Located in Central Kenya, and bordering Nyeri County to the west, Meru County to the North, Embu County to the North East and Muranga Countyto the South West, Kirinyaga County is a land that welcomes visitors with open arms, beautiful mountain and hills, wonderful weather and culture and industrious lovely people.
As you cascade through this beautifully carved land, as you come face to face with nature, as you experience the best peace and tranquility, know that the County Government of Kirinyaga has put in place all measures to ensure that you have a wonderful stay in Kirinyaga.
After being well fed and ready to relax, feel the little adventure and exciting beauty of our land. And remember to come back. God bless you as you savor our land.
Thanks to a beautiful mountain, Amazing weather, wonderful people and a landmark forest, there are a few places in Kenya that are as spectacular as Kirinyaga.
One of the best ways to spend a day in Kirinyaga is experiencing the rich agri-tourism in the county because as you will see, the views are fantastic. Agriculture is the most important activity in the county with 87 percent of the total population deriving their livelihood from the sector and accounting for 72 percent of household income.
The total arable land in Kirinyaga is 116,980 Ha which represent 79 percent of total area. The type of crops grown is influenced by the various ecological zones. Main crops include rice which is grown in paddles in the lower zones. Lying in the low lands of 1158 metres to 2000 metres above sea level and characterized by gently rolling plains, Mwea is the home to Kenya’s largest irrigation scheme which is supplied by water from river Nyamindi and Thiba .
The snow melting from the mountain forms the water tower for the rivers that drain in the county and other areas that lie south and west of the county, making Kirinyaga a rich agriculture land. The county has six major rivers namely; Sagana, Nyamindi, Rupingazi, Thiba, Rwamuthambi and Ragati, all of which drain into the Tana River.
Tea which is grown in the upper parts of the county is another major agriculture attraction. Coffee is also a major crop grown in the upper and middle zones. Other major crops grown include bananas, tomatoes, beans, mangoes, maize and horticultural crops.
If you thought that Kirinyaga’s agritourism is only in crop cultivation, then sit back and enjoy the aquaculture that has recently emerged as a major agricultural activity in the county with a total of 1,281 fishponds spread throughout the county. Located in Sagana town, Green Algae Highlands is the iconic fish farm.
Towering at 5,199 metres above sea level, Mount Kenya is a breathtaking view and a great challenge for lovers of mountain climbing. The mountain area is characterised by prominent features from the peak, hanging and V-shaped valleys making it the unrivalled tourist destination for lovers of nature. Located at the heart of mount Kenya forest is the iconic castle lodge.
If you are looking to get away from the hustles and buzzles of the city, this surely the perfect place to be. From here, you experience the view of Mount Kenya forest. Mt. Kenya Forest covers 350.7 Km2 and is inhabited by a variety of wildlife including elephants, buffaloes, monkeys, bushbucks and colourful birds while the lower parts of the forest zone provides grazing land for livestock.
Don’t leave without enjoying a fantastic view of the sunset across Mount Kenya as well as dine in the company of elephants on a lucky day. This experience is simply unforgettable. Kirinyaga is home to over 17 waterfalls. So if you are looking to have a quiet experience with nature, you know where to be.
Adventure Tourism in Kirinyaga County
Savage wilderness, just a few metres from Sagana falls leads the way in Kenyan adventure tourism providing unique, breathtaking experiences in one of Nature’s most beautiful environments. Led by an international team of outdoor experts fully trained to provide the highest safety standards; you will cross rivers, plains and plateaus in an extraordinary and unforgettable adventure.
If you want to experience our own wonder of the world, then visit the God’s bridge in Gichugu as well as our seven spectacular water falls along river nyamindi which are a result of natural formations from volcanic rocks.
Overlooking Kenya’s longest river-River Tana is Thingira Cultural Village. Here you will get an encounter with the culture around mount Kenya.
And don’t worry when it comes to convenience. We have you covered. Kirinyaga has 17 bank branches belonging to all major commercial banks in the country as well as 8 Micro-finance institutions, 18 Building societies and 5 insurance company branches Kerugoya, Sagana and Wang’uru are the classified towns in the county while Kagio and Kagumo comprise the urban centres. The growth of these towns and urban centres is largely dependant on the agriculture sub sector. Wang’uru the most populated town in the county is mostly dependant on rice and horticulture cultivation in the expansive Mwea irrigation scheme.
