Baringo Town Guide
Baringo Town is located in Baringo County, one of the county’s in Rift Valley Province. It borders Turkana County to the North, Samburu and Laikipia County’s to the East, Koibatek to the South, Keiyo Marakwet and West Pokot to the West County. The county covers an area of 8,655 square kms, of which about 140.5 is covered by water surface.
The county has a population of 555,561 (2009 census)
Baringo Town Climate and Goegraphy
The major topographical features in the county are river valleys and plains, the Tugen Hills, the floor of the Rift Valley and the northern plateau. One of the prominent river valleys is the Kerio valley. It is situated in the Western part of the county and is a fair flat plain. In the eastern part of the county near lakes Baringo and Bogoria is the Loboi plain covered mainly by the lacustrine salt-impregnated silt deposits. Baringo County lies between Latitudes 00 degrees 13″ South and 1 degree 40″ north and Longitudes 35 degrees 36″ and 36″ degrees 30″ east.
The Tugen Hills in the southwestern part of the county form a conspicuous topographical feature in the county. The altitude varies from 1000m to 2600m above sea level.
The hills occur in a north-south direction and mainly consist of volcanic rocks. The hills have steep slopes dissected by gullies. On the eastern and western parts of the hills there are escarpments and rivers flowing down these hills pass through very deep gorges.
The floor of the Rift Valley owes its origin to the tectonic disturbances, which have led to the formation of separate ridges. The troughs of the Rift that have a north-south alignment are occupied by Lakes Baringo and lake Bogoria. There are several extinct volcanoes, especially in the North Tiati, Paka Kamugo and Korossi area. Forty six per cent of the county is either too steep (Tugen hills) or too plain (eastern parts around Lake Baringo and the northeastern parts Nginyang and Kolloa).
The lowlands or plains are very dry. This means that 46.3% of the land in Baringo cannot support any meaningful crop production. However, in the valleys with alluvial soils, the use of ground water and run-off catchments for irrigation can be profitably practiced.
The county has different agro-ecological zones necessitating different agricultural activities. Baringo County is one of the arid and semi-arid countys in the country with much of the county receiving low to average annual rainfall. However, within the county there are some high potential areas neighbouring the hills and the highlands that receive high rainfall.
Baringo County experiences two seasons of rainfall. The long rains start from the end of March to the beginning of July, and the short rains from the end of September to November. The rainfall is about 50% reliable. It varies from 1000 to 1500mm in the highlands to 600mm in the lowlands in the northeastern part of the county.
The rainfall distribution pattern means that major cropping activities are concentrated in the highland areas, which have adequate rainfall. These areas are found in Kabartonjo, Tenges, Sacho, Kabarnet and Muchongoi divisions.
Baringo Town History
Baringo County is located in the former Rift Valley Province of Kenya, Baringo County, Kenya about 270km north-west of Nairobi. It covers an area of 11,015.32 sq km.
It borders seven counties; Samburu and Laikipia to the east, Turkana to the north and north east, Nakuru to the south, Elgeyo Marakwet to the west, West Pokot to to the north west, Kericho and Uasin Gishu to the south west.
The name Baringo is derived from the word mparingo which means ‘lake’ in the language of Njemps who live in the areas’ south and south-east of the lake.
Places to Visit While in Baringo Town
Lake Bogoria in Baringo County is a popular tourist attraction site due to its active geyser. The geysers produce stream reach in sulphur compounds, which are believed to be medicinal. In the same area are not – which have been harnessed by the local noted industry.
Lake Baringo is, after Lake Turkana, the most northern of the Great Rift Valley lakes of Kenya, with a surface area of about 130 sq km. The lake is fed by two rivers, El Molo and Ol Arabel and has no obvious outlet, despite this it being one of the two freshwater lakes in the Rift Valley in Kenya, the other being Lake Naivasha. It lies off the beaten track in a hot and dusty setting and over 470 species of birds have been recorded there, occasionally including migrating flamingos.
The area is little affected by tourism and is situated at the southern end of a region of Kenya inhabited largely by pastoralist ethnic groups including Chamus, Rendille, Turkana and Kalenjin.
Fish stocks in the lake are now low and water levels have been reduced by droughts and over-irrigation. The lake has several small islands, by far the largest being Ol Kokwe Island. The main town on its shore is Loruk, while smaller settlements include Kampi ya Samaki.
Artifacts depicting the cultural history of the regions communities have been collected and are played in museums. Visitors to museums are over 2000 annually. These museums are strategically located along the northwestern tourist circuit.
3. Ruko conservancy
Ruko Conservancy is a 19,000 hectare area to the North and East of Lake Baringo, consisting of bushland and about 10 kms of shoreline. It includes the former Il Chamus village of Longicharo at the north eastern corner of the Lake, which has now been abandoned. The Conservancy was started in 2004 with the aim of bringing peace between the neighbouring communities of the Pokot and Il Chamus (Masai) who often clashed over grazing rights. The Il Chamus have been removed to neighboring areas while the Pokot are still resident within the Conservancy. The Pokot village of Komolion is just outside the western boundary of the Conservancy and is the administrative headquarters of the Conservancy. The Il Chamus village of Rugus is on the East side of the Conservancy and houses the rangers. The name Ruko is taken from the two names of Rugus and Komolion.
