Nyamira County


Discover Nyamira County

Spatial Location of Nyamira County in Kenya
Spatial Location of Nyamira County in Kenya

Brief Overview of Nyamira County

Most travellers arrive in the modest County of Nyamira by day, which, as many will suggest, is exactly when the place looks at its absolute best. By nighttime, leaving out its three busy townships, Nyamira is almost a dead-quiet boondocks and feels strangely desolate. Inexplicable, trivial, tawdry and unrevealed. But by day, with the African sun glowing high above, it looks like a gorgeous farmland village. Its ample hillscapes are full with life and loud with a selection of music, machinery and with chatter of friendly folk. A riot of farms sprawl the country, packed to the hilltop where permitted, people farming, laughing, some carrying produce and still others selling along the streets. All around the bucolic setting of Nyamira life begins to wind down in the early evening hours, and the streets feel quiet and peaceful as the terraced surface of its hills disappear into the cold grey of the night. All for the process to begin new each day as it has for millenia.

Kiabonyoru, Nyabisimba, Nkoora, Kemasare Hills and the jazzy Emanga Ridge are the most prominent hillscape formations within Nyamira County. The lower zones comprise of swampy, wetlands and valley bottoms while the upper zones are dominated by its farms. The high altitude areas are conducive for growth of tea that is the important cash crop and revenue earner within Nyamira County. In more ways than one, the relatively small Nyamira County and next door Kisii Counties are similar – topographically and culturally – with both these counties being exemplified by an elevated and hilly topography, much of which is under cultivation and supported by rather plenteous rains distributed throughout the year. It just so happens Nyamira was at one time a part of Kisii District. While Kisii County marches westerly from Rongo in Migori County, Nyamira County marches eastwards from near Kisii Town to Sotik in Bomet County, and then northerly to Sondu in Kericho County. Nyamira holds the logistical upper-hand over its motherland with the busy B3 Mai Mahiu-Kaplong-Kisii Road and Kisii-Kisumu Road looping around it along its southern, eastern and northern limits.

Similarly, one of the prominent features shared by these two counties is Gucha River, which rises in Kiabonyoru Hill in the northeastern area of Nyamira near Nyamira Town. River Gucha and its main tributary River Migori flows for 175 kms before draining into Lake Victoria. Gucha drains a catchment area of 2,196 km2 mainly in Nyamira and Kisii. Although the upper part of the Gucha River has been heavily harnessed for water supply and development around Kisii and Nyamira Towns, and recently Keroka Town, it remains one of its more striking features.  Some highlights along the Gucha River include Keera and Gogo Falls.

View of a hillscape in Nyamira County.  Photo Courtesy of Gusii Online
View of a hillscape in Nyamira County. Image Courtesy of Gusii Online

Salient Features of Nyamira County

  • County Number 46
  • Area – 899 km2
  • Altitude – 1250 to 2100 ms
  • Major Towns – Nyamira, Keroka, Nyansiongo
  • Borders – Bomet, Kisii, Homabay, Kericho
Map of Nyamira County

Brief History of Nyamira County

Nyamira was originally part of Kisii District. It was hived-off in 1989 as part of the formation of new districts in Kenya that took place between 1969 and 1989, growing the number of the then districts from 40 to 46. Nyamira, which is also known as North-Kisii, is a thriving agricultural area much like Kisii, producing rated crops like tea and bananas. And much of the history of Nyamira County is interlinked with the origination of town within Kisii, by and large established by British soldiers who were being forced to retreat from Lake Victoria by heavy gunfire from German franchise gun-boats during the warfares of the early 20th Century. Later, Kisii Town was picked out as the District Headquarters for the larger South Nyanza and larger Kisii District, giving it impetus to grow rapidly.

View of the Keera Falls in Rangenyo.  Photo Courtesy
View of the Keera Falls in Rangenyo. Image Courtesy of WikiMedia