Kericho

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Not to be confused with Kericho County.
Location of Kericho, Kenya
Tea country surrounding Kericho

Kericho is the biggest town in Kericho County located in the highlands west of the Kenyan Rift Valley. Standing on the edge of the Mau Forest, Kericho has a warm and temperate climate making it an ideal location for agriculture and in particular, the large scale cultivation of tea.

The town is strategically located along Kenya's western tourism circuit with access to Lake Victoria, the Maasai Mara National Reserve and Ruma National Park.

As of the 1999 census, the town has a population of 150,000.[1] Kericho is the home town of the Kipsigis, who are a part of the Kalenjin people.

History and culture[edit]

Kericho is home to the world's single largest tea plantation.

The etymology of Kericho is unclear. One theory has it that it was home to the region's first hospital, built by the colonial British at the start of the 20th Century. This is in reference to kerichek the word for medicine in the Kipsigis language.

Other theories have it that the town was named for a local medicine man called Kipkerich or after a Maasai chief, Ole Kericho who was killed in the 18th Century by the Abagusii.

Kericho hosts Africa's largest Sikh Gurudwara[2] and the second largest Catholic cathedral in Kenya[3]

Gurdwara Sahib is built on the site of the home and workshop of Kericho Wagon Works founder Sant Baba Puran Singh Ji of Kericho. The site is currently a place of worship for the Sikh community and a museum gazetted by the Government of Kenya as a place of spiritual significance.

It is dedicated to the memory of Sant Baba Puran Singh Ji, founder of the international charitable organization, 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.

Chandarana Records a pioneer of Benga music and the Kenyan music recording industry is based in Kericho town.

Kericho is home to Olympic winning long distance athletes and hosts Zoo Kericho F.C. a football club competing in the Kenyan Premier League and Kericho R.F.C. competing in the Nationwide League.[4]

Other notable places of interest include Chagaik Arboretum, Uhuru Garden and the vast tea estates.

Government[edit]

Kericho is a municipality under two constituencies with nine wards. Six wards (Kapsaos,Central, Chelimo, Kimugu, Kapkugerwet, Kipchimchim and Motobo) are in Ainamoi Constituency and two wards (Kapsuser and Kipkoiyan) are in Belgut Constituency. Kericho is a sister town to Portsmouth, Virginia.[5]

Kipsigis County Council governs rural wards located in both Ainamoi Constituency and Belgut Constituency.[6]

Transport[edit]

Kericho is accessible by road through the B1 road (Kenya) that links Mau-Summit, Kericho to Kisumu and Busia. Additionally the C25 Kapsoit-Sondu road connects Kericho to the A1 road (Kenya) linking Isebania to Lokichoggio through Kisumu and Kitale.[7]

Regular public bus (matatu) services are available connecting Kericho to major Kenyan towns and smaller regional towns such as Molo, Kaplong, Sotik, Bomet and Narok.

The Nakuru-Kisumu railway line passes through Kericho County with railway stations at Mau Summit, Londiani, Kedowa, Lumbwa, Kipkelion and Fort Ternan. Fort Ternan was previously used as a halfway point for passenger and goods trains between Nakuru and Kisumu.[8]

Regular air transport services are not available in Kericho. Kericho Airport is the official airstrip servicing the town and surrounding areas. Private airstrips operated by the tea estates have more regular use for purposes of crop spraying.[9]

Communication and media[edit]

Kericho town has access to a high speed fiber-optic Internet connection, fixed line and mobile telecommunications.

There are several local FM radio stations including Kass FM, Chamgei FM, KBC Kitwek FM, Radio Injili, Sayare Radio, Light and Life FM, Sema Radio and The Just FM.

Tertiary education[edit]

Kericho hosts several satellite campuses and colleges providing certificate, diploma and degree courses.

  • University of Kabianga
  • Kenya Highlands Evangelical University run by the Africa Gospel Church
  • Kenyatta University
  • The University of Nairobi
  • Kericho Teachers Training College offers degree courses under agreement with Moi University
  • Eland College run jointly by Kabarak University and Eland Schools
  • South Rift International College (SORICO)
  • African Institute of Research and Development Studies (AIRADS)
  • Niskam Saint Puran Singh Institute (NSPSI)
  • Kericho Technical Institute
  • Kericho School of Professional Studies
  • Kenya Institute of Management

Secondary education[edit]

Kericho is home to two national secondary schools: Kipsigis Girls High School and Kabianga Boys Secondary School as well as Kericho High School.

Religion[edit]

Kericho is home to followers of the Africa Gospel Church, Seventh Day Adventists, Catholics, Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 0°22′S 35°18′E / 0.367°S 35.300°E / -0.367; 35.300