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Eldoret Town Kenya is the fifth largest town in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru. It is located in Rift Valley Province, Uasin Gishu County, Lying south of the Cherangani Hills. It has an estimated population of about 200,000 people and is among the fastest growing town in Kenya.
The name “Eldoret” is based on the Maasai word “eldore” meaning “stony river” because the bed of the nearby Sosiani River is very stony. The white settlers decided to call it Eldoret to make it easier for them to pronounce it. At start of the colonial era, the area was occupied by the Nandi, before that by the Maasai and before that the Sirikwa.
In 1908, fifty eight families of Afrikaans-speaking South Africans settlers “trekked” to the Uashin Gishu plateau from Nakuru after a journey from South Africa by sea and by rail from Mombasa. They were followed by sixty more families in 1911 and more later. Eldoret was established in the midst of the farms they created.
The official town site of Eldoret itself started in 1910 with a Post Office on what was known to the white settlers as “Farm 64″, “64″ or “Sisibo” to the locals because, at that time it was 64 miles from the newly built Uganda Railway railhead at Kibigori.Willy van Aardt owned the farm. The Central Lounge in Eldoret is all that remains of Willy’s farm.
When the governor decided to establish an administrative centre, the Post Office was renamed from “64″ with the official town name as “Eldoret” in 1912. Becoming an administrative centre caused an enormous increase in trade within the prospective city. A bank and several shops were built.
The Uganda Railway extension, from Kibigori toward Uganda, reached Eldoret in 1924,starting a new era of prosperity and growth. In 1928, a piped water supply from the Sosiani River was installed. In 1933, the East African Power and Lighting Company installed an electricity generator plant. By that time, Eldoret had a small airport, and low-rental housing had been constructed.
Daniel arap Moi was born in the neighbouring Baringo District, and under his presidency, the town was developed further.
In 1984, Moi University was established by the government, and named after the country’s 2nd president Daniel arap Moi.
The town is now home to a large market, Moi University and Eldoret International Airport. It is also known for its cheese factory. Major industries include textiles, wheat, pyrethrum and corn. The town has a number of factories.
Eldoret is home to Moi University with a student population of 14,855 as of 2006. The second medical school in Kenya, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), is also located in within the city limits of Eldoret Town.
Eldoret Polytechnic, the third national polytechnic, is also located in the town.
Eldoret is the hometown of numerous legendary Kenyan runners, the most renowned of whom is Kipchoge Keino. The high altitude is an ideal training ground for many middle and long distance athletes. The runners from Eldoret have contributed significantly to the economy of Eldoret town from their winnings in races all over the world.
Eldoret is also surrounded by a very agricultural area, and for this reason is home to many farmers, some of whom carry a lot of political and economic clout, including the Kibogys and the Chemwenos.
Eldoret is also home to a number nationally recognised manufacturing industries like Raiplywoods, Ken-Knit, Lochab Brothers, and Kandola and Son’s. All these industries were set up and developed by some of the oldest Indian origin families in the rift valley region namely The Rai’s, The Kandola’s, The Shah’s, The Lochab’s and The Patel’s.
Eldoret has a number of estates. Almost each estate has it identity. Some of the estates include; Elgon View, Langas, Huruma, Kapsoya, Kahoya, West Indies, West, Kipkaren, Kimumu, Jerusalem, Pioneer among many others
There is a growing professional crowd emerging in Eldoret now, whose presence is being felt in the town. Due to the Moi Referral and Teaching Hospital and Eldoret Hospital,which is also having specialised radiolgy services and Doctors Plaza, there is a host of experienced doctors. Among lawyers, the oldest firm in the region is Nyairo and Company, that was founded by Momanyi Alfred Nyairo in the sixties and is now run by his son, A.K. Nyairo.
Eldoret is also home to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)’s High Altitude Training Center for Kenyan and international athletes.