Kenya By Savannah Hulsey

Introduction

When studying a place, one must follow the five themes of geography. They are also known as five ways to look at the earth. While we are studying Kenya, we will also be looking at the themes, which are location, place, human-environmental interaction, region, and movement. Kenya is a country in Africa that has a lot of wildlife, beautiful beaches, technology, safaris, diverse religions, and much more. Continue reading to learn more about Kenya.

Location

The geographic theme of location is separated into two categories; absolute and relative. Absolute, or specific, location would be an address and latitude and longitude coordinates. Relative, or general, location would be the state and country. Kenya's relative location would be on the continent of Africa, surrounded by the countries Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Sudan. Its absolute location is 1°00' N 38°00' E.

Kenya is located on the continent of Africa, as shown in the map above.

Kenya's capital and largest city is Nairobi, founded in 1899 and located around the southwest of the country. The city is most known for Nairobi National Park, a large game reserve, the world's only game reserve found within a major city, known for breeding endangered black rhinos, and home to giraffes, zebras, and lions. Next to it is a well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Nairobi is often used as a jumping-off point for safari trips in other places in Kenya. As well as animal tourism, it also has its very own college, the University of Nairobi.

A few of the zebras in the Nairobi National Park
These are two baby elephants who were orphaned in the wild. Ashaka (left) and Kamok (right) were then rescued by rangers and brought to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The Fairview Hotel in Nairobi
Part of the building, the sign, the crest, and some students of the University of Nairobi
These are some of the cities in Kenya, with Nairobi being its capital.

Along the coast, the climate is tropical, which means lots of rainfall and high temperatures throughout the year. Kenya is divided into four climatic zones; mountain, highland, arid, and coast.

This graph shows the average temperature, rainfall, and hours of sun in Nairobi, Kenya
This graph shows the global horizontal irradiation, with blue being the lowest and red being the highest
This graph shows the Pv temperature suitability, with blue being the highest and pale yellow

Bodies of water found in or around Kenya are the Indian Ocean, Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolf), and the Tana River. Landforms found in the country are Mount Kenya, the Great Rift Valley, and the Chalbi Desert.

The Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean in the world, covering 70,560,000 square kilometers. It has an estimated volume of 292,131,000 cubic miles, and it's named after India. Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya, and the second highest in Africa. It's highest point is 5,199 miles high. The Great Rift Valley is 6,000 kilometers long, and it runs from Asia to South Eastern Africa. Lake Turkana is the largest permanent desert lake and the largest alkaline lake in the world. It is the fourth largest salt lake. The Chalbi Desert is a small desert in northern Kenya. It borders with Ethiopia, and its closest major city is Marsabit. The Tana River is the longest river in Kenya at 1,000 kilometers long. Its series of hydroelectric dams have been constructed along the river.

This picture is of Mount Kenya, and it shows the plains next to it along with the summit of the mountain

Place

The geographic theme of place is physic (nature) differences and human (man-made) differences.

Natural resources found in Kenya are limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, oil, gas, gypsum, wildlife, and hydropower.

Clockwise, fluorspar, soda ash, diatomite, zinc, and gypsum

There are at least 40 different ethnic African groups, including the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kisii, Meru, Embu, Mijikenda, Turkana, and Maasai. The Kikuyu is the most popular and largest ethnic tribe. 22% of Kenya's population speak the Bantu Kikuyu language as a mother tongue. The Luhyu is the second largest ethnic tribe in Kenya, and it is also known as Abaluhya. It makes up 16% of Kenya's population. The Kisii is similar to the Meru, and the Meru is divided into seven subtribes; Tigania, Igemebe, Imenti, Miutuni, Igoji, Mwimbi, and Muthambi. The Embu were fierce warriors who defended their territory. The Minikenda speak the Mijikenda language and have nine subtribes; Giriama, Digo, Chonyi, Duruma, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma, Rabai, and Ribe. The Turkana speak the Turkana language. The Maasai are aming the best known local populations due to their residence near the many game parks of the African Great Lakes.

From left to right, the Maasai, Turkana, and Embu tribes

Approximately, 70% of people in Kenya are Christians (38% Protestant, 28% Catholic), 6% are Muslims, and 25% are adherents of indigenous religions.

From left to right, Christianity, Muslim, and Catholicism

The Kenyans celebrate New Years, Christmas, Easter, Madaraka Day, Eid Al Fitr, Idd-Ul-Adha, Mashujaa Day, Jamhuri Day, and the Mombasa Carnival. Madaraka Day is a public holiday to commemorate the day that Kenya took power and attained internal self-rule in 1963. Mashujaa Day is a public holiday to honor all Kenyans who have contributed towards the struggle for Kenya's independence. Jamhuri Day is a public holiday that marks Kenya becoming a republic on Decmeber 12, 1964, and Kenya's independence from the United Kingdom a year earlier on December 12, 1963.

