Tourism and Tourist Attractions in Homa bay County include; Ruma National Park, Tom Mboya Mausoleum, Winam Gulf of Lake Victoria, Rusinga and Mfangano Islands, Kanjera Archaeological site, Volcanic Lake Simbi Nyaima in Karachuonyo and Mt. Homa.
Ruma National Park covering an area of 120km2 is the only Park in the entire Nyanza region. It lies on the flat floor of the Lambwe Valley, close to the shores of Africa’s largest inland lake, Lake Victoria and bordered by the Kanyamwa escarpment to the south-east, Gwassi Hills, Sumba hill and Ruri hills to the north.
It is situated 140km from Kisumu City, 10km east of Lake Victoria South West of Homa Bay and 425km west of Nairobi.
It was initially established as the Lambwe Valley Game Reserve in 1966 to protect its indigenous population of rare roan antelopes which exist nowhere else in Kenya.
Tourist attractions in Garissa County are the Giraffe Sanctuary and Arawale & Boni National Reserves.
The Garissa Giraffe Sanctuary
The Garissa Community Giraffe sanctuary (GCGS) is located 3Km south of Garissa Town, bordering the dusty Bour-Algi village. It covers an area of around 125km² and borders the Tana River to the south-west. Its name stems from the large presence of giraffes estimated at almost 1000 living in the outskirts of the Bour-Algi village which are attracted by the abundant acacia trees.
It was founded in the early 1990s’ after an influx of displaced and migrant giraffes arrived in the area after running for safety following the collapse of the Republic of Somalia. Initially, around 30 individuals arrived but in less than 4 years, the Giraffe population in the Sanctuary had increased to over 300 individuals. Presently, there are more than a 1000 of them, and have become synonymous with the town and can be seen browsing from the tops of the abundant acacia trees that dot the area, moving freely within the town or stooping to drink from the same place the local women draw their water for domestic use.
Many tourists particularly UN and NGO workers in the area flock the area to view the giraffes as well as witness the extraordinary relationship developed between the animals and the residents.
Apart from the giraffes’ other herbivores sighted in the area are Gerenuk, Kirk’s dik-dik, Lesser Kudu, warthog and waterbuck.
Arawale National Reserve
The Arawale National Reserve is a conservation area lying on flat plains of thorny bush 8km on the northern shore of the Tana River, 40 kilometres upstream from Tana River Primate National Reserve in Tana River County and 77km south of Garissa town. The reserve covers an area of 53,324 hectares (533km2; 206sq mi). To the west, it is bordered by the Tana River and to the east, by the Garissa-Lamu road. In 1974, the reserve was gazetted as the only in-situ conservation site for the critically endangered Hirola population endemic to north-eastern Kenya and south-west Somalia.
The reserve is a critical refuge for a range of wildlife species including four globally threatened species: Hirola, Gravy Zebra, African Wild Dog and Cheetah. There is a presence of the African Elephant too and many other wildlife species including topi, buffalo, zebra, lesser kudu, giraffe, diverse bird life and endemic plant species a well as hippos and crocodiles in the Tana River
It is reached from Nairobi via Thika and Garissa, or from Mombasa via Malindi and Garsen. It has no fencing or gates and is part of Kenya’s Arawale-Boni-Dodori Reserve which lies on either side of the Tana River before it reaches the Indian Ocean between Malindi and Lamu. The last bridge across the Tana is at Garissa, so to reach Arawale from its southern side, the crossing is by ferry 87 km (55 miles) from Garsen at Hola, where there is an Administrative centre, post office, police station and petrol station.
The name for Hunter’s hartebeest in Kenya is the rather more attractive ‘Hirola’ and the two small groups in Arawale and Tsavo are all that remain of a species which once ranged the whole African continent.
The Hirola is distinguished from other hartebeest — the Coke’s (Alcelaphus buselaphus cokei), the Jackson’s (Alcelaphus buselaphus jacksoni) the Lelwel (Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel) and Lichtenstein’s (Alcelaphus lichtensteini) by its elegantly-shaped horns, the white chevron between its eyes and it’s smaller size.
From an estimated 14,000 in 1976, surveys conducted by the Kenya Wildlife Service recently revealed that only 350 remained. Of those, 300 were near the Kenya-Somalia border and the remaining 50 in Tsavo East National Park where 19 were translocated there 30 years ago. The alarming decline has been attributed to poaching, drought, disease and human and livestock pressures.
Once the County Government puts in place the requisite infrastructure and security assured, tourism in the area is expected to build up particularly due to good chances of sighting the almost extinct Hirola.
Arawale National Reserve landscape is mostly a dry thorn-bush savannah and the reserve has no accommodations – lodges or tented camps.
The nearest hotels are northwards in Garissa and southwards Garsen, but both towns are quite far and roads are close to non-existent. The only option is four-wheel drive and camping.
Boni National Reserve
Boni reserve lies right next to the Somali border, in the traditional dwelling region of the Boni hunter tribe, today reduced to a few hundreds of people. It was gazetted in 1976 and covers 1,339 km².
