20 things you probably did not know about Kenya

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Great Rift Valley - Mutua Matheka
Great Rift Valley – Mutua Matheka

Kenya is one of the most known countries in Africa both for good and bad reasons. However, there are a few facts you may not know about this East African state.

1. Kenya has one of the highest literacy levels in Africa with 85% of those above 15 able to read and write.

2. Kenya has six recognised UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • Mount Kenya Forest
  • The Sacred Kaya Forest in South Coast
  • Lamu Old Town
  • Lake Turkana
  • Lake System in the Great Rift Valley
  • Fort Jesus, Mombasa

3. 42% of the Kenyan population is below 14 years.

4. The National anthem, adopted in 1963 is based on a traditional Kenyan (Pokomo) folk song.

5. You can join the army while under the age of 18 but only with parental consent.

6. The Maumau was an illegal association in Kenya from 1950 and was only legitimized in August 2003.

7. Machakos was the first administrative centre for the British colony, but they moved the capital of Kenya to Nairobi in 1899 since Machakos by-passed the Uganda Railway that was under construction.

8. Many classic adventure films were shot on location in Kenya, including The Snows of Kilimanjaro starring Gregory Peck, King Solomon’s Mines with Stewart Granger and Mogambo featuring Clark Gable and Ava Gardner.

9. That Treetops Hotel is where the then Princess Elizabeth of England was staying with her husband (then Philip Mount batten, but now Prince Philip) when her father, the then King, died. So she technically became queen while in Kenya.

10. Kenya has the second most active Twitter community in Africa.

11. Paleontologists believe people may first have inhabited Kenya about 2 million years ago.

12. The Majority of the people in Kenya are Protestants with Christians making for almost 85% of the population.

13. Kenya has the sixth highest population in sub-Saharan Africa, behind Tanzania, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

14. Kenya hosts one of the “7 wonders of the world” – the annual wildebeest migration in Masai Mara.

15. That Homo Erectus, also called “Turkana boy”, predecessor of man, was discovered in the Koobi Fora national park, close to lake Turkana, by Richard Leakey.

16. Kenya has 65 National parks and reserves specifically allocated as protected areas for wildlife conservation. These comprise of 23 terrestrial National Parks, 28 terrestrial National Reserves, 4 marine National Parks, 6 marine National Reserves and 4 national sanctuaries.

17. Giant crocodile fossils have been discovered in Kenya dating from the Mesozoic Era, over 200 million years ago. The fossils were found in July–August 2004, during an excavation conducted by a team from the University of Utah and the National Museums of Kenya at Lokitaung Gorge, near Lake Turkana.

18. The first inhabitants of present-day Kenya were hunter-gatherer groups, akin to the modern Khoisan speakers.

19. Kenya signed a defence pact with Ethiopia in 1969, which is still in effect.

20. Kenya has had 10 vice presidents but only 4 presidents.

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