Laikipia County is one of the 47 counties of Kenya located on the equator in the former Rift Valley Province. The county has two major urban centers: Nanyuki to the southeast and Nyahururu to the southwest. The main economic activities in the county are tourism and agriculture. The county has a cool temperate climate with both rainy and dry seasons. Laikipia, which means treeless plain in Maa language, is a vast plain where different kinds of wildlife, including the big five roam freely on the rangelands.
Nanyuki is home to breathtaking landscape and spectacular backdrop of the snowcapped Mount Kenya, It is an ideal holiday destination with modern hotels and resorts to fit any visitor’s budget. The town hosts the main Kenya Air Force airbase and the British Army Training camp. It’s always booming with business activity as residents strive to satisfy the needs of tourists and army officers who reside in the town.
Nyahururu town came about due to the Thompson Falls in the nearby Ewaso Nyiro River. The town is also an important player in the milk processing sector because of the dairy farming activities in the area. It is also known for its large production and trading of fresh farm produce like peas, potatoes and carrots, which are then transported to major towns.
Laikipia is a county with different landscapes and climatic zones. It is popular for its abundant wildlife, where you find endangered species like the Bongo and the African wild dog. Laikipia has several private ranches that frequently organize fun activities and memorable trips.
Some of these activities include fishing, horseback and helicopter safaris which give visitors a chance to have a bird’s view of the landscape. Some places of interest include Solio Ranch, Oljogi Ranch, Ol Pejeta Ranch and Borana Ranch.
Laikipia County constitutes three constituencies; Laikipia West, Laikipia East and Laikipia North.
The People of Laikipia County
The county’s population according to the 2009 National Census is 399,227 with males forming 49.8% while female form 50.2% of the population. With multiple ethnic communities, the Kikuyus and Maasai communities form the largest portion of its residents. Other tribes mainly Borana, Samburu, Kalenjin, Meru, Somali, Turkana, European and Asian settlers are the resident minorities.
Religion and Traditional Culture
Laikipia County has different religions, but Christian and Muslim are the principal religions. The pastoralist communities have cultures which suit their nomadic lifestyle, while the agricultural communities have different cultures suitable to their way of life. For example everything about the Samburu revolves around the livestock and warfare. This means that they have to move from one area to another in search of pasture for their livestock and engage in raids amongst themselves and with neighboring tribes especially the Turkana in a bid to recover their stolen cattle. Most of the communities have gender division of labor depending on activities they engage in on a daily basis.
Due to its location along the equator and proximity to Mount Kenya, the county experiences a cool temparate climate, with mean annual temperatures of between 16°C and 26°C.
Laikipia County is known for its big open ranches like Solio, Borana and Oljogi which provide a significant source in tourism which majorly deal with wildlife conservation and ranching. Because of its diverse wildlife, it’s one of the top destinations for local and foreign tourists. Some of the tourist attraction sites include; ole Pejeta conservancy, Thomson falls, Laikipia Plateau reserve among others.
Birds of Laikipia
Birds often take a back seat to mammals when it comes to popularity. Yet they have all the attributes of the keenly sought mammalian big five: size, beauty, speed and power. As home to some 400 of Kenya’s estimated 1,100 bird species, Laikipia is a birder’s paradise. Because the district is less travelled than other parts of Kenya and has hosted little ornithological research, 400 species is probably an underestimate. As more birders equipped with binoculars and spotting scopes spend time searching Laikipia’s diverse habitats, the number is sure to rise
Places of Interest
Laikipia is a county with different landscapes and climatic zones from fertile arable land, dry and arid land to large stretches of rangelands. The county is popular for its abundant wildlife, where you find endangered species like the Bongo and the African wild dog.
Laikipia has several private ranches that frequently organize activities for fun and memorable trips. Some of these activities include fishing, walking and horseback safaris, and helicopter safaris which gives visitors a chance to have a bird’s view of Laikipia’s wildlife and landscapes. Some places of interest in Laikipia include Solio Ranch, Oljogi Ranch, OL Pejeta Ranch and Borana ranch.