Muranga County

Discover Muranga County

Confluence of Rivers Mathioya and Githugi.  Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor
Confluence of Rivers Mathioya and Githugi. Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Brief Overview of Muranga County

The fact that nearly 70% of the land in Muranga County is considered hilly and mountainous should obviously suggest that its roads are steep and winding, and a joy to drive on. In fact, the only topographical feature and landmarks sighted are the hillocks. What’s more, Muranga, which sits in the highlands of Central Kenya, is an evergreen belt of county marching on the fertile ‘Kikuyuland’ from near Blue Post Hotel in Thika up to Sagana, where it borders Kirinyaga County.

The terrain in Muranga County rises gradually from an altitude of 914 ms to the east to 3,353 ms along the slopes of the Aberdare Range, where the rugged and acclivitous landscape composed of scarped valleys punctuated by bulbous hills very often associated with Muranga is at full stride.  The highest regions, to the west, have a deeply dissected topography and are well drained by several goodly rivers like Mathioya and Maragwa which flow eastward to join with Tana River.

By the same token, the bulk of these valleys in Muranga County (some as deep as 100 ms) have sparkling streams and rivers flowing through them, most rising from Aberdare Forest and which offer both serenity and spectacular beauty. As you near Thika Town, and Kiambu, the rugged landscape evens off and rolls out into flatter plains.  It is bordered in the south by Kiambu, north by Nyeri, in the west by Nyandarua and in the east by Kirinyaga, Embu and Machakos Counties.

Salient Features of Muranga County

  • County Number 21
  • Area – 2558 km2
  • Altitude – 2998-11000 ft
  • Major Towns – Muranga, Kenol, Kiriani
  • Borders – Nyeri, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Embu, Kirinyaga, Machakos

Brief History of Muranga County

Muranga, originally known as Mbiri and later as Fort Hall, is the most centrally set area in Kikuyuland, and was the epicenter of sundry reforms of the colonial era.  Kikuyuland is bound by the four mountains of Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga), Ngong Hills (Kiri Mbiruiru), the Aberdares (Nyandarua), and Ol Donyo Sabuk Hill (Kia Njahi). In August 1900, Francis Hall arrived at Mbiri in company with a regiment of the East African Rifles and set base near present day Muranga. He named it Fort Hall. This signalled that the “colonial machinery” was in full gear. Although the imposition of colonial rule had much disruption to the socio-political system of the native Agikuyu, the agricultural economic enterprise of Muranga gained from the introduction of new farming techniques and crops, notably of tea which remains an important cash crop of Muranga. The reaction of colonial rule in the area had strands of consent and dissent, the majority of peasants and farm labourers offering resistance in one way or another between 1920 and 1952. During the pinnacle of the struggle for independence period, political conflicts taking class and ideological dimensions continued, with the loyalists or those who had benefited from the capitalist system emerging still as winners and had already been mingled into a socio economic and political class.

View of landscape in Muranga County.  Image Courtesy of Nation Media
Rugged landscape in Muranga County. Image Courtesy of Nation Media

Places of Interest in Muranga County

1. Ndakaini Dam

Although Ndakaini Dam sits in Muranga County, this is more associated with Kiambu because of its close proximity to Thika Town. It is sometimes known as Thika Dam. Commissioned in 1998 with a catchment area of 75 km2, Ndakaini Dam supplies 85% of residents in Nairobi with water. For sightseeing, Ndakaini Dam is a bijou fairyland often sold short. Situated 89 kms from Nairobi and 51 kms northwest of Thika Town, Ndakaini Dam offers beyond-compare serenity and solitude. At the same time, it is also a salutory musing to take note that this prepossessing dam set amidst a natural forest in the tranquil and blissful rural village of Gatanga is man-made. There is also the Muchiri’s Retreat for trippers looking to stay a night or two at Ndakaini Dam. It is located 51 kms from Thika along C67 Thika-Gatura Road; which terminates at Njambini-Flyover Junction.

