the Maasai is one of the cultures Kenya is most famous for. It is also a well-known and celebrated culture globally. The people are known for their vibrant clothing, intricate beadwork, and distinct dancing style.

If you plan to visit Kenya, one of the places you should certainly take advantage of is the Maasai villages. You can really dive into their culture and traditions here. Take part in some interesting Maasai cultural activities like watching traditional dance performances, making beadwork, and even participating in a traditional cattle drive.

You can also learn about Maasai customs and beliefs, such as respecting elders and spiritual beliefs in nature. As a tourist cultural heritage, visiting Maasai communities makes for a fascinating and educational experience.

Swahili Tradition

The Swahili culture is the dominant culture along Kenya’s coast. It is a vibrant and unique blend of African, Arab, and Indian influences.

There are many ways to learn about Swahili culture; most commonly by visiting the famous indigenous and historical sites in Kenya. However, you can also take a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Swahili dishes, or attend a music and dance performance that showcases Swahili rhythms and movements.

As you travel through the country, you will notice Swahili handicrafts, such as intricately woven baskets, colorful fabrics, and beautiful beadwork, available for purchase at markets.

Swahili is the national language of Kenya and is spoken in a few other East African countries like Tanzania and Uganda. That said, you can also trace the root of some famous people from Kenya to this infused culture.

Mau Mau Uprising

When it comes to history, Kenya is known for this conflict that happened from 1895 to 1963.

Kenya was a British protectorate, during which time the British imposed policies controlling Kenyans and their resources. The land was taken from indigenous communities and given to white settlers. Racial segregation was enforced, sparking an independence movement among many Kenyans.

The Mau Mau uprising was a bloody conflict that lasted several years and claimed thousands of lives, but Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963.

Make sure to visit historical sites such as Fort Jesus in Mombasa and the Karen Blixen Museum in Nairobi to learn more about this history. You can also take a guided tour of Nairobi’s colonial buildings, such as the Parliament and Railway Station, to learn about the architecture and its role in Kenya’s colonial history.

Bead Making

Bead making is a traditional Kenyan art form practiced by many ethnic groups, including the Maasai, Kamba, and Samburu.

It entails making patterns and designs with colorful beads of various materials such as wood, stone, glass, bone, et cetera. This is a valuable source of income for many artisans and is highly regarded in Kenya and worldwide.

As a tourist, you can learn about manufacturing and how to use beads in jewelry, clothing, and decorative items. Most importantly, bead-making in Kenya allows you to better understand Kenyan culture and appreciate the skill and creativity of its artisans.

Circumcision

Embalu or circumcision is a cultural tradition that Kenya is known for. The tradition is practiced by certain ethnic groups in Kenya, including the Kikuyu and the Maasai.

Circumcision is a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood for the Kikuyu, and it is a major event accompanied by singing, dancing, and feasting. This process symbolizes bravery and strength among the Maasai, as the boys are circumcised at 14 or 15.

While circumcision is a deeply rooted tradition, it has recently been debated as claims of boys being forced into it surfaces. That said, it continues to be discussed as a cultural and healthy practice.

n a perhaps awkward turn of events, countries like Kenya and Uganda are looking to turn this ceremony into sort of a tourist attraction while promoting safer and more hygienic ritual practices.

District And Area Kenya Is Known For

Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan destination with a distinct blend of culture, wildlife, and modern conveniences. It is one of the most famous Kenyan places and the largest city in Kenya.

You will find museums, art galleries, a thriving food and music scene, and shopping markets selling local crafts and high-end fashion in the capital city. Nairobi also has several luxurious hotels and resorts that provide a relaxing and indulgent vacation experience.

Many travelers use the city as a base to explore world-renowned wildlife reserves, such as Nairobi National Park, where they interact with Kenya’s iconic wildlife in their natural habitat.

Mombasa

Mombasa is a Kenyan coastal city known for its beauty, history, and vibrant culture. It has much to offer as a tourist, from its beautiful beaches to historic landmarks and vibrant nightlife.

The city’s Old Town is a labyrinth of narrow streets lined with centuries-old structures. At the same time, Fort Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a stunning example of 16th-century Portuguese military architecture.

Mombasa also serves as a gateway to some of Kenya’s best wildlife reserves, including Tsavo East and West National Parks, where visitors can see elephants, lions, and other iconic African wildlife.

Mombasa has a diverse array of attractions for visitors, whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion.

Kisumu

Kisumu, located in western Kenya, is a lovely city on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. It is a must-visit destination because of its vibrant culture and friendly locals.

The city is home to several historic sites, including the Kisumu Museum, which showcases the region’s cultural and natural history, and the Dunga Hill Camp, which provides breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding countryside.

You can take advantage of nature in the region for outdoor activities such as fishing, birdwatching, and hiking. That is also why Kisumu is an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Eldoret

Eldoret is a charming city in Kenya’s western region known for its natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene. The city is surrounded by scenic landscapes of rolling hills and farmland, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and safaris to nearby wildlife reserves.

Eldoret is also home to some of Kenya’s best universities, explaining its vibrant and youthful vibe. Consequently, there are also many cultural attractions such as museums, art galleries, and theaters here.

You can explore the city’s rich cultural heritage, take in the breathtaking scenery, and feel the warmth and hospitality of its people.

Landmark And Architecture Kenya Is Famous for

Maasai Mara

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of Kenya’s most iconic destinations, known for its breathtaking landscapes and unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities. It is located in the southwestern part of Kenya.