The wet areas attract large numbers of palearctic migratory birds. Pelicans and other water birds are frequent in the channels and waterholes, while prey birds also abound. Bird species recorded include brown-hooded kingfisher, Violet-breasted sunbird, European and carmine bee-eaters, honey buzzard, palmnut vulture, southern banded harrier eagle and brown-breasted barbet.
There is no accommodation or campsites at the reserve. Staying on your own is strongly discouraged due to the insecurity in the region. It is advisable to inquire about the current risk level from the Garissa County officials before travelling.
Accommodation in Garissa
Some of the best hotels in Garissa are highlighted below in no order of preference.
It is situated along Garissa- Daadab road. It offers the following amenities and facilities; conference facilities, a business centre, accommodation, minibar, restaurant, a la carte, free parking, free Wifi. The guest rooms are categorised as, deluxe twin room, deluxe double room, suite, superior double room.
The price range for the rooms is between KES 3,460-6,523. For more information, you can contact them on, 0728 714 084.
It is located along Lamu road in Garissa town. It offers 1st class services as a norm rather than expectations. It offers prestigious accommodation together with a luxurious combination of quality amenities and facilities that include; restaurant services, conference and meeting facilities, a fitness centre, swimming pool, bar/lounge.
For more information, you can contact them on, 0711 829 899.
It is located along Lamu road, Garissa. It is a luxury resort that offers the following amenities and facilities; pool and wellness, meeting/banquet facilities, a restaurant, free WiFi, 24 hr front desk, luggage storage and free parking. It prides in state of the art guestrooms that are furnished with modern furniture and equipment to ensure maximum comfort and customer satisfaction.
For further inquiries, you can contact them via, 0713 749 991/ email@example.com.
Tana Garden Hotel
Tana Garden Hotel is located along Garissa- Dadaab road. It offers the following services and facilities; restaurant, meetings/conference facilities, buffet breakfast, free Wifi in all guest rooms, etc. The guest rooms are categorised as, standard double room, deluxe double room, standard twin room.
The price range for the rooms is between KES 3,011- 5,018. For more information, you can contact them on, 0 20 200 4304.
Hiddig Hotel is located along Miraa road in Garissa town. It offers free wifi and a continental/buffet breakfast. The guest rooms are fully air-conditioned and equipped with flat-screen TVs and a private bathroom.
The standard rate for the rooms is KES 2,509. For further inquiries you can contact them on, 0729 466 375
Halugo Palace Hotel
It is located along Biashara street in Garissa town. The hotel provides the best in services and amenities. It offers a vast array of amenities which include; fitness centre, meeting/conference facilities, bar and lounge, restaurant, accommodation, free WiFi in all rooms.
The standard charge for the rooms ranges from KES 1,730.
Madogo Palace Hotel
It provides rooms equipped with climate control, a private safe, television and a work desk. The hotel also offers complimentary parking and a luggage storage facility.
The standard range for the guest rooms is from KES 1,600.
Savanna Royal Hotel
It is located along Kismayu road in Garissa town. It is the perfect spot for accommodation as it features a 24 hr front desk and luggage storage for guests. Guest rooms are spacious and fully air-conditioned. All the rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs to entertain guests at the facility.
The rooms range from KES 1800.
Magool lodge is located along Garissa- Daadab road, approximately 20 minutes walk from Garissa Central Business District. It offers the following amenities and facilities, 24 hr front desk, accommodation, free Wifi, luggage storage, free parking, restaurant e.t.c. Rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with flat-screen TVs. Check-in time is from 12 pm, while check out time is at 10 a.m.
For further inquiries, you can contact them via, 0704 259 519.
Travel to Garissa
From Nairobi, there are daily buses to Garissa via the A3 323km long Thika – Garissa highway, an important artery to the east which is in good condition for most of the way.
MATUU, a thriving trading centre 62km beyond Thika, is busiest at the top of the hill, near the easternmost of the town’s two communications masts. There is located most shops and businesses and a decent hotel as well as petrol stations and cafés all on the highway.
Past Matuu some 67km ahead lies MWINGI has a surprisingly attractive location in an area of rocky hillocks and woodland. You can view the town more than 10km before you arrive, spread out across the boulder-dotted hills. Mwingi offers plenty of small places to eat and a decent hotel.
There are daily bus services from Mombasa to Garissa. The road to Garissa is hard surfaced and in good condition. By car, the journey takes about 4 to 5 hours.
Garissa is served by Garissa Airport, a small civilian airport. Flights to Garissa are not scheduled and is served by several local airlines including Jambo Jet, Fly Saxx among others.
The County’s tourist attraction sites remain largely unexploited.
Key among them is the proposed new route to climbing Mt. Kenya through Embu town and Kianjokoma on the western side. The mountain attracts over ten thousand climbers annually especially those who climb Lenana and Batian peaks and at least a quarter of them will be expected to use the new route once opened.
The Kshs. 10 million information centre at Irangi forest being set up to help tourists find their way to the mountain will also boost the County’s tourism fortunes.