Spatial Location of Ndakaini Dam in Muranga County
Spatial Location of Ndakaini Dam in Muranga County

2. Ndakaini Marathon

First run in 2004 towards the conservation of Ndakaini Dam, and still centered on this goal, Ndakaini Half Marathon whose course loops and bends around the Ndaikini Dam is traditionally run on the last weekend of September. Since the inception, more than 350,000 trees have been planted in the whole of Ndakaini area extending up to Aberdare Forest. Ndakaini Half Marathon brings together people of all ages and walks of life to take time off and share in a family fun day with competitive and fun marathons, sightseeing, conservation and much more.

3. Nyoka-Nyoka Run

As we now know, the good roadways in the western hilly region of Muranga are winding, oftentimes steeply looping through these hills. If, from Ndakaini Dam (at the southeastern corner of Muranga) you drive 27.5 kms northerly heading through Gatiani to Gacharage, you’ll arrive at the starting-point of Nyoka-nyoka Run: A snaking 35 kms jaunt on C70 Gacharage-Kangema Road. Of the winding roads in Muranga none, perhaps, is as exhilarating as this, and which, in equal parts, must have been a problematic for the engineers to piece together, yet, an absolute joy for the motorists. By design, the two-lane strip of blacktop creasing and hugging the hillocks the entire way is meant to make the idea of traveling across the region more attractive. On any given weekend, tens of motorists head out from Nairobi to Muranga in search of nostalgic drives. In recent times, the newly completed C70 section between Gacharage and Kangema has become the darling of many off-beat tailgating driving tours eke-named as the Muranga TT.

Drivers vantage along sections Nyoka-Nyoka. Published by Kevin Sunguti

4. Kakuzi Ranch

The 213 km2 Kakuzi Ranch noteworthy as the only extensive ranch in Muranga County is a privately-run ranch listed as a limited company at both the Nairobi Stock Exchange and the London Stock. Its core business is agriculture: farming avocados, pineapples, macadamia, horticulture, tea, coffee and timber, and the packaging of related products and beef ranching. 11 km2 are under joint project pineapple production with Del Monte – a world leader in the growing, canning and marketing of pineapples. Coffee has been produced on Kakuzi Ranch since 1919 as was one of two foremost crops grown here alongside sisal (which failed). The original 101 km2 of the current Kakuzi Ranch originated from land bought by Donald Seth-Smith around 1906. The central location for Kakuzi Ranch was christened Makuyu – the native name for fig trees seen at Makuyu Head Office. Along its entire stretch, from Ngeiya Valley Dam and Del Monte near Thika to Makuyu Town, Kakuzi Ranch provides pleasant farmland vistas especially of its commercial wood plantation lining Nairobi-Nyeri Road. Kakuzi Ranch also has different outlets that sell some of its products, mostly fruits in season and beef products. Then, there’s the 9-holes Makuyu Golf Club found on the outskirts of the Ranch and views of Ol Doinyo Sabuk or Mount Kilimambogo seen to the far east, if heading towards Nyeri. Its headquarters are located near Makuyu Town.

Spatial Distribution of Kakuzi Ranch in Muranga County
Spatial Distribution of Kakuzi Ranch in Muranga County

5. Makuyu Golf Club

Launched in 1933 with its first tournament held the following year in 1934, the 9-hole Makuyu Golf Club featuring more browns that greens is set just outside the A1 Nairobi-Nyeri Road at Makuyu. The 90-acres covered by the golf club, and completely enclosed by the Kakuzi Ranch, is privately held. The 9-hole golf course measuring 5,447 yards is played to a par 70. One of its highlights is the backdrop of Ol Donyo Sabuk (Mount Kilimanjaro) and the wooded landscape around Kakuzu Ranch. Makuyu Golf Club offers various kinds of membership including single-day membership access. In hosts Carnival Golf Tournament in May. Other amenities: club house, badminton, volleyball, lawn tennis and darts.

