Geography in Kenya
Kenya is located in East Africa and stretches on both sides of the equator. With an area of approx. 583,000 km², Kenya is slightly larger than France. In the north Kenya borders on Ethiopia and South Sudan, in the west on Uganda with Lake Victoria, in the southwest and south on Tanzania and in the east on Somalia. In the southeast, the country is bounded by the Indian Ocean, with numerous bays, reefs and offshore islands such as the Lamu Archipelago, which is part of the Kenyan national territory, lining the Kenyan coastline.
From the coast the land rises to the west to about 1000 m. The plateau covers almost the entire north and east of Kenya and is dominated by individual mountain ranges. The Kenyan highlands lie at an altitude of 1500 – 3000 m and occupy the central part of Kenya. The East African Rift (Rift Valley) stretches in a north-south direction across the central highlands of Kenya and past Lake Turkan, Lake Baringo, Lake Bogaria, Lake Nakuru, Lake Elemeteita, Lake Naivasha and Lake Magada as far as Tanzania. The highest point in the country and at the same time the second highest mountain in Africa is the Batian at 5199 meters above sea level, the highest peak of the Mount Kenya massif in central Kenya.
The water masses of the high-precipitation central highlands are carried away to the Indian Ocean via the 700 km long Tana. The precipitation from the southwestern parts of the country fills Lake Victoria, which is drained by the Nile’s drainage system. The northern plateau of Kenya drains its precipitation via various rivers into the drainless basin of Lake Turkan.
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Flora and fauna in Kenya
A large part of Kenya’s land area is defined by wide, grassy savannahs. The rainforests, which have unfortunately strongly declined in recent decades, are located at the foot of the mountainous center of the country while in the north-west and north-east there are semi-deserts with acacias, various thorn bushes, flute acacias, baobab, liver sausage and camphor trees, bamboo, olives and orchids as well some milkweed species. The mountain bamboo, which is up to 15 m high, the ragwort, senezia and tree lobelia can be found in the rain-rich mountains. On the coast, coconut palms line the white beaches of Kenya. The swampy shallow water areas are overgrown with mangrove forests, lime and mango trees. Among the more than 10,000 different plant species in Kenya there are still banana trees, Fan palms, flame trees, copal spruce, crocodile trees, Madagascar almond trees, cassava, oil palms, papaya trees, paternoster trees, umbrella acacias, teak trees, Christmas stars and wonder trees. Kenya’s fauna is not least due to the seasonal climatic differences that force a large part of the animals to migrate from the Serengeti in southern Kenya to the 500 km north of the Masai Mara, rich in African large game species such as wildebeest, Thomson gazelle, zebras and antelopes as well the representatives of the so-called Big Five, i.e. lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, rhinos and elephants. Elan antelopes, Serengeti topi, giraffes, anubis baboons, vervet monkeys, child baboons, steppe baboons, aardwolves, black-backed jackals and striped hyenas are also worth mentioning. There are hippos in the waters Crocodiles and a multitude of other reptiles and snakes can be found in the rainforests and savannahs of Kenya. Among the countless bird species in Kenya are well-known representatives such as flamingos, weaver birds, crowned cranes, forked cranes, hammerhead birds, hornbills, helmet guinea fowl, marabous, giant bustards, pelicans, saddle storks, secretaries, short-toed eagles and ostriches.
National parks and nature conservation in Kenya
Kenya, the motherland of safaris, currently has 22 national parks and just as many nature reserves. They are a very important foundation for the emerging tourism in the country. At the same time, the presence of many tourists in the wildlife parks means considerable protection against poaching. The national parks in Kenya are subject to the highest level of protection, which is above the National Reserves and Sanctuaries. One of the first nature reserves in Kenya was the Southern Reserve, created in 1899 with around 33,000 km. The most important protected areas and national parks are:
The Tsavo National Park, the one in Tsavo-East and Tsavo-West is divided, is located in the coastal region of Kenya and lies between Nairobi and Mombasa. With a size of almost 22,000 km², it is the largest national park in Kenya and at the same time one of the largest in the world. The park is divided by the railway line to Mombasa. The slightly larger eastern part is mostly flat and dry, while the western part of the park is more mountainous and criss-crossed with wetlands.
The Maasai Mara is an extensive nature reserve and forms the northern foothills of the Serengeti. Especially in the months of July and August you can find a lot of animals here due to the herd migration from the Serengeti.
The Amboseli National Park is located in the southwest of Kenya directly on the border with Tanzania. Since the Maasai do not tolerate foreign hunters in their area, the park has been largely spared from poachers. The elephant population could develop here undisturbed.
The Lake Nakuru National Park is, as its name suggests, near Nakuru around Lake Nakuur. The approximately two million flamingos, for which the first bird protection national park in all of Africa was established here in 1967, are an impressive natural spectacle.
The Meru National Park is located approximately 100 km north-east of Mount Kenya in Meru County. Together with the Bisandi reserve in the east, it forms an ecological unit.
The Nairobi National Park is only about 7 km from Nairobi’s city center, the skyline of which can be seen from the park. Due to the proximity to the big city, the migration routes of the ungulates are unfortunately disturbed.