Overview of Trans Nzoia County
Trans Nzoia County lies on the western side of Mount Elgon in the former Rift Valley province, some 380 km north west of Nairobi.
The county borders Bungoma to the west, Uasin Gishu and Kakamega to the south, Elgeyo Marakwet to the east, West Pokot to the north and the republic of Uganda to North West. Trans Nzoia covers an area of 2495.5 square kilometres.
Trans Nzoia County Government
The Trans Nzoia county is divided in five electoral regions: Cherangany, Saboti, Kwanza, Kiminini and Endebess constituencies. The top county leaders are Patrick Khaemba Simiyu (Governor), Charity Chepkonga (County Commissioner), Henry Ndiema (Senator) and Janet Nangabo (women representative).
Other top leaders in the National Assembly are Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini-MP), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza-MP), Robert Pukose (Endebess-MP), David Wafula (Saboti-MP) and Wesley Kipchum Korir (Cherangany-MP).
Trans Nzoia County is home to about 818757 people, 50% being male and 50% female as per 2009 census. The county has cosmopolitan setting, with Luhya, Kalenjin, Sabaot (Elgon Maasai) and Kikuyu being the main resident communities.
Most of the communities living in Trans Nzoia today are a mixture of large scale and small scale farmers, with maize farming being the dominating industry. They also practice dairy and horticultural farming. Other communities work or engage in business and trade in various urban centers.
Religion and Traditional Culture
Majority of people living in Trans Nzoia County are Christians. Prominent churches in the county include Anglican (A.C.K.), Roman Catholic and Presbyterians. There are numerous evangelical churches among them the Deliverance, A.G.C, P.E.F.A, Full Gospel and Assemblies of God. Other faiths such as Islam and Hinduism are also professed especially in major towns.
The indigenous Sabaot tribe or the 'Elgon Maasai' live near Mount Elgon and have a lot of similarities with Kalenjins. They value their culture and guard it with pride. They are traditionally pastoralists. They used to believe that their god lived in elevated places where they couldn’t reach such as on top of Mount Elgon or up in the sky. However due to influence of Christianity, education and intermarriage, most of these traditions have been replaced by modern culture, a reason why the one time pastoralists are now big farmers in the region.
Located between Mt. Elgon and Cherangany Hills, Kitale is the largest town and Trans Nzoia’s administrative capital. Mainly an agricultural town, Kitale has recently shown a lot of economic potential, with agribusiness, real estate and commercial businesses booming the most. The town is home to over 220,000 people and as the last stop of the Kenya railway line, it’s an important center for movement of goods in the North Rift.
Kiminini is a small yet a busy town located some 22 kilometers along Kitale Webuye road. It's a significant agricultural center. St. Brigids Girls high school is located at Kiminini.
Maili Saba means '7 miles' in Swahili and it’s the town that welcomes you to Kitale when coming from Eldoret.
Situated close to Mt. Elgon, some 17 kilometers North Western side of Kitale town, Endebess is an important agricultural town, which also serves as a local administrative and commercial center for Kwanza division.
Climate and Weather
Situated in the slopes of the mountain, Trans Nzoia has a cool and temperate climate with average annual temperatures ranging between a minimum of 10°C to a maximum of 27°C. The county receives annual precipitation ranging between 1000 and 1200mm, with the wettest months being experienced between April and October.
Trans Nzoia County’s arable land makes agriculture the top economic activity, where maize farming is widely practised, and mostly at a commercial level. Tea, coffee, horticulture and commercial businesses are also very significant to the county’s economy. There's dairy farming and tourism - owing to an array of touring sites within the county. A number of companies such as Kenya seed company, Western Seed Company, K.C.C and various government institutions provide employment to many people living in the urban centers.
There are about 78 health institutions in Trans Nzoia County - 2 District Hospitals, 2 Sub-District Hospitals and 33 Dispensaries. The county has 7 health centers, 28 medical clinics and about 6 nursing homes. Among the notable health facilities include Kitale District Hospital and Kapsara District Hospital.
Currently, there are over 470 primary schools and 120 secondary schools in Trans Nzoia. Some of the prominent secondary schools include St. Brigids Girls, St. Monica, St. Joseph’s Boys, St. Joseph’s Girls, Kitale School and Boma Secondary schools. Trans Nzoia has over 20 tertiary institutions, including a university campus, a nursing training college, a teachers’ training college, farmers training institute, youth polytechnic and a number of commercial colleges.
Some of the prominent personalities who hail from Trans Nzoia include the former renowned Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa, the first vice president to die in office in 2003. Others include Milcah Chemos who’s a reigning commonwealth games’ champion and Wesley Korir, a long distance runner who also dabbles as an elected Member of Parliament.
Places of Interest
Most outstanding places of interest include Mount Elgon National Park, Saiwa Swamp National Park and Kitale Nature Conservancy. Mt. Elgon National Park is located approximately 11 kilometers from Kitale town. Some of the wild animals found here include elephants, buffalos, black and white colobus, giant forest hog and over 420 bird species.
Saiwa Swamp National Park is located some 27 kilometers from Kitale town towards Kitale - Kapenguria road and is good for game viewing and camping. Kitale Museum, located in the heart of Kitale town is one of the most interesting places in the county. Apart from hosting varieties of traditional artifacts, the Museum is also home to different snakes’ species as well as having one of the largest crocodile pits in Kenya.
Traveling to Trans Nzoia County
From Nairobi, Trans Nzoia is accessible by road via Nakuru-Eldoret, a 380 km journey that normally takes 5-6 hours. Trans Nzoia can also be accessed by air through Kitale’s small airport located about 7 kilometers from Kitale town.
Places where you can stay include Alakara Hotel, Vision Gate Hotel and Mid Africa Hotel all located in Kitale town. Others are Lokitela Farm Hotel near Mt. Elgon National Park, Elgon View Resort and Swara Resort club located off Kwanza - Kapenguria road.
Among the banks found in the county include Barclays Bank, Diamond Trust Bank, Cooperative Bank, Standard Chattered Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank (K.C.B), National Bank of Kenya and Equity Bank. There are several microfinance institutions in the county including Faulu and SMEP (Small and Micro-Enterprise Programme).
There are many supermarkets, mini supermarkets and shops in towns around the county. Some of the most established stores include Khetia supermarkets, Suam Supermarket, Trans Mattresses supermarket, R.B Shah Supermarket and Soy Trading supermarkets, most of which have big stores in Kitale - the county’s largest town.
TOP of the Trans Nzoia County