6. Makuyu Ridge

The proposed multi-billion Makuyu Ridge project to be rolled out on 1,000 km2 in proximity to Makuyu Town, will be, on realization, Muranga’s premier living, leisure and recreation development. Phase 1 of Makuyu Ridge, which consists of the construction of its infrastructure, mapping of its golf course and developing of its club houses was anticipated to take three years from the commencement in February of 2016. Some of the key highlights at Makuyu Ridge include its 18-hole world-class golf course, its shopping mall, its convention hub, its multiple eco-lodges and its polo stadium. It is located 8.1 kms east of Makuyu Township.

7. Mathioya Dam

Having arrived at Muranga Town at one or other of two main routes (Kabati-Maragua-Muranga or Sagana-Muranga) the visitor is entitled to explore many places of interest in the county including the Aberdare Range, where there are delightful fishing camps. About 4 kms west of the main Muranga Town along Manyeki Road at Gatheru lies the Mathioya Dam, which is a part of KenGen’s Wanjii Power Station. Commissioned in 1952, this is a run-of-river plant with a small sized dam having low water storage capacity. It has Mathioya Dam on Mathioya River and Maragua Dam on Maragua River. The headwaters for these two rivers is the Aberdare Forest. The station has a total capacity of 7.4MW. Units 1 and 2 are each rated at 2.7MW and they get their water from Mathioya River through a tunnel that is 5.2 kms long and runs under Murang’a Town. The water from these machines flows into Maragua River. Units 3 and 4 are fed by Maragua River. A project to update and upgrade the units was awarded to Voith Hydro Germany. Site installation work was planned to begin in July 2019.

8. Fort Hall

Ethnographically, the constitution of the area we now call Muranga is thought to have begun around 1600, when the Agikuyu first settled around the densely forested western region, and displaced the sparse hunter and gatherer Gumba Tribe, who retreated deep into the forest when the new-comers started to clear the land extensively for agriculture. There were likely no Dorobo in the district. Land acquisition was influnced by the ridge and valley topography of the area, the area first cleared is known to have been the favourable belt between 5,000 feet and 6,000 feet, the middle zone. “The process of the clearance of the forest was probably a slow and gradual one. For instance it is possible that Metumi, that part of Murang’a District north of the Maragwa River, was fully occupied by 1750, and that Kariua, the area of Murang’a District between the Maragwa River and the Chania River was fully occupied by 1900.” In time, the patriarchal system of governing from the basic family (nyumba) to extended family (mbari) and close clans (mihiriga) and community (itura) level became well established as the populace thrived in farming and trade with the Akamba and Maasai. In principle, land was owned by mbari (clan) and its administration was entrusted to a muramati (guardian or custodian) who was the nominal head of the mbari.

The imposition of colonial rule in Muranga District got underway around 1900, preceded by the activities of adventurers like John Bayes. In June, 1898, John Bayes (nicknamed Karianjahi) called on Tuthu, on the off-chance of trading in food for Kabete, the chief source of food for caravans and the railway party that had been hit hard by a famine. Karianjahi found a strong ally in the person of Karuri wa Gakure, and he started supplying Naivsha with provisions and later started dealing with ivory. Karuri – born and raised in Kigumo area of Muranga – earned his living by selling red ochre and playing the role of medicine-man in Kiambu. He had also begun organizing armed trading caravans with his close age-mates who conveyed yams and red ochre to Kabete, Kikuyu and Naivasha where these were exchanged for coastal items like cloth, beads, bracelets, metal leg-bands, and sea-shells, which he brought back to his home area and sold to the people at huge profits. During these trading expeditions, Karuri had come across Kinyanjui wa Gathirimu who had already made friendship with the white man. Karuri also wanted to make friendship with a white man. He paid several visits to Francis Hall and J. Ainsworth and by 1898 had visited Machakos and Fort Smith. Karuri’s wish to have a whiteman at his home was met when in one of his caravan trips to Kabete he met Karianjahi with whom they begun trading.