Mwenendega is where the Embu trace their origin. Embu mythology claims that the Embu people originated from Mbui Njeru falls in the interior of Embu, close to Runyenjes town. In the mythology, God (Ngai) created Mwenendega and gave him a beautiful wife (Ciurunji) by the famous Mbui Njeru waterfalls. The couple was blessed with wealth, and their descendants populated the rest of Embu. Another falls is Nthenge Njeru waterfalls, also in Runyenjes and Gitwa-Rwarari waterfalls.
The National Museums of Kenya is also planning to build a KES 52 million planetarium at Kianjiru hills in Mbeere South where tourists including amateur astronomers would be able to observe the planets and the stars. The planetarium will be the first on the Equator and is expected to be a huge crowd puller.
The planetarium will come complete with a cultural museum where locals will get an opportunity to showcase their traditional song, dance, story-telling, housing, and dress. At the foot of the hill, there are plans to plant a botanical garden with different species of indigenous and exotic plants. This facility will have a 32-bed lounge where tourists will stay and locals will have an opportunity to put up curio shops.
Mau Mau Cave
The Mau Mau Cave was used as a hide-out by Kenyan Freedom Fighters during the Mau Mau war. It is located approximately 18km south of the equator inside Mount Kenya National Park. It was gazetted in 2003 by the Museums of Kenya and declared a national monument.
It was bombed by British forces in 1959 after the location was obtained from a member of the Land and Freedom Army. Approximately 200 people lost their lives in the cave during the bombardment, and their remains can still be seen amongst the rubble.
Kirimiri hill caves were also significant hideout areas for Mau Mau freedom fighters such as the Kubukubu.
Other attractions include:
Magnificent hills such as Karue hill, Kirimiri forest hill, Kianjiru as well as Kiangombe hills – a place believed by locals to be a centre for witchcraft practices.
Kirimiri Forest is an area dominated by tree vegetation in the Mukuuri locality of Runyenjes, Embu, in the country of Kenya. It is recognized as an Ecologically Sensitive Site in Africa by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There is a variety of rare indigenous and medicinal trees that continue to face the threat of deforestation. The Hill is culturally famous as a hideout for Mau Mau fighters including Embu’s most venerated fighter General Kubu Kubu.
Karue Hill towers high along the Embu/Meru highway.
Two major waterfalls which join to form the Ena River that meanders to encircle the Karue hill.
The Embu and Mbeere people cultural practices and traditions
Seven Forks Falls Dams
The Seven Forks Falls is a popular outdoors fun destination for dating couples, families and school trips as well. The Seven Forks falls is one of the exciting destinations because the waters of the Tana River descend the steep cliff in seven separate columns that resemble a fork, hence its name. The adjoining area of the falls forms beautiful scenery and is a favored picnic spot for many people who flock to the park during the weekend. The Seven Forks Falls is best accessed by private transport means.
Mwea National Reserve
The 42 Km2 Animals that can be seen in the reserve include dik dik, cape hare, warthog, tortoise, slender mongoose, dwarf mongoose, duiker, black backed jackal, stripped ground squirrel, crested porcupine, and genet cat.
The 42Km2Mwea National Reserve is a major attraction site for wild game viewing boat rides at Kamburu dam, hippo point, rare birds watching and a walking circuit. It has over 200 species of birds and is renowned for its water birds and waders. Mwea National Reserve is the only protected area in which the globally threatened and Kenya-endemic Hinde’s babbler is known to occur, the Reserve also shelters two other rare species; the Pel’s fishing owl and the white-backed night heron.
The savannah ecosystem comprises of small hills with bushy vegetation and scattered large trees. Other areas are open grasslands while along the main rivers, large trees with thick undergrowth are found.
Trees mainly found within the ecosystem are the different Acacia species and baobab trees. The ecosystem’s main features are the meeting point of rivers Tana and Thiba, Kamburu and Masinga hydroelectric dams, which harbour variety of biodiversity.
Major wildlife attractions include elephants, Rothschild giraffes, Common zebras, Lesser kudu, Buffalo, Water Buck, Bush buck, Impala, Vervet Monkeys, Aardvark, Yellow baboons, Grants gazelle, Dik dik, Cape hare, Warthog, Black backed jackal, Duiker, Sykes monkeys, Genet cat, Slender mongoose, Striped ground squirrel, Dwarf mongoose, Crested porcupine, Rock Hyrax, Tree Hyrax and tortoise. Hippos and crocodiles are also found in the dams and rivers.
Mwea National Reserve is located within Mbeere, a distance of about 200 Km from Nairobi. The reserve can be accessed by road from Nairobi through the Thika-Matuu-Masinga Dam (160 Km). This route is surfaced until Masinga Dam Bridge – a further 10 Km of dirt road lies between here and Makima Gate. Access is also possible via Embu-Machanga. Masinga airstrip near Masinga lodge offers another alternative by air to reach the reserve.
