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Author: Michael Brett
Cape Town, South Africa 1995
Hardcover, dust jacket, 24x29 cm, 176 pages, throughout colour photos
Kenya, The Beautiful celebrates a land that for nearly 2000 years has consistently drawn travellers in search of adventure, serenity, wealth or diversion. The reader is enticed on a journey of exploration into this multifaceted land, its many images revealed through the lenses of leading photographers. Contact between the Kenyan coast and the outside world has flourished over the centuries, encouraged by the annual monsoon winds.
Dhows from Asia came in search of ivory, rhino horn, coconut oil and spices. In exchange, they brought ceramics, glass, metal objects, and wheat. By the eighth century Arabs had settled along the coast, and the late fifteenth century brought Portuguese explorers in search of a sea route to India. Omani Arabs, slave traders, missionaries and explorers all joined the procession to Kenya.
Explorers came in search of the Nile's source, or merely to trek across lands where no European had been before. In their wake, thousands of white settlers arrived and attempted to establish a Utopia in a land where the indigenous inhabitants had made little impact on the natural environment since the beginning of time.
Despite the upheavals, Kenya has prospered and is considered today to be one of the most stable nations in Africa. Although the modern age has brought many changes, in many ways Kenya's reputation as a paradisiacal refuge has endured. Lured by writers such as Blixen, Huxley, Hemingway and Adamson, travellers still seek the solitude of untrammelled wilderness.
Kenya's beauty lies in its geographical diversity and in the cultural variety of its people. Kenya is the land of the urbane banker, the astute politician, the Maasai warrior, the Luo fisherman and the desert nomad.
It is a land of amazing contrasts and apparent contradictions; a land where forest yields to desert, city to game-filled plain; a terrain that is beautiful in its diversity, Kenya, The Beautiful guides the reader on a journey through each of the country's distinctive regions, following in the footsteps of the travellers who have gone before in search of the beautiful land.
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