Karianjahi and Karuri started interfering in local affairs and Karuri encouraged Karianjahi to hammer at his enemies, or those objected to their joint activities. Karianjahi used a uniformed private army of Swahili and Kabete askari, and he flew the Union Jack during all his expeditions. He called himself the “King of Wakikuyu.” He was arrested by Hall on November 19th, 1900. After Karianjahi left, Karuri was appointed a chief by Hall and he was made the first Paramount chief of the Northern Kikuyu Land Unit in 1912. He remained so until his death in 1916. The work of establishing colonial rule in Murang’a District was carried out by Francis Hall. In August of 1900 Hall left Machakos with some 40 armed porters and a company of East African Rifles to ground in a station in Murang’a District. A quarter of a mile from the Mathioya River and 300 feet above it, on one of the wooded summits of Mbiri, a name given to three adjoining hills near Muranga Town, he commenced to build a fort, later nicknamed Fort Hall. He started ‘pacifying’ the inhabitants and he received resistance and opposition in many regions especially from Ngararia, Ruchu, Gatanga, Kariara and Muruka. Each attack on trading caravans or colonial interest was countered with stern retribution, in one incidence a strong expedition consisted of 5 British Officers, 115 askari, about 300 Maasai levies plus several Kikuyu levies being dispatched.

9. Muranga (St. James & All Martyrs) Churchyard

After pacification, the white settlers began to farm on land which was alienated from the Kikuyu. Resistance in Muranga was also weakened by collaborators such as Karuri Gakure and his chiefs like Karanja Njiiri who aided the settlers to establish their rule. Before the end of the First World War, the total amount of land in Muranga District was estimated to be 1,754 km2. This was divided up into 338 km2 of un-alienated land, 193 km2 of Forest Reserve, 257 km2 of farm area and 255 km2 of Native Reserve. Despite many failures, some settlers were able to progress. Swift and Rutherford had a factory in full working order and a large sisal estate in Thika. Sisal Limited erected a factory and increased their area under cultivation. Coffee estates were started by Cunningham and Trotter, Foncus, Elkington, and Gooch and Tayeer and Posho Limited put in a large area of beans and erected machinery for dealing with their crop. At Muranga (St. James & All Martyrs) Churchyard in Muranga Town, near Muranga Law Courts and a hundred yards South of Fort Hall Police Office, is a civil cemetery with the singular grave of John Edward Blois Heron Maxwell, who died at Fort Hall on May 20th, 1925, and the only recorded casualty and memorial from World War One in the area. The inscritopn on the headstone reads: John Edward Blois / HERON-MAXWELL / elder son of / Edward James HERON-MAXWELL / died 20th May 1925 aged 25 / “until the day breaks and the shadows flee away”.

10. Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga

Mythologized as the Agikuyu’s hamlet of origin, its mystique has attracted the attention of ethnographers and culture enthusiasts, not least because, it was the central dispersal point for the Gikuyu after arrival at Kikuyuland. The hallowed homestead of Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga, also known as ‘kihumo gia Gikuyu na Mumbi,’ consists of a series of traditionally built huts and the obligatory sacred Mukuyu ‘fig’ tree. Ancient Gikuyu traditions hold the ‘Mugumo trees’ as sacred. It is thought the spirit of deities, especially of the ancestors, live on in these fig trees. As the myth tells, God or Ngai descended Gikuyu and his wife Mumbi on the eden of Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga and blessed them with ten daughters, nine of whom gave rise to the populous Kikuyu Community. While many people decry that Gikuyu is a complex culture, it all boils down to the nine clans where every Kikuyu has roots. For millennia, the clan set up, based on the nine houses of Gikuyu, was the keystone of most relations specially marriages. It is found at Gakuyu, 52 from Thika and 12 kms west of Muranga University of Technology.

Spatial Location of Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga in Muranga County
Spatial Location of Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga in Muranga County

11. Karia ka Mbari ya Ngware

Granted that the Karia ka Mbari ya Ngware Shrine is often overshadowed by the Mukurwe wa Nyagathnga just alluded to, this still holds immense cultural significance and history on the origin of the Gikuyu. As its name suggests and which translates to ‘descendant of the earliest family’, it has a deep connection with the origin of Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga. From time to time, Gikuyu Elders conduct ritualistic sacrifices and prayer ceremonies at this shrine, reminiscent of those mounted at Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga to thank or appease the deities.

