Two Facts About Kenya’s History and Geography We Bet You Didn’t Know

Ancient Humans Rested Here

The Northern part of Kenya is one of the hottest and most arid places on our planet. Kenya’s indigenous Turkana tribe inhabit this area, living in impoverished conditions in drought and lack of water. But why do they stay? They are a nomadic tribe who are known to ‘follow the water’ and yet they watch their livestock and children die of hunger and thirst for generations with their only movements circumventing the very desert where nothing grows. As legend has it, they believe to be ‘sitting on water’, with the diminishing  L. Turkana as proof of this mysterious phenomena.

It turns out they might be right as recent scientific research has led to the discovery of a giant aquifer, a large underwater reserve that runs deep below the façade of the desert, which scientists claim could quench the thirst of all of Kenya’s 41 tribes for the next 70 years. That’s 48 million people, the population of both California and Ohio combined. This desert region is also home to the oldest known human fossil to be discovered. Dubbed the Turkana Boy, this human fossil was discovered in 1984 by Kamoya Kimeu who was a member of a research team led by world-famous anthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey. A bronze replica of the skeleton can be seen in the gardens of the famed Matt Bronze art gallery in Nairobi. Perhaps there’s some truth to the legend of the water below the desert, where Man first claimed his first footprint on Planet Earth.

Kenya Is Splitting

Most Kenyans arrived in Kenya via different migration routes. Most split up with their cousins in North Africa who headed further North to the Middle East, while those who settled in Kenya travelled Southwards, intermarrying others on a similar migration journey. Thus, most of the tribes in Kenya are not indigenous to the country but rather, a mixture of ethnicities.

The geographical space that they came to occupy as Kenya lies right on the equator, which is what gives Kenya it’s pleasant temperate climate – neither too hot nor too cold, with temperatures oscillating between 20-25 degrees Celcius. Unknown to most Kenyans and the world, is the fact that Kenya’s Great Rift Valley occurred more than 20 million years ago when the Earth’s crust begun splitting. But it did not stop splitting. Scientists say that the volcanic Rift Valley, which stretches 3,500 km, could eventually break off and form a new ocean like the Red Sea. However, they reassure us all that by the time the continent does break up completely, humans are unlikely to still inhabit the planet as the break is likely to take place in millions of years’ time. Phew!

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