Although one of Africa’s more powerful economies, Kenya is still a developing country, and so certain aspects of the country’s society and infrastructure may come as a shock to some visitors from developed countries who are unfamiliar with the poverty and poor quality of life experienced by many Kenyans. HIV AIDS has recently caused some major sociological upheaval, and orphans to the disease can be found all across the country.
Although made up of many diverse ethnic groups and tribes, Kenyans have strong sense of national pride which may be due in part to unity in the struggle for Uhuru (Kiswahili: “freedom”) – independence from British colonial rule, achieved in 1963. Most Kenyans seem optimistic about the country’s future. Kenyans understandably pursue the business opportunities offered by tourism with a zeal that may be off putting to some visitors, but are usually open, talkative and friendly once business matters have been settled.
Although foreign visitors are now a common sight in many parts of the country, there still exist vast areas off the beaten track where a white or yellow face will attract cries of “Mzungu! Mzungu!” (Kiswahili: “white person”) from local children. Visitors to these areas should think especially carefully about the long term effects of their visit on the local community, and should for example avoid giving out sweets or money without restraint – playing with children, or talking to and helping villagers will yield far better results than merely giving out handouts.
Hominid fossils of significant scientific interest have been found in the Rift Valley area, and it is widely believed that this area of Africa is where the human species originated from.
Credits: Text http://wikitravel.org/en/Kenya. Photo thanks to the Safari Collection.