Kenya is home to six (6) Unesco Sites, world heritage sites, listed by
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
These are listed below:
• Lamu Old Town.
• Lake Turkana.
• Fort Jesus.
• Mount Kenya National Park.
• Lake Systems of Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita.
• Mijikenda Kaya Forests.
Lamu Old Town.
This was listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2001.
It is an old 14th century Swahili settlement,
which has seen many changes in governance from Portuguese explorers,
Omani Arabs and Turkish traders .
Lamu’s narrow streets remain unchanged, and in the markets
and squares around the town, life moves at its old pace.
There are no vehicles on this island, and the donkey and the dhow
remain the dominant forms of transport.
The people of Lamu are great believers in tradition and custom, and this is a strong society
built on respecting past cultural ways and beliefs.
For the traveler, Lamu is a hypnotically exotic experience, made
especially enjoyable by the relaxed and welcoming attitude of the locals.
To visit Lamu is to enter a world totally different from your own,
and you will find yourself blending and becoming part of the local way of life.
Life slows down, and you will be able to spend most of
your long day strolling along the waterfront, exploring the town, or
relaxing on the amazing beaches of this old town.
Award winning Unesco Sites
Lake Turkana, another UNESCO Heritage Site,
is a massive inland sea and 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.
Lake Turkana has a long history, and recent archeological evidence reveals fossil
evidence at Koobi Fora that 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,
containing the world’s single largest crocodile population.
In Turkana these reptiles grow to record size, with some of
the largest specimens found on the remote windswept Central/Crocodile Island,
which is found right smack in the middle of Lake Turkana.
It is here on this remote island that one will also find the
Central Island National Park, which the Kenya Wildlife Service is in charge of.
Lake Turkana is Kenya’s most remote destination, but one from which you
will reap a rich reward if you visit it.
Listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2001, Fort Jesus is an
interesting place to spend a day exploring the gun turrets,
battlements, and houses within its thick walls. It contains an
excellent museum and trained guides are available to take
you around the Fort.
Today the majestic Fort Jesus is a National Monument listed as one of the Unesco Sites standing high over the Mombasa Harbor.
It was built by the Portuguese in 1593-1596
according to the designs of Giovanni Battista Cairati.
Its main purpose was to increase protection for the port of Mombasa.
Its architecture is outstanding and is a fine
example of 16th Century Portuguese military fortification.
It is a landmark in the history of this type of construction.
The Fort’s layout and form reflect the Renaissance ideal of perfect
proportions and geometric harmony that are also found in the human body.
Mount Kenya National Park
The World Heritage Committee inscribed Mount Kenya National Park
on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.
Mt Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain, 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 capping its peaks. It is surrounded by
a belt of verdant forest, which can also be a fascinating destination for you
to visit during your Safari.
While the 5199 metre summit of Mt. Kenya is a difficult technical climb,
if you are a fit trekker, you can reach the lesser peak
of Point Lenana (4985m) more easily.
This trek takes between 3 to 5 days, through a fascinating world of forests,
wildlife, and unique mountain vegetation including
podocarpus and groundsel, and finally through one of the world’s rarest
sights, equatorial snow.
Lake System of Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru, and Lake Elementaita
Also inscribed in 2001, is the Lake System of Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru, and Lake Elementaita.
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 thirteen (13) globally-threatened
bird species and one of the most diverse species of birds in the world.
It is also the single most important foraging site for the lesser flamingo anywhere,
and a major nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans.
As a visitor to this system of great lakes in Kenya, you will also be able to see
sizeable mammal populations, including the black and white rhinos,
Rothschild’s giraffe, greater kudu, lion, cheetah, and wild dogs.
Mijikenda Kaya Forests
The Mijikenda Kaya Forests consist of 11 separate forest sites spread over
some 200km along the Kenyan Coast.
It contains the remains of numerous fortified villages, known as kayas, of the
The kayas, created in the 16th century, but abandoned by the 1940s,
are now regarded as the abode of Kaya ancestors.
They are revered as sacred sites and maintained by the Kaya Council of Elders.
The site is inscribed as bearing unique testimony to a cultural tradition and for its direct link to living tradition.
Kenya is lucky to have such interesting Unesco Sites. In some of your safaris journeys in Kenya, you will visit some.