Vihiga County


Discover Vihiga County

Spatial Location of Vihiga County in Kenya
Spatial Location of Vihiga County in Kenya

Brief Overview of Vihiga County

25 kms northwest of Kisumu City at Maseno commences the pocket-sized and populous Vihiga County. In spite of the fact that it is in the heart of the tropics, astraddle the equator, the climate over most of Vihiga, thanks to its altitude, is unusually pleasant.  On the map it appears as an oval outlined with an unsteady hand, wedged in-between Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega and Nandi Counties, with Kakamega and Kaimosi Forests marking its extreme eastern frontier. Given its middling strategic spot Vihiga County has a bonanza of lines of communication.

In the west, it is crossed by Kisumu-Busia Road through Maseno and Luanda. It’s also crossed down the middle by Kisumu-Kakamega Road through Majengo and Chavakali. The latter branches out at Gisambai with a primary road aiming northwest for Mudete. Fabulous scenery en-route, especially over the shoulder of Maragoli Hill, past Majengo, and the subsequent Bunyore Hills. As its names suggests (translating to rocks) are the abounding granite rocks and formations seen all-around its picturesque rolling landscape, and the emblematic hallmark.

A trip to Vihiga’s beautiful hills and valleys with many streams flowing through them is an unforgettable experience of splendid sights. On the higher reaches of these hillsides are views of Kisumu and Lake Victoria in the distant background. One of the intangible attractions at Vihiga County is emphatically the sprightly cultural calisthenics.  Vihiga, one of the most populous rural Counties of Kenya, is home to the Maragoli tribe (a sub-groups of Luhya) who on cultural diversity and distinctions are the most interesting group in Kenya. A short distance from Mungoma Cave, one can visit the original home of the famous Maragoli People.

View of the rocky Vihiga County.  Photo Courtesy of Amusivwa Amos
View of the rocky Vihiga County. Image Courtesy of Amusivwa Amos

Salient Features of Vihiga County

  • County Number 38
  • Area – 531 km2
  • Altitude – 1300 to 1800 ms
  • Major Towns – Luanda, Mbale, Maseno, Serem
  • Borders – Nandi, Kakamega, Siaya, Kisumu
Vihiga County Map

Brief History of Vihiga County

Vihiga District was hived-off from the former larger Kakamega District. Vihiga is also synonymous with the rapt Tiriki tribe (another sub-tribe of the robust Luhya community) who reside principally in Hamisi and who migrated in from Mount Elgon. Their lingo and cultural traditions are most similar to those of the Bongomek Society.  Before colonialism, the communities of Vihiga had defined their boundaries based on occupation of each; each region and each community having it own unique jurisdiction, language, customs, lifestyles, and leadership.

View atop the rocky Maragoli Hills, overlooking Maseno.  Photo Courtesy of Dala Adventures
Maragoli Hills, overlooking Maseno. Image Courtesy of Dala Adventures