Now you have it! So enjoy your read and feel welcome to Ceera (tour) the second richest County in Kenya. It is indeed a great honor to welcome you to Kenya’s second richest County, Kirinyaga County.
Kirinyaga County: From where Kenya was named
On 26th November 1849 a European Explorer, Johann Krapf became the first European to discover the presence of an imposing mountain in Kikuyu land, towing at 17,058 feet above sea level. Johann Ludwig Krapf lived between1810 and 1881 and was a German missionary in East Africa, as well as an explorer, linguist, and traveler. Krapf played an important role in exploring East Africa coastline. In his expedition from Mombasa inwards, Krapf explored the inland through Ukambani. One of his guides was a celebrated Kamba trader, Chief Kivoi from Kitui. Kivoi had informed Krapf of the presence of a huge mountain in Kikuyu land known as Kiima Kiinya. This was the Kamba language pronunciation of the mountain’s Kikuyu traditional name, Kirima Kiri Nyaga.
The mountain, from afar, appeared black on side and white on its snow-capped glaciers and thus they name Kirinyaga (the place of the male ostrich) However, others believe the Kikuyu named it Kiri Nyaga from the Agikuyu meaning of the place Mwene Nyaga (God for Agikuyu) resides.
Whichever of the two, the name Kiri Nyaga was the Kikuyu name for the mountain and was pronounced as Kii nyaa by the Kamba.
When Kivoi told Krapf that the mountain was called Kii Nyaa, Krapf would record this as Kenya. The mountain came to be known as Mt. Kenya.
Between 1880 and1900, there was a period of the Scramble and partition for Africa which was a period of rapid colonization of the African continent by European.
When the British got the share of what is now Kenya as their colony, they named it British East Africa Protectorate, or British East Africa.
Our country remained as British East Africa Protectorate until 1929 when it was renamed Kenya. The name Kenya came from imposing Mountain in the Central region, Mt. Kenya.
Education in Kirinyaga County
Rwango’ndu Primary School
In addition to being a top tourist destination, our children have consistently been top performers in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE). One such school is Rwang’ondu Primary School in Mwea.
Kerugoya Girls Eastern & Central Africa Queens of Hockey
Beautiful girls clad in neat brown skirts, compact white shirts and well groomed black shoes with contrasting white socks move up and down the imposing school.
It seems a normal day to the girls but to a visitor, a first visit to Kerugoya Girls High School creates an impression of a school in touch with completion. A remarkable at the waiting bay are the many huge and well polished trophies that are beautifully arranged.
Welcome to the school of East Africa Hockey Queens. They have dominated the country in hockey and extended their exploits to the East and central Africa Region. The teams’ coach MrJoseph Maina who is also a Kiswahili teacher in the school proudly says that he has come from far with the team. This is because since he took over as the coach in the year 2004, they have carried the title as champions for the secondary school hockey games since then.
In the year 2011 the girls were runner’s up in the National finals and took first position in East and Cent? Africa Secondary School games. In 2012 they scooped the second position in the National finals and again, first position in the East and Central Africa Secondary School games, at Bujubura, Burundi.
In 2013 they were the third position in the National Finals and took second position in the East and Centra Africa Games at Lira, Uganda. Apart from being a hockey player, the girls have to study hard so as to be in the team One has to attain grade of C+!
Next time you are in Kirinyaga, spare some time and visit our very own Africa’s hockey queens!
Kirinyaga University College – Promoting the County Through Research & Learning
Located along the Kerugoya – Kutus highway, 115 km North East of Nairobi lies the only University in Kirinyaga County; Kirinyaga University College.
Our founding father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta laid the foundation stone for the now Kirinyaga University College on 8th June 1974, which was later formally opened by the Second President, H. E. President Daniel Arap Moi on 22nd April 1981.
Kirinyaga University College is a constituent college of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The University commenced as a technical college, but through the Legal notice 108 of 2011 it became a University College.
The University is host to students from all over the country and beyond. To promote the county, the university has set aside resources to establish a Research Centre which will put into use the rice husks from Mwea to produce energy and the use of tomatoes to make tomato sauce among other things.
