What is Kenya Known For?

Kenya is a country in East Africa that has become globally renowned for its spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife. As one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, Kenya offers visitors a vibrant mix of natural beauty and cultural riches.

What is Kenya Known For?
GeographyLocated in East Africa, bordering Somalia to the north, Ethiopia to the north-east, South Sudan to the west, Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the east.
Diverse landscape, including:The Great Rift Valley, a huge tear in the Earth’s crust that runs through the country.
The Kenyan Highlands, a fertile region with rolling hills and mountains.
The Kenyan coast, with sandy beaches and coral reefs.
The vast savannas, home to many wild animals.
Famous PeopleLupita Nyong’o: Academy Award-winning actress, best known for her roles in “12 Years a Slave” and “Black Panther.”
Wangari Maathai: Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental activist, founder of the Green Belt Movement.
Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States, whose father was Kenyan.
David Rudisha: 800-meter runner, world record holder and Olympic gold medalist.
Famous FoodUgali: A staple food made from maize flour, often served with stews or vegetables.
Nyama choma: Grilled meat, usually beef or goat, popular street food.
Sukuma wiki: Collard greens cooked with onions and tomatoes.
Kenyan chapati: Flatbread made from wheat flour, often served with tea or milk.
Mandazi: Deep-fried dough balls, similar to doughnuts.
Famous Cities
Nairobi: The capital city, a bustling metropolis with a mix of modern and traditional culture.
Mombasa: The second-largest city, a major port and beach resort on the Indian Ocean coast.
Kisumu: The third-largest city, located on Lake Victoria, known for its traditional markets and vibrant nightlife.

Stunning Landscapes and Diverse Wildlife

One of the top things Kenya is known for is its wealth of wildlife and diversity of ecosystems. Kenya has several famous national parks and reserves, including the Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, and Tsavo National Parks.

The Great Wildebeest Migration

The Great Wildebeest Migration

The Masai Mara plays host to the awe-inspiring Great Wildebeest Migration every year. This is the largest overland animal migration on Earth, with nearly 2 million wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles traversing 500 miles of Kenyan and Tanzanian wilderness in search of greener pastures. Witnessing these immense herds thundering across the landscape is considered one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world.

The Big Five

The Big Five

Kenya is also one of the premier places on the planet to see the “Big”Five”—lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinos—in their natural habitats. In addition to the Big Five animals, visitors can spot giraffes, cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos, and more than 50 other mammal species. There is also a spectacular and diverse bird population, numbering over 1100 species across Kenya’s ecosystems.

Diverse Ecosystems

Diverse Ecosystems

From arid deserts to tropical forests to the second-largest freshwater lake in the world (Lake Victoria), Kenya harbours tremendous ecological diversity within its relatively small size. The Great Rift Valley cuts through the country, offering otherworldly scenery and geological wonders. Kenya has over 50 national parks, reserves, and sanctuaries dedicated to preserving its astounding mix of wildlife and habitats.

Rich Cultural Heritage

Rich Cultural Heritage

Beyond wildlife and scenery, vibrant culture is another thing Kenya is renowned for worldwide. There are more than 70 unique ethnic groups in Kenya, each with its own language, lifestyle, music, art, and cultural practices developed over centuries.

Maasai Tribe

Maasai Tribe

The iconic Maasai tribe is arguably the most famous Kenyan culture globally. Recognized by their vibrant red shuka blankets and beaded jewellery, the semi-nomadic Maasai people have maintained their traditional way of life across the centuries, centred around cattle herding. Many tourism activities provide the opportunity to learn about authentic Maasai traditions. Their language is Maa.

Music and Dance

Kenyan music varies widely between ethnic groups, incorporating regional folk music traditions and modern influences. The guitar is prevalent. Distinctive Kenyan hip-hop, rock, and pop music have also emerged nationally and globally. Likewise, traditional dance is integral to Kenyan culture, helping mark rites of passage, storytelling, and ceremonies. The troupe Sarakasi Dancers is renowned for their acrobatic dance expressions of Kenyan folklore.

Art and Crafts

Kenyan art includes wood carvings, soapstone sculptures, mixed media paintings, masks, fabrics, beads, and metalwork. There is a thriving contemporary art scene centred in Nairobi, along with community arts groups preserving traditional skills like pottery. The culturally diverse city of Mombasa features the work of Swahili artisans drawing on Arabic, Asian, and European influences. Popular souvenir crafts embrace jewellery, baskets, kikois, wooden carvings, and Maasai beadwork.


