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Kericho is a Kenyan Town in Kericho County, located within the highlands west of the Kenyan Rift Valley. Kericho is home to Kenya's biggest water catchment area, the Mau Forest. With a high altitude and virtually daily rains, Kericho is the centre of Kenya's large tea industry, and its town square is even known as Chai Square (Chai is Hindi for Tea). Some of the largest tea companies including Unilever Kenya, James Finlay and Williamson are based here. It is also home to the popular Ketepa brand. Much of the tea is exported, with the UK being the largest market. The town has an urban population of 150,000 and a total population of over 500,000 (1999 census).
History and Culture
Kericho is home to the world's single largest tea plantation and is home to the first human Kenyaphiticus situated at Fortenan, believed to be the dispersal site for the Kale speaking Kalenjin sub tribes. Other sites include Bagao Caves, Reresik, Kipsigis Museum at Kapkatet and Chebulu.
Kericho is the home town of the Kipsigis people, who are a part of the Kalenjin people. The Kipsigis and the Kalenjin have developed many excellent professional athletes. They include Kipchoge Keino, one of many athletes that have brought great victory during World Athletic Competitions.
A favorite local meal is Maize meal(kimyet), enjoyed with vegetables and beef. An almost constant accompaniment is a glass of sour milk locally known as Mursik. Tea is also widely consumed in the district, taken three times a day; at dawn, at mid-morning and at four o'clock. Tea after the evening meal is also common.
The origin of the town's name has not been established. One theory is that it was home to the region's first public hospital, built by the British at the dawn of the 20th century. Medicine in the local Kipsigis language is referred to as Kerichek. Another theory is that the town was originally home of a medicine man named KipKerich.
Kericho has a comparatively good transport network. Road is the main mode of transport to and around the district. Three main highways lead to the town of Kericho; the Nakuru-Kericho, the Kisumu-Kericho and the Kericho-Kisii highways. An alternative route to Kericho would be Nakuru-Njoro-Molo-Kericho, a road that is in good condition. The Nakuru-Eldoret highway is being recarpeted, from the Total Junction all the way to Kisumu it is in an excellent state. The district has direct bus (matatu) links to the cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret and the towns of Kisii, Molo, Bomet, Litein, Sotik and Narok.A Chinise constructed highway that goes through Muhoroni-Fortenan-Londiani will shorten the journey for those going direct to Nakuru from Kisumu.
Rail transport is available from Kipkelion, Londiani and Fort-Ternan stations, the main agricultural hubs within the district.
Air transport is also available, through chartered light aircraft from Wilson Airport, Nairobi. The district's main airstrip is Kerenga Aerodrome, 5 km south-west of Kericho town. There's also a good landing place in James Finlay tea estates.
Communication and Media
Kericho has a good communication infrastructure. The town is home to one of the only 2 satellite earth stations, the only available international link for Kenya. It is also served by fibre-optic cable. The district is well covered by the fixed line operator Telkom Kenya and the 4 mobile operators Yu, Safaricom, Airtel and Orange, all offering voice and data services.
The district is served by all major local TV stations. the Public Broadcaster Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Citizen TV, NTV and KTN are widely watched in this County. Other channels are Kass TV, KTN,K-24, NTV, Citizen TV, Family TV, STV and Sayare. All FM station broadcasting from Nairobi are also available including Capital, Easy, Kiss 100, One FM, Venus FM, Classic, Family, Hope, BBC, Citizen, etc. Local stations include Kass FM, Chamgei FM, KBC Kitwek FM, Radio Injili 103.7 FM (A FULLY owned Christian Radio Station), & Sayare Radio. Light and Life 107.3 FM, Sema Radio and The Just FM.
Kericho forms a municipality with nine wards. Six of them (Kapsaos,Central, Chelimo, Kimugu, Kapkugerwet, Kipchimchim and Motobo) belong to the Ainamoi Constituency and ( Kapsuser and Kipkoiyan) belong to Belgut Constituency. Both constituencies have additional wards located within Kipsigis County Council, the rural council of Kericho District.
