Location in Kenya
|Formed||March 4, 2013|
|Capital and largest town||Kapsabet|
|• Governor||Stephen Sang|
|• Total||2,884.5 km2 (1,113.7 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (EAT)|
Nandi County is in the North Rift of Kenya, occupying an area of 2,884.4 square kilometres. Its capital, Kapsabet, is the largest town in the county while other towns include Mosoriot, Kaiboi, Kabiyet and Nandi Hills. According to a 2009 census, the county had a population of 752,965, made up of a number of Kenyan communities, the majority of whom belong to the native tribe called Nandi.
Geographically, the unique jug-shaped structure of Nandi County is bound by the Equator to the south and extends northwards to latitude 0034’N. The western boundary extends to west. The county's major area is covered by the Nandi Hills.
Historically, Nandi like other Kalenjin areas was divided into districts known as emotinwek (sing. emet). There were six emotinwek in Nandi which were Wareñg in the north, Masop in the East, Soiin (also known as Pelkut) in the south-east, Aldai and Chesume in the west and Em'gwen in the center.
Following the 11-year Nandi Resistance, the traditional system of governance came to an end in 1905 with the killing of Koitalel Arap Samoei at Ketbarak in Nandi Hills. This was followed by the subsequent absorption of Nandi into the East African Protectorate in 1905 and later into the Kenya Colony in 1920.
The Emet of Wareng was amalgamated into the Uasin Gishu district during the colonial period. It is today part of Uasin Gishu County and last bore its name as a county of Eldoret South Constituency. The Emet of Soiin would be appropriated for European occupation, as part of what were known as the white highlands, during the colonial period. It was later split in two and is today named after the Tinderet and Nandi Hills.
The county has six subcounties:
- Mosop Subcounty
- Emgwen Subcounty
- Aldai Subcounty
- Tinderet Subcounty
- Nandi Hills Subcounty
- Chesumei Subcounty
The county (2,884.5 km2 or 1,113.7 sq mi) is further sub-divided into 30 wards namely:
Physical and topographic features
Nandi County occupies 2,884.4 square kilometres (1,113.7 sq mi) of land characterized by hilly topography that includes an outcrop of basement systems rocks. The dissected scarp at the southern border of the sub-county is another manifestation of rock exposure.
The physiographic outlook of Nandi County is composed of five units with typical topography namely: the rolling hills to the west of the county, the Kapsabet plateau (part of Uasin Gishu plateau), the wooded highlands and foothills of Tinderet Volcanic mass in the south east, the Kingwal swamp in the centre (Baraton-Chepterit) and the dissected Nyando Escarpment at the southern border (Nandi South Sub-County).
The first unit constitutes an undulating landscape typified by rolling hills. They are chiefly flat-topped ridges with identical summits that may be remnants of an eroded plain. The Kimondi and Mokong Rivers flow westwards through the area eventually joining the Yala River.
The Kapsabet plateau extends from Kapsabet Eastwards. The eroded remains of the original plain form a conspicuous incised plain near Kapsabet at a height of 2,020 metres above sea level. The unit constitutes of an undulating land surface traversed by rivers that form a sub-parallel consequent drainage system incised on the lava surface. The course of some rivers is slightly north west indicating the general dip of lava flows. River Kipkaren is one of them. Geologists believe that volcanic lava flowed along the gently sloping plateau northward, having been diverted by a hill at Kabiyet to flow west towards Sarora Hills and also Southward across the Kingwal swamp.
The Tinderet Highlands are part of highly dissected piles of lava which form an extension of Kenya Highlands from the South East corner of the county. In the wooded south-east corner, at the top of Meteitei Valley, rocks jut out to a height of 2,500 metres. Fifteen kilometers to the East of the road from Nandi Hills towards Songhor and Kisumu is a highly rugged landscape over which volcanic lava flowed. Rivers in Tinderet form a Northwest quadrant of radial drainage pattern. The Kipkurere, Kibos, Kundos and Ainabngetuny Rivers have deeply incised valleys, flowing southwest. The Kingwal and Kipterges Rivers and their tributaries drain the Northwestern flank of Tinderet highlands. In the centre of the area, these rivers produce substantial waterfalls, dropping from the top of harder bands in volcanic rocks to the level of a swamp which foots the scarp. The Kingwal swamp lies at a height of over 1,960 metres and is considered to be a site of a hollow in the original landmass. The nearest basement system rock outcrop the swamp near Chepterit. Drainage is prevented to the North and East by volcanic rock and prevented from the South by agglomerates of Tinderet. The rivers flow to the west over a series of rapids composed of hard bends in the basement system gneisses.