Traditional Kenyan cuisine revolves around staples like ugali (cornmeal porridge), sukuma wiki (cooked greens), nyama choma (grilled meat), and other vegetables, grains, and stewed meat dishes. Peri-peri chicken is an iconic local fare with Portuguese roots. Indian, Arab, British, and different international flavours have also influenced the diversity of Kenyan food. Fresh tropical fruit is bountiful. Chai tea and coffee are cherished national drinks. Tusker beer also originated here.

Top Things to See and Do in Kenya

From wildlife havens to world-famous safaris to renowned beaches, Kenya offers countless sites and attractions appealing to all sorts of travellers. Alongside timeless traditions, modern conveniences like Wi-Fi cafes and fine dining are abundant in the bustling capital of Nairobi.


Nairobi is East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city. Attractions range from informative National Museums showcasing Kenya’s heritage to places like the Giraffe Centre, where visitors can hand-feed endangered Rothschild’s giraffes in nearby forests. Nairobi National Park offers wildlife drives with skyline views. Karen Blixen Museum narrates the inspirational story behind the famed memoir Out of Africa. There is fantastic shopping, dining, and vibrant nightlife too.

Masai Mara National Reserve

World-renowned for its part in the Great Migration, Masai Mara National Reserve remains one of Kenya’s most popular attractions and the best place to see all the Big Five. In addition to wildebeest herds, the open grasslands provide prime wildlife viewing and photographic moments year-round. Luxury lodges and tented camps offer front-row seats. Maasai villagers sell crafts at the entrance gates.

Lamu Island

Off the beaten path, Lamu Island transports visitors back in time to the oldest Swahili settlement in Kenya, boasting coral architecture carved with unique decorative niches and inner courtyards. Dhow sailing boats line the harbour. Tranquil beaches, donkey rides, shopping for crafts and antiques, and experiencing authentic coastal Swahili culture distinguish charming Lamu town. It’s one of Kenya’s top beach destinations.

FAQ About What Kenya is Known For

What food is Kenya famous for?

Some classic Kenyan dishes include ugali, sukuma wiki, nyama choma, pilau, biriyani, mukimo, chai, and famous street foods like mutura, roasted maize, and mandazi. Popular Kenyan beers include Tusker and Tusker Lite. Iconic Kenyan foods also reflect cultural influences from communities, including the Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, and coastal Swahili. Indian flavours are also prominent. The fertile land supports tropical fruits and sugar cane, corn, beans, and greens as dietary staples.

What is Kenya famous for?

Kenya is globally renowned foremost for its magnificent wildlife in expansive grassland habitats, spectacular Great Migration of grazing herds, a wealth of ecosystems from savannahs to tropical forests, history as a safari mecca to see the Big Five animals thrive in natural settings, adventure travel offerings, the beautiful tropical coastline at the Indian Ocean, and rich heritage embodied by vibrant ethnic diversity and cultures.

Why is Kenya so famous for tourists?

Thanks especially to its spectacular national parks and reserves protecting exceptional biodiversity, including innumerable exotic African wildlife species and tropical ecosystems in natural habitats, Kenya is a trendy tourist destination. Stunning scenery from savannah plains to mountains adds to its photographic allure. Kenya also offers incredible coastal experiences, adventure activities like hiking and watersports, reputable accommodations from rustic to luxurious, diverse cultural encounters, and safari tours suitable for all budgets. Over 2 million visitors flock here every year.

What are five interesting facts about Kenya?

Kenya is named after Mount Kenya, the second-tallest mountain in Africa. It was initially called Kirinyaga by local Bantu tribes.
Kenya has over 40 different tribes, such as the Turkana, Swahili, and Kalenjin, each with vibrant artistic and cultural traditions.
The Great Migration sees nearly 2 million mammals travel over 1800 miles across Kenya and Tanzania annually.
Kenya was filmed extensively as the breathtaking backdrop for multiple Hollywood films like Out of Africa and Born Free, documenting lions.
Aside from French and English, Kenya has no official language, but Swahili is widely spoken and taught in schools.

What is Kenya best known for producing?

Kenya is best known globally for producing world-class tea and coffee beans that are exported worldwide. Colourful woven and beaded handicrafts that support tourism impact rural economies. Kenya grows and exports gorgeous flowers to Europe. Internationally famous Kenyan-made consumer goods embrace certain apparel brands and Kikoys. Worldbeater athletes, especially in running and marathons, also spotlight Kenya. Corporations are also sourcing more IT services and business process operations from Kenya’s educated workforce; its economy currently centres on agriculture and tourism, with technology on the rise.

dhia errahmane nedjai

Dhia is an aspiring travel writer who researches and writes content about interesting destinations, places worth discovering, and fascinating facts and mysteries about locations around the world in order to inspire wanderlust in readers.

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