The Republic of Kenya is a country in East Africa with Nairobi its capital. The country is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa. Kenya lies on the equator and borders the Indian Ocean (536 km), Tanzania (769 km), Uganda (933 km), South Sudan (232 km), Ethiopia (861 km) and Somalia (682 km). It has a land area of 582,647 km2, slightly bigger than France but smaller than the state of Texas, USA. It has a population of nearly 40 million people comprising of over 40 ethnic communities. Kenya lies in one time zone, which is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT +3) and it does not operate daylight saving time.
Kenya’s topography is contrasting with features ranging from semi-deserts to a snow capped mountain, sandy coastline to fresh water lakes, savannah grasslands to fertile agricultural zones, extinct volcanoes to beautiful coral reefs. The eastern half of Kenya slopes gently towards sea level while to the west, the land patterns resemble a flight of stairs with hills and plateaus alternate upward to the Great Rift Valley. On the west of the Rift Valley, the land gently slopes downward towards Lake Victoria. Moving from east to west, a traveler experiences the white beaches of the Indian Ocean, climbs gently through a rugged semi desert terrain to high plateau of Nairobi, climbs higher still to the snow capped summit of Mount Kenya, then dropping across the Rift Valley to Lake Victoria.
Kenya’s steep ascent from the Indian Ocean to Mt. Kenya and descent to the Rift Valley and Lake Victoria was famously described by German explorer Ludwig Krapf in the 1840’s as “second to none”.
Since Kenya has a varied topography, so is its climate which is very much influenced by its location on the equator and height above sea level. Kenya enjoys a largely tropical climate. The coastal side has a hot and humid climate with a high rainfall. The same applies around Lake Victoria basin. Apart from these two humid zones, most of the topographical regions of Kenya enjoy a cool weather except the northern east and northern west of the country experiencing hot and dry climate making the regions semi arid.
The country receives plenty of sunshine all year round with long rains expected in March/May and short rains in October/November. The hottest months are February/March and the coolest are July/August. Temperature changes with the time of the year and height above sea level.