World Heritage Sites in Kenya
Lake Turkana National Parks (1997 & 2001)
Lake Turkana National Parks are constituted of Sibiloi National Park, the South Island and the Central Island National Parks, covering a total area of 161,485 hectares located within the Lake Turkana basin whose total surface area is 7 million ha. The Lake is the most saline lake in East Africa and the largest desert lake in the world, surrounded by an arid landscape. The three National Parks serve as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and are major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and a variety of venomous snakes. It is Africa's fourth largest lake, fondly called the Jade Sea because of its breathtaking color.
Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest (1997 & 2013)
At 5,199 m, Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa. It is an ancient extinct volcano, which during its period of activity (3.1 - 2.6 million years ago) is thought to have risen to 6,500 m. With its rugged glacier-clad summits and forested middle slopes, Mount Kenya is one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa. The area also lies within the traditional migrating route of the African elephant population. The Mount Kenya world heritage property also includes the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve (LWC-NNFR) to the north.
Lamu Old Town (2001)
Lamu Old Town is the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, retaining its traditional functions. Lamu has hosted major Muslim religious festivals since the 19th century, and has become a significant centre for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures. Lamu has maintained its social and cultural integrity, as well as retaining its authentic building fabric up to the present day. The architecture and urban structure of Lamu graphically demonstrate the cultural influences that have come together over 700 hundred years from Europe, Arabia, and India, utilizing traditional Swahili techniques that produced a distinct culture. Today it is a major reservoir of Swahili culture whose inhabitants have managed to sustain their traditional values as depicted by a sense of social unity and cohesion.
Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests (2008)
The Mijikenda Kaya Forests consist of 11 separate forest sites spread over some 200 km along the coast containing the remains of numerous fortified villages, known as kayas, of the Mijikenda people. The kayas, created as of the 16th century but abandoned by the 1940s, are now regarded as the abodes of ancestors and are revered as sacred sites and, as such, are maintained as by councils of elders. The site is inscribed as bearing unique testimony to a cultural tradition and for its direct link to a living tradition which represent more than thirty surviving Kayas.
Fort Jesus, Mombasa (2011)
The Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1593-1596 to the designs of Giovanni Battista Cairati to protect the port of Mombasa, is one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th century Portuguese military fortification and a landmark in the history of this type of construction. The Fort's layout and form reflected the Renaissance ideal that perfect proportions and geometric harmony are to be found in the human body. The property covers an area of 2.36 hectares and includes the fort's moat and immediate surroundings.
Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (2011)
The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, a natural property of outstanding beauty, comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes (Lake Bogoria,10,700 ha; Lake Nakuru, 18,800 ha; and Lake Elementaita, 2,534 ha) in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares. The property is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world. It is the single most important foraging site for the lesser flamingo anywhere, and a major nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans. For most of the year, up to 4 million Lesser Flamingos move between the three shallow lakes in an outstanding wildlife spectacle. Surrounded by hot springs, geysers and the steep escarpment of the Rift Valley with its volcanic outcrops, the natural setting of the lakes provides an exceptional experience of nature.
Other Kenyan properties listed in the world heritage tentative list
A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination. Kenya has submitted its Tentative Lists, properties which it considers to be cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List. These are;
- Aberdare Mountains (12/02/2010)
- Mombasa Old Town (26/06/1997)
- The African Great Rift Valley - Hell’s Gate National Park (12/02/2010)
- The African Great Rift Valley - Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site (12/02/2010)
- The African Great Rift Valley - The Maasai Mara (12/02/2010)
- The African Great Rift Valley - The Marakwet Escarpment Furrow Irrigation System (12/02/2010)
- The Eastern Arc Coastal Forests (Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Shimba Hills National Reserve) (12/02/2010)
- The Historic Town of Gedi (12/02/2010)
- The Kakemega Forest (12/02/2010)
- The Meru Conservation Area (12/02/2010)
- The Mfangano-Rusinga Island Complex (12/02/2010)
- The Tana Delta and Forests Complex (12/02/2010)
- The Thimlich Ohinga Cultural Landscape (12/02/2010)Tsavo Parks and Chyulu Hills Complex (12/02/2010)