archive-com.com » COM » R » ROUGHGUIDES.COM

Total: 1603

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Crime and safety | About Kenya | Rough Guides
    It will be over in an instant and you re unlikely to be hurt But the hassles and worse that gather when you try to do anything about it make it imperative not to let it happen in the first place Thieves caught red handed are usually mobbed and often lynched so avoid the usual Kenyan response of shouting Thief Mwizi in Swahili unless you re ready to intercede instantly once you ve retrieved your belongings Usually you ll have no chance of catching the thief and if you ve lost something valuable the first reaction is to go to the police Unless you ve lost irreplaceable property however think twice about doing this They rarely do something for nothing and even stamping an insurance form will probably cost you though you will need it to make a claim from the insurance company And never agree to act as a decoy in the hope that the same thing will happen again in front of a police ambush Police shootings take place all the time and you may prefer not to be involved in a cold blooded murder If you have official business with the police which is only likely at police roadblocks when you are the driver then politeness smiles and handshakes always help to limit the damage If they claim you have committed a misdemeanour whether or not you really have for example exceeding the speed limit committing a driving error talking on your mobile while at the wheel or having something wrong with your vehicle and you think you are being solicited for a bribe chai meaning tea or kitu kidogo something small to be allowed to go on your way Are you in a hurry and if you re prepared to get into that then haggle over the sum as you would any payment Calling their bluff usually works just as well however agree that this is all unfortunate but you need to be sure it s being dealt with in the proper way and if they would just explain the procedure to you you will be happy to oblige Of course court appearances and official fines are rarely on their radar And if you and they know you ve done nothing wrong and you re not in any rush then politely refusing to play their game will only cost a short delay until they give up on you and try another potential source of income In unofficial dealings the police especially in remote outposts can go out of their way to help you with food transport or accommodation Try to reciprocate Police salaries are low and they rely on unofficial income to get by Only a completely new police force and realistic salaries could alter a situation that is now entrenched Drug and other offences Though illegal marijuana bhang or bangi is widely cultivated and smoked and is remarkably cheap However with the authorities making efforts to control it and penalties of up to ten years

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/crime-safety/ (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive


  • Travel essentials | About Kenya | Rough Guides
    may prove extremely expensive or using a local SIM card Alternatively if you have your laptop with you you can buy a local internet service provider s modem and SIM card to give you mobile broadband access The set up cost currently around 20 is coming down all the time Connectivity and speeds are improving but be prepared for some frustration if you re aiming to do more than email and browse Whatever you select ensure everything is working before you leave the shop fortunately most mobile shops are very professional and the staff will ensure you are fully set up Laundry There are virtually no launderettes in Kenya but all hotels lodges and tented camps run a laundry service for guests Female underwear is normally excluded except where they have a washing machine soap powder is provided for guests to do their own In cheap hotels you ll easily find people offering the same service dobi in Swahili but again they often won t accept female and sometimes male underwear If you re camping you ll find small packets of washing powder widely available and clothes dry fast in the sun Beware of tumbu flies however which lay their eggs on wet clothes where the larvae subsequently hatch and burrow into your skin As the larva grows it s painful but harmless reaching the size of a grain of rice after a few days until it breaks out leaving a small round scar Not quite Alien but still very unpleasant and most people don t wait to find out but burst the early swelling and clean it with antiseptic A good hot iron should kill the eggs which is why every item of your clothing will be returned neatly pressed Don t leave swimming costumes drying outside but hang them in your shower Mail There are main post offices in all the towns and except in the far north sub post offices throughout the rural areas Post offices are usually open Mon Fri 8am 5pm Sat 9am noon Letters and airmailed parcels take a few days to reach Europe and around