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Kilifi County covers a total surface area of 12,610 km2 and accounts for 2.17 per cent of Kenya’s total surface area. It borders the counties of Tana River to the North, Taita Taveta to the West, Mombasa and Kwale to the South and the Indian Ocean to the East.
Major Towns in Kilifi County
The County’s capital is the coastal town of Kilifi which lies on the Kilifi Creek between Mombasa and Malindi towns. Other major towns include:
- Geography and climate
The topography of the county is dominated by low-range sand-stone hills, and a terrain that generally slopes towards the sea.Kilifi County has 21 forests cumulatively, covering 246 km2. River Sabaki, a perennial fresh water river, runs 150km across the county, supporting various human and livestock activities. Seasonal rivers in the county include the Nzovuni, Rare, Goshi and Wimbi. There are also many seasonal streams found across the county.
The average annual rainfall ranges from 300mm in the hinterland parts of the County to 1,300mm along the coastal belt.
The People of Kilifi County
Based on the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census, the county had about 200 000 households and a population of1,109,735 which accounted for 2.9 percent of the total Kenyan population.
The main communities residing in Kilifi County include seven Mijikenda sub-groups (Giriama, Chonyi, Jibana, Kambe,Kauma, Rabai and Ribe), the Bajuni, Swahili, and people of Arab, Indian and European descent who have permanently settled in the county. There are other Kenyan communities who have also settled in the County because of their employment or for purposes of doing business. Over time, these people have had close interactions with each other, and fostered the Swahili culture and language. Most of the people in Kilifi County are either Christians or Muslims, though other smaller religious communities exist.
Administrative Units in Kilifi County
Kilifi county has 6 administrative districts, namely:
The county is divided into 7 constituencies and 35 wards.
The constituencies are:
- Kilifi North, and
- Kilifi South.
Economy of Kilifi County
More than half of the land in Kilifi is arable, however only 31% of the farmers hold titles to their land.
Maize and cassava are the main subsistence crops grown in the County.
The main cash crops grown in the county include coconuts, cashew nuts, sisal and citrus fruits such as mangoes and pineapples.
Potential crops for cultivating in Kilifi
The average precipitation of 900 mm and mean-annual temperature of 27°C hold potential for agricultural development. Horticultural crops and vegetables such as chillies, brinjals, okra, onions and tomatoes can be cultivated along the Coastal plains. Staples like maize, rice, bananas, cow peas, green grams and beans can also do well. Northwards, along the Sokoke Forest, is land with medium agricultural potential. Further north, are the pineapple fields in Magarini district that can provide large scale farming. Jatropha, aloe vera and vanilla grow well in the County and could be promoted for the production of bio-diesel, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food products.
Livestock and poultry farming is a major economic activity in the county. There are 4 private and 8 group ranches in Kilifi on which both dairy and beef cattle are kept. Other livestock species reared include goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits; mainly on small-scale basis by subsistence farmers and bee-keeping is also practised.
Opportunities exist in livestock holding grounds, ranching, export slaughterhouses and the establishment of tanneries.
Deep-sea fishing is a lucrative venture due to high demand for fish from the hotel industry. The county has 14 landing beached and over 5,000 fishermen. Sport fishing has also taken root, with fishing clubs established at various spots associated with tourist hotels and resorts.
Mining and manufacturing
Kilifi County is rich in minerals; mainly titanium and iron ore, that have spurred extensive industrial mining activities. Other minerals extracted include barites, galena, rubies, pozzolana, gypsum and limestone. Salt mining and sand harvesting have been carried out over the years to take advantage of the sandy, salty waters. While these are economically lucrative, they are equally responsible for destruction of its mangrove forests. As for manufacturing sector there are:
- Two Cement factories in Kaloleni (Bamburi Cement and Athi River mining)
- Salt extracting companies in Malindi
- Milly fruit processing at Mtwapa
- Sandal factory in Kikambala
- Milk processing factory in Kilifi
Tourism is very important for the country. It creates opportunities for employment in the service industries associated with it, such as transport, entertainment and advertising.
There has been an up-trend in tourism over the last few years and the County is well positioned to benefit from; local tourism, ecotourism, pro-poor tourism, educational tourism, cultural tourism and sport tourism. All these trends offer opportunities for significant growth of the tourism sector in Kilifi County.
- Rabai Church
- Gede Ruins
- Vasco da Gama Pillar
- Mnarani Ruins
- Mangrove Forests
- Arubuko Sokoke Forest which hosts the Tsavo East National Park
- Indian Ocean
- Sabaki and Rare Rivers
- Marine parks of Malindi, Watamu and Mtwapa are a great tourist attraction.
Facts About Kilifi County
Area (Km 2): 12,639 (109 are water mass of Indian Ocean)
Climate: Two seasons of rain; temperatures 21 – 35 degrees C
Tarmaked 147.7 Km
Earth Surface656 Km
Key National Monuments: Rabai Church, Gede Ruins, Vasco da Gama Pillar, Mnarani Ruins
Population of Kilifi County
Population: 1.1 Million
Male 48 %
Female 52 %
Density: 450 people per Km2
National Percentage: 2.8 %
Growth Rate: 3.05 %
0-14 Years47 %
15-34 Years33 %
35-64 Years17 %
over 65 years4 %
Government of Kilifi County
County capital: Kilifi Town
Number of Constituencies (2010): 5 (Malindi, Magarini, Kaloleni, Ganze and Bahari)
Registered Voters: 292,403
National percentage of Registered Voters: 2.32 %
Number of Districts (2009): 6 (Kilifi, Ganze, Kaloleni, Bahari, Malindi and Magarini)
Number of Local Authorities (2010): 5 (Town Councils of Kilifi and Mariakani, County Councils of Kilifi and Malindi and Municipal Council of Malindi)
Economy of Kilifi County
Resources: Natural (Iron Ore, Titanium, Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Mangroove Forests), Water (Indian Ocean, Kafuloni, Sabaki and Rare Rivers).
Financial services: Banks and Micro Finance Institutions, Decentralized Funds e.g. CDF through Constituencies & LATF
Poverty Level: 68% of population live below the poverty line
Main Economic Activities/industries: Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing and Fishing
Main Agricultural products: Cashew nuts, Horticulture (Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables), Sisal.
Education of Kilifi County
Primary schools 160
Teacher : Pupil Ratio1:39
Teacher : Pupil Ratio1:30
Tertiary: Pwani University College, Bandari College, Kilifi Medical Training College
Health in Kilifi County
Hospitals: 3 District Hospitals and 2 Sub District Hospitals
Number of Doctors: 8
Doctors to Population Ratio: 1:137,500
Number of Clinical Officers: 10
Clinical Officers to Population: 1:110000
Number of Nurses: 128
Nurses to Population ratio: 1: 8,594
Infant Mortality Rates: 71 per 1000 (This for Coast Province) KDHS 2008-09
Under-Five Mortality Rates: 87per 1000 (This for Coast Province)
Prevalent Diseases: HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Diseases of the digestive System
Notable Private Hospitals: Mariakani Hospital
Contact Kilifi County
Office of The County Secretary,
P.O Box 519 – 80108,