Mombasa Coast culture
As a result of the wide-ranging British influence in Kenya, Western European habits prevail throughout the country. The Kenyan people are generally very friendly and hospitable to tourists. Dress is informal, and casual lightweight clothes are accepted for all but the smartest social occasions.
Mostly traditional religions are practised, but there's also a sizeable Christian population (both Catholic and Protestant) and a small Muslim community.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore Kenya at the end of the fifteenth century. The Omani Arabs posed the biggest challenge to their influence, and had expelled them by 1730. Arab governance of the major ports continued until British interests aimed at ending the slave trade put pressure on Omani rule.
Most historians believe the colonial history of Kenya dates from the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1888 and the building of the Kenya-Uganda Railway. During the early twentieth century, the central highlands were settled by European farmers who became wealthy by farming coffee and tea. A massive exodus to the cities by the indiginous farmers ensued as their ability to provide a living from the land dwindled.
From 1952-1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. By the end of this uprising the Home Guard had killed no fewer than 4,686 of the defeated Mau Mau - 42% of the total insurgents.
Although Swahili is the national language, English is the official one. In addition, over 42 ethnic dialects are spoken including Kikuyu and Luo - reflecting Kenya's status as a diverse country with many cultures represented among a population of over 34 million. The most notable of these include the Swahili on the coast, pastoralist communities in the north and several different tribes in the central and western regions. Despite being a comparatively minor tribe, the Masai culture is well known because of its heavy exposure to tourism.