Kenya Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Kenya?

Overview:

The northern and eastern three‑fifths of the country are arid. The southern two‑fifths, where most of the population and nearly all the economic production is centered, consists of a low‑lying coastal area and a plateau varying in altitude from 3,000 to 10,000 feet. Although only about 20% of the land is suitable for cultivation, agriculture is the most important economic activity.

The Nairobi area offers the contrasts of green rolling uplands, thorn scrub of the famous game plains, coffee and tea estates, and entry to the Great Rift Valley. Farther afield are the forests and snows of Mount Kenya, the dairy and farm country of the highlands, the tropical beaches of the coastal strip, and the deserts of the northeast.

Nairobi is 87 miles south of the Equator and some 300 miles west of the Indian Ocean. The downtown area has an elevation of 5,400 feet, but some residential areas are located at more than 6,000 feet.

Geography - note:

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

Climate:

Nairobi has four seasons, but overall temperature changes are moderate. Mid‑ December through March are mainly sunny and warm by day, cool at night, and generally dry. April and May constitute the principal rainy season with lower day temperatures. The months of June through September are mainly dry, but often cloudy and cool, with cool nights. October and November make up the short rainy season, with long sunny periods, warm days, and cool nights. Average annual rainfall in Nairobi is about 39 inches, but the actual amount varies widely in any year.

Kenya Use of Natural Resources

Kenya Environment

Climate:

Nairobi has four seasons, but overall temperature changes are moderate. Mid‑ December through March are mainly sunny and warm by day, cool at night, and generally dry. April and May constitute the principal rainy season with lower day temperatures. The months of June through September are mainly dry, but often cloudy and cool, with cool nights. October and November make up the short rainy season, with long sunny periods, warm days, and cool nights. Average annual rainfall in Nairobi is about 39 inches, but the actual amount varies widely in any year.

Terrain:

low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west

Natural Resources:

gold, limestone, soda ash, salt, rubies, fluorspar, garnets, wildlife, hydropower

Natural Hazards:

recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons

Irrigated Land:

398 Square Miles
1,032 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

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:

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

Kenya Geography

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 224,080 Square Miles
580,367 Square Kilometers
Land Area 219,745 Square Miles
569,140 Square Kilometers
Water Area 4,335 Square Miles
11,227 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 2,161 Miles
3,477 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 398 Square Miles
1,032 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Ethiopia 861 km, Somalia 682 km, Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km
Coastline 333 Miles
536 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 1 00 N, 38 00 E
Terrain low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
Highest Point 5,199 Meters
Highest Point Location Mount Kenya 5,199 m
Lowest Point Location Indian Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources gold, limestone, soda ash, salt, rubies, fluorspar, garnets, wildlife, hydropower
Time Zone UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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