Situated on the equator on Africa’s east coast, Kenya has been described as “the cradle of humanity”. In the Great Rift Valley palaeontologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of man’s ancestors.
In the present day, Kenya’s ethnic diversity has produced a vibrant culture but is also a source of conflict. Pressing challenges include high unemployment, crime and poverty. Droughts frequently put millions of people at risk. However, with its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, Kenya is one of Africa’s major safari destinations.
The country is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa. Mount Kenya was originally referred to as “Mt. Kirinyaga” by the indigenous people. “Kirinyaga or Kerenyaga, meaning ‘mountain of whiteness’ because of its snow capped peak”; the name was subsequently changed to Mt. Kenya because of the inability of the British to pronounce “Kirinyaga” correctly.
The country has a warm and humid climate along its Indian Ocean coastline, with wildlife-rich savannah grasslands inland towards the capital. Nairobi has a cool climate that gets colder approaching Mount Kenya, which has three permanently snow-capped peaks. Further inland there is a warm and humid climate around Lake Victoria, and temperate forested and hilly areas in the western region. The north-eastern regions along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid areas with near-desert landscapes. Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest fresh-water lake and the world’s largest tropical lake, is situated to the south-west and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya is famous for its safaris and diverse wildlife reserves and national parks. There are several world heritage sites such as Lamu, and world renowned beaches such as Kilifi where international yachting competitions are held each year.
Although Kenya is the biggest and most advanced economy in east and central Africa and a minority of the wealthy urban population often leaves a misleading impression of affluence, Kenya is still a poor developing country with a one of the lowest Human Development Index in the world with about 38% of Kenyans living in absolute poverty.
Kenya has a diverse population that includes most major ethnoracial and linguistic groups found in Africa. There are an estimated 42 different communities who typically speak their mother tongues within their own communities. The two official languages, English and Swahili, are used in varying degrees of fluency for communication with other populations. English is widely spoken in commerce, schooling and government. Peri-urban and rural dwellers are less multilingual, with many in rural areas speaking only their native languages. According to Ethnologue, there are a total of 69 languages spoken in Kenya.
The country has a young population, with 73% of residents aged below 30 years because of rapid population growth
• Full name: The Republic of Kenya
• Population: 42.7 million (UN, 2012)
• Capital: Nairobi
• Area: 582,646 sq km (224,961 sq miles)
• Major religion: Christianity
• Monetary unit: Kenya shilling
• Languages: English (official), Swahili (national), and numerous indigenous languages
• Literacy rate: 87.4% (2010 est.)
Project opening dates
4th July – 31st July 2015 for 4 weeks
4th July – 17th July 2015 for 2 weeks
18th July – 31st July 2015 for 2 weeks
28th May – 24th June for 4 weeks
28th May – 10th June for 2 weeks
11th June – 24th June for 2 weeks
Group dates are available year round.
Hell’s Gate National Park lies to the south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, North West of Nairobi. The park which is mainly comprised of savannah ecosystem harbors a wide variety of wildlife. There are over 100 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux’s Eagles, augur buzzard, and swifts. African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle, and baboons are also common. The park is also home to klipspringer antelope and Chanler’s mountain reedbuck. Our volunteers have special permission to live inside the park.
We have 3 SAVE Huts in villages, all nearby each other, and we will split our group among the houses for comfort. The SAVE Group all eat together in Daniel’s house who is one of the Elders. Long drop toilets are a 5 minute walk away so remember to bring a head torch. Natural Hot spring showers are also 5 minutes walk away and are an amazing way to wash at the end of busy day. Power is available at Fishermans Camp which is a popular place to relax at weekends (UK-style sockets). There is also wifi next door to this weekend resort at a camp called Fish Eagle. Unfortunately, there is nothing at the project site except a solar charger which probably will not be powerful enough to charge big items (as if it’s cloudy the charge will be a trickle) so best to conserve your batteries throughout the working week then charge at weekends in independent travel time. If you did have a small solar charger at home that you could bring along and share with other volunteers then
you would be very popular (with the villagers too!).