Clockwise, we have Christmas, Easter, and the Mombasa Carnival

Kenya's government is a republic, composed of three arms; the legislature, the executive, and the judicial. Each arm is independent of the other and their individual roles are set by the Constitution of Kenya. Each of the 47 counties have their own semi-autonomous governments. The full name of the country itself is the Republic of Kenya, and its official Swahili name is Jamhuri ya Kenya. The economy is market-based with a few state owned infrastructure enterprises and maintains a liberalized external trade system. The currency is a Kenyan shilling, which equals 0.0097 US Dollars.

Human-Environment Interaction

The geographic theme of human-environment interaction is defined as the relationship between people and their environment, or how they work together.

Crops grown in Kenya are tea, coffee, fresh produce, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, corn, and other farming products like that.

Sweet potatoes, groundnuts, and corn

The top ten most popular jobs in Kenya are in the bank, accounting, airways, the UN, the NGO, teaching, nursing, engineering, finance, online, and the Embassy.

Clockwise, we have the Central Bank of Kenya, the Embassy, and thr Malindi International Airport

Kenya has many endangered animals, whether in only Kenya or in other countries, or even all of Africa. The Grevy's zebra, also known as the imperial zebra, is found exclusively in Kenya and Ethiopia. It is the largest extant wild equid and the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra, the other two being the plains zebra and the mountain zebra. It is hunted for its beautiful hide, as well as there being an increase in domestic animals, which means a decrease in food and water supply.

This is the Grevy's zebra, exclusive to Kenya and Ethiopia

Environmental problems in the country are deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, water shortage, degraded water quality, flooding, poaching, and domestic and industrial pollution. Solutions to water shortage would be to take shorter showers, don't water lawns, and collect rainwater. Solutions to pollution would be setting rules for factories and car emissions, and people could carpool. Solutions to deforestation would be to stop using so much paper, recycling, using metal, and cutting down less trees. Solutions to poaching would be to set laws to restrict it, and set up more wildlife reserves to protect the animals.

Region

The geographic theme of region is defined as areas grouped together by a set of things special to that area. So, if a few areas close together all have the same climate, religion, language, or government, they would be grouped together in the same region.

The education system of Kenya is an 8-4-4 Curriculum. So, they do eight years of primary education, four years of secondary school, and four years of college or university.

This graph gives some extra information about the education system in Kenya
This graph gives further information on the 8-4-4 Curriculum
Children raising their hands at a public school in the West Langata area of Nairobi, Kenya

The total population of Kenya in 2017 is 48 million, and the population density in 2017 is 85. The area of the country is 224,445 square miles. The per capita GDP is 1,245.51 USD in 2013. The life expectancy for males is 61.1, for females is 65.8, and the average between the two is 63.4, all recorded in 2015. The literacy rate is 78%.

Kenya is located in the coastal climatic zone, meaning it is humid all year round and experiences an average rainfall level of between 1000 and 1250mm and an average annual temperature range of 22°C to 30°C. It also has the mountain, highland, and arid climatic zones.

Movement

The geographic theme of movement is defined as people and things (such as goods) moving, and communications. It is the movement of ideas.

Some goods imported into Kenya are crude petroleum, chemicals, manufactured goods, machinery, and exportation equipment. Some goods exported out of Kenya are petroleum, fish, cement, pyrethrum, horticultural products, tea, and coffee.

Clockwise, we have crude petroleum, petroleum, pyrethrum, and cement
This is the flag of Kenya

The flag of Kenya is based on the flag of the Kenya African National Union, the political party that led the fight for freedom and independence of Kenya, and it was adopted in December 12, 1963. The colors all represent something different; black represents the people of the Republic of Kenya, red the bloodshed during the fight for independence, and green the country's landscape and natural wealth. The white stripes were added later, once Kenya gained independence, to represent peace and honesty. The black, red, and white traditional Maasai shield and two spears represent the defense of everything that the flag symbolizes.

The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, from 1920 known as the Kenya Colony. The independent Republic of Kenya was formed in 1964. It was ruled as a de facto one-party state by the Kenya African National Union (KANU), an alliance led by Jomo Kenyatta during 1963 to 1978.

Nairobi has become the tech hub of Africa, a niche that could be worth more than a billion dollars in the next few years. The ICT sector is set to contribute up to 8% of the country's GDP by 2017, according to the Kenya ICT Authority's ICT Masterplan. In Kenya, innovation and entrepreneurship are intertwined. Two of the most popular kinds of technology used are computers and tablets. Popular modes of transportation include trains, boats and ferries, busses, taxis, bikes, and motorcycles. Popular modes of communication include the Kenya Gazette, radios, televisions, mobile phones, and the Internet.

Clockwise, there's a laptop, desktop, tablet, train, the Kenya Bus Express, and two taxis

Current Events

1. Militants bomb Kenya hotel, killing 12

Islamist militants struck a hotel in northern Kenya in October 2016, killing a dozen people and stoking outrage from Kenyans who accused their government of not doing enough to protect them from a relentless menace.