ten days to North America Australia and New Zealand If you want speedy delivery pay a little extra for express Times from these places to Kenya are slightly longer and things go missing fairly frequently The internal service like the international one is not particularly reliable There is no mail delivery service in Kenya recipients have to collect their mail and all postal addresses comprise a post office box number and the name of a town or city Some post offices now have five number postal codes the Nairobi GPO is 00100 If you want to receive a letter the Poste Restante general delivery service is free and fairly reliable in Nairobi Mombasa Malindi and Lamu Have your family name marked clearly followed by Poste Restante GPO and the name of the town You ll need to show your passport Packages can be received too but many go missing and expect to haggle over import duty when they re opened in your presence Ask the sender to mark the package Contents To Be Re exported From Kenya For large or valuable items always use a courier FedEx DHL and UPS have branches or agents in all large towns Maps There are very few good road maps of Kenya The best available without flattering ourselves is the Rough Guide Map Kenya Northern Tanzania 1 950 000 2004 printed on rip proof waterproof plastic paper which is designed to work alongside this guide If you can t find the Rough Guide Map the Reise Know How Map Kenia 1 950 000 is for the most part identical although the 2012 update had some strange errors including showing the whole of the Nairobi Mombasa highway as a route under construction A local company w touristmapskenya com has also licensed some of the Survey of Kenya material and published a number of maps of parks and reserves which are available in bookshops and at park gates Nairobi and Mombasa A Z street atlases available in bookshops are being superseded by the all enveloping Google Maps which has already covered most of Kenya in impressive detail Money Kenya s currency the Kenyan shilling Ksh is a colonial legacy based on the old British currency as in pre decimal Britain Kenyans occasionally refer to shillings as bob There are notes of Ksh1000 500 200 100 and 50 and coins of Ksh20 10 5 1 and 50 cents half a shilling Some foreign banks stock shillings should you wish to buy some before you leave but you ll get rates about five percent less than what you might find in Kenya You can import or export up to Ksh100 000 you need the exchange receipts if exporting Because the Kenya shilling is a weak currency prices for anything connected to the tourist industry tend to be quoted in US dollars Cash dollars together with British pounds and euros are invariably acceptable and often preferred as payment People often have calculators and know the latest exchange rates At the time of writing the rates of exchange were approximately Ksh135 to 1 Ksh85 to 1 and Ksh110 to 1 If you take 100 bills to Kenya be sure they are less than five years old as they won t be exchangeable in many places otherwise While most prices in this book are given in Kenyan shillings or US dollars the occasional use of euros or pounds sterling reflects the way hotels and tour operators price their services Credit and debit cards and ATMs The best way to carry your money is in the form of plastic This is not so much because you can use credit or debit cards to buy things though increasingly you can but because they re more secure than cash and you can use them at ATMs Most bank branches have ATMs inside a secure booth and guards on the street outside There s often a line of local people waiting to withdraw cash though you rarely have to wait long Many banks have 24 hour ATMs including most branches of Barclays w bit ly BarclaysKenyaATMs Standard Chartered w bit ly SCBKenyaATMs Kenya Commercial w bit ly KCB ATMs and Equity w equitybank co ke banks The machines variously accept cards with Visa Visa Electron MasterCard Plus or Cirrus symbols You ll have to ask your own bank what charge they make per withdrawal the cost varies Many banks also give cash advances in Kenya shillings and if you re in Nairobi or parts of the coast in US dollars or pounds on Visa and MasterCard credit cards The maximum amount you can withdraw per day is usually Ksh40 000 from an ATM or Ksh50 000 over the counter Visa credit cards are widely accepted for tourist services such as upmarket hotels and restaurants flights safaris and car rental MasterCard and others are more limited There s usually a two to five percent mark up on top of the price for the cost of the transaction to the company Chip and pin transactions have barely arrived in Kenya and credit card fraud is not uncommon so if you re paying a sum in shillings make sure you ve filled in the leading digits with zeros and the voucher specifies the currency before you sign If it doesn t it s all too easy for the vendor to fill in a or sign in front of the total after you ve left Exchanging money You can exchange hard currency