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Seaspell Whippets

Janine & Dusty Britton, Smyrna, Delaware


Kenyan Safari - Kenya

"I offer this collection of narratives from Kenya, mostly from our tour director, Jackson. I have deliberately omitted his jokes from this treatise because they rivaled mine for their humor or lack of same. The facts are as I remember them, but may be disputable. Please make changes or ignore as you see fit.
Kenya’s geography places the country in east central Africa with about 1/2 of the region above the equator. It has a seacoast along the Indian Ocean with its largest seaport of Mombasa. It has an area somewhat  smaller than the state of Texas. Nairobi is the capital.  The topography consists of a relatively flat countryside at a mean elevation of 6000 feet. Mount Kenya is an extinct volcanic peak of 17,048 feet. In the west central part of the country is the Riff Valley; it was formed by a major earthquake that dropped the surface level to approximately 2000 feet. The Riff Valley also contains the seven major lakes within the country. The climate and good water supply makes this region a major agricultural area. In the 1890’s the British funded the construction on a 650 mile railroad that goes from northwestern Kenya to southeastern Kenya. The five major cities of Kenya are located along this railroad and provides the major transportation for imports and exports to the coastal ports. When the geographical boundaries were being negotiated between the British and the Germans regarding Kenya and Tanzania, it was decided that it was not fair for one country to have both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya; thus the boundary between the two countries were established with one high peak in each country.
Kenya’s economy is based on agriculture and tourism. They export coffee, tea, sugar, pineapples, and decorative plants and shrubs. Their game reserves are a major resource for attracting tourists; we can attest to the wonderful adventure of a safari, seeing many exotic animals in their natural habitat. In all our travels covering about 800 road miles, we saw 10-12 farm tractors. Most of the work of the soil and road building is by manual labor with hand tools.  It is a cash-based economy; there are no credit cards and no welfare system. The annual per capita income is $340; less than a dollar a day. While we were there the monetary exchange rate was 75 Kenya shillings to the US dollar. Gasoline cost about 65Ks per liter (approximately $3.30 per gallon). There are many modern vehicles in the city of Nairobi; but also a lot of poverty. Kenya has a population of 33 million people; there are five major cities and Nairobi has a population of 3 million. About 10% of the population is wealthy; 15%, middle class; 40%, laborers; 20%, poor; and 15%, impoverished. There are 43 native tribes and the largest tribe is 250,000 strong. The tribal history is traceable back 3000 years and their native language is Swahili, which has Arabic as the root language, going back to the 4th century. The country’s political structure is parliamentarian, based on the British government that once owned Kenya as a colony. It is natural that their second language is English. They won their independence in 1963 (or 1969). When Kenya has its national elections, there is chaos for the next couple years. We were told that we should not plan to come back to Kenya until 2004 because elections were scheduled for next year."
Bill Britton

Some points that came to life thru this trip:

  • Kenya became independent from Great Britian in Dec 12, 1963, so being a very young country is why there's so much chaos.

  • Over 30% unemployment

  • In Nairobi, there were so MANY people milling about and loitering.

  • Properties are compounds, all have walls, 6-8 ft: the poor use wood and plants, the rich have stone (many had shards of glass embedded at the top, pointing up to cut anyone going over), and others looked liked prisons with guards.

  • The villages in the country were much more hospitable looking, and they had dogs. Very few dogs in Nairobi since conditions are so competitive

  • One of 56 independent states in Africa, but these states are not the same as our states.

  • Kenya is the size of Texas or France

  • 4.1 percent per year population growth

  • 33 million people belonging to 43 tribes- Kikuyu, largest tribe

  • History of tribes goes back 5,000 years

  • In 1884, the area became British East Africa

  • Swahili: marriage of Arabic and African

  • The British stopped slave trade done by the Arabs, but forced religion

  • The single 1000-km rail line is the backbone of economy, the big 5 cities are on it.

  • Economy drives on export of coffee, tea, produce. Tourism is second, followed by manufacturing.

  • 6.5 percent economic growth

  • $340 per person per year capita, average of 7 children, 9 total

  • Employment is based on politics, almost all formal jobs are given to those of the same tribe as the ruling tribe!

  • 40 percent income tax, then various value-added taxes

  • Work force of 5 million, 1.5 million formally (The ones taxed), 2 million informally, remaining unemployed

Average Temperatures

Average minimum and maximum temperatures:

  • January 56- 79°F

  • February 56-81°F

  • March 58-81°F

  • April 59- 79°F

  • May 59- 76°F

  • June 56- 74°F

  • July 54- 74°F

  • August 54-74°F

  • September 56-79°F

  • October 58-79°F

  • November 58-77°F

  • December 58- 77°F

A Few Words Of Swahili (lingua franca)

  • Hello! Jambo!

  • How are you? Habari gani?,

  • Fine, very well: Mzuri sana

  • Bad: Baya

  • Thank you: Asante sana

  • Please: Tafadhali

  • Goodbye: Kwaheri

  • Welcome: Karibu

  • Friend: Rafiki

  • Sorry: PoJay or samahani

  • Excuse me please: Nisalnahay or salnahani

  • Numbers: Moja (one), Bili (two), Tatu (three), Innay (four), Thano (five), Sita (six), Sabah (seven), Nanay (eight), Tisa (nine), Kumi (ten)

Back to the Photo Safari...

I've tried to link to any businesses or organizations mentioned, including their website addresses, so you can visit them to learn more.  If you want to learn more about these safaris, I invite you to visit Jacko Africa Safaris!

All double quoted comments ("") come directly from our Tour Itinerary.  Please contact me if you have any questions or corrections, at dusty@bwci.com