Overview of Uasin Gishu County
Situated in the mid west of Kenya’s Rift Valley, some 330km North West of Nairobi, Uasin Gishu is a cosmopolitan county, covering an area of 3345.2 square kilometres.
Uasin Gishu County borders Kericho county to the south, Nandi to the south west, Bungoma to the west, and Trans Nzoia to the north.
Other counties sharing borders with Uasin Gishu are Elgeyo Marakwet to the east and Baringo to the South East.
The county is named after the Ilwuasinkishu Maasai clan who initially used the area for grazing.
Uasin Gishu County Government
Uasin Gishu County has three main regions namely Eldoret North, Eldoret South and Eldoret East, which are further subdivided into six constituencies - Soy, Turbo, Kapseret, Kesses Ainabkoi and Moiben.
The top county leaders include Jackson Mandago (Governor), Abdi Mohamed (County Commissioner), Isaack Kipkemboi Melly (Senator) and Eusilah Jepkosgei Ngeny (Women Representative).
Other leaders in Uasin Gishu County are Edwin Barchilei (MP-Soy), Elisha Busienei (MP-Turbo) Sila Tiren (MP-Moiben), Osac Sudi (MP-Kapseret) and James Bett (MP-Kesses)
People of Uasin Gishu
Uasin Gishu County is home to 894,179 people as per the 2009 National Statistics, representing 50% male and 50% female. It is largely a cosmopolitan region, with the Nandi people of indigenous Kalenjin communities having the highest settlement.
Apart from Kalenjin sub tribes, other communities with notable presence in the county especially in urban settlements include Luhya, Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba, Kisii among others. Although traditionally pastoralists, modern Kalenjin communities are mainly large scale wheat and maize farmers earning the county a name for being Kenya’s bread basket. Dairy farming is also done in large scale in most parts of the county. Various food and horticultural crops also do well in the highly arable land.
Kalenjin ethnic groups are renowned for exceptional performance in sporting activities, especially athletics. Uasin Gishu is referred to as a county of champions and long distance marathon super-stars owing to their prowess in international athletic sports performances. Other communities living in the county are entrepreneurs, mainly operating businesses in urban centers.
Most people living in Uasin Gishu today profess Christian faith, with A.I.C denomination having the most following especially within the Kalenjin communities. Roman Catholic and Anglicans (A.C.K) are other denominations with a substantial following. There’s also a substantial increase of evangelical churches both in the rural and urban areas. Other faiths such as Islam and Hinduism are mainly practiced in major towns albeit in a low scale.
Situated some 330 km northwest of Nairobi, Eldoret is the largest city and the administrative capital of Uasin Gishu County. With urban population estimated at 289,380, Eldoret is among the fastest growing cities in Kenya. The town got its name from a Maasai word 'Eldore' - which means a 'stony river', apparently in reference to the nearby Sosioni River. Set on a plateau south of Cherangani hills, it has a high altitude, making it a suitable center for athletics training.
Eldoret is an important education center and a crucial transport corridor linking Kenya to Uganda and South Sudan. Boosted by agribusiness and sports tourism, thanks to its renowned world runners, the city enjoys a robust economy and a vibrant day and night life. Night shoppers and revelers go around their business throughout the night as many nightclubs, stores and restaurants keep their doors open through dawn.
Located some 40 km north of Eldoret along Eldoret - Kitale road, Moi’s bridge is a small yet an important agricultural town. The town is abuzz with farmers processing and delivering their produce to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB). Moi’s bridge has urban population of about 15,000 and serves the neighboring Soy Township.
Sited some 35 kilometers to Eldoret, Burnt Forest is the first major town as you approach Eldoret from Nairobi. The town is believed to be founded on a section of burnt forest in early 40’s sticking with the name to date.
Turbo is a small agricultural town located about 31 km west of Eldoret town along Eldoret -Webuye road, having an urban population of less than 10,000. Turbo is the home area of the deputy president of Kenya - William Ruto.
