Ancient history and settlement
Origin of Our Name
Kenya is named after Mount Kenya- the second tallest Mountain in Africa. The Kikuyu people who lived around present day Mt Kenya referred to it as Kirinyaga or Kerenyaga, meaning mountain of whiteness because of its snow capped peak. Mt Kirinyaga which was the main landmark became synonymous with the territory the British later claimed as their colony. The name Kenya arose out of the inability of the British to pronounce Kirinyaga correctly.
The first people to settle in Kenya were indigenous African communities who migrated from various parts of the continent. Other visitors included traders, explorers and tourists who came in from various parts of the world such as Portugal, Arabia, Roman empire, India and Greece. They visited mainly the East African Coast from as early as the first century A.D. While the majority of the visitors went back to their countries, some settled, and intermarried with the local populations giving rise to a new Swahili culture along the Coast.
Location, area and climate.
Kenya is bordered to the north by Sudan and Ethiopia, to the east by Somalia, to the west by Uganda, to the south by Tanzania, and to the southeast by the Indian Ocean. Much of the country, especially in the north and east, is arid or semi-arid. From the Indian Ocean the land rises gradually through dry bush to the fine arable land of the highlands.
Kenya covers an area of approximately 224,960 square miles and lies almost exactly astride the equator.
In the low-lying districts, particularly along the coast, the climate is tropical, hot and humid. On the Plateau and in the highlands the climate is more temperate. Western Kenya and most parts of Nyanza experience heavy conventional rain and have two rain seasons, the long rains from April to June and the short rains from October to November. Kenya’s warm climate is favourable for tourism during the drier season that is between September and March.