Kenya's World Heritage Sites
Kenya is proud to be home to 6 unique world heritage sites identified by The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Clustered in different categories, these sites have been identified precisely because of their cultural, historical, natural and archaeological value. These world heritage sites combine to form the ultimate quintessence of the nation.
Fort Jesus is an interesting place to spend a day exploring the gun turrets, battlements and houses within the walls. There is an excellent Museum and trained guides available.
Today the majestic Fort Jesus is a National Monument, standing high over the Mombasa harbor.
Fort Jesus was built by the Portuguese in 1593-1596 to the designs of Giovanni Battista Cairati to protect the port of Mombasa, is one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th Portuguese military fortification and a landmark in the history of this type of construction.
Lamu Old Town
The town of Lamu began life as a 14th century Swahili settlement, but the island has seen many visitors and influences, including Portuguese explorers, Turkish traders and the Omani Arabs.
Lamu’s narrow streets remain unchanged, and in the markets and squares around the fort life moves at the same pace as it always has. There are no vehicles on this island, and the donkey and the dhow remain the dominant form of transport.
The people of Lamu are great believers in tradition and custom, and this is a strong society built on a respect for the past. For the traveller, Lamu is a hypnotically exotic experience, made even more enjoyable by the relaxed and welcoming attitudes of the locals.
Kenya’s Lake Systems
The World Heritage Committee inscribed Kenya’s Lake Systems of Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001
It comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares. The Lake System is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world.
It is the single most important foraging site for the lesser flamingo anywhere, and a major nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans.
Visitors to this great lakes in Kenya can also fine sizeable mammal populations, including black and white rhino, Rothschild’s giraffe, greater kudu, lion, cheetah and wild dogs and is valuable for the study of ecological processes of major importance.
Lake Turkana National Parks
Lake Turkana is a massive inland sea, the largest desert lake in the world. This single body of water is over 250 kilometers long - longer than the entire Kenyan coast. It is widely known as the Jade Sea, because of the remarkable, almost incandescent, colour of its waters.
Turkana has one of the longest living histories on earth, and recent fossil evidence unearthed at Koobi Fora has led to the Lake being referred to as ‘The Cradle of Mankind’. The site lies at the heart of the Sibiloi National Park, a place of stark beauty and prehistoric petrified forests.
The Lake itself is a natural treasure, with the world’s single largest crocodile population. In Turkana these reptiles grow to record size, with some of the largest specimens found on remote windswept Central Island.
Lake Turkana is Kenya’s most remote destination, but one that repays the intrepid traveller with rich rewards.
Mount Kenya National Park
Mt Kenya, Africa’s second highest peak is regarded as the realm of Ngai, god of the local Kikuyu people. The mountain itself is an awe-inspiring sight with its ragged peaks, and equatorial snow.
Mount Kenya is surrounded by a belt of verdant forest that is an equally fascinating destination.
While the 5199 metre summit is a difficult technical climb, the lesser peak of Point Lenana (4985m) can be easily reached by any fit trekker. This trek takes between 3 and 5 days, through a fascinating world of forests, wildlife, unique montane vegetation including podocarpus and grounsel, and finally one of the world’s rarest sights, equatorial snow.
Mijikenda Kaya Forests
The Mijikenda Kaya Forests consist of 11 separate forest sites spread over some 200 km along the coast containing the remains of numerous fortified villages, known as kayas, of the Mijikenda people.
The kayas, created as of the 16th century but abandoned by the 1940s, are now regarded as the abodes of ancestors and are revered as sacred sites and, as such, are maintained as by councils of elders.
The site is inscribed as bearing unique testimony to a cultural tradition and for its direct link to a living tradition.