Kakamega County


Kakamega county is from the former western province. The counties capital is Kakamega town, which is also the largest. The second largest being Malava. Kakamega county lies 30km north of the equator. Kakamega was so named because the word "Kakamega" translates roughly to "pinch" in Kiluhyah which was used to describe how European colonists would eat the staple food ugali.


  1. Malava Constituency
  2. Lurambi Constituency
  3. Shinyalu Constituency
  4. Ikolomani Constituency
  5. Khwisero Constituency
  6. Butere Constituency
  7. Matungu Constituency
  8. Mumias Constituency
  9. Lugari Constituency 

Physical features


  • Yala river
  • Isiukhu


  • Buyangu hills which is the highest point in kakamega forest.

Importance of physical features

  • The crying stone is one of the main tourist attractions in the county

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Mama Mtere Tree in Kakamega Forest

  • With the 2000mm of rainfall in an year the forest is a main catchment area  to the county
  • The forest is also home to a wide range of animals including snakes and birds

Types of natural vegetation

  • Kakamega Tropical rain forest
  • Isecheno forest
  • Kisere forest

Importance of vegetation

  • Sanctuary for a remarkable diversity of rare endemic plants, birds and insects

Map distribution of physical features

People and population

Language groups

Kakamega County is home to the luhya people who are from the Bantu ethnic group. They are about 16% of the entire Kenyan population.

It has over 10 sub-tribes, each speaking a different dialect of the luhya language.

Areas of high population density

County is divided into seven divisions which are Ileho, Ikolomani, Kabras, Kakamega, lurambi, Navakholo, and Shinyalu. The division with the most population in the county is Kabra with a population of 149,510.

Areas of low population density 

The division with the least Ileho with a population of 32,545.

Social relations and cultural activities

Traditional way of life of the people


Ugali, known as Obusuma in the Luhya language, is the traditional food of the Abaluhya. Ugali is made from either maize flour or cassava, or millet flour. It is usually served with chicken. While Luhyas eat many other foods, a meal is never complete without some ugali.


Traditional clothing is worn during special occasions and only by a chosen few. In cultural dances, performers may put on feathered hats and skirts made of sisal strands. For the Luhya groups that still maintain the traditional circumcision rites (mostly the Ababukusu), the initiates will often put on clothing made of skins and paint themselves with red ochre or ash. During war men painted themselves with frightening colors and wore frightening apparel such as horns.

Songs and dances

Music and dance are an important part of the life of the Luhya. Children sing songs and dance for play and when herding livestock. Occasions such as weddings, funerals, and circumcision ceremonies all call for singing and dancing. Musical instruments include drums, jingles, flutes, and accordions. The Luhya are nationally renowned for their energetic and vibrant Isukuti dance, a celebratory performance involving rapid squatting and rising accompanied by thunderous, rhythmic drumbeats.

Young girls only wore strings of beads round their waists and necks and pierced their ear lobes to put in little decoration

Traditional medical practices

Because of their knowledge of the rich Luhya traditions and religion they had prophets and traditional healers. The traditional healers used plants and herbs to heal the people.


  • Birth and naming

Among the Abagusi nekesa was a girl and nafula a boy. Normaly after birth the placenta and umbilicord are buried behind the hut at a safe spot so that they are not found and tampered with by a witch (omulogi)

Naming was also done according to seasons for example among the maragoli the name” Injugu” was given during ground nuts harvest, “anzala ” born during extreme hunger and more.

  •  Initiation

This took place at the age of 15 years which marked the transition from childhood to adulthood, from boyhood to manhood


  • Harvest

Nekesa (for a girl) and Wafula(for a boy) were names given during harvests among the Maragoli. And the Abanyole. This was a way of honoring the good harvest they got.

  • Music

The luhya people are known for their energetic dance and music called the Isukuti. Istruments such as the drums, jingles, flutes, and accordions were used.

  • Drama

Poetry folk songs were recited to the young boys and girls in the evening after work which carried rich teaching about life morals.

Resources and economic activities


Cash crops and food crops grown

The main crops grown in the County are sugarcane, maize, bean, cassava, finger millet and sorghum

Areas where the cash crops are grown

The area best know for sugarcane in this region is Mumias constituency

The two main livestock in Kakamega county are cattle and chicken. With the tropical forest, they have a place to feed their cattle from.


Major forests

  • Tropical Kakamega forest which is also in Kisumu County and near to the border of Uganda.

Wildlife and Tourism

Types of wildlife

In the county particularly in Kakamega forest there are a number of wildlife the inlucde:

  • Bush pig
  • Duikers
  • Bushbuck
  • African clawless otter
  • Mongoose
  • Giant African water shrew
  • Squirrels
  • Tree pangolin
  • Porcupine
  • Bats
  • Moneys including; blue monkey, red tail monkey, De Brazza's monkey and the vervet monkey.
  • Baboon, potto

Game parks and reserves

  • Kakamega Forest reserve

Major tourist attractions

  • The crying stone
  • Kakamega forest
  • The largest sugarcane production  farm(mumias)
  • The light house attraction
  • The mama mteve tree
  • Bull fighting


Traditional industries

Products of traditional industries

  • Carving where they produced soapstone
  • Weaving where they produced baskets and mats
  • Pottery where pots were produced
  • Agriculture main products being maize and sugarcane


Major trading centers 

  • Kakamega town.

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