in cash at banks and foreign exchange forex bureaux all over the country and also at most large hotels though for a substantially poorer rate US dollars British pounds and euros are always the most easily changed Always check the commission and any charges as they may vary mysteriously even within branches of the same bank Cash invariably attracts better rates than travellers cheques which in the age of the ATM are rarely worth the trouble especially as you need to have the original receipts as well as your passport and the patience of a saint when waiting in the bank to cash them Banks are usually open Mon Fri 9am 3pm Sat 9 11am some branches are not open every Sat In out of the way places you may have to wait until the rates arrive from Nairobi Foreign exchange forex bureaux usually offer better rates of exchange than banks The Central Bank of Kenya publishes a list of licensed independent forex dealers w bit ly KenyaForexBureaux Street moneychangers in Nairobi Mombasa and Malindi may offer slightly better than official rates but this black market is illegal and many of them are chancers aiming to rip you off or even muggers looking to lure you into an alley An exception is when entering Kenya by land from Uganda or Tanzania where moneychangers in the border towns will give Kenyan shillings for Ugandan or Tanzanian shillings or cash US dollars Local authorities turn a blind eye but always count the shillings very carefully before handing over your hard currency Wiring money Having money wired from home is not cheap but it is relatively easy You can have it sent with Western Union w westernunion com to branches of PostBank and KCB or with MoneyGram w moneygram com to branches of the Co op Bank and some forex bureaux The transfer is instantaneous and fees depend on the amount being transferred Wiring 1000 for example will cost around 65 At the time of writing M Pesa the much more affordable mobile to mobile money transfer system that has transformed Kenya s rural economy was planning to go international Operated by Safaricom M Pesa could allow Kenyans to make payments overseas and potentially enable overseas mobile phone users to make payments to people with mobiles in Kenya Museums and historical monuments Kenya s museums are always worth visiting if you re in the neighbourhood although perhaps only the National Museum in Nairobi Fort Jesus in Mombasa and Lamu Museum deserve a special visit They re run by the National Museums of Kenya w museums or ke which also coordinates archeological digs and looks after various sites and monuments several of which such as the ruins of Gedi on the coast and Thimlich Ohinga near Lake Victoria are impressive and highly recommended If you re visiting Nairobi it s worth getting the special rate pass that entitles you to free entry to all the sites and museums for a month see Museums in Kenya Opening hours Opening hours tend to follow patterns you re likely to be familiar with In larger towns major stores are open Mon Sat 8am 5pm or 9am 6pm often with a break for lunch Large supermarkets are increasingly open late in the evenings and big towns often have at least one 24 hour Nakumatt hypermarket Tourism businesses such as travel agents car rental firms and airline offices are usually open Mon Fri 8am 5pm or 9am 6pm plus Sat 9am noon Banks are usually open Mon Fri 9am 3pm and Sat 9 11am Museums are usually open seven days a week Post offices are usually open Mon Fri 8am 5pm Sat 9am noon Most other offices are closed all weekend In rural areas small shops can be open at almost any hour Some petrol stations stay open late but very few are open all night Phones and mobiles Kenya s conventional landline telephone system run by Telkom operator t 900 appears to be in terminal decline Where it works people use it because it can be the cheapest way to make a call but in many towns the local phones including the call boxes are all but defunct If you borrow someone s phone or you can find a working payphone some large post offices have working boxes then you should be able to call internationally see International codes when calling from Kenya as well as in Kenya The easiest way is with a Telkom Kenya scratch card available in various values and durations The cards can be used for local and international calls from any landline phone with tone dialling including call boxes Kenya s area codes are all three figures comprising 0 plus two digits The subscriber numbers are five six or seven digits with all numbers moving in theory to seven digits Kenya also has CDMA wireless lines which are vastly more reliable than land lines Like Nairobi land lines wireless lines always have the code t 020 followed by a seven digit number Mobile phones Mobile cell phones outnumber landlines in Kenya and most of the country has coverage The main exception is the far north but reception can also be patchy in thinly populated rural areas Mobile phone services are provided by Safaricom the biggest operator and