Geographical Profile

Kenya straddles the Equator, and is located on the eastern coast of Africa on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Kenya borders Somalia to the east, Ethiopia to the north, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest. Its geographical coordinates are 1°00′N 38°00′E.

Kenya has a single time zone, UTC +3.

Geographical Regions


The geography of Kenya is diverse. Kenya has a coastline on the Indian Ocean, which contains swamps of East African mangroves. Inland are broad plains and numerous hills.

Central and Western Kenya is characterised by the Kenyan Rift Valley home to Kenya’s highest mountain, Mount Kenya and Mount Elgon on the border between Kenya and Uganda. The Kakamega Forest in western Kenya is relic of an East African rainforest. Much larger is Mau Forest, the largest forest complex in East Africa.

Geographical Regions

The country major geographic regions are:

The Coastal Region extends some 250 miles from the southern border with Tanzania, to the border with Somalia in the north. The coastal line is protected by a barrier reef that is broken only rarely making it one of the safest beaches in the world from sea predators. The southern shoreline consists largely of stretches of coral rock and sand interrupted by bays, inlets, and branched creeks. The principal geographic feature of the northern part of the region is the Lamu Archipelago.

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.

The Eastern Plateau Region consists of a belt of plains extending north- and southward to the eastern Kenya Highlands. Land elevations vary mainly between 1,000 and 3,000 feet above sea level.

The Northern Plain-lands Region stretches from the border with Uganda on the west to the Somalia border on the east. It is made up of a series of arid plains formed by erosion or by great outpourings of lava. The region includes Lake Rudolf and the Chalbi Desert. West of the lake the lands are quite arid, with an annual rainfall that averages under ten inches and that falls some years to an almost negligible level. East of Lake Rudolf lies the Chalbi Desert; still farther east are equally arid lands that ordinarily support only semi-desert vegetation.

The Kenya Highlands Region was known as the White Highlands during colonial times since the European population tended to concentrate there. The region consists of two major divisions, lying east and west of the Great Rift Valley that runs north-south. These regions are made up of a variety of geographical subdivisions whose origins are diverse. The entire area is characterized by significantly higher altitude, cooler temperatures, and, generally speaking, more plentiful precipitation than in other regions.

The Rift Valley Region encompasses Eastern Africa’s Rift Valley which was formed by an extended series of faulting and differential rock movements. The valley stretches from Kenya’s Lake Rudolf area, running southward through the Kenya Highlands into Tanzania. Near Lake Rudolf, the valley floor tapers down to less than 1,500 feet above sea level, but southward it rises steadily to nearly 6,200 feet in its central section near Lake Naivasha. South of the lake, it drops off to about 2,000 feet at the Kenya-Tanzania border.

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.

The Western Plateau Region forms part of the extensive basin around Lake Victoria. In Kenya the region consists mainly of faulted plateaus marked by escarpments that descend gently from the Kenya Highlands to the lakeshore. The region is divided by the Kano Rift Valley into northern and southern sub-regions with distinct geographical features.


Kenya occupies a total area of 580,367Km2 (224,081 sq mi). Land mass is 569,140Km2 (219,750 sq mi) while Water bodies account for 11,227Km2 (4,335 sq mi).

Its boundaries are 3,477Km (2,161 mi) long and are shared with our five neighbours as follows: Uganda the longest with 933Km (580 mi) followed by Ethiopia with 861Km (535 mi), Tanzania 769Km (478 mi), Somalia 682Km (424 mi) and South Sudan the least with 232Km (144 mi).


Kenya’s coastline with the Indian Ocean is 536Km.

It has a Continental shelf with a depth of 200M or to the depth of exploitation and enjoys an exclusive economic zone of 200 Nautical Miles (370.4Km; 230.2mi).

Its territorial sea is 12 Nautical Miles (22.2Km; 13.8mi).