The natural paradise is home to majestic African wildlife, including lions, elephants, giraffes, and wildebeests. Unsurprisingly, this is the primary reason and highlight for many visitors.

However, the Maasai Mara is also known for its rich cultural heritage, as the Maasai people have lived in the area for centuries. When visiting the area, you can enjoy the game drives, hot air balloon rides, and guided tours of Maasai villages, all providing an unforgettable glimpse into Kenya’s wildlife and culture.

Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park is one of the famous Kenya places to visit if you are a nature lover. The park, located in the country’s south, is famous for its spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

Amboseli National Park also has a diverse wildlife population, including large herds of elephants, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, and over 400 bird species. You can go join the Africa Kenya safari to see these animals in their natural habitat and enjoy the stunning scenery.

The unique natural beauty and wildlife blend make this one of the famous landmarks in Kenya.

Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is certainly bucket list worthy when visiting Kenya. This is one of the scenic locations Kenya is known for and for very good reasons. Lake Nakuru is a photographer’s dream as it is filled with pink flamingos that give it a distinct pink hue.

One of the fun facts about Kenya is this beautiful and unique lake. It houses over 400 bird species and a variety of wildlife. Beyond that, the stunning landscape and panoramic views of the surrounding hills provide a serene and peaceful environment.

A trip to Lake Nakuru is sure to be a memorable and enriching experience, whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply looking to experience the natural beauty of Kenya.

Lamu Island

Lamu Island is a Kenyan island located off the coast of the mainland. It is a stunning and one-of-a-kind destination that offers a nice blend of attractions and activities.

The island’s beauty is found in its pristine beaches, ancient architecture, and diverse cultural heritage. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its preserved Swahili architecture and traditions that have remained unchanged for centuries.

You can stroll through Lamu’s narrow streets, relax on the island’s beautiful beaches, or take a dhow cruise to nearby islands. Lamu Island is a popular destination for any visitor to Kenya because of its natural beauty, rich history, and cultural significance.

Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is famous for being the highest mountain in Kenya and, after Mount Kilimanjaro, the second-highest peak in Africa. The mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to stunning natural beauty and diverse flora and fauna.

Hike and climb the mountain, explore the surrounding forests and national parks, and learn about the local communities’ rich cultural traditions. There is a calming effect as you go up the mountain to observe breathtaking views of Kenya and its lush greeneries.

Food Kenya Is Known For

Ugali

Ugali is a popular staple food in Kenya made from maize flour and water. It is commonly served with stews, meats, and vegetables and is an important part of Kenyan food culture.

You will be able to find Ugali in various local restaurants, roadside eateries, and even upscale dining establishments. It is a big part of Kenyan cuisine and thus also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s culture through food.

The dish’s simplicity and delicious flavor make it a favorite for locals and visitors. It’s also a good choice for vegetarians and vegans, as it goes well with various plant-based dishes.

Nyama Choma

Nyama Choma is a popular grilled meat dish found throughout Kenya. Traditionally, the dish is made with beef, goat, or mutton and is served with a variety of side dishes such as ugali (maize meal), kachumbari (a tomato and onion salad), and sukuma wiki (kale).

Nyama Choma Joints are restaurants specializing in grilled meats. These are one of the best places to enjoy Nyama Choma. This traditional Kenyan food offers a distinct taste of the country’s culinary traditions.

The dish is typically shared with friends and family, making it an excellent opportunity to socialize and learn about Kenyan culture.

Chapati

Chapati is a traditional Kenyan flatbread made from wheat flour, water, and salt. It’s a tasty snack or a side dish with various meals. Chapati goes well with various dishes, including stews and curries, and even on its own with chutney or salsa.

You can always find Chapati in most Kenyan cities, including local markets, street food stalls, and restaurants. It is a staple in the food scene and there is no lack of opportunity to try it.

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Famous People From Kenya

Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge is a Kenyan marathon runner known as one of the greatest runners ever. He has received numerous international awards and accolades for his sports achievements, which include an Olympic gold medal he received during the marathon at the 2016 Rio Games.

Kipchoge made history in 2019 as the first person to run a marathon distance of 26.2 miles in under two hours, breaking a world record then.

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai is a Kenyan environmental and political activist who spent her life fighting for social justice, human rights, and environmental conservation. She founded the Green Belt Movement, which uses tree planting to promote reforestation, environmental conservation, and community development.

In 2004, her effort was crowned with a Nobel Peace Prize for promoting sustainable development, democracy, and peace. She was the first African woman recipient.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama is a former President of the United States, having served from 2009 to 2017. He was born in Hawaii, but his father was from Kenya, making him the first U.S. president with African ancestors.

Obama is still a popular figure in Kenya, which he has visited several times and supported various development and education initiatives. He is one of the twenty-first century’s most significant and influential leaders.

Discovering More Things Kenya Is Known For

Kenya allows tourists to experience the best of Africa, from safari adventures to beach vacations to cultural immersion. These are just some of the many things Kenya is famous for. Featuring beautiful wildlife, amazing landscapes, and deep heritage traditions, it is no wonder why it is such a popular destination on the continent.

To fully appreciate and experience all that Kenya has to offer, make sure to plan a trip yourself. You are bound to uncover more of what Kenya is known for through your adventures.


WHAT IS KENYA KNOWN FOR? PIN IT FOR LATER!

PLANNING YOUR TRIP? CHECK THESE RESOURCES!

Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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