Tourist attractions in Elgeyo Marakwet County include Kerio Valley National Reserve, Sports Tourism, River Kerio, Rimoi national reserve, Torok waterfalls and the Cherang’any hills.
Kerio Valley National Reserve
The Kerio Valley National Reserve is a protected area in the Kerio Valley, along the floor of the Great Rift Valley. The 66 square kilometres (25sq mi) reserve was created in 1983 and is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
The isolated Kerio Valley lies between the Cherangani Hills and the Tugen Hills with the Elgeyo Escarpment rising more than 1,830 metres (6,000ft) above the valley in places. The valley is 4,000 feet (1,200m) deep. It has semi-tropical vegetation on the slopes, while the floor of the valley is covered by dry thorn bush.
The most comfortable time of the year is in July and August when the rains have ended and the temperatures are not excessive.
The reserve is on the west side of the crocodile-infested Kerio River, while the Lake Kamnarok National Reserve is on the east side. The reserve has dramatic scenery, prolific birdlife and campingsite in the bush beside Lake Kamnarok.
After the reserve was established there was an increase in the wildlife population, including elephants. Most of the people here are Kalenjin herders.
Rimoi Game Reserve
Rimoi Game Reserve is 66 km² but set inside a conservation area 5 times greater. It is protected by the Kenya Wildlife Service and is located 30km from Iten town along the Kabarnet – Eldoret road on the floor of the Kerio Valley.
It provides unique geological scenery & biodiversity and is one of the few protected areas within the spectacular Kerio Valley. The main attraction is the groups of elephants, Culture and scenery of the Kerio valley.
The Reserve does not have roads which make for an adventurous outing. You may be rewarded by coming across not only elephant but various predators such as Leopard as well as grazers, especially buffalo, impala, nocturnal mammals and hundreds of bird species.
Sego Safari Lodge near Biretwo on the Kabarnet – Eldoret highway
Hotels or campsites on top of the escarpment in Iten.
Kerio-Tingwa Eco-Tourism, a community group offers guided tours as well as camping expeditions on the Kerio River.
Iten is the perfect training location with 2400m of altitude, endless soft dirt running trails and year round sunshine. The ideal climatic condition and the altitude of the highlands within the county offer an opportunity for sports tourism especially given that local and international athletes train at Iten, Kapsait and Kapcherop areas which are in close proximity to the tourism sites.
The Lornah Kiplagat’s High Altitude Training Centre in Iten combine one of the world’s premier training locations and expert coaching advice, with a unique opportunity to look inside the lives of the world’s greatest runners and Kenyan culture.
Iten urban center also offers an ideal environment for paragliding sports.
Four standard class tourist hotels situated in Iten, Chesongoch, Cheptebo and Kaptagat with a combined bed capacity of 100.
The 200m high Torok waterfall is located amidst cirque of vertical cliffs. It is best viewed from Kolol viewpoint in a south westerly direction along the road to Chebloch from Iten.
It is most spectacular in the rainy season, when a cloud of spray and mist rises from the forest below the falls. In the dry season, however, it may be no more than a trickle. From near Kolol, an ascending, 2-hour hike can take you to the foot of the falls. A guide is not essential but is recommended are readily available at Kolol.
Torok is much more accessible from the top. From Kapkoi center, on the C53, it is a 1km drive on a side road, followed by a short descending walk to the lip of the falls. It can be dangerous especially in windy and/or rainy conditions. Also avoid crowding on the narrow ledge. On a good day, fine views will be the reward of your small expedition.
The Chebloch Gorge is a deep 20m deep gorge which offers fantastic views of the muddy brown, crocodile-infested waters of the Kerio River. The C51 highway crosses the gorge 39km from Iten via e modern concrete bridge. Parallel to it, the steel beams of the old colonial-age bridge are close by and still in place and offer a perilous perch from which to view the gorge. The gorge was cut down into the hard, basalt rock by the power of the Kerio River itself. When in flood, the river increases tremendously in height and volume and carries a heavy load of fine, highly-abrasive silt which grinds down the river bed.
Young boys with primitive fishing rods can be seen competing with the crocodiles for the mudfish and catfish that are seasonally abundant.
Iten View Point
Iten view point offers magnificent views of the Kerio Valley as one drives towards Kabarnet on the C51 highway, 500m beyond Iten. The Tugen Hills form a prominent line of hills to the east, running parallel to the Keiyo Escarpment.
At the northern end of this range is the fine pyramidal shape of Tiati, the sacred mountain of the Pokot people.
To the south, at the head of the valley, are the high, forested slopes of Kapkut and Kipkanyilat (place of lightning) through which descend the main rivers which give rise to the Kerio River. The Kerio itself is visible as a brown thread winding through the thorn bush of the valley, 1000m below. If you see a small lake, it is Kamnarok; once permanent and home to many crocodiles but now only seasonal.
Tirinya, a few metres from the viewpoint, offers a cool place to unwind, relax and enjoy the views while enjoying some refreshments and snacks. It may also provide some campsites for those who have their own equipment.
