Bungoma County


It is in the former western province. Its capital is Bungoma Town. It has a population of 1,375,063. It neighbours Mount Elgon. It is mainly agricultural and the people here are mainly Christians.



  1. Kimilili Constituency
  2. Webuye Constituency
  3. Sirisia Constituency
  4. Kanduyi Constituency
  5. Bumula Constituency
  6. Mt. Elgon Constituency

Physical features


  • River Sit
  • River Chwele
  • River lwakhakha
  • River Malakisi


  • Mt.Elgon

Mount Elgon forest

Mount Elgon forest birds

  • Kuptokum
  • Sudek


  • Chembekwa hills
  • Musikamo hills
  • Kabuchai hills
  • Sangalo hills

Importance of physical features

  • Physical features attract tourist to the area
  • Rivers are a source of water
  • Forests are source of food for their livestock
  • The forests and hill tops provided spiritual places of worship

Types of natural vegetation

  • Forest vegetation
  • Grassland vegetation

Importance of vegetation

  • Water catchment area
  • Natural habitat to both domestic and wild animals
  • It also contributes to the climate of the region

Map of distribution of physical features


People and population

Language groups

The Bukusu are the occupants of this county.

Areas of high population density

  • Bungoma
  • Kimilili
  • Webuye

Areas of low population density

  • Kapsakwany
  • Kamakunywa
  • Chesakaki 

Social relations and cultural activities

Traditional way of life of the people


There are a variety of foods in the Bukusu culture. These include ugali (a product of maize mill flour). Chinunga, a traditional leafy green that is made up of corn ash, chiswa, raw white termites, and lastly bubwoba, the traditional mushrooms.


The main clothing by the Bukusu community is the esukuti. Esukuti is usually made from sisal fibers, and is wore during the time of weddings and circumcision ceremonies. Another very common clothing worn by the Bukusu people is the clothing known as Lichabi. The Lichabi is a common traditional clothing worn by the Bukusu people. The Lichabi is usually made from leopard skin and is worn during the times of ceremonies such as the circumcision ceremony and many more. The lichabi is commonly worn by the elders of the community. Moreover there is a common clothing known as the lileso. The Lileso is usually made from common clothing materials and is mainly worn by the elder women of the community. The most common clothing among the Bukusu is the esukusi, it was worn by elders during weddings on the head.

Songs and dances

The most common music and dance was called the Esukuti. The music is well know because it had the right beat to dance and listen to this music which brought excitement and a happy feeling that made you want to dance to it. This piece of music has been there for a long time, it was pasted on by their ancestors through fables and stories that ware told. The music was common in the east African and is very well known throughout east Africa as well as places like Mombasa. The Bukusu culture was listened to when doing household duties. In the eskuti the main instruments that are usually used are the tambourine, drums and whistles.

Traditional medical practices

They are Special medicine men in the community who were entrusted with this role. They hold a high rank in the society. The medicine men were responsible for healing. It was considered a special gift. They used herbs gathered from the forest.

Ceremonies and festivals held


  • Birth and naming

The bukusu people name their new born babies according to sikuka (inherited names), cultural practices, and character (kumwima). The ‘sikuka’ names are names of ancestors who were respected in society.  A parent does not choose the name for a child but the child will automatically cry meaning a particular ancestral spirit is disturbing the baby wanting the baby to be named after him/her. When the child cries during the day, it means the ancestor who wants to be named comes from the mother’s side. When the baby cries non-stop at night, it means the ancestor who wants to be named comes from father’s side.

  • Initiation

When a male boy feels that he is ready for initiation, he approaches his father who prepares the required materials that are necessary for the ceremony, which include; a male bull or a he goat, traditional beer called kamalwa, the circumciser and a small house called Likombe for the boy.

The boy gets the jingles ready to play. They are played by the boy as people sing and dance for him during the entire process called Khulanga (calling).

He plays them calling on relatives from near and a far. During the process, those who are approached by the boy must give something in appreciation and they must attend or be present during the circumcision day. If for instance the boy avoids a relative, then the relative feels bad and launches a complain.



It was treated as a ceremony to celebrate a good season. Songs and dances followed, they called them the chiswa harvesting songs.

Naming of children was also dependent on this children born during a Harvest season

  • Music

Music was an important part of the life of the Luhya. Children sing songs and dance for play and (especially boys) 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.

  • Drama

Resources and economic activities


Main cash crops and food crops grown

Farmers plant food crops like maize, beans, sorghum, bananas, sweet potatoes, cassava, groundnuts several fruits and vegetables, and also cash crops like sugarcane, coffee and tobacco.

Areas where the cash crops are grown

  • Webuye
  • Bungoma town
  • Kimilili 

Types of livestock kept 

  • Cattle
  • Sheep
  • Poultry                                                                                      
  • Goats


Areas where fishing is practiced

Fishing is practiced in the rivers and in local ponds along rivers.


Major forests 

  • Mt. Elgon forests in Mt. Elgon constituency

Wildlife and Tourism

Types of wildlife

  • A variety of birds
  • Elephants
  • Antelopes
  • Gazelles
  • Baboons

The game parks and reserves

  • Mount Elgon National Park

Major tourist attractions

  • Mt. Elgon
  • Mt. Elgon forest Reserve
  • Chepkitale hills
  • Sangalo hills


Major trading centres

  • Bungoma
  • Kimilili 

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