West Pokot County


Discover West Pokot County

Spatial Location of West Pokot County in Kenya
Spatial Location of West Pokot County in Kenya

Brief Overview of West Pokot County

West Pokot County set along Kenya’s western boundary with Uganda has great variation in its topographic features. The southern region is situated within the splendid Cherangani Hills Forest Reserve and its northeastern region stretches towards the plains of Turkana. In between these two extremes from 3,000 ft asl in the south to just 900 ft nearby the parched plains of Turkana are spectacular escarpments, mountains ranges, flat floodplains and wide rivers flowing along the taper deep valleys. Formerly inaccessible owing to dismal roads penetrating the county, successive Governments have brought substantial improvements to its network of roads and good roads now link its major towns. Because of these gainful changes, West Pokot County is now opened up for tourism, and tourists.

West Pokot County is blessed with many outstanding wonders rarely captured in travel books. So much so, it has been christened the land of hidden treasures, a title justified by unprecedented breathtaking scenery seen across the county. North to south, West Pokot stretches 132 km and aside from the contrasting scenery seen in the north and south, to the east, rises the legendary mountains and several epic ranges which carry a fantastic and unique scenery with superb ranges like Cherangani, Chemerongit and Sekerr. The twin towns of Makutano and Kapenguria, where its economic and political life is focused, largely remain quiet, despite being connected by a good tarmac road to the busier Kitale Town.

From Kitale Town, the journey to Kapenguria en-route Lodwar passes through Chepareria, its second urban centre. It’s a wildly scenic drive often underrated. Furthest west, the region is naturally bounded by the striking escarpments that continue into Uganda. Unlike other rangy areas in Kenya, the chains of hillocks and ranges in West Pokot could almost be said to hold the unrivaled element of surprise. Very few of its ranges have been fully explored. It has an abundance of hillocks which have not been touched by the hiker. Due to the huge differences in altitude and poor accessibility in remote West Pokot, these ranges have but remained lonesome despite their tourism potential, and the roads less travelled.

View of the captivating Turkwel Gorge.  Photo Courtesy County of Hidden Treasures
The enthralling Turkwel Gorge. Image Courtesy of County Hidden Treasures

Salient Features of West Pokot County

  • County Number 24
  • Area – 9169 km2
  • Altitude – 4921 ft
  • Major Towns – Kapenguria, Makutano
  • Borders – Turkana, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo
West Pokot County Map

Brief History of West Pokot County

Before independence West Pokot was hitherto dubbed West Suk District. Kara Suk (later Karapokot) was the area to north and west of Suam River, and East Suk, later East Pokot, the northern part of Baringo District. Large tracts of land to the south of Kapenguria Town, in the present day Trans Nzoia County, had to be abandoned when the Pokot People were forced to make room for European settlement since the 1920’s. This period is still known to the Pokot elders as the time of “Konyi Kwenda” or the “Period of Kwenda”, which is Kiswahili for “Go”.

Turkwel Dam near Nasolot National Reserve. Photo Courtesy of KenGen
Turkwel Dam near Nasolot National Reserve. Image Courtesy of KenGen