Lake Turkana National Parks
Being the most saline of East Africa’s large lakes, Turkana is an outstanding laboratory for the study of plant and animal families. 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. The Koobi Fora deposits, rich in mammalian, molluscan and other fossil remains, have contributed more to the understanding of paleo-environments than any other site on the continent. The Lake Turkana National Parks were inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 1997 and are now under the joint management of Kenya Wildlife services (KWS) and National Museums of Kenya (NMK).
Mount Kenya National Park and Forest
With its rugged glacier-clad summits and forested middle slopes, Mount Kenya is one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa. The National Park and Forest, founded in 1949, was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997, and is under the joint management of KWS and the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). The aim was to protect Mount Kenya, along with its wildlife and environment. The natural environment is crucial as a natural habitat for the animal species that live in the area. It also acts as a water catchment area that provides water to Kenya and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Lamu Old Town
Lamu Old Town is the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, retaining its traditional functions. Built in coral stone and mangrove timber, the town is characterized by the simplicity of structural forms, enriched by such features as inner courtyards, verandas, and elaborately carved wooden doors. 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 Old Town was gazetted on 20/6/1986 and added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2001.
The Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests
The Mijikenda Kaya Forests consist of 11 separate forest sites, spread over some 200 km along the coast. They contain the remains of numerous fortified villages, known as kayas, of the Mijikenda people. The kayas, created in the 16th century but abandoned by the 1940s, are now regarded as the abodes of ancestors, revered as sacred sites and, as such, are maintained by councils of elders. These sites were inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008. The Coastal Forest Conservation unit (CFCu) was constituted by National Museums of Kenya (NMK to oversee the conservation efforts of these sacred forests.
The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley
The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2011. It is a natural property of outstanding beauty, comprising of three inter-linked, relatively shallow lakes (Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita), and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares. Some of the world’s greatest diversities and concentrations of bird species are recorded within these relatively small lake systems. They are jointly managed by Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and NMK.
Fort Jesus, Mombasa
Built by the Portuguese at the end of the 16th century, Fort Jesus stands at the southern edge of Mombasa, over a spur of coral rock. It was kept under Portuguese control for one century and is testimony to the first successful attempt by Western civilization to rule the Indian ocean trade routes – which, until then, had remained under Eastern influence. This historical site was gazetted on 12/6/1970 and inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011.
Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site
Thimlich Ohinga cultural site was gazetted as a national monument on 4/6/1982 and added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2018. Thimlich Ohinga refers to a “frightening dense forest” in Dholuo language, a Nilotic group who occupy the region. The stone structure enclosure has walls ranging from 1.0 to 4.2 meters in height, which were built of loose stones and blocks without any dressing or mortar.