Kenya. What comes to mind when someone mentions that word? I bet most people think about the Kips and Cheps who win long distance races in almost all the athletic events around the world. Others probably think of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, who was the first president of the Democratic Republic of Kenya. Barrack Obama, the first black president of the United States of America is also another household name closely related to Kenya because his father was a native of Kenya.
I however, think about a handful of other things that I prioritize that go vis-a-vis when the name Kenya is mentioned.
A lone giraffe in Nairobi National Park.
What is so important about Nairobi you ask? Well, apart from being the capital of our beautiful country, it’s the most exceptional capital city in the world. Nairobi which is a name derived from the Maasai language, one of the many ethnic tribes in Kenya. Nairobi also popularly known as Green City in the Sun was derived from the phrase ‘Enkare Nairobi‘ meaning “cool water”. It is the second largest city in East Africa with a population of more than 3 Million people. What makes Nairobi the most exceptional capital city is because it is the only city with a game reserve within it. Nairobi National Park which is located on the Southern part of the city is home to a variety of wild animals including the African Lion, Zebras, Giraffes and more than 400 species of birds. The fact that the human population in this metropolitan city live in harmony with a population of wildlife at a close range makes it one of the most amazing capital cities in the world.
2. Wangari Mathaai (1/4/1940 – 25/9/2011)
Wangari Mathai, an environmentalist, political activist and writer is one of the most phenomenal women from this part of the African continent. She was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She was a professor who pioneered the Greenbelt Movement(1977) which is a Non profit organization that dealt in planting trees, environmental conservation and the rights of women. She led various protests against actions that threatened the environment. She successfully led protests that stopped the then government from constructing a sixty storey building in Uhuru Park and the privatization of portions of Karura Forest.
3. The Big Five
Photo: Facebook/African Soul
Africa is known to be the home of The Big Five and Kenya is particularly endowed to have all of the animal species popularly known as The Big Five. Elephants, Lions, Buffaloes, Rhinos and Leopards are the species that make up this list. Tourists from all parts of the world visit African savannas and grasslands the see these wild animals in their natural habitats. Lions are known for their mane and their hunting skills. Elephants are known for their long trunks and tusks. Buffaloes are known for their agility and strength. Rhinos are known for their horns and their tendency to bash things. Leopards are known for their beautiful spotted skins and ability to climb trees. These animals uniquely belong in the African wild.
4. Wildebeest Migration
The Migration has come to be termed as one of nature’s most spectacular events. This spectacle attracts tourists from all over the world and it has become a world wonder.Every year Wildebeests, Zebras and Antelopes do a clockwise migration around the Mara/Serengeti ecosystem. Maasai Mara which extends to the Kenya-Tanzania border is connected to Serengeti, a park in our neighbouring country. The migration happens twice a year when animals cross River Mara to either Maasai Mara or Serengeti depending on seasonal climatic changes. The animals cross to Mara during the month of August and return to Serengeti on November.
Kenya is just a tiny country in the East of Africa but it is endowed with natural resources. With so much going on in the country it is only prudent to remember to conserve our biodiversity and wildlife. The country stands to lose much if we do not make the effort to care for all the gifts of nature. With dwindling numbers in a variety of wildlife species such as the African Elephant, Lions and Rhinos, it is the appropriate time to get involved in matters regarding conservation. Raising awareness is the first step to making sure that Kenya remains a paradise for both plant and animal life