In order to increase access to University education in the Kirinyaga County, the University is targeting the working population by establishing a satellite Centre at Kerugoya town so as to cater for their needs.
When on your way around the county, spare some time and learn more about Kirinyaga University College!
Agriculture in Kirinyaga County
Black. White. Milky. With or without lemon, a true tea lover will enjoy a great taste of the best Kenyan quality tea naturally processed and produced in Kirinyaga county, with no chemicals added!
How often do you sit down and enjoy a cup of tea? Ever wondered where it came from? Here is the answer; a big percentage of the Kenyan tea comes from Kirinyaga County, which forms the backbone of tea development in Kenya.
The history of tea in Kenya dates back to the early 20″‘ century when it was introduced during colonial times. Kenya’s climate and Kirinyaga in particular has rich volcanic soil and the altitude is perfectly suited fc’ growing the evergreen tea shrub.
As a distinguished market leader, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Limited offers detailed farmer friendly management benefits all year round, the top priority is embedded in sustaining ajuicy legacy of two leaves and a bud which is a hall mark of quality.
Kirinyaga County has 5 main tea Factories namely:
- Thumaita Tea Factory
- Kangaita Tea Factory
- Mununga Tea Factory
- Ndima Tea Factory
- Kimunye Tea Factory
The approximate number of tea farmers in Kirinyaga County is 40,000 who produce around 95 million kilogrammes of tea in a year.
The tea industry will help in the attainment of the Kenya vision 2030 economic blue print which is expected to drive the country towards industrial status and Kirinyaga County will play a big role.
Farmers from around the world like United Kingdom Iran, Japan, Sudan and Rwanda have recently visited Kirinyaga County to learn more about tea production due to the high quality of tea farming.
Kirinyaga County is also the home to the biggest research project and nursery farm at Kangaita tea factory, this gives a more reason for farmers to visit the county and also this is reason enough to attract investors.
8 Things Worth Knowing About Tea
- All tea comes from the same plant, a Camellia tree.
- The reason teas taste different is not because of the plant, but by the method of preparation.
- The English first discovered tea in the 17th century when they sailed to China.
- Because tea came from Wuyi Mountain in China, it had to travel over a thousand miles before it even set sail.
- Legend has it that tea was invented by a Chinese Emperor in 2737 BCE, when some leaves fell into his cup of hot water, turning the liquid brown.
- Another legend says that Buddha had vowed to stay awake for nine years, but after seven fell asleep.
- When Britain started looking for somewhere else to get their tea, they looked to India because it was part of the British Empire.
- During World Ward Two, Naffi vans were used to take tea to the soldiers. Because of rationing Naffi girls would put tea leaves in stockings and use them as tea bags
Mwea – Home of Pure Pishori Rice
Mwea Rice Mills Ltd, popularly § referred to as MRM, is main producer and key miller of the Kenyan Pishori rice.
Established way back in the year 1969 after the inception of Mwea Irrigation Scheme, MRM has continuously produced unparalleled high quality Pishori rice selected from the finest harvest of Mwea Irrigation Scheme.
Over the years MRM has been committed to the production of high quality, pure, aromatic Kenyan Pishori rice. This commitment to quality has ensured that the distinctive aroma of Kenyan Pishori rice is celebrated by Kenyans over the generations.
Visit the Green Algae Highland Fish Farm in Sagana, Kirinyaga County
The saying ‘as beautiful as a peacock’ is no longer in use, not until you visit the Green Algae High land Fish Farm located in Sagana, in the county of Kirinyaga.
Meet Mr. William Kiama a fish farmer with a passion for ornamental fish also known as Samaki wa mapambo.
He says that the Ornamental fish are too beautiful to be eaten! The green Algae Fish Farm is the leading producer of the ornamental fish in the whole country.
If you thought you know fish, you are mistaken; this is because the farm has about twelve species of the ornamental fish and also the common species of food fish that we know.
The farm also produces fish for consumption (food fish). The farm hosts visitors from all over the world who are interested in fish farming.
Every month Indians from within the country visit the farm to learn more about ornamental fish and also to admire the breath taking view of the unique fish which are very pricy.