its rivals Airtel and Orange All Safaricom and Airtel numbers begin with a four digit code starting 07 followed by a six digit number Unless your mobile is very old it is almost certain to work in Kenya but very high charges make using it on roaming unattractive for anything but emergencies There are two easy options either buy a cheap handset from any mobile phone shop which will cost around 20 or buy a Kenyan pay as you go SIM card around Ksh100 and temporarily replace the SIM card in your mobile As well as standard mini SIMs the cut down micro SIMs for iPhones and other smart phones are widely available Check with your home service provider that your phone is not locked to their network unlocking if necessary can be done anywhere Once you have your Kenyan SIM installed any phone shop from the airport onwards will sell you one and put it in your phone you can buy airtime cards literally anywhere rubbing a scratch number which you use to key in the top up Most Kenyans top up with Ksh50 or Ksh100 a deeply resented pricing structure that gives them poor rates per minute Ksh1000 will give you very low price calls as low as Ksh3 per minute and Ksh2 per text on the same network and should last you for a short holiday For most short term visitors to Kenya it s fairly immaterial whether you choose an Airtel Orange or Safaricom SIM card They continually outbid each other for value and flexibility If however you re travelling more widely in East Africa you ll find Airtel s One Network service handy It allows you to use the same SIM card throughout Kenya Tanzania Uganda and several other countries while topping up in the local currency International calls To call Kenya from abroad dial your country s international access code followed by 254 for Kenya then the Kenyan area code or mobile phone code omitting the initial 0 and then the number itself Kenya Uganda and Tanzania have a special telephone code agreement used just between them which replaces their international access and country codes with a single three digit code t 005 for Kenya t 006 for Uganda and t 007 for Tanzania So if you re calling Kenya from Uganda or Tanzania you dial t 005 then the Kenya area code omitting the initial zero then the number Note however that on mobiles no matter where you re dialling from the codes for Kenya Tanzania and Uganda are the usual international 254 255 and 256 To call out of Kenya the international access code is 000 followed by the country code followed by the number omitting any initial 0 this includes calls to mobiles being used with foreign registered SIM cards in Kenya Photography Kenya is immensely photogenic and with any kind of camera you ll get beautiful pictures But if you want good wildlife shots you ll need a camera with an optical magnification of at least 10x on a point and shoot camera or 400mm equivalent on a DSLR Such telephoto capabilities are essential if you want pictures of animals rather than savanna Wildlife photography is largely about timing and patience Keep your camera always to hand and in a vehicle always turn off the engine Keep your camera in a dust proof bag If it uses a rechargeable battery take a spare you will always run out of power at the critical moment if you don t If you intend to email digital pictures home or store them online note that cybercafés don t always have computers with USB ports and that uploading can take a very long time The lack of USB also means you may have difficulty archiving your photos to CD at least you can buy CDs and DVDs widely so it pays to take plenty of memory cards with you or a separate storage device When photographing local people you need to be sensitive and always ask permission first If you don t accept that some kind of interaction and exchange are warranted you won t get many pictures Though most people are tolerant of cameras the superstition that photos capture part of the soul is still prevalent in some areas and there can be a special objection to photography of children or animals whose souls may be considered especially vulnerable The idea that your photos may show Kenya in a poor light is also common The Maasai and Samburu Kenya s most colourful and photographed people are usually prepared to do a deal bargain over the price as you would for any payment and in some places you ll even find professional posers making a living at the roadside Other people may be happy to let you take their picture for free but will certainly appreciate it if you take their name and address and send a print when you get home or email the shot to them Note that it s always a bad idea to take pictures of anything that could be construed

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/travel-essentials/ (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Things not to miss in Kenya | Photo Gallery | Rough Guides
