Overview of Kiambu County
Kiambu County is located in the Central highlands of Kenya in the former Central Province, close to Kenya's capital, Nairobi.
Covering an area of 2,543.42 square kilometers, it is also considered one of the wealthiest counties in Kenya.
It is a leading innovative commercial hub that shares its borders with five other counties; Nakuru and Kajiado to the West, Murang'a and Nyandarua to the North and Nairobi to the South.
There are several theories that explain the origin of the name kiambu; one theory suggests that it was derived from a prominent Kikuyu clan known as mbari ya mbuu who used to live next to the current day Kiambu town. Another theory suggests the area used to experience constant showers hence the kikuyu phrase ‘kia mbuu'’ meaning the “place of drizzles.”
Kiambu County Government
Kiambu County constitutes twelve constituencies; Gatundu South, Gatundu North, Juja, Thika Town, Ruiru, Githunguri, Kiambu, Kiambaa, Kabete, Kikuyu, Limuru and Lari.
The county's top leaders are William Kabogo (Governor), Wilson Njega (County Commissioner), Paul Wamatangi (Senator) and Anna Nyokabi (Women Representative).
Other top leaders in Kiambu County include Joseph Nyumu (MP-Gatundu South), Kigo Njenga (MP-Gatundu North), Francis Waititu (MP-Juja), Alice Nganga (MP-Thika Town), Ester Gathoga (MP-Ruiru), Njoroge Baiya (MP-Githunguri), Jude Njomo (MP-Kiambu), Paul Karuga (MP-Kiambaa), George Muchai (MP-Kabete), Anthony Ichungwa (MP-Kikuyu), John Chege (MP-Limuru), Joseph Kahagara (MP-Lari).
Who lives in Kiambu County?
The population tally in the county according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report of 2009 is 1,623,282. Majority of the people living in Kiambu County are Kikuyus - the most populous tribe in Kenya. The county has one of the wealthiest people, among them other ethnicities who primarily work in the civil service, carry out business, are farmers or in informal employment. There is a considerable percentage of Asians and Caucasian population who are in business or working for various foreign missions.
Most Kikuyus living here are predominantly farmers growing tea and coffee as cash crops alongside food crops such as maize, beans, assorted vegetables and sweet potatoes. Other communities living in the county include Luo, Luhya, Maasai, Kamba, Meru, Kalenjin and other ethnic groups from all over Kenya.
Religion and Traditional Culture
Majority of people living in Kiambu county are Christians. Notable among Christian faith are Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostals and Baptists. A small number of residents subscribe to different faiths including Islam and Hinduism.
The Kikuyu people speak Gikuyu; a language widely spoken across the country even in towns where a majority of people speak Kiswahili. English language is primarily used for daily interaction in the education, business and social sector.
The Agikuyu people living in Kiambu originally believed in their ancestral god;ngai, who was thought to live on top of mount Kenya. The locals are believed to have fought and intermarried with the Maasai people from neighbouring Kajiado. In modern day, most Kikuyus have abandoned their traditional beliefs for Christianity.
Kiambu town is the commercial and administrative capital of Kiambu County. Due to its proximity to the city of Nairobi (16 kilometres), the town hosts key government offices for the main ministries. It's almost considered a suburb of Nairobi with most middle class renting houses here while they make daily commutes to Nairobi for work. The town is witnessing rapid growth with major road infrastucture and complex real estate developments taking place around and neighboring environs.
Located along the Thika superhighway between Kenyatta University and Juja, Ruiru town is one of the fastest growing towns in the county. It is a busy commercial hub hosting several industries including Devki Steel Mills, Brookside Dairy and Spinners Garment Factory amongst others. It is well connected by road and rail to neighbouring towns.
Lying about 40 kilometres from Nairobi, Thika town is popular for the pineapple plantations and the heavy industrial activity. Several industries including the Broadways Bakery, Bidco Oil Refineries, CMC motor vehicle assembly line and Thika Coffee Mills are based here. The town has witnessed rapid growth due to the explosive real estate boom in the county.
Kikuyu town lies 20 kilometres northwest of Nairobi. It is mostly a business cum administrative hub with locals indulging in retail and wholesale businesses. Transport to Kikuyu is mostly by road and rail. The town is home to one of the most sought after Eye Referral Hospital and a number of university campuses and top learning institutions are based here, among them Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Thogoto Teachers' College and the famous Alliance high schools for boys and girls.
Climate and Weather
The county enjoys a warm climate with temperatures ranging between 12°C and 18.7°C. The rainfall aggregate for the county is 1000mm each year. The cool climate makes it a conducive for farming. June and July rank as the coldest months while January-March and September-October are the hottest months.
Kiambu County relies mostly on agriculture and industries to sustain its economy. Although majority of residents are small scale farmers growing tea and coffee, there are several large-scale coffee and tea farms which are serviced by local industries. Local tea factories include Kambaa Tea Factory in Githunguri, Gachege Tea Factory; Kiambu, Ngorongo Tea Factory, Kagwe Tea Factory in Lari and Mundoro Tea Factory in Gatundu.