University students from within the country also visit the farm twice every year to learn about the ﬁsh and the different species. These students are from the University of Nairobi, Egerton University and Moi University.
Countries like Japan, China, Thailand and Israel earns most of their income from fish farming, the more reason the owner of the farm encourages farmers to rear fish.
The owner of the farm also practices Poly culture; this an inter-breed of two ﬁsh species for example fertilization of the eggs of a cat fish with that of tilapia.
Tourism in Kirinyaga County
Ndaraca Ya Ngai
The Bridge is of age because it was a hide away joint for more than fifty maumau men and women during the colonial times. The British never discovered the scene and so it was a safe heaven.
It is a breath taking imagery of which nobody has a clear answer on how it came to existence. A remarkable image only in the county of Kirinyaga.
A drive away from the Nairobi – Embu highway, hidden amidst the scenic view of Mt. Kenya lays a natural bridge known as Ndaraca ya Ngai (God’s Bridge).
The marathon uses ‘smell the rice’ theme and plays host to Olympic stars
Mwea classic is held every year at the Mwea secondary school. The marathon uses ‘smell the rice’ as the tag line and plays host to Olympic stars. The registration is free and usually close a daya before the main event.
The marathon packages are; Full marathon which is 42km, Half marathon which is 21km and the individual open which is 10km.
The main objective of the marathon is to empower the youth to enable them make their rightful share of contribution to the society.
For an African youth, all days are the same and without motivation he wonders what his mission in life is. To make a difference, the Mwea Classic Marathon was inaugurated on the 12th of September at the mwea boys secondary school.
There is hope for the world and the young are part of it. Last year the event attracted 1800 runners.
The Mwea Classic Marathon is associated with Kenya’s largest scheme that spread along rivers Thiba and Nyamindi in Kirinyaga county. The mwea classic marathon is intended to show case to the runners the beautiful paddy carpets that define Mwea and at the same time create awareness that connects education and economic empowerment to sports. The run targets high school students within and without the district.
Mwea classic marathon rewards competitive males and females. the first three male and female runners receive gold, silver, and bronze.
Cycle around the slopes of Mt. Kenya
Bicycle racing is a competition sport in which various types of bicycles are used. There are several categories of bicycle racing including road bicycle racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, mountain bike racing, track cycling, BMX, mountain bike trials, and cycle speedway. Bicycle racing is recognised as an Olympic sport.
The Union Cycliste Internationale is the world governing body for cycling and international competitive cycling events. Bicycle racing is a competition sport in which various types of bicycles are used. There are several categories of bicycle racing including road bicycle racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross,mountain bike racing, track cycling.
BMX, mountain bike trials, and cycle speedway. Bicycle racing is recognised as an Olympic sport.
The Union Cycliste Internationale is the world governing body for cycling and international competitive cycling events.
Mountain Climbing in Kirinyaga County
One can climb to the peak of the snow capped Mount Kenya through the Kamweti route from Castle Forest Lodge! The route passes through the dense rainforest, bamboo forest viewing the swamps and moorlands to meet up with other routes at Mackinder camp for the final climb conquering point Lenana.
The Kamweti route offers two different packages depending on time, one of five days and one of seven
Elephants in Kirinyaga County
On a good day, you can spot an elephant at castle forest lodge in the county of Kirinyaga The herd is led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd, called a matriarch. Herds consist of 8-100 individuals depending on terrain and family size. When a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. Males leave the family unit between the ages of 12-15 and may lead solitary lives or live temporarily with other males.
Elephants mate during the rainy season and their gestation period is 22months.
Elephants are among the big five, an elephants’ diet include; Grass, leaves, bamboo, bark, and roots. Elephants are also known to eat crops like bananas and sugarcane which are grown by farmers. Adult elephants eat 300-400 lbs of food per day.
Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups of related females called a herd.
Facts about Elephants
- The largest elephant on record weighed about 24,000 pounds (10,886 kg) with a height of 13 feet (3.96 m).
- The elephant has such sensitive skin that it can feel a fly landing on it.
- Elephants can hear one another’s trumpeting calls up to 5 miles (8 kilometers) away.