    Follow Us Facebook Twitter Newsletter Log in Africa Introduction Egypt Morocco Kenya South Africa See all destinations Kenya Overview Introduction Fact file Where to go When to go Getting there Getting around Accommodation Eating and drinking Health The media Public holidays and festivals Entertainment and sport Outdoor activities National parks and reserves Safaris Crafts and shopping Culture and etiquette Crime and safety Travel essentials Inspiration Things not to miss Itineraries

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/things-miss/ (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Kenya Itineraries | Rough Guides
    rhinos and opulent conservancy stays as well as wild dog tracking and budget camping 4 Maralal This semi desert alternately dusty and muddy cowboy outpost the unofficial capital of the Samburu people hosts an annual camel derby 5 Samburu NR Watered by the forest fringed Ewaso Nyiro this is a relaxing area to encounter northern wildlife from reticulated giraffe to Somali ostrich 6 Marsabit NP A true desert oasis this mountainous outburst of volcanic craters and rich soil stands thick with misty creeper swathed forest 7 Lake Turkana Getting to the fabled Jade Sea is half the fun but the annual Lake Turkana Festival is a huge incentive And at any time of year expect colourful cultural adventures Strike out across the Great Rift Valley to freshwater and soda lakes then climb to the Mara basin s rolling grasslands one of the last rainforests in Kenya and giant Lake Victoria Some of this journey could be done in a fortnight but allow three weeks to do it all 1 Lake Naivasha Head into the Rift Valley for a breezy escape from Nairobi with country retreats and backpackers camps and walks in Hell s Gate and austere Mount Longonot 2 Maasai Mara NR Only in the Mara can you experience a wildlife panorama stretching from horizon to horizon Stay on a community wildlife conservancy and see the herds without the crowds 3 Lake Victoria Spend a day or two in characterful Kisumu and catch musicians and markets Then head for one of the islands to see rock paintings and watch fishermen 4 Kakamega Forest NP The bird and reptile hotspot of western Kenya this stranded piece of central African rainforest is a joy for independent travellers 5 Lake Baringo On one side the changing lake colours crocs and hippos and Njemps

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/itineraries/ (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Nairobi and around Guide | Kenya Travel | Rough Guides
    it s shot through with glassy high rise blocks Surrounding the core of the old Central Business District is a vast area of suburbs wealthiest in the west and north increasingly poor to the south and east The names of these suburbs Karen Parklands Eastleigh Spring Valley Kibera among many others reflect the jumble of African Asian and European elements in Nairobi s original inhabitants none of whom were local The term Nairobian is a relatively new one that still applies mostly to the younger generation Although it has a predominance of Kikuyu the city is not the preserve of a single ethnic group standing as it does at the meeting point of Maasai Kikuyu and Kamba territories Its choice as capital accidental though it may have been the Kikuyu town of Limuru and the Kamba capital Machakos were also considered was a fortunate one for the future of the country Since the 1990s the Central Business District has seen the steady flight of businesses into the suburbs particularly to Upper Hill and the surrounding districts to the west of the CBD to the booming satellite city of Westlands just a couple of kilometres to the northwest and for kilometre after kilometre out along the Mombasa road to the south Just in the last few years however regeneration efforts in the CBD have begun to pay off It s not quite like the rebirth of central Johannesburg but businesses and nightlife are returning to a district that feels safer and more habitable than at any time in the last two decades Read More More about Kenya Itineraries Features Where Next Check out The Central Highlands Book a hostel in Kenya Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore Central Nairobi The National Museum Nairobi National Park The southern Rift Valley Find out more Birdwatching in Nairobi Birdwatching in Nairobi Birdwatching need not be exclusively a bush pursuit For any visitor staying in central Nairobi an impressive sight during the early morning and late evening is groups of black kites circling as they move between feeding and roosting sites and among these are readily identified black and white pied crows Marabou storks sacred ibises and silvery cheeked hornbills can sometimes be seen flying over the city dramatically large marabous may also be seen in the thorn trees on Uhuru Highway near Nyayo Stadium while flocks of superb starlings call noisily from office buildings The leafier areas of the city are likely to produce even more birds The gardens in the grounds of the National Museum are an interesting and relatively safe area to start birding Here keen birdwatchers may encounter sunbirds variable and Hunter s and the cinnamon chested bee eater Another bird of the gardens is the African paradise monarch a species of flycatcher In breeding plumage the rufous males have long tail streamers which trail behind them like ribbons as they flit from tree to tree Nature Kenya organizes bird walks from the National Museum every Wednesday