12. Tuthu Catholic Church

The enchanting history of Tuthu Catholic Church dates back to 1902 when this officially became the first Catholic Mission to be established in Central Kenya, or Kikuyuland. Its inaugural service was deservedly held under a Mugumo tree, hitherto maintained as the religious shrines. “In 1902, the Catholic Consolata fathers had been invited to Tuthu, on the slopes of the Aberdare Range, by local chief Karuri wa Gakure – one of the first converts in central Kenya”. Forthwith, the first Church completed in 1908 was dedicated as a goodwill gesture to Chief Karuri Gakuru; who at the time was also guiding the caravan of missioners through Kenya en-route Ethiopia. This Church was dismantled during the Mau Mau insurgency. The present-day edifice of Tuthu Church was opened around 1916. It is situated 40 kms west of Muranga University of Technology, at Tuthu.

Although he was the first to be baptised, some locals kept away from mass baptism after a rumour that one was put into a drum full of water and left there overnight.

13. Kenya Fly Fishers (Southern Camp)

“The phenomenal big game sea fishing off the Kenyan coast is only one of four things which tempt fishermen from all over the world. The second is that Kenya offers as much, if not more, variety in a relatively compact area than nearly all places on earth. The third is that fishing, of one kind or another, is an all-year-round sport. And the fourth is that it is surprisingly economical, nearly all the fishing waters being accessible through the normal touring facilities” – H.J. Reuter. For the trout fisherman, the Aberdare Reserve with its scores of good streams, running down through Muranga, is a favourite haunt for fly fishing. Most of Kenya’s trout fishing (for brown or rainbow) is to be found in the highland of Aberdare above the 6,000 ft. level, in beautiful surroundings of forested glade and sparkling streams. At higher altitudes the trout are usually small, averaging about three quarters of a lb. but as you descend they gain in weight. One of the great launches in Muranga is Kenya Fly Fishers’ Southern Camp, just south of Tuthu Catholic Church, run by the Kenya Fly Fishers’ Club.

They maintain two traditional hutted camps, each set in three acres of peaceful gardens with a river frontage. Each is built around a central clubhouse with a comfortable dining room and lounge, log fire, deep arm chairs and sofas and an abundance of piscatorial literature. A cook and houseboy manage the kitchen and stores. Cooking is by gas and lighting by electricity. Sleeping arrangement is in four traditional log bandas. Each has two comfortable beds, and a small washroom. There is also a central washing block with hot running water for showers and bathing. The camps are extremely comfortable, but offer a feel of the ‘early years’. Visitors must carry their food and bed linen, in addition to fishing tackle and binoculars. The Club’s beats begin on the edge of Aberdare Forest and run down through the upper reaches of Kikuyu tea-country for some twelve kilometres. Fishing is from both banks on the Northern Mathioya and Gichugi Rivers, where the water is sparkly-clean, and the birdlife incomparable.

Stocking the Northern Mathioya & Gichuki – Kenya Fly Fishers Club

14. Manguyo Falls

Muranga’s compact size makes touring to its places of interest relatively easy. Another great advantage it holds is the aspect that the A1 Nairobi-Nyeri Road straddles a long section of its eastern boundary with many exits to the interior. Some of the popular exit feeder roads include the C70 Kabati-Kaharati Road, Kangari-Kaharati Road and the C71 Kabati-Muranga-Tuthu Road. The latter terminates at Kangema and Tuthu at the slopes of Aberdare Range where the Manguyo Falls in located. Forest wardens are at hand at Tuthi Forest Station to guide hikers to the falls, or use local guides to help find your way there. The trail through the forest, crossed by several streams on the way, switches backs from bamboo and pine patches over a rough underfoot that’s oftentimes mud-caked. As you near the falls, after about an hour or so walk through the forest, the trail becomes steeper as you navigate across the vales (scrambling through some), and the beckoning sound of the falls can be heard. It takes on average eight hours (round-trip) to explore Manguyo Falls. Sturdy walking shoes, plenty of drinking water and snacks, and a very good watch for weather, are necessary.