It lies behind a rock boulder along a sign-posted track. Roast meat is sometimes, but not always, available.
Teren River Bridge
Near the junction of the clear waters of the Arror and the muddy brown River Kerio there is a place where the Kerio has had to cut its way through an outcrop of basalt. Here it has formed a gorge; this is Teren.
Nearby is a steel bridge across the river. The middle one of only three to span the Kerio in its total length of over 300 km. It is a fine vantage point to stare down into the gorge — particularly in the rainy season when the Kerio is a foaming torrent pouring through the narrow passage and carrying with it a heavy load of stones, boulders and tree-trunks.
In less violent times, the banks of the gorge can be a peaceful place to stop and take a picnic. You will meet boys fishing for mud-fish and catfish and see kingfishers diving from sunlit rocks into shadowed pools to spear their smaller prey.
The “swirl-holes” etched into the basalt bed of the river by stones trapped, held down and spun in the raging flood, make a strange sculpture and an interesting subject for photography.
This is one of the narrowest parts of the Kerio Valley and the place where the river approaches closest to the Elgeyo Escarpment. It is rich in bird species and is the habitat of the rare, aromatic sandalwood tree which is said to preserve its scent for over a thousand years. Migrating elephants are here very likely to stray into shambas and irrigation schemes and are very vulnerable to poaching.
The Cherangany Hills
The Cherangany Hills rise to heights of 3500m. Like their massive volcanic neighbour to the west (Mt. Elgon), the highest peaks support a peculiar, afro-alpine vegetation above 3300m. The strangest plants are the giant groundsel (Seccio johnstonii cheranganiensis) and giant lobelia (Lobelia telekii), both of which can grow to be well over 3m in height and are found nowhere else outside of the highest peaks of East Africa.
The Cheranganys can be tackled best during the dry season when the days are warmer and the views better.
Kalaleigelat (3350m), Chepkotet (3370m) and Chebon (3375m) lie on a long ridge that runs north to Sondang (3211), which overlooks Ortum in the Marich Pass. They can be approached from Kapyego or Kapsait in the Kaptalamwa area. Tracks for 4WD vehicles can get you very high so that even the not-so-fit can reach a peak and enjoy breathtaking views. Sondang itself can be tackled from Parua near Ortum.
Kamelogon (3581) and neighbours lie on the northern end of another ridge further to the East. They are a much more serious undertaking and should be tackled only after getting local help and advice.
The Kapsang’ar – Kamelei – Sina – Chepkorniswo road/track and the Parua – Kochii – Sebit road/track link the highlands to the Marich Pass (A1). They present marvelous possibilities for hiking and hill walking.
Kipkunurr, Koisungur & Kipteber Hills
Outlying foothills that are much lower than the main peaks but still enjoyable to hike up are Kipkunurr (3063m), Koisungur (3167m) and Kipteberr (2774m).
Kipkunurr is prominently visible from Kapsowar but best approached from Cheptongei. It is an easy 2 hour hike to reach the summit that tops sheer South East – facing cliffs.
Kipteberr which lies exactly on the Marakwet -Pokot border is easier still. Leave your car at Kipteberr Pri. School, 9 km beyond Kapcherop, and hike up the hill in 40 minutes. It gives fine views across Trans Nzoia to the looming mass of Mt. Elgon. Ask the locals about the many legends relating to this hill.
Koisungur lies just to the west of the D329 between Kimnai and Makutano. One can drive to its summit by taking a steep service road (accessing the antennae on its top) 3 km before Makutano. But, the better alternative is the nice, 40-minute walk that can be enjoyed by leaving the car 2½ km further downhill and scrambling up the clearly defined, white, rocky ridge. Views from the top are like those of Kipteberr —- in fact, Kipteberr itself is clearly visible 11 km away and 400m lower).
These caves, 1 large and 6 small, were discovered about 200 years ago as the local people moved into the area. They were immediately used for rituals and sacrificial ceremonies and also found value as a hideout after raids on neighbouring communities. A large colony of bats is always in residence.
The caves are located in the central Cherangany region about 5 km from Kapyego. Follow the Kapyego – Tenderwo road and branch right after 2 km and head for Kamalei on the border with Pokot District. You will leave the car and be guided by locals for the last kilometer.
To cave entrance is at the back of a small gorge, which is the breeding habitat of a number of bird species, including owls. Please be careful to minimise disturbance of the wildlife.
The Highland Forests
These include Kapchemutwo, Kipkunurr, Embobut, and Lelan forests. They are tropical montane forest in which high-value timber trees such as Pencil Cedar (Juniperus procera), East African Yellow Wood (Podocarpus gracilior), Rosewood (Hygienia abyssinica) and Australian Blackwood (Acacia melanoxilum) are the dominant species. There are some places it remains relatively untouched and one can walk into a beautiful green world, eerily quiet until the chattering of monkeys or the sudden shriek of a hornbill disturbs the silence. Myriads of butterflies, various and colourful, flit in the golden shafts of sunlight that penetrate the canopy. Besides the vociferous Colobus and Sykes monkeys, there are numerous shy and silent creatures living in the forest including the Striped Polecat, the elusive and endangered Bongo, duiker and the occasional leopard.
