Laikipia County number 031 is one of the 17 counties located the Rift Valley. It borders Samburu County to the North, Isiolo County to the North East, Meru County to the East, Nyeri County to the South East, Nyandarua County and Nakuru County to the South West and Baringo County to the West.
It lies between latitudes 0o 18” and 0o 51” North and between longitude 360 11” and 370 24’ East.
It covers an area of 9,462km2 and is ranked as the15th largest county in the country by land size.
The County experiences a relief type of rainfall due to its altitude and location. The annual average rainfall varies between 400mm and 750mm though higher annual rainfall totals are observed on the areas bordering the slopes of Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare Ranges. The annual mean temperature ranges between 160C and 260C.
It comprises of three administrative sub-counties namely Laikipia East, Laikipia North, and Laikipia West (the sub county units are geographically equivalent to the constituencies). The sub county headquarters are at Nanyuki, Doldol, Rumuruti and Nyahururu respectively. The county is further sub-divided into 15 divisions, 51 locations and 96 sub-locations.
Laikipia County has two major urban centres: Nanyuki to the southeast and Nyahururu to the southwest. Other trading centres are Rumuruti which is also the capital and is earmarked for transformation into an urban metropolis, Kinamba, Wiyumiririe, Lamuria, Dol dol, Sipili, Marmanet and Olmoran.
According to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census, the population for the county stood at 399,227 people of which 198,625 were males and 200,602 were females. This population is projected to be 479,072 in 2017. The average population density in 2009 stood at 42 persons per km2. This is projected to increase to 51 persons per km2 by the year 2017. Age distribution is as follows; 0-14 years 42.1%, 15-64 years 53.8% and 65+ years 4.0%.
The total classified road network is 1,038.1Km of which over 80 percent are feeder roads. The bitumen surface in the county stands at 139.3Kms, covering mainly the Nyeri-Nanyuki, Nyeri-Nyahururu, and Nyahururu-Kinamba-Rumuruti roads. The gravel surface stands at 296.9Km and the earth surface at 601.9Km.
The railway network in the county covers 23Kms serving Nanyuki Town and a small stretch of about 2Kms in Nyahururu Town.
There are 5 airstrips across the county majority of which are managed by the private ranching community.
Education and Literacy:
In 2012, the county had 518 ECD centers with a total enrolment of 23,160 pupils. The number of ECD teachers is 881 with a teacher pupil ratio of 1:26. The gross enrolment rate stands at 59 per cent with a completion rate of 95 per cent.
There were 340 primary schools with a total enrolment of 89,018 pupils and a teacher pupil ratio of 1:38. The net enrolment rate is 69% and the completion rate 92%. 90% of the population is located between 0 and 4.9 kilometres from the nearest primary school with only 10 per cent located over five Kilometres.
There were 96 secondary schools with a total enrolment of 22,939 students and a teacher student ratio of 1:27. The gross enrolment rate, retention rate and the completion rate stand at 62%, 80% and 79% respectively. 60% of the population is located between 1.1 and 4.9 kilometers while 35% is located over five kilometers from the nearest secondary school.
As at 2012, Tertiary institutions in the county were 13. The flagship is Laikipia University College and 3 University campuses namely; Laikipia University College Town Campus in Nyahururu, Kenya Methodist University in Nanyuki and Karatina University Campus in Nanyuki. The middle level colleges include Kenya Institute of Management, St Anne Catholic College, Nanyuki Institute of Communication Accountancy and Technology (NICAT) and Nanyuki Commercial College. There were also 5 operational youth polytechnics in the county namely Nanyuki, Wiyumiririe, Nyahururu, Marmanet and Salama).
Laikipia is served by 10 banks, 10 microfinance institutions and 6 insurance companies operating from Nanyuki and Nyahururu townships. These include Equity, KCB, Standard Chartered, K-Rep, Fina, Bank of Africa and Barclays, CFC, Family Bank and Co-operative Bank. There are also two village banks. Equity, KCB and Co-operative banks have also established agency banking within the major urban centres. The major mobile phone companies Safaricom, Airtel and Orange are offering mobile banking services right up to the village market centres within the county.
The health infrastructure consists of four sub county hospitals at Dol dol, Rumuruti, Nanyuki and Nyahururu. The county has eight public health centres and 34 public dispensaries. In addition, there are three private hospitals, one nursing home; one private health centre, six private dispensaries and 33 private clinics.
The average distance to health facilities is six Km. The doctor-population ratio stands at 1:12,500 while the nurse-population ratio is 1:1,000.
The most prevalent diseases in the county are pneumonia, upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), typhoid, HIV/AIDS and diarrhoea. The HIV prevalence rate stands at 6.1 per cent.
The major tourist attractions are the wildlife, the unique Maasai cultural practices and the 70m scenic Thomson Falls in Nyahururu. The proximity to Mt. Kenya, Meru, Aberdares and Samburu game parks have greatly boosted tourism within the county through provision of hospitality services to the tourists.
Others are Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Samburu National Reserve, Buffalo Hills National Reserve, and Shaba National Reserve.
The major economic is pastoralism, mixed farming, horticulture, ranching, agro pastoral, marginal mixed farming sand harvesting along river beds, tourism and trade.
The county is endowed with arable lands of 1,984Km2 where small scale farming and horticulture is practised. The main crops grown include wheat, maize, beans, potatoes and vegetables. Horticulture production both at large-scale and small-scale levels constitutes production of cut flowers, tomatoes, french beans, aloe, chillies and water melons. There are also pockets of pineapple farms, orange trees and coffee bushes.
Non arable land constitutes 7,456km2 which is mainly used for pastoralism and ranching with the major players being group ranches of Laikipia North, Mukogodo forest, Ol Pejeta and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and small scale holdings in Laikipia West which constitute the powerful ranching organization called the Laikipia Wildlife Forum. This underpins the importance wildlife plays in Laikipia County as it has the greatest number of wildlife outside of the gazetted protected areas in the country with majority of it found in these private ranches. The most abundant species are the elephants. Other predominant species include Burchelles zebras, Thomson Gazelles, Impalas, Buffaloes, Lions, Elands and Grevy Zebras.
Mining in the county consists of red sand harvesting along river beds in Laikipia North.
Gazetted forest land stands at 580km2 and comprises of both indigenous and plantation forests. The indigenous forests include Mukogodo and Rumuruti which are under threat from encroachment. The plantation forests include Marmanet and Shamaneik. The main forest products are timber, poles, wood fuel and pastures. Forests have also contributed significantly in provision of natural herbs, setting of bee hives, research ground on flora and wildlife habitat especially for birds and elephants.
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 : NDIRITU MURIITHI
DEPUTY GOVERNOR : JOHN MATHENGE MWANIKI
SENATOR : JOHN KINYUA NDERITU
WOMEN REPRESENTATIVE : CATHERINE WANJIKU WARUGURU
Laikipia County has three (3) constituencies divided into 15 electoral wards with Laikipia West having 6, Laikipia East 5 and Laikipia North 4 wards.