Unveiling Manguyo Falls. Published by Deep Valley Frontiers

15. Aberdare Range

The entire 80 kms western boundary of Muranga County from near Ndakaini Dam through Tuthu to Ruru Centre is fringed by the Aberdare Range; originally known as Kikuyu or Nyandarua Range. Over the Range sits Nyandarua County. Generally speaking, Aberdare Range is composed of an elongated massif which stretches for 160 kms from Kiambu to the end of Nyandarua County. Reaching 3,999 ms at its highest peak of Ol Doinyo Lesatima, it forms part of the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley. The center of interest at the Aberdare Range and Forests is the 762 km2 Aberdare National Park in Nyeri County venerated as a gallery of rare alpine flora, waterfalls on icy rivers and spectacular wildlife. In Muranga, the areas around Kangema and Mathioya are known for the rampant human-wildlife conflict especially with elephants that wander from Aberdare Forest. Both these regions, whose scarped landscape is typified by miles upon miles of picturesque tea plantations, are home to the legendary winding roads of Muranga County. They are also home to some great weekend hideout camps.

16. Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge

Situated at the doorstep of the wildly-spectacular Aberdare Range close to Ruru Centre, the snugly Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge complete with health-giving alpine views was inspired by a dream to create a symbiosis between man and nature, set up on a 10-acres property with its 5 cabin-style cottages built on a beautifully-appointed side of a hill overlooking the river, sprawling tea farms and hills. Private verandas overlook this reposeful view. For the fisherman and bird lover, this hidden escape offers both, and by evening a peaceful nest. Here, the halcyon rural bliss, crisp air, and country views make headlines. Moreover, and most magical of all its splendors, is the soothing sound of River Mathioya as it drifts along, catching the light with a graceful radiant glint, and which, in pleasant weather, is a enjoyable launch to walk, fish and swim. A walk along the river through the forest offers an intimate encounter with nature. It is located in Ruru at Gacharageini Village near Gitereki Tea Center, via Njumbi-Mioro Road.

Spatial Location of Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge in Muranga County
Spatial Location of Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge in Muranga County

17. Kimakia Tea Cottage

Formerly known as Kimakia Fishing Camp, this is located on the ridge between Chania and Kimakia Rivers at the edge of Aberdare Forest. From here anglers can reach Chania, Kimakia and Thiba Rivers. The cottage itself is a furnished three-rooms house with hot and cold water exceptionally-set deep in a valley overlooking the Aberdare Forest Reserve, tea farms and Chania River. Although Kimakia Tea Cottage is self-catering, it is manned by a cater-taker and a cleaner who can assist with site orientation and supply firewood, washing, cleaning and other basic tasks. It’s located along Thika-Gatura Road within Kiarutara Village.

18. Stanley’s Haven

The fast-growing economy and infrastructure in Muranga has brought with it a progressive hospitality industry with a commendable number of middle-budget hotels and resorts taking root around the County. Among them, is the tastefully designed Stanley’s Haven located just a short drive outside Muranga Town, its largest and busiest. It is ideal as a day-outing spot or a jumping-off place from where to explore Muranga County. Some of the highlights include: its variety of rooms (cottages, bungalows and family rooms), gardens, swimming pool and a children area. Stanley’s Haven is found at Mukuyu, along Kenol-Muranga Road.

19. Sagana Getaway Retreat

Sagana Getaway Retreat, the popular resort and conference centre set up on a beautifully-appointed prominence overlooking a countryside dotted with rolling hills and plains as far eye can see, is today a well-sought weekend retreat loved for its romantic landscape hidden within the wooded landscape and with access to the Tana River which feeds its big dam. Trippers to Sagana Getaway Retreat can enjoy a variety of suites – deluxe, triple, superior – all with lovely views out of private large ceiling high windows and state-of-the-art amenities. There is a child-friendly play area and pretty pool. It is found at Sagana along Nyeri Road.