Above 2800m, and where rainfall is adequate, the forest merges into a bamboo zone.
A good place to leave your car and take a walk in the forest (the Kendur / Kapchemutwo Forest) is on the road to Marakwet (D340), half way between Cheptongei and Kapsowar. Another, much further away (in the Embobut Forest), is beyond Kapchebau on the Tuturung-Kapchebau-Maron Bridge road.
A nice drive right, through the Embobut Forest, is the steep and narrow road from Chesoi, passing Kewabus, to Kapyego. For most of its length it follows the Arror river. Be warned, it can be a challenge in the rainy season and an intersecting road from Maina can be slightly advantageous. ( Refer to the map section.)
Irrigation Furrows of Marakwet
The ancient Irrigation Furrows of Marakwet bring the waters of the Embobut, Embolot, Enou and other rivers from the high Cherangany Hills, down the steep escarpment, to the warm Endo plains around the small town of Tot and to the fields of Arror. Here the waters are spread out through irrigation channels and support the cultivation of vegetables and a wide variety of fruits (especially mangos and bananas).The original furrows were constructed more than 500 years ago by a people who mysteriously disappeared as the present inhabitants, the Marakwets, migrated into the area. The Marakwets showed a high level of ingenuity in expanding and improving the system; taking the water across ridges and over valleys to places many miles from its original course.
The region is steeped in history: the expeditions of both Joseph Thomson and Count Teleki passed through here in the 1880s. For Teleki, returning from the discovery of “Lake Rudolph”, Endo was salvation for his decimated and desperate band. It had food when all around, because of 2 years of drought, there was nothing but parched lands and starvation. Unfortunately Teleki had to plunder it under the force of firearms, because of the refusal of the people to sell their priceless produce. Local guides can take you up the hillside to see how a furrow cleverly diverts water into an artificial channel. The closest furrow can be reached in 1 hour. If you wish to see the highest of all you should allow a whole day for the hike and you should be quite fit.
Tourist attractions in Busia are the Kakapel National Monument and Lake Victoria Viewpoint.
According to the county Government of Busia, it intends to promote tourism through the following avenues:
Resorts and Water based Sports along Lake Victoria and Islands.
• Hotels and Campsites on Hills overlooking Uganda and Lake victoria.
• Campsite around Kakapel Cave.
• Star Rated Hotels for local and international travelers given it is gateway to east and central Africa.
• Tour and travel.
• Culture harnessing.
• Curio and general Artwork.
Kakapel National Monument
Kakapel is a rock site located on a huge rock shelter in the Chelelemuk hills in Malaba Town, Busia County.
The Kakapel Rock Site is a national monument that was gazeted in 2005. It was opened to the public in 2007 following rehabilitation by the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) in collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya between 2005 and 2006.
The site is important to Kenya’s prehistory as it is believed the art forms date over 2000 years and may be as much as 4000 years old. Generally, rock art is one of the oldest forms of art in the world. In Africa, rock art is more concentrated in Southern and Northern Africa countries. The rock art at Kakapel is believed to have been done by the Twa (Abatwa) hunter gatherer group. It has paintings illustrating wild animals, rain-making and initiation symbols.
In Bungoma County, it is the historical sites, the scenic hills and rivers dotted with interesting waterfalls that make it a superb destination.
Attractions in the County include; Mt Elgon National Park with its caves and waterfalls, Mt. Elgon Forest Reserve, Chepkitale Forest, Malakisi Falls, Sang’alo, Musikoma and Kabuchai scenic Hills, caves at Kitum, Machingeny, Ngwarishwa, Chepnyali and Kiptoro.
Mt. Elgon National Park
Chetambe’s Fort Ruins
This was the site of the 1895 massacre, in which almost 500 people were killed by the British troops. Chetambe Ifile, a Tachoni warrior, built the fort on the hill from where he mobilised his troops to resist the colonial rule, The fort is built behind a protective 12-foot defensive ditch. Mr. Nelson Kakai, a great-grandson of Ifile has preserved the fort, built behind a protective 12 foot defensive ditch.
One kilometer from Chetambe’s falls, you will find Nabuyole Falls on the River Nzoia. Tourists troop here to watch the water cascade from a height of seven-metres to the rocks below. The waterfall starts as River Nzoia then breaks up into seven smaller rivers with fast flowing water. All the seven river branches join again downstream to form Nabuyole waterfall. Folklore has it that the waterfall has a powerful force that will pull you down towards the basin if you go near the it.
The Kitum cave is found on Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano and the cave itself developed as the result of cooling volcanic rock. The cave which extends some 600 feet into the mountain has walls covered in salt.
Each night, buffaloes, antelope, leopards, hyenas, and elephants tumble blindly through the cave in the dead of night to use it as a giant salt lick.
