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By then, the volcanoes had gone silent and cold. The Kikuyu people, who settled on the lush, lower slopes of one of these imposing cones, looked up at the snowy heights and named the mountain Kerenyaga, or the “Place of god”. Over time, the name shortened but retained a gentle swing: It became Kenya.
Mt Kenya sits almost on the Equator, and the country it lords over—with which it has naturally shared its name—sprawls all around it. While representative of Africa’s rolling bushlands, lakes, and rivers, and the great beasts that rule them, Kenya is Kenya. It is home to over one hundred Bantu and Nilote ethnic groups. Then there are those who came later, from Arabia, India, and Europe and contributed to the Swahili culture of the coast. With these diverse people have flowed art and literature, song and music, crafts and cuisine, retaining identities, developing into distinct new forms, businesses, and architecture of the modern world, yet coalescing, after seeing off colonial rule, under the slogan “Harambee” or “pulling together”. This is the Kenya you will step into today.