Nyeri County

Discover Nyeri County

Spatial Location of Nyeri County in Kenya
Spatial Location of Nyeri County in Kenya

Brief Overview of Nyeri County

The unexacting 153 kms journey from Nairobi to Nyeri via A2 Road is a joyous trip over an all year green belt, in parts of Kiambu, Muranga and Kirinyaga then arriving in Nyeri County. As you cross Muranga County, beyond Thika, the trip hereafter is, for the most parts, a drive up and down a series of rolling wooded hills with alternative valleys crossed by a network of rivers – all joining forces to become River Sagana and which lower down drains into River Tana. The roller-coaster ride commences with the most impressive valley that crosses the mighty River Tana at the bottom, before arriving at Sagana in Kirinyaga County. From Sagana, sited low at 4,041 ft., and one of the lowest regions in Kirinyaga, it is an unrelenting ascend to Karatina Town, at 6,128 ft., except for a small dip close to the turnoff to Baricho. Karatina is the southeast gateway town to Nyeri County.

From Karatina the roller-coaster ride resumes, in a trait carried across much of the landscape in Nyeri County. As you near Nyeri Town, 25 kms away, the Nyeri Hill, Mweiga Hill, Mount Kenya and Aberdare Range all appear in view. Infact, the butterfly-shaped Nyeri County is dominated by the large bulk of the dome-shaped Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range, the former skirting it along the outer half of the right wing and the latter on the outer half of the left wing. It is one of five counties whose border is thrust to the highest peak of Mount Kenya in company with Kirinyaga, Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi. The presence of these two outstanding natural landmarks gives it a unique topography and one of the surpassing landscapes in Kenya. This is a year round verdant country too.

Although we know that Nyeri is surrounded by the Aberdare Ranges and parts of the Mount Kenya National Park, Nyeri is still foremost an agricultural area.  Much of the land in the county is dominated by small and medium sized farms, all the way to its border in the north and northeast, where the open plains start and which further north set off the wildlife rich, grass-covered Laikipia Plateau.

View inside the Aberdare National Park near Nyeri Town.  Photo Courtesy of Tripadvisor
Aberdare National Park near Nyeri Town. Image Courtesy of Tripadvisor

Salient Features of Nyeri County

  • County Number 19
  • Area – 3356 km2
  • Altitude – 6128 ft
  • Major Towns – Karatina, Nyeri, Othaya
  • Borders – Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Meru, Laikipia, Muranga
Nyeri County Map

Brief History of Nyeri County

Shortly after completing Fort Hall (Muranga) in 1901, the British East African Company set their sights on Kikuyuland and, in no time, completed their third fort, at Nyeri. In 1902, led by R. Meinertzhagen, the BEA had marched a strong military force to Nyeri, meeting spirited resistance from native Kikuyu warriors led by Wangombe Wa Ihura. The Kikuyu were defeated. After Meinertzhagen’s victory a decision was reached to set up Nyeri Fort. In succession, the extension of Thika railway towards Nyeri began in 1923. After the establishment of a post, settlers and missionaries migrated into Nyeri, growing it to a trading centre for white settler farmers who farmed wheat, tea, and coffee. They also established Nyeri Club, the White Rhino Hotel, Outspan Hotel, and Aberdare Country Club.

Paxtu Museum (or Paxtu House) within Outspan Hotel.  Photo Courtesy
Paxtu Museum (or Paxtu House) at Outspan Hotel. Image Courtesy of NMK