- An adult elephant can consume up to 300 pounds (136 kg) of food in one day. The average lifespan of an elephant in the wild is 60 to 70 years.
Buffalo in Kirinyaga County
There is only one genus and one species of buffalo in Africa, but this single species has two different types: the large savanna buffalo and the much smaller dwarf forest buffalo. Savanna buffaloes are large, heavy cow like animals.
They vary greatly not only in size, but in the shapes of their horns and color. Adults are usually dark gray or black (or even look red or white if they have been wallowing in mud of that color) and the young are often reddish-brown. The smaller forest buffalo maintains the red color even as an adult, although in western Uganda, many savanna buffaloes are also red or pale orange instead of black. Adults lose hair as they age.
Both male and female buffaloes have heavy, ridged horns that grow straight out from the head or curve downward and then up. The horns are formidable weapons against predators and forjostling for space within the herd; males use the horns in fights for dominance.
Facts about Buffalo
- Swahili Name: Nyati
- Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer
- Weight: 1,500 pounds
- Lifespan: 20 years
- Size: About 65inches at the shoulder
- Habitat: Dense forest to open plains
- Diet: Herbivorous/grazer
- Gestation: Between 11 and 12 months
- Predators: Humans and lions
Birds: Bronze Sunbird in Kirinyaga County
A large and distinctive sunbird with elongated central tail feathers which looks black from a distance. Close up t shows bronze reflections on the head and back as well as some copper colouring elsewhere. The species mates for life and is generally seen in pairs. Its food primarily nectar and also hawks for insects and picks them from leaf surfaces. Its range overlaps with the similar Taccaze sunbird and the two species can be confused at a distance or in poor light. However the Bronze sunbird lacks the Tacazze purple reflections on.
Fun facts about birds:
- There are around 10000 different species of birds worldwide.
- The Ostrich is the largest bird in the world. It also lays the largest eggs and has the fastest maximum running speed (97 kph).
- Some bird species are intelligent enough to create and use tools.
- Hummingbirds can fly backwards.
- The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest living bird in the world, with a length of just 5 cm (2 in).
Mwomboko Kenya Dancers
It was formed in the 1940’s. The group resides from Mukuura, Ndia – in Kirinyaga county.
The name comes from the Kikuyu traditional dance known as Mwomboko. It consists of 12 members, five men and seven women. The group practices every Monday.
The main aim of the group is to maintain the Kikuyu culture through dance and song. This is because the western culture is taking over our culture in terms of songs and dance.
The group also educates and informs the citizens on the kikuyu culture through dance and music, this is because they write songs that have important messages that affect our every day livelihood.
Thingira Cultural Village
Are you looking for an environment that you can host your friends without any disturbance, a home away from home? Thingira village is the place to be.
Would you like to learn bout the origin of Kikuyu, Meru, Kamba or Embu as well as experience a taste of their roots or cultural background?
If yes, then Thingira cultural village is the place to visit! Built on an 18 hectares piece of land, Thingira village is the gateway to Kirinyaga County (Mt.Kenya region)
Located within a semi arid area of rocky indigenous acacia thicket along the Nairobi – Embu highway just across the Tana River Bridge near Makutano junction in Kirinyaga County
It is here where the first missionary got off Mt. Kenya and named it Mt. Kinya crossing from Riakanau (crossing from Eastern province to Kirinyaga province for trade) Thingira village serves a delicacy of the traditional cuisine in addition to other delicacies.
The delicacies include mukimo, muthokoi and fermented porridge among other delicacies. One gets to experience the traditional attire that our ancestors wore, the dishes that they ate on.
The famous mud huts are also a good imagery, because they represent the origin of the Bantu culture.
C.O.G (Centre of Gravity) Dance group
C.O.G (Centre of Gravity) is a dance group that has made it to the national dance scene
The group was formed three years ago and it comprises of five young boys who are students at ICONS college.
They have been performing at various occasions, like the just concluded miss tourism event which was held at Roswam hotel.
The group also participates in the Kianyaga Bubbling talent show in which the winners are awarded a price money together with a participatory certificate.
Their breakthrough came in when they auditioned in sakata season 4 dance show. They boast of performing in round one of the show. Their attire made them loose in round one and that is a major challenge for the young dance crew.