Things to do while in Baringo Town
Parks and Gardens in Baringo Kenya
The following are some of the parks and gardens as listed under the Baringo County Local Association of Tourist Operators
- The Tamarind Garden Lodgings and Restaurant
- Lake Baringo Boats & Excursions
- Labgas Bird Guides
- West Bay Campsite
- Kudu Campsite
- Lake Bogoria
- Lake Baringo
- Ruko Conservancy
The tamarind garden opened in June 2009. It is a charming and tranquil courtyard garden with 12 rooms fully unsuited and a relaxing bar and restaurant
Tourism and wildlife in Baringo Kenya
The region abounds with tourism potential as enumerated below
The region has picturesque landscapes that include among others;
1. Waterfalls: – Torok and Kessup in Keiyo county, Arror and Embobut in Marakwet county.
2. Cliffs: – Rondinin (Simut) and Kipngochoch in Baringo county and Kamriny in Keiyo county.
3. Valleys: – The great rift valley (Kerio valley and Suguta valley)
4. Hills/Escapement: – Cherangany hills in Marakwet and West Pokot county, Elgeyo Escapement in Keiyo county, Seker hills in Westpokot county, Tugen hills in Baringo county and Mogila hills in Turkana county.
5. Gorges: – Turkwel gorge in West Pokot county and Chebloch in Baringo and Keiyo countys border.
Wildlife in Baringo Kenya
The region is home to wide rage of wildlife which is a major tourism attraction. The main reserves and sanctuaries are lakes Bogoria, Baringo, Kapnarok, Nasolot, Saiwa swamp, Rimon and lake Turkana. The main type of wildlife includes Elephants, Buffaloes, Crocodile, Hippos and various birds. These are fond in national parks and reserves.
The game reserves and other attraction are popular both to local people and foreigners. Average numbers of annual visitors to game reserves in atypical year are averagely appreciating annually.
Economic activities in Baringo Town
The major farming activities include dairy farming and growing of maize, groundnuts, cotton and coffee. The remainder of the town is mainly rangelands with the rearing of goats, sheep, cattle and camels and bee keeping forming the major livestock activities.
The mean annual maximum temperature in Baringo Town ranges between 250 and 300 Celsius in the southern part. In the northern part, the temperature is about 300 and occasionally rises to over 350 Celsius. The hottest months are from January to March. The mean annual minimum temperature varies from 160 to 180 Celsius but can drop to as low as 100 Celsius in the Tugen Hills.
The main factor influencing the variations in temperature is the altitude. In the highlands of the Tugen Hills with an altitude of 2600mm, the temperatures are much lower than in the lowlands of Marigat, Kerio Valley and Nginyang where the altitude ranges between 762 and 1000m above sea level.
Accommodation and Hotels in Baringo Town
Island Camp Resort
Taidys Suits- Eldama Ravine
Peoples Paradise Sportsline Hotel
Valley Inn Hotel
4 DSem Acacia Accommodation
Education Institutions in Baringo Town
Baringo town has 349 Primary Schools, 34 Secondary Schools and 6 Tertiary training institutions (colleges, Polytechnics etc).
Enrolment of girls in Primary Schools is higher than that of boys while in secondary schools is lower than that of boys. The primary school going age population is growing fairly rapidly. The population of this age group was 80,230 in year 2009. The county will
therefore need to invest in the provision of education facilities to cater for the increasing demand bearing in mind that the gross enrollment rate is 90%.
For the secondary school going age group, the population was estimated at 34,140 by 2009. However the gross enrollment rate is low at 25% which means that the facilities are underutilized either due to high drop out rates or the fact that most students opt to join secondary schools outside the county. Both the primary and secondary school going age constitute 35.9% of the total population.
Health in Baringo Town
Baringo town has 89 health facilities distributed all over the county. Most of them are under-utilized due to lack of staff and equipment. The average distance to the nearest health centre is 15km.
The most prevalent diseases in the town are Malaria, upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) and Pneumonia. Thus programmes of Primary Health Care (PHC); and STI/STD including HIV/AIDS should be put in place.
The causes of infant deaths are due to respiratory diseases, pneumonia, malaria, worms and diarrhoea. In the Valley deaths are mainly due to malaria, while in the Highlands deaths are due to pneumonia and respiratory diseases. Another cause of mortality is the effect of HIV/AIDS leading to orphan-hood; single parents; child headed family, child labour and street children.
HIV/AIDs pandemic is not only a health problem but also a development issue as it encompasses socio-economic and cultural dimensions. As in the rest of the country, prevalence is higher in the Urban than in the rural areas with 90% of the infections being among the people aged between 15-49 years and 5-10% of the infections occurring in children under five years.
Most AIDs deaths are occur between the ages of 25-35 fro men and 20-30 for women which are the most productive age. HIV prevalence varies markedly between regions within the county but all regions are affected and over 40% of hospital beds are occupied by HIV/AIDs patients.
Culture/beliefs is promoting in-faction in salient way in the name of preserving culture. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is also contributing to HIV spread.