The fifth unit; the Nyando escarpment is a manifestation of extremely rugged ground containing granite and volcanic rocks. The Equator runs alongside the scarp line in the area. There has been extensive faulting and intrusion both above and below the scarp. The flowing of the scarp descends in impressive rapids, dropping from 2,000m to 1,300m through Kibos. The North of Nyando scarp, hills occur at about 2,150 meters and a range of identically high hills form a ridge Westward along Nandi fault. These, together with Kabiyet and Sang’alo Hills, are regarded as residuals of the original land surface. The watersheds of rivers descending the scarp (from Kimondi-Mokong system) run only 10 km.
These rivers, swamps and valleys have varied effects on the County’s development. The rivers are the main sources of water supplies for both domestic and commercial use in the County. Some rivers, especially in Tinderet Sub-County, have rapid falls which can be used to harness hydro-electric power. The swamps have not been put into any economic use. Most of them are poorly drained hence have no current economic significance to the development of the County. It would be preferable if they were conserved as wetlands. Most of the valleys are suitable for horticultural production. They are the main sources of vegetables and pineapples consumed in the County. The rugged topography of the County results in very steep slopes which have a negative effect on the transport system, especially during the wet seasons. This mainly interferes with the transportation of farm produce and human resource. . Four types of land terrain exist in the County, these are:
Mountainous: The land generally has rather steep slopes especially on parts of Meteitei and Tinderet areas to the south-east; Kemeloi, Bonjoge, Kaptumek, Kapkures, Kapkerer areas to the South; and Kamwega and Soimining to the Northwest. This type of topography has made transport network very difficult to establish. This factor alone has created a drawback in provision of development facilities in the affected regions. Steep Slopes: This includes parts of Chepterwai, KipkarenSalient, Kabiemit, Ndalat, Sarora and Kabiyet areas to the North and Kapkangani areas to the West. Afforestation is required on the hills. Development of the main economic activities has been affected by the factors noted for the mountainous regions. Rolling or Hilly Land: These include parts of Nandi Hills, Kaptel, Kaptumo and Kobujoi areas. Farming and other economic activities are well developed and mostly mechanized. This is attributed to the ease of communication both on the roads and on the farms. Gentle to Moderate Slopes: This covers parts of Kilibwoni, Kaplamai, Kosirai, Mutwot, Lelmokwo and Itigo areas. The topography of this region has influenced the type and scale of economic activities in the region just as in other areas. Farming productivity is high due to high soil productivity and less capital injection towards soil conservation activities.
Education and sports
Nandi County is home to many world record holders in athletics, including Kipchoge Keino, Henry Rono, Eliud Kipchoge, Pamela Jelimo, Janeth Jepkosgei, Moses Tanui, Julius Yego, Jairus Birech, Conseslus Kipruto and Bernard Lagat.
There are 443 primary education schools and 80 secondary education schools in Nandi.
Kapsabet Boys High school, situated in Kapsabet and founded in 1925, is a prominent national school. Its list of alumni includes cabinet ministers such as Nicholas Biwott, Kipruto Arap Kirwa, Henry Kosgey and William Arap Ruto who is currently the Kenyan Deputy President. Sports stars such as Julius Yego went here and a former President of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi..
- Industries: Agriculture, sports, and tourism
- Major crops: Tea, maize, coffee, and sugarcane
- Poverty level: 13.7%
Nandi county is endowed with a scenic topography that is dotted with numerous tea plantations. These provide the raw material for the county's most vibrant agricultural industry, tea processing.
It hosts twelve of Kenya's sixty six tea factories making it a significant player in the country's and hence the global tea industry since Kenya is the world's leading tea exporter.
The major tourist destinations include Koitalel Samoei Museum, Kipps Bay Conservancy, and the Nandi Escarpment.
There are three hospitals, 45 dispensaries, and 9 health care centers in Nandi. It has a doctor to population ratio of 1:94,000.
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- Matoke, T. "12 tea factories in Nandi County shut as workers’ strike bites", Nation, July 2016