Nyeri County number 019 is located in the central highlands of the country and is situated between longitudes 36038’ East and 37020’ East and between the equator and latitude 00 380 south. It borders Laikipia County to the north, Kirinyaga County to the east, Murang‘a County to the south, Nyandarua County to the west and Meru County to the Northeast.
It lies 150Km North of Nairobi, straddling two mountain massifs -the western slopes of Mount Kenya and the eastern base of the Aberdare (Nyandarua) Range which forms part of the Eastern end of the Great Rift Valley.
Its capital is Nyeri town, a colonial town which was the centre of the Happy Valley settlers, a group of British aristocrats and adventurers who became famous for their infamous decadent lifestyles and exploits in the first half of the 20th century.
According to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census, Nyeri County had a population of 693,558 with 208 people per Km2 and an annual growth rate of 0.8%. The age distribution is 0-14 years 33.8%, 15-64 years 59.7% and 65+ years 6.5%.
The County is home to Mt. Kenya National Park which is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The 5,199M mountain is the highest in Kenya and the second-highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro. It is 25Km from Nyeri town and 175Km from Nairobi. The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian at 5,199m, Nelion at 5,188m and Point Lenana at 4,985m.
Best months to climb are January, February, August and September for the stunning views of the landscape.
Another tourist attraction is the Aberdare Ranges National Park which was established in May 1950 and covers an area of 766Km covering the Aberdare Mountain Ranges between 7,000ft (2,100m) to 14,000ft (4,300m) above sea level. The park has stunning landscapes – from the mountain peaks to deep valleys with streams, rivers, and waterfalls. The mountains have moorland, bamboo and rainforests.
The two highest peaks are OI Donyo Lesatima (13,120 ft) and Kinangop at 12,816 ft and is situated 100Km North of Nairobi. The Aberdare Range was named by J. J. Thomson in 1884 in honour of Lord Aberdare, who at that time was President of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Historical Society.
The Rhino Charge is an annual fundraiser to cater for fencing the Aberdare National Park as a means of protecting East Africa’s largest indigenous forest from destruction.
Others are Karuru Falls which are Kenya’s tallest waterfalls, Gura Falls, the Queen’s cave pavilion wherein 1959 Queen Elizabeth ll and her husband Prince Philip had a picnic, freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi’s hideout, the famous Kimathi post office in the fig (mugumo) tree and the Mau Mau freedom fighters caves.
Animals to look out for are Black rhino, Colobus monkey, the elusive forest antelopes like the bongo and over 250 species of rare birds.
The County experiences equatorial rainfall due to its location within the highland equatorial zone of Kenya. It receives rainfall amounts of between 550mm and 1,500mm per annum with the long rains occur from March to May while the short rains occur between October and December. Temperatures range from a mean annual minimum of 12°C to a mean maximum of 27°C.
The County has 3,092.73Kms of classified roads with 738.8Kms of bitumen, 1390.59Kms gravel and 963.34Kms earth surface. The earth surface roads are impassable during the rainy season. The county has three airstrips and three railway stations.
Education and Literacy
As at 2007, the County had 584 Primary schools with an enrolment of 145,906 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:35 and 194 Secondary schools with an enrolment of 47,524 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1: 25.
Tertiary institutions in the county are over 25 including Kimathi University College, Kenya Methodist University Nyeri Campus, Kenyatta University Nyeri Campus, Moi University campus in Kagochi and Moi University campus in Karatina town, 2 Medical Training Colleges, 2 Teacher Training Colleges, Several Youth Polytechnics and more than 18 Commercial Colleges.
There are 10 Commercial Banks and 3 Micro-Finance Institutions in the County.
There are a total of 333 health facilities spread across the county. The County has one level-5 hospital, three level-4, 18 level-3 and 75 level-2 health facilities. It also has one nursing home, one hospice, three mission, three private hospitals and 228 private clinics spread across the county.
Prevalent Diseases: Malaria, Urinary Tract Infections and Skin Diseases.
Notable Hospitals: Nyeri Level Five Hospital and Karatina District Hospital.
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 the affirmation of women and youth rights, the Woman Representative is to represent the County’s women and youth issues at the National Assembly.
GOVERNOR: MUTAHI KAHIGA
SENATOR: ENG. EPHRAIN MWANGI MAINA
WOMEN REPRESENTATIVE: RAHAB MUKAMI WACHIRA
Nyeri County has six (6) constituencies which are further divided into 30 electoral wards. Kieni Constituency has the highest with 8 wards, followed by Mathira with 6, Nyeri Town with 5, Othaya and Mukurweini with 4 each while Tetu has three.
Main economic activity is agriculture with cash crops being tea and coffee. Other agricultural produce at subsistence level include maize, potatoes and cabbages among others.
The county also practices dairy farming. This is mainly done through zero grazing. Animals reared include cattle and sheep in addition to poultry.
Other economic activities include milk processing, maize milling and ballast mining.