As the elephants make their way through the salty walls of the cave, they scrape and pull off chunks of the walls to crush and lick up the salt using their massive tusks. Over the centuries this has resulted in a noticeable increase in the size of the cave and walls covered in tusk marks. The trip to the cave is not without dangers and there is a deep crevasse into which many younger, more inexperienced elephants have fallen leaving behind an elephant graveyard.
Most people will tell you that the Sang’alo twin peaks are like the gap in a person’s front teeth, with one peak appearing to clutch a huge rock that looks as if it is about to fall.
Situated at the Chelemuk hills, it has prehistoric rock art dating more than 4,000 years. The ancient rock art depicts wild animals, rainmaking and initiation symbols and the site is currently managed by Trust for African Rock Art and the National Museums of Kenya.
Rev Elijah Masinde, he of the famed Dini ya Msambwa church.
In his hometown Maeni, is a mausoleum in his remembrance. Masinde’s sect was opposed to white rule. For three years hid from British soldiers in a secret bunker that is now a popular crowd puller.
Buteyo Miti Park – An environmental gem which is an indigenous forest undertaking, which has attracted international recognition, and interest from environmentalists.
The southern part of Bomet lies along the route to the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve and traditional ornaments sold along the roads form part of the economy of this growing part of Kenya.
The upper Part of Bomet County lies within the expansive Mau forest which is home to different tree species, wildlife and birds. Caves and waterfalls in the expansive forest form major rivers; Itare, Nyongores, Amalo and Chepkulo rivers which flow along areas of Konoin, Bomet central, Bomet East and Chepalungu Sub-Counties.
Transmara forest, a section of Mau forest complex which lies within Bomet County is home to rare animal species like Bongo, Giant forest hogs, Cooper tailed monkeys, Black and White Colubus monkeys, Elephants, Leopards, Buffalos and abundant birdlife. It is the only National reserve in the county.
The most prominent tourist attraction sites in Baringo Countyare the two famous lakes – Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo and the Lake Bogoria National Reserve. It also has Kerubo swamp teeming with bird life on the entrance to the park and several conservancies.
Water sports such as boat and canoe tours have been introduced in Lake Baringo and natural hot spring baths at Lake Bogoria.
Lake Bogoria National Reserve
Lake Bogoria National Reserve covers Lake Bogoria and the land immediately surrounding the lake comprising 107 km². It is administered by the Kenya Wildlife Service. The park was opened in November 1970.
It has abundant birdlife with 135 species of bird having been recorded. They include little grebe, pratincole, swift, little bee-eater, cape wigeon, yellow-billed stork, African spoonbill, augur buzzard, gabar goshawk, water dikkop, great tit, starling, hornbill and crombec.
The reserve is a conservation area for the shy Greater Kudu. Other large mammals include buffalo, zebra, cheetah, baboon, warthog, caracal, spotted hyena, impala and dik dik.
Facilities for tourists include the park lodge, three public campsites and one privately operated campsite. Visitors may also bathe in the hot springs, which form a natural spa.
Lake Bogoria, a Ramsar site, is one of the rift valley lakes in Kenya lying a little north of the equator. It is located about 90Kms north of Nakuru in Bogoria National Reserve. It is shallow (about 10 m depth), and is about 34km long by 3.5km wide, with a drainage basin of 700 km².
Local features include the Kesubo Swamp to the north and the Siracho Escarpment to the east, both within the National Reserve.
Being saline and alkaline it hosts one of the world’s largest populations of Lesser Flamingos numbering 4 million at times. The flamingoes migrated to Lake Bogoria in the 1990s during an El Nino event which lead to the virtual drying up of their former habitat at Lake Nakuru. The flamingoes feed on the tiny shrimp, of which the lake’s conditions create a perfect habitat for them to thrive.
The lake is famous for geysers and hot springs which are located along the western shore and erupt at intervals of approximately three minutes sending boiling water and steam up to 5m high. The ground around the lake is whitish-gray from the residue left after the water evaporates. The local people believe that the water has healing powers and that inhaling the vapors cleanses the internal organs and leaves the outer skin smoother/healthier
Hotel accommodation is available near Loboi village at the north end of the lake and camping is permitted at the southern end of the lake
At Lake Bogoria camp, they have created a hot spring bath that guests can soak in and enjoy the healing powers of the natural mineral waters.
It covers an area of 9,169.4Km2 according to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census.
Its capital is Kapenguria town.
According to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census the population was 512,690 with a population density of 56 people per Km2 and an annual growth rate of 3.1%. Age Distribution was; 0-14 years 52.2% with the economically productive age of 15-64 years standing at 45.1% and over 65 years at 2.7%.
Rainfall varies from 400mm in the lowlands to 1,500mm in the highlands per annum. Temperature ranges from a minimum of 10°C to a maximum of 30°C annually.
The total length of all classified roads in the county is 1197Km with bitumen surface covering 151Km, gravel surface covering 349Km and 697Km being surface.
Education and Literacy:
As at 2007, the County had 318 Primary schools with an enrolment of 105,452 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:50 and 34 Secondary schools with an enrolment of 9,897 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1: 36.
