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Kenya:
Geography

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Background
Definition
Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982 when the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya. MOI acceded to internal and external pressure for political liberalization in late 1991. The ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge KANU from power in elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud, but were viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. President MOI stepped down in December 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the candidate of the multiethnic, united opposition group, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform. KIBAKI's NARC coalition splintered in 2005 over the constitutional review process. Government defectors joined with KANU to form a new opposition coalition, the Orange Democratic Movement, which defeated the government's draft constitution in a popular referendum in November 2005. KIBAKI's reelection in December 2007 brought charges of vote rigging from ODM candidate Raila ODINGA and unleashed two months of violence in which as many as 1,500 people died. UN-sponsored talks in late February produced a powersharing accord bringing ODINGA into the government in the restored position of prime minister.
Location
Definition
Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania
Geographic coordinates
Definition
1 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 582,650 sq km
land: 569,250 sq km
water: 13,400 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 3,477 km
border countries: Ethiopia 861 km, Somalia 682 km, Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km
Coastline
Definition
536 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
Definition
varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior
Terrain
Definition
low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m
Natural resources
Definition
limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 8.01%
permanent crops: 0.97%
other: 91.02% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
1,030 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
30.2 cu km (1990)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 1.58 cu km/yr (30%/6%/64%)
per capita: 46 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons
Environment - current issues
Definition
water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
the Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa; glaciers are found on Mount Kenya, Africa's second highest peak; unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value


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