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/nairobi-around/ (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The Central Highlands Guide | Kenya Travel | Rough Guides
    first mystified to find themselves squatters on land whose ownership in the sense of exclusive right had never been an issue in traditional society They were certainly not alone in losing land but by supplying most of the Mau Mau fighters for the Land and Freedom Army they were placed squarely in the political limelight In return they received a large proportion of what used to be known as the Fruits of Independence Today most of the land is in African hands again and it supports the country s largest rural population There s intensive farming on almost all the lower slopes and much of the higher ground as well beneath the national parks of Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Read More More about Kenya Itineraries Features Where Next Check out The National Parks and Mombasa Highway Book a hostel in Kenya Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore Mount Kenya National Park Nanyuki Aberdare National Park Nyeri Nyahururu Thomson s Falls Find out more Kenya s highland forests and moors Kenya s highland forests and moors Kenya s main highland forests are on Mounts Kenya Elgon and Marsabit on the Aberdare range and on the Mau Escarpment The characteristic natural landscape in the highlands is patches of evergreen trees separated by vast meadows of grasses often wire grass and Kikuyu grass The true highland forest typically found only above 1500m contains different species of trees from lowland forest and does not normally grow as tall or dense Typical species include camphor Juniperus procera the East African cedar and Podocarpus The better developed forests are found on the wetter western slopes of the highlands Above the forest line at altitudes of 2500m and higher you get stands of giant bamboo while along the lower drier edges of the highlands the stands of trees tend to be interspersed with fields of tall grass where you commonly also find various species of olive The Kikuyu The Kikuyu The ancestors of the Kikuyu migrated to the Central Highlands between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries from northeast of Mount Kenya Stories describe how they found various hunter gatherer peoples already in the region the Gumba on the plains and the Athi in the forests and a great deal of intermarriage trade and adoption took place The newcomers cleared the forests and planted crops giving the hunters gifts of livestock honey or wives in return for using the land Likewise there was trade and intermarriage between the Kikuyu and the Maasai both peoples placing high value on cattle ownership with the Maasai depending entirely on livestock During bad droughts Maasai would raid Kikuyu herds with retaliation at a later date being almost inevitable But such intertribal warfare often had long term benefits as ancient debts were forever being renegotiated and paid off by both sides thus sustaining the relationship Married Kikuyu women enjoyed a special immunity that enabled them to organize trading expeditions deep into Maasai land often with the help of

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/central-highlands/ (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The Rift Valley Guide | Kenya Travel | Rough Guides
    Guide Kenya s Rift Valley is only part of a continental fault system that runs 6000km across the Middle East and Africa from Jordan to Mozambique Perhaps Kenya s most important topographical feature it is certainly one of the country s great distinguishing marks acting as a human and natural divide With its spectacular scenery of lakes and savanna it has come to be seen as a monumental valley of teeming game and Maasai herders a trough of grasslands older than humanity Although the iconic image is no longer entirely borne out by reality the valley certainly is magnificent a literal rift across the country with all the stunning panoramas and gaunt escarpment backdrops you could wish for and the plains animals are still abundant in places Nevertheless much of the game has been dispersed by human population pressure onto the higher plateaus to the southwest and today most of the Maasai live farther south At least the Rift Valley s historical influence cannot be diluted People have trekked down it generation after generation over perhaps the last two or three thousand years from the wetlands of South Sudan and the Ethiopian highlands Some of the more recent immigrants were the ancestors of the Maasai who dominated much