There are 2 Commercial Banks and 3 Micro-Finance institutions.
West Pokot County has 31 health facilities with 1 District Hospital, 27 Dispensaries and 3 Health Centres.
The most prevalent diseases in the county are malaria, respiratory tract infections and skin infections.
Notable Hospitals: Kapenguria District Hospital.
These include the Nasolot Game Reserve which was gazetted in 1979 and consists of 9,200 hectares of beautifully rugged land. It is located to the north of Mount Melo which stands at over 3,000M and offers spectacular views of the plains below, Nasolot hill – a rocky outcrop at the periphery of the reserve and wildlife which include elephant, lesser kudu, bushbuck, duiker, lion, leopard, Kirks dik-dik, spotted hyena, jackal, impala, Sykes monkey, beisa and fringe-eared oryx, waterbuck, olive baboon, buffalo, gazelle and hippo.
The other attraction is Kapenguria Prison Museum which is played a major role in Kenya’s political history and freedom struggle. Six leading nationalists including Mzee Jomo Kenyatta – Kenya’s first president, Kungu Karumba, Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei, Bildad Kaggia and Achieng Oneko were arrested in 1952, tried in 1952-3 and imprisoned thereafter. The trial and imprisonment happened at Kapenguria. All of them have since passed on.
Agriculture is the major economic activity and backbone of West Pokot County. Major agricultural food crops grown are maize, potatoes and onions while cash crops are pyrethrum, coffee and tea.
Another practice is nomadic pastoralism with beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, camels and chicken being reared.
Others are mining and commercial businesses.
With the adoption of the new constitution in 2010 which ushered in the devolved system of governance, the Governor is the Executive authority in the County together with his deputy, the Senator is to represent the County at the Senate and through affirmation of women and youth rights, the Woman Representative is to represent the County’s women and youth issues at the National Assembly.
GOVERNOR : JOHN KROP LONYANG’APUO
DEPUTY GOVERNOR : NICHOLAS OWON KPAR ATUDONYANG
SENATOR : SAMUEL LOSURON POGHISIO
WOMEN REPRESENTATIVE : LILIAN CHEPTOO TOMITOM
West Pokot County has four (4) constituencies divided into 20 electoral wards. Kapenguria and Kacheliba Constituencies have 6 wards each while Sigor and Pokot South Constituencies have 4 wards each.
It covers an area of 56,685.8Km2 according to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census.
Its capital is Wajir Town.
According to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census the population was 661,941 with a population density of 12 people per Km2 and an annual growth rate of 3.7%. Age Distribution was; 0-14 years 51.8% with the economically productive age of 15-64 years standing at 45.9% with those aged above 65 years accounting for 2.2% of the total population.
Wajir has a mean annual temperature of 28°C with rainfall amounts ranging between 250mm and 700mm per annum in different parts of the county.
The total length of all classified roads in the county is 1,881.2Km with gravel surface covering 63Km and the rest being earth roads measuring 1,818.2Km.
Education and Literacy:
As at 2007, the County had 125 Primary schools with an enrolment of 28,481 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:58 and 17 Secondary schools with an enrolment of 2,908 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:21.
There are 2 Commercial Banks and 2 Micro-Finance Institutions in the County.
Wajir County has 88 health facilities with 4 District Hospitals, 2 Sub-District Hospitals, 42 Dispensaries, 17 Health Centres, 21 Medical Clinics and 2 nursing homes.
Prevalent Diseases: Malaria, urinary tract infections, diarrhoea and malnutrition. Notable Hospitals: Bute, Griftu, Habaswein, and Wajir Districts Hospitals.
There are several tourist attractions which include; Wajir Museum, Wagalla Massacre Site, Orpahey Wells, British & Italian War Bunkers, Old Court House and Yahut Dame.
The main economic activity is pastrolism with some agro-pastrolism and rain-fed agriculture being practised on a small scale basis in the northern higher altitude regions of the county. The large tracts of land in the county provide the grazing pastures for the large camel and cattle herds present in the county with a high dependence on groundwater. Harvesting undertaken from numerous wells, earth pans, dams and boreholes is made possible due to the high water table.
Other economic activities include trading and commercial businesses.
The county has solar and wind energy potential as well as mineral resources such as limestone and sand.
With the adoption of the new constitution in 2010 which ushered in the devolved system of governance, the Governor is the Executive authority in the County together with his deputy, the Senator is to represent the County at the Senate and through affirmation of women and youth rights, the Woman Representative is to represent the County’s women and youth issues at the National Assembly.
GOVERNOR : MOHAMAD ABDI MAHAMUD
DEPUTY GOVERNOR : AHMED ALI MUKTAR
SENATOR : ABDULLAHI IBRAHIM ALI
WOMEN REPRESENTATIVE : FATUMA GEDI ALI
Wajir County has six (6) constituencies which are further divided into 30 electoral wards with Wajir North and Wajir South having 7 wards each, while the rest; Wajir West, Wajir East, Tarbaj and Eldas have 4 wards each.