Kenya

Regardless of the direction from which you come, Kenya greets you warmly. The warm air envelopes foreign skin, kissing lightly with tropical breeze. Jambo Sana. You are in Kenya now. The soft guitar of joyful benga plays and the smell of milky chai wafts through the air. Slow down. It's Africa time now; the pace is relaxed and welcome for conversation. On the rickety matatu that seemingly appears out of nowhere, you see people peddling their wares in the streets: pots and pans, freshly made chapati, bananas and clothes brought over from an American Goodwill store. Breath in this new culture. The poster-child of Africa has much to share. Much more than simply the face of a Masai warrior or the safari, Kenya is home to over 40 tribes, each one unique. Despite colonization by the British, each tribe retains the language and cultural nuances that distinguishes it from the next. Stay long enough and you can see it in the faces of the people you know; stay long enough and you'll be invited in for the country's staple food: ugali, cornmeal cooked into a 'cake' and eaten with one's hands, and sukuma wiki, a variation on collard greens, and perhaps fish from Lake Victoria. Don't forget to go out dancing at least once; everyone from age 15 to 70 will be on the floor before you can catch your breath, with hips moving, arms akimbo. And if you love nature, Kenya is the destination for you! From the green rolling tea plantations to the rainforests, from the sandy desert and the sandy white beaches of the Indian Ocean, Kenya is home to a number of diverse ecosystems. However you decide to spend your time in Kenya, it is time well spent. The landscape, culture and people are all well worth the trip. ~ Samantha Schoville 


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 Full name: Republic of Kenya

 Population: 43.01 million (CIA, 2012)

 Capital: Nairobi

 Largest city: Nairobi

 Area: 580,367sq km (224,081 sq miles)

 Major languages: English, Kiswahili,  Numerous Indigenous Languages

 Major religions: Protestant, Roman Catholic,  Muslim, Indigenous Beliefs, Other

 Monetary unit: Kenyan Shilling

 GDP per capita: US $1,700

 Internet domain: .ke

 International dialling code: +254

 Source: CIA World Factbook