View at the Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge.  Photo Courtesy of Hikersbay
Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge. Image Courtesy of Hikersbay

Geography of Muranga County

The topography and geology of Muranga County is both an asset and liability to its development. The highest areas form the rain catchment areas from where most of rivers draining it originate. The terrain is highly dissected, creating the menace of landslides and gulley erosion. The numerous streams and valleys necessitate the construction of numerous bridges to connect one ridge to the other, which is difficult and expensive. Its rich volcanic soils are generally fertile and important for agriculture, particularly suitable for tea growing. The highest areas to the west have dissected topography and are drained by several rivers. All flow from the Aberdare Range to the west south eastward to join Tana River.

Land Use in Muranga County

Muranga has a wide range of land use, because of its wide Agro Ecological Zone range. The forests occupy the highest grounds. Cash crops immediately follow the forests. Horticultural and subsistence crops are found in the mid and lower zones.  The major cash crops in Muranga County include tea, coffee, avocado, mangoes and macadamia. Horticultural crops include tomatoes, kales, spinach and French beans; while subsistence crops include maize, bananas, potatoes and cassava. Population pressure has engendered settlements along the steep slopes of Aberdare, which have softer soils and cliffs that succumb to gravity when the soil becomes too wet to hold together resulting in repeated landslides.

Highlights in Muranga County

Muranga County has no National Game Parks or National Reserves. However, there’s potential for harnessing the existing cultural and historical sites. Among the major sites includes Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga and Tuthu Church. These have the potential to attract large number of tourist due to the richness of their historical, once sufficient marketing and improvement of feeder roads are done.

Population in Muranga County

According to the 2009 Population and Housing Census, Muranga recorded a population of 936,228 persons consisted of 451,751 males and 484,477 females, with an annual growth rate of just 0.4% – projected to rise to 947,530 in 2012; 958,969 in 2015 and 966,672 persons in 2017.  Kandara constituency has the highest population density of 672 persons / km2, closely followed by Kigumo constituency with 517 persons / km2 . The third is Kangema, with a population density of 449 persons / km2, which is followed by Kiharu constituency with 447 persons/ Km2. Mathioya has the lowest population density of 254 persons / km2 following both Gatanga and Maragwa with 276 and 282 persons / km2.  

View of the Kimakia Tea Cottage at Kiarutara Village.  Photo Courtesy of Langata Links
Kimakia Tea Cottage at Kiarutara Village. Image Courtesy of Langata Links

Airports in Muranga County

There is no established air strip in the county; however plans are underway to construct an airstrip at Kambirwa in Kiharu constituency. It is served by JKIA.

Roads in Muranga County

Murang’a County has 2,934 kms of road. Of these 387.5 kms are bituminized, 1313 kms are gravelled and 1234 kms are earth surface. Most roads are sinuous.

Climate in Muranga County

Muranga has two rainfall seasons: long rains in March-May and hhort rains in October-November. The highest amount of rainfall is recorded in the month of April, and reliability of rainfall during this month is very high. The highest potential areas receive an average annual rainfall of between 1400 mm and 1600 mm. Low potential receive rainfall less than 900 mm per annum. Rainfall in high and medium potential areas is reliable and well distributed throughout the year and is adequate for cultivation. However on low potential areas rainfall is unevenly distributed and unsuitable for cash crop production. Temperatures vary with altitude. In the eastern lower areas, maximum annual temperatures range between 26°C and 30°C while the minimum annual temperature range between 14°C and 18°C. In the western area, which is mostly high altitudes, the minimum temperatures can be as low as 6°C, but at no time rising over 26°C.

Muranga County Distance Chart
Muranga County Distance Chart

Section of Ndakaini Dam.  Photo Courtesy of Pinterest
Section of Ndakaini Dam. Image Courtesy of Pinterest

National Monuments in Muranga County

  1. Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga
  2. Fort Hall

Muranga County Map

Muranga County Map