The Shabab, a Somali militant group, gleefully took responsibility, saying online that they had bombed the hotel to kill infidels and that all their fighters “came back to their positions safely after the operation.”

The hotel in Mandera, Kenya
The Shabab military group

2. Kenya spares the lives of everyone on its death row

With a stroke of his pen, President Uhuru Kenyatta spared the lives of thousands of prisoners on Kenya’s death row on Monday by commuting their sentences to life in prison.

Kenyan law allows capital punishment and convicts are regularly sentenced to death, but the sentence is almost never carried out; the last execution was in 1987. In colonial times, the British authorities executed more than 1,000 Kenyans who were accused of fomenting revolt.

Kenyan news sites beamed images of Mr. Kenyatta leaning over his desk on Monday, surrounded by top officials, as he signed documents that spared the lives of 2,655 men and 92 women. Kenya’s last president, Mwai Kibaki, did something similar in 2009.

Mr. Kenyatta faces re-election next year. Some analysts said the mass reprieve on Monday may have been intended to make the president appear more compassionate as the election draws near. Mr. Kenyatta remains popular among members of his own ethnic group, the Kikuyu, and he enjoys support from other ethnic groups that belong to his political alliance. But opposition leaders say his government has allowed corruption to flourish.

Amnesty International, which has accused Mr. Kenyatta’s government of brutal crackdowns on protesters and of other human rights abuses, praised the reprieve, which covers everyone on death row in Kenya.

“The decision to commute death sentences brings Kenya closer to the growing community of nations that have abolished this cruel and inhuman form of punishment,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, the group’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. “It must now be abolished for posterity.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta
Muthoni Wanyeki

Travel

1. Maasai Mara National Reserve

One of the, if not the, most popular safari destination on Earth. It is famous for its cheetahs, lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants, and other unique animals, some found only in Kenya. It's also the sight of the Great Migration in summer and early autumn, where the Thomson's gazelles, wildebeests, and zebras make the journey south to the Serengeti in their hoards.

Zebras and wildebeests during the Great Migration in the Maasai Mara National Reserve

2. Beaches

Kenya has a lot of beautiful white sand beaches. The majority of the Muslim population are lined along the towns and cities of the coastline, most notably Mombasa. Kenya's second city has remnants of its Arabic influence within the quaint Old Town area, but the draw are the beaches, where many come to socialize and provide for a friendly atmosphere, and some that aren't crowded.

This is Diani Beach, right on the coast of the Indian Ocean

3. Amboseli National Park

This park has free-roaming animals in action. The low-lying vegetation means that the impalas, cape buffalos, elephants, giraffes, lions, and more are always on the move, along with the species of bird topping over 400. The park also has the glorious backdrop of neighboring Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's tallest free-standing mountain in spectacular view.

Elephants in the Amboseli National Park

4. Mount Kenya

Africa's second tallest peak, Mount Kenya, has three different summits that present climbs with certain degrees of difficulty. This mountain is an epitome of the diverse set of choices of adventures that are readily available in Kenya. People can go for a route up Mount Kenya that includes scrambling and hiking, while veteran climbers can opt for a journey that requires mountaineering skills.

5. Culture

Kenya is home to many different ethnic and cultural groups, with swathes of migrants who have helped shape the country. Possibly the most famous of these are the fabled semi-nomadic Masai people, who are known for their survival abilities and hunting expertise. But there are countless different tribes in Kenya, each with its own language, religion, and other cultural practices.

6. Underwater National Parks

Snorkelling and diving is a rewarding and experience amongst the bathtub-warm waters off the Kenyan coast. Go to the Malindi Marine National Park and spot crabs, tropical coral, colorful fish, sea cucumbers, dolphins, turtles, and more. The established sister marine park, Watamu, is a UN recognized World Biosphere Reserve that's home to the endangered Olive Ridley turtles.

7. The Rift Valley

The Great Rift Valley is a succession of lakes where flamingos arrive to create a near sea of pink, with a lake system that has one of the most diverse bird populations in the world and home to thirteen globally threatened species of bird. To the west of this line of lakes are the Tugen Hills, containing fossils preserved in lava flows from the nearby volcanoes going back from four to fourteen million years ago, relics of human ancestors.

An African overlooking the Great Rift Valley

8. Nairobi

Kenya's economic and political heart is a cosmopolitan blend of vivacious nightlife, top-class restaurants, and shopping to suit everyone's budget and taste. Many use the capital as a mere layover towards a safari or beach resort.

9. Animal Migrations

With the annual migration on land between the Serengeti and the Mara, leading to colossal herds of virtually every species, the migration of birds between the countless lakes within the Great Rift Valley is an untold gem. Birdwatchers will revel over the sheer variety, ecosystem, and spectacle of a magnificent African wonder.

10. Diversity

You could climb a mountain, lie on a pristinely white beach, enjoy the lively activity of the cities and towns, spot game amongst the plains and savannah, and learn about countless tribes and their way of life. Kenya is like Africa all in one with endless possibilities within its borders.

Day in the Life of a High School Resident

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