Kericho was split in the 1990s to curve out Bomet and Bureti districts. In June 2007 Kipkelion district was again curved out of Kericho.
- Dr. Taitta Toweett
- Moses Kiprono arap Keino
- David Kimutai Too
- Franklin Bett
- Joginder Singh
- Joyce Chepchumba
- Hannington Apudo, the first indigenous military pilot in the Kenya Air Force.
- Dr Baldev Singh, National Teacher of the Year for Innovation in Education in the UK in 2004 is Kericho-born
Colleges in Kericho
- University of Kabianga is at Kericho West District with campuses in Kericho Town, Kapkatet where Biological Sciences are conducted and Sigor in Bomet County. It offers degree courses ranging from Science, Agriculture, Business, Natural Resource, Human Resource and has plans to introduce Health Science Course
- Kenya Highlands Evangelical University, run by the Africa Gospel Church, offers degree courses in Theology, Computer Science, Business and Education
- Kenyatta University has a campus opposite The County Assembly
- University of Nairobi has a campus at Ndege Chai Plaza
- Kericho Teachers Training College recently began offering degree courses under agreement with Moi University
- Kenya Forestry College - Londiani
- Kenya Institute of Management
- Kericho School of Professional Studies
- Eland College - Kabarak University and Eland Schools are jointly running Diploma and Bridging courses
- South Rift International College (SORICO)
- African Institute of Research and Development Studies (AIRADS)
- Niskam Saint Puran Singh Institute (NSPSI)
- Kericho Technical Institute
High Schools in Kericho
- The two National Schools: Kipsigis Girls High School and Kabianga High School
- Moi Tea Girls
- Litein High School
- Kericho High School
- Cheptenye High School
- Sosiot Girls Secondary School
- Soliat Boys Secondary School
- Kericho Day Secondary School
- Kericho Tea Secondary School
- Moi Sitotwet High School
- Londiani Girls High School
- Kipchimchim Secondary School
- Kaptebeswet Secondary School
- Torsogek Secondary School
- Eland Girls High School
- Kapmaso Day Secondary School
- Kabokyek Adventist Secondary School
- Chemamul Secondary School
- Koiwalelach Girls Secondary School
- Kakibei Secondary School
- Mercy Girls Secondary School
- Kaborok Secondary School
- Kiptere Secondary School
- St Thomas Mindililwet Secondary School
- Milimani Secondary School
- Kipsolu Secondary School
- Tugunon Secondary School
- Chepsir Secondary School
- Momoniat secondary School
- Chepngobob Secondary School
- Taita Towett Secondary School
- Barsiele Secondary School
- Kipchorian Secondary School
- Kipkelion Girls High School
- Lesirwo Secondary School
- Poiywek Secondary School
- Kapcheptoror Secondary School
- Maso Secondary School
- Manyoror Secondary School
- Kaitui Secondary school
- Moi Kipsitet Girls Secondary school
Taita Towett Secondary School
Kericho residents are mostly Christians. The largest church is the Africa Gospel Church, affiliated with The World Gospel Mission of the USA. The church has one of the largest buildings in the country in the town (Immanuel AGC) as well as centers at Cheptenye, Chepkutung, Keongo, Kipkelion, Londiani, Kabianga and Kaptebeswet. Other major churches present in the county include Holy Roman Catholic Church, AIC, Anglican Church, SDA, Full Gospel and a host of Independent churches.
Kericho is also home to Africa's largest Gurudwara or Sikh place of worship. It is a monument, dedicated to the memory of "Baba Puran Singh Ji of Kericho" who was the founder of the international charitable organisation, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha which promotes the spirit and practice of selfless service ("nishkam sewa") in the name of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith. The site has been gazetted by the Government of Kenya as a place of spiritual significance. Kericho also has residents of Muslim faith with at least two mosques. There is also a Hindu population as well as a congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
- Kenya National Bureau of Statistics: Population of local authorities
- Electoral Commission of Kenya: Registration centres by electoral area and constituency