of the valley and its surroundings for several centuries before the Europeans arrived Until the beginning of the twentieth century the Maasai lived on both sides of the valley and the northern Ilaikipiak group were a constant threat to trading caravans coming up from the coast With European settlement the Maasai were forced from their former grazing grounds in the valley s turbulent bottleneck and confined to the Southern Reserve now Amboseli National Park for much of the colonial era Although many have now returned to the valley and many towns retain their ancient Maa names the Maasai are at their most conservative and traditional in southern Kenya The parts of the Rift Valley covered in this chapter offer several exceptional lakes lots of rocky twisting roads and some of central Kenya s wildest areas Highlights of the central Rift Valley include the scenic freshwater Lake Naivasha the dramatic cliffs of Hell s Gate and nearby craggy crater rim of Mount Longonot the shallow alkaline Lake Elmenteita and the busy Lake Nakuru National Park with its almost guaranteed rhinos and less certain huge flocks of flamingos In addition there are several interesting prehistoric sites in this area with a refreshing rawness about them Heading into the northern Rift Valley away from Nakuru the land drops away gently and as the road descends so temperatures rise the landscape dries up and human population becomes sparser Although this region isn t far from Nakuru or Nairobi and is not necessarily a difficult journey it has a bright harsh beauty freshwater Lake Baringo and saline Lake Bogoria currently the most likely place in Kenya to see flamingos in their hundreds of thousands are alluring targets and distinctively different both from each other and from the

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/rift-valley/ (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Western Kenya Guide | Kenya Travel | Rough Guides
    tract of equatorial rainforest bursting with species found nowhere else in Kenya at Saiwa Swamp where access on foot allows you to get quite close to the rare sitatunga antelope at Ruma where a lush valley harbours reticulated giraffe roan antelope and black rhinos and at Mount Elgon an extinct volcano to rival Mount Kenya in everything but crowds Lake Victoria is the obvious place to make for in the west sprinkled with out of the way islands populated by exceptionally friendly people and with the region s major town Kisumu on its shores And there s the offbeat if admittedly very minor new attraction of Kogelo the home village of the father of US president Barack Obama The Western Highlands rise all around Lake Victoria in a great bowl dotted with a string of busy towns While Eldoret and Kakamega are essentially route hubs with little for visitors to do Kisii has a couple of good excursions the tea capital Kericho is certainly worth an overnight stay and Kitale has some museums Away from the towns much of the west even the areas of intensive farming is ravishingly beautiful densely animated jungle near Kakamega and Kitale regimented landscapes of tea bushes around Kericho and many areas of swamp and grassland alive with birds Ethnically the region is dominated by the Luo on the lakeshore but there are Bantu speaking Luhya in the sugar lands north of Kisumu and Gusii in the formidably fertile Kisii Hills Other important groups speak one or other of the Kalenjin languages principally the Nandi around Eldoret and the Kipsigis in the district around Kericho And of course there are thousands of migrants from other parts of Kenya Read More More about Kenya Itineraries Features Where Next Check out The National Parks and Mombasa Highway Book a hostel in Kenya Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore Kisumu Ruma National Park Kisii and around Kericho and the Tea Country Eldoret and around Kitale Saiwa Swamp National Park Mount Elgon National Park Kakamega Kakamega Forest Find out more Lake Victoria s ecology and economy Lake Victoria s ecology and economy Lake Victoria fills a shallow depression no deeper than 80m between the Western and Eastern Rift valleys yet it is not part of the Rift system Until the 1960s it was home to around five hundred different species of brilliantly coloured tropical fish known as haplochromines or cichlids all of them endemic unique to the lake Scientists puzzling over how such a dazzling variety of species came to evolve in this largely uniform environment in the space of no more than a million years have suggested that at some stage in its history the lake must have dried into a series of small lakes in which the fish evolved separately Lake Victoria s cichlids are popular aquarium fish and one of the commonest larger species the tilapia is a regional speciality grilled or fried and served whole In the early 1960s a voracious

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/western-kenya/ (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive



  •