- Kenya was coined from the name Kĩrĩnyaga (Kikuyu) or Ki Nyaa (Kamba), which means “the dwelling place of God.”
- The Kenyan coastline is 536km or 333 miles along the Indian Ocean.
- Ethiopia shares the longest border with Kenya (867km or 540 miles).
- Kenya is ranked 48th largest country in the world in land size 580,370 km² (224,082 miles²).
- Tana is the longest river in Kenya, stretching over 1000 kilometres.
- The number of lakes in Kenya is 64, representing close to 10% of all the lakes in Africa.
- Kenya has a total of 3,856 named mountains and hills.
Kenya features some of the most spectacular geographical features in the world, from the location, landscapes, land area, and topography. If you are looking for a guide through the geography of Kenya, you are in the right place.
Facts & Statistics about Kenyan Geography
Kenya derives its name from Mt. Kenya, the tallest mountain in Kenya. Kenya was coined from the word Kĩrĩnyaga (Kikuyu) or Ki Nyaa (Kamba), which means “the dwelling place of God.”
Location and Borders
Kenya is located in East Africa and lies along the equator. The country is located between latitudes 4° N and 4° S and longitudes 34° E and 41° E.
The Kenyan coastline is 536km or 333 miles along the Indian Ocean. It shares boundaries with 5 countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, South Sudan, and Tanzania.
Ethiopia borders Kenya to the north and shares the longest border with the country. The boundary is around 867km or 540 miles.
Somalia shares a boundary with Kenya on the eastern side, extending 681 kilometres (423 miles).
On the western side, Kenya shares a boundary with Uganda. The length of the border is around 814km or 506 miles. The primary entry points between the two countries are Busia, Malaba, and Lwakhakha.
South Sudan is found on the northwestern side of Kenya. The straight boundary extends across 200km (124 miles).
Tanzania and Kenya share a boundary on the southern and southwestern sides. The length of the border is around 777 kilometres (483 miles). Namanga is the primary crossing point between the 2 countries.
According to WorldData, Kenya has a total land area of 580,370 km² (224,082 miles²). It is the 23rd largest country in Africa. Globally, Kenya is ranked 48th in terms of land size.
Comparatively, the size of Kenya is around 83% of Texas. The country is slightly bigger than France and slightly smaller than Botswana.
Kenya was previously divided into 8 regions (provinces). These provinces were Nairobi, Central, Eastern, North Eastern, Coast, Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza. Their sizes are as shown below:
|Rift Valley||182,505 km²|
List and Sizes of Provinces in Kenya
Rift Valley is the largest province, with over 182,500 square kilometres in land size. On the other hand, Nairobi is the smallest province, with barely 700km². However, Nairobi serves as the capital city of Kenya.
Tana is the longest river in Kenya. It stretches over 1000 kilometres from Aberdare Ranges and the peak of Mt. Kenya. The river drains into the Indian Ocean. Tana River passes through Kitui, Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, and Kilifi Counties.
The deepest river in Kenya is not well known, but it could be either Tana, Athi, or Mara (394km long).
Other notable rivers in Kenya include Ewaso Ng’iro (700km), Athi-Galana-Sabaki (389km), Turkwel (340km), and Nzoia (257km) long.
Kenya has both salty and freshwater lakes. The number of lakes in Kenya is 64, representing close to 10% of all the lakes in Africa. Most lakes (8) are found along the Great Rift Valley.
The largest lake in Kenya and Africa is Victoria. The lake is also the second-largest freshwater body in the world. It occupies 68,800 km². Lake Victoria is also shared with Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya accommodates 6% of the water.
Lake Naivasha is Kenya’s largest freshwater lake along the Great Rift Valley. The water body covers 139 square kilometres. However, during the rainy season, the lake covers around 160km².
Lake Turkana is the largest permanent desert and alkaline lake in the world. It covers over 6400km² near the Kenya-Ethiopia border.
Kenya has several lakes that produce geothermal energy that causes natural hot springs. Some of the most spectacular lakes with hot springs are Bogoria, Magadi, Elementaita, and Turkana.
Lake Nakuru also stands out because of the beautiful flocks of pink flamingos that paint the water body. It also has one of the most popular game parks in Kenya. When the alkaline levels are low, the birds are fewer because of the reduced algae.
Mountains, Hills, and Ranges
Kenya has a total of 3,856 named mountains and hills. The highest mountain in the country is Mt. Kenya, whose peak is 5,199 m or 17,057 ft. above sea level. The mountain also has a national park that accommodates thousands of animal species.
Mt. Elgon is the second highest mountain in Kenya at 4302m asl. The mountain is found on the border between Kenya and Uganda. It has the most extensive volcanic base in the world and is estimated to be more than 24 million years old.
Aberdare Ranges hosts several mountains and hills, stretching over 150km. Satima (4001m) and Kinangop (3902) are the tallest mountains on the ranges.
Although Mt. Longonot is the 9th highest mountain in Kenya, it stands out because of its outstanding features and location. The mountain is found along the Great Rift Valley and is part of Mt. Longonot National Park. It features a 104km² caldera that was a result of an eruption around 21,000 years ago.
Our facts list won’t be complete without Kyamwilu Hills in Machakos County. The landscape defies Isaac Newton’s law of gravity. When you pour water, it flows uphill. Drivers also report that vehicles tend to accelerate uphill.
Kenya has fascinating geographical features and statistics. From the tallest park at the peak of Mt. Kenya to the depths of the Indian Ocean, there are facts that will wow you. If you want to visit Kenya or learn more about it, these are just some of the things you should know.