Kenya Geography

From its Indian Ocean coastline, Kenya's flat land rises into central highlands. Those highlands are the site of the country's highest point; Mount Kenya, standing at 5,199 m (17,057 ft).

The Kenyan highlands are bisected by the Great Rift Valley; a valley that divides Kenya down the length of the entire country. It contains all but uninhabitable desert, flat arid plains, steep cliffs and slopes, and in some areas, very fertile farmland.

In the Rift Valley there are some active and semi-active volcanoes, along with numerous hot springs. Also found in the valley are a string of alkaline lakes including Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolf), the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake.

Additional lakes across the valley include Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru, Lake Elementaita, Lake Naivasha, and Lake Magadi in the far south.

In the far north, Chalbi Desert, on the edge of Lake Turkana, is Kenya's only true desert. Surrounded by volcanoes and ancient lava flows, it's the hottest and most arid region in the country.

As for rivers, the 440-mile Tana River is the longest river in Kenya. The river rises in the Aberdare Mountains to the west of Nyeri, then eventually drains into the Indian Ocean at Formosa Bay.

This page was last modified on September 29, 2015.