Climate and Weather
Uasin Gishu County enjoys two rainy seasons with an annual rainfall ranging between 900 to 1200 mm. Sited on a plateau, the county has a cool and temperate climate, with annual temperatures ranging between 8.4 °C and 27 °C. The wettest season in Uasin Gishu County is experienced between the months of April and May while the driest season comes between January and February.
Uasin Gishu’s main economic activities are large scale wheat and maize farming, dairy farming, horticulture and sports tourism - the result of terrific performances of its world famous athletes. The county is also a manufacturing hub, with numerous industries and factories providing employment to thousands of its urban population.
Some industries to note include Raiply Wood factory, Rupa Textiles, Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Cooperative Creameries as well as corn, wheat and pyrethrum factories all within Eldoret town.
Eldoret International Airport located some 16 km south of Eldoret town along Eldoret - Kisumu road is an important economic hub for handling commercial cargo goods. Besides passenger flights, the airport handles three international cargo flights and several weekly ad hoc freighters.
There are many hospitals, dispensaries and health centers in all major towns within Uasin Gishu County. Among the well-known hospitals within Eldoret town include Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Uasin Gishu District Hospital, Eldoret Hospital, Eldoret Hospital, Mediheal Hospital and Elgon View Hospital among others. Uasin Gishu Langas hospital in Langas estate is the latest health facility to be built in the town.
Uasin Gishu County boasts of over 770 primary schools, 158 secondary schools and about 15 tertiary institutions.
Some top secondary schools in Uasin Gishu include Moi Girls secondary, Hill school Primary and Secondary School, SOS school, Uasin Gishu (UG) secondary and Kapsoya secondary all located within Eldoret town. Others are Moiben Boys’High School, Turbo Girls’ and Kamagut Secondary schools among others.
The county has several middle level colleges and universities. Among the high level institutions include Moi University, Eldoret Aviation College, Rift Valley Technical Training Institute and Eldoret Polytechnic.
Some of the notable personalities from Uasin Gishu include Kenyas’ deputy president William Samoei Ruto, former Olympic Champion Kipchoge Keino and world’s 800m champion Janet Jepkosgei. Other personalities from the county are renowned World Athletics champions Wilson Kipketer and Wilfred Bungei.
Places of Interest
One of the symbolic places of interest is the Naiberi River Camp Site located some 16 km north of Eldoret town.
Poa Place, a recreational park located about a kilometer away from Eldoret town is another appealing spot. Poa place has a nature park with variety of snakes and other small animals. Ngala falls located near Eldoret international Airport is a great picnic site.
Travelling to Uasin Gishu County
Uasin Gishu is accessible by road from Nairobi via Nakuru, a 330km journey that takes 4-5 hours. Air travel is currenty provided by Fly 540 and Kenya Airways, with non-stop daily flights from JKIA airport Nairobi to Eldoret town.
Where to Stay
There are many places to find accommodation in major towns of Uasin Gishu. Eldoret town has the best accommodation in the region. Popular hotels in Eldoret include The Klique Hotels, Sirikwa Hotel, Cicada Hotel, La Villa guest House and Wagon wheel. Moderately priced places to stay include White Castle Motel, Marriot Hotel, Kenmosa Resort and Pine Tree Gardens found within Eldoret municipality.
Central Bank of Kenya has a branch office in Eldoret. Other banks include Barclays, Standard Chattered, Cooperative, Kenya Commercial Bank (K.C.B), Imperial Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa, Equity, National Bank of Kenya, Family Bank and Fina bank among others.
Served by over 30 mega stores, mini stores and grocery shops, shopping in Eldoret town is exciting. Big name stores like Nakumatt, Uchumi, Tuskys, Naivas, Transmattresses, Eldomatt and Ukwala supermarkets are popular with visitors and residents. Most of these stores provide 24 hour shopping and have branches in the smaller towns.
TOP of the Uasin Gishu County