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Rift Valley
Type of Location
About Location

Eldoret is a town in western Kenya and the administrative centre of Uasin Gishu District of Rift Valley Province.Lying south of the Cherangani Hills, the local elevation varies from about 2100 metres above sea level at the airport to more than 2700 metres in nearby areas (7000–9000 feet). The population was 193,830 in 1999 (census), and it is currently the fastest growing town in Kenya, and currently the 5th largest 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 African 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.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.

On January 1, 2008 a mob attacked and set fire to a church in the town, where hundreds of people had taken refuge during Kenyan massacres. As a result, up to 40 people, mostly Kikuyus, were burned to death.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 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 International Airport serves the city and was voted the cleanest airport in the country in 2001.The Trans -African highway also passes through the town.It is also served by the Kenya-Uganda railway.Eldoret is also home to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)'s High Altitude Training Center for Kenyan and international athletes.

How to Reach

By Air

Eldoret International Airport serves the city and was voted the cleanest airport in the country in 2001.The Trans -African highway also passes through the town.It is also served by the Kenya-Uganda railway.

By Bus

The main bus and matatu stand is in the centre of town, by the market.Regular matatus/Peugeots serve Kisumu (matatus/Peugeots KSh250/300, 2 hours), Nakuru (KSh200/400, 2 hours) and Nairobi (KSh400/700, six hours).Buses duplicate these routes.Lakamba (Moi St) buses to Nairobi (KSh500) deaprt at 10.30am and 9pm, via Nakuru (KSh250).There are also services to Kampala at noon (KSh1000, six hours) and midnight (KSh1150).

Key places to visit
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, Elmenteita Weavers, Mount Kenya, Kakamega National Reserve


Places to Visit

Crater Lake Game Sanctuary

Surrounding a beautiful volcanic crater lake, on the western side of Lake Naivasha and north of the village of Kongoni, is the small Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, with many trails including one for hikers along the steep but diminutive crater rim. Besides the impressive 150 bird species recorded here, giraffes, zebras and other plains wildlife are also regular residents. While walking, remember that buffaloes lurk in the woods.The tiny jade-green crater lake is held in high regard by the local Maasai, who even believe its water helps soothe ailing cattle.

Elmenteita Weavers

Visit Elmenteita Weavers and you'll see weavers producing hand-woven rugs, carpets, kangas (printed cotton wraparounds), baskets and the like.Prices reflect the high quality.

Mount Kenya

It is a broad, largely symmetrical volcanic cone whose diameter at base is about 120km.It sits astride the equator it’s icy summit reaches to 10,058ft.It was formed between 2.6 and 3.1 million years ago by eruptions of successive layers of volcanic lava and agglomerates from central vent in the earths’ surface.A fine example of this type of formation can be seen on the hike down to “The Gates” on the Chogoria route.All of the mountain above the 3200m contour forms a National Park.The mountain consists of three principal zones; the rocky peak area, with it’s mantle of glaciers and snowfields; the alpine zone with it’s distinctive giant vegetation; and the vast gentle lower slopes drenched in mountain forest and bamboo jungle. Mt.Kenya is climbed at all times of the year.However if possible, it is best to try to avoid the rainy seasons that may start in mid March and last through till mid June (the long rains), and the short rains from late October through till end of December.The driest times on the mountain are usually January till mid March and again July through mid October.

Kakamega National Reserve

This is the only remnant in Kenya of the once great tropical rainforest that stretched across Central Africa.As a relic of this African Equatorial jungle it is now famous around the world for being home to several hundred species of birds, snakes, insects, monkeys and other mammals, as well as countless tree species.

Right Time to Visit

March - June
July - October


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