Coffee growing and marketing is run under the management of farmer’s cooperative unions. Some of the cooperative and growers organizations include Dagoreti & Karai Coffee Growers Co-operative Society, Gititu Farmers Co-operative Society, Komothai Coffee Growers Co-operative Society, Kiambaa Farmers Co-operative Society, Kabete & Muguga Coffee Growers Co-operative Society and Ndumberi Farmers Co-operative Society Ltd.
Kiambu County has a significant presence of various industries which specialize in agricultural based product, natural resources and service provision. Some of the leading industries include, Bogani Industries, Spinners & Spinners Ltd, Del Monte, Brookside, Fresha and Kinale dairies. Other industries are Devki Steel Mills, Carbacid industries, Bata Shoe industry and Uplands Bacon Industry in Limuru. The larger population of people are in retail businesses where they manage hotels and restaurants, new and second hand clothes, foodstuffs, hardware shops and household goods.
The expansion of the Thika Superhighway has opened up the county and led to an explosiion of the real estate market with several big projects under development, such as Tatu City, Thika Greens and Buffalo Hills complexes. Other modern housing developments include Bahati Ridges, Fourways Junction and Juja South schemes.
With over 300 health facilities, the county has a reliable health service network comprising District Hospitals, Sub-District Hospitals, Dispensaries, Health Centres, Medical Clinics and Nursing Homes. Some of the leading government hospitals include Kiambu District Hospital, Kijabe Hospital, PCEA Kikuyu Hospital, Ruiru Sub District Hospital, Thika District Hospital and Immaculate Heart of Mary Hospital. Private hospitals in Kiambu County include Thika Nursing Home, The Aga Khan Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Thika, Plainsview Nursing Home; Ruiru, Beta Care Hospital Limited; Githunguri and Naidu Hospital in Thika among others.
As of 2013, there are are 1,133 primary and 313 secondary schools. These run on both the day and boarding system for boys and girls.
Some of the top high schools in Kiambu include St. Ann’s Girls Lioki, Alliance High School, Mangu High School and Loreto Girls High School, Limuru among others. The county has several renowned colleges and universities which include Mount Kenya University; Thika, Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology; Juja, Gretsa University; Thika, St Paul’s and Presbyterian University; Limuru and Kiriri Women’s University Of Science and Technology.
Other top colleges and technical institutes are Kiambu Institute Of Technology, Thika Institute of Technology, Kabete Technical Institute, Thika College of Banking and Accounting, Kenya Baptist Theological College, Amboseli Training Institute, Jodan College of Technology in Thika and the Limuru Youth Agricultural Centre.
Kiambu County has perhaps the highest population of prominent people among them Kenya's first President and founding father Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's current President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Attorney General Charles Njonjo, business tycoon Munga Githunguri, Kenya literary scholar Ngugi Wa Thiongo and seasoned lawyer Paul Muite among hundreds of others.
Attractions and Places of Interest
Kiambu County offers numerous attractions. These include the Mau Mau caves in Kereita Forest in Lari. These caves were used by the Mau Mau fighters to hide from colonial soldiers. Paradise Lost along Kiambu road is a breathtaking picnic forest with rich fauna and flora. You will experience a grand sight of the epic 14 Falls as 14 different waterfalls on River Tana converge in one large pool.
The Limuru Viewpoint on the Nakuru-Nairobi highway offers a fantastic view of the Great Rift Valley and antique curio shops. For the golf enthusiast, you will find some legendary golf courses in this county which include Sigona, Ndumberi, Windsor and Kiambu golf clubs.
Travelling to Kiambu County
The county relies on road transport for goods and passengers. It takes about 20 minutes of travel from Nairobi to Kiambu town, 30 minutes from Nairobi to Ruiru and approximately 45 minutes to Thika. You can get to Kikuyu from Nairobi in 35 minutes while Nairobi to Githunguri will take 50 minutes. Travellers can enjoy modern road service of the new Northern bypass which stretches from Ruiru to Ruaka.
There's an active railroad transport system from the Railways Bus Station in Nairobi to several towns. The public trains managed by Rift Valley Railways are mostly used for goods and passengers transport to Ruiru, Kikuyu, Thika and Dagoretti. There is no air transport to the county.
There is a wide array of hotels, resorts and golf clubs that offer budget to high-end accommodation in Kiambu County to locals and visitors. Some of the leading hotels include the Kentmere Club, Windsor Golf & Country Club, Fourteen Falls Lodge and Sportsview Hotel. Others are Blue Post hotel; Thika, Kiambu club and Hotel La Mada.
Kiambu county is a hotbed of businesses both small and large scale. As such, you are bound to find almost all mainstream banks represented, among them Family Bank, Standard Chartered, Equity, Cooperative, KCB, DTB, Barclays and National Bank of Kenya. Kiambu is well served by mobile money agents from Safaricom’s Mpesa and Airtel money.
Kiambu County is served by a network of wholesale, retail chain supermarkets and grocery stores. Visitors and tourists will find numerous shopping malls and leading chain of supermarkets in major towns of the county. Shopping malls include the village market, Nakumatt, Tuskys, Clean Shelf and Kamindi Supermarkets. Others are Kikuyu Mattresses and Amazing Grace Supermarket. There are wholesale outlets and major depots for basic commodities in major towns including Ruiru, Kikuyu, Thika, Karuri and Kabete among other towns.
TOP of the Kiambu County