Busia County


Busia is a county in the former Western Province of Kenya. It borders Kakamega County to the east, Bungoma County to the north, Lake Victoria and Siaya County to the south and Busia District, Uganda to the west.


  1. Nambale Constituency
  2. Butula Constituency
  3. Funyula Constituency
  4. Budalangi Constituency
  5. Matayos Constituency
  6. Teso North Constituency
  7. Teso South Constituency

Physical features


  • Nalyobas
  • River Sango


  • Samia hills


  • Budalang'i plains

Importance of physical features 

  • Provides natural habitat for animals and plants
  • The forest of Samia and Budalang'i act as a water catment area.
  • The Samia hills were traditionally used as a place of worship.

Natural vegetation

  • Busia County has a natural forest covering the hills of Samia and Budalang'i

Importance of vegetation

  • Water catchment area
  • Natural habitat to wild animal

Map distribution ofphysical features

People and population

Language groups

  • The Teso (or Iteso, people of Teso) are an ethnic group in eastern Uganda and western Kenya. Teso refers to the traditional homeland of the Iteso, and Ateso is their language

Areas of high population density

  • Busia Town
  • Malaba
  • Funyula
  • Nambale

Areas of low population density

  • Budalang'i area is the least populated area.

Social relations and cultural activities

Traditional way of life of the people


They relied on maize and vegetables. Ugali was was their staple food which at times was served with Chicken.


Luhya men used to wear the prepared skin of a goat or a calf. It was passed under one armpit and fastened with a strap over the opposite shoulder. The skin, hung in this position, was not sufficient to cover the whole body; what the man did was to shift it every time to cover that part of the body which faced the people he was supposed to ‘fear’ (respect). These included mothers-in-law, aunts and all women he called ‘mother’

The women used to wear liboya, made of banana fibres or sisal or, for richer women (abakhaye), of animals’ tail hairs. The liboya was worn round the waist and looked like a kind of apron hanging in front and a tuft of sisal or hair strings hanging behind. It was a very important dress and had to be respected according to custom.

Songs and dances

They tied little bells (tsindeke) round their ankles and legs. Many songs for people of all ages and both sexes for all occasions. There were songs for young people of both sexes; others for girls only yet others for boys only. There were songs for women and others for men. The songs can further be subdivided to fit the occasion. For instance, were special songs for weddings – to be sung before, during and after the wedding. There were funeral songs, circumcision songs, and songs for birth of twins.

There were special songs for beer parties, as well as for the special dancing festival called omwimo – separate ones for men and for women. The songs differed slightly from place to place, both in instrumentation words and lyrics.

Traditional medical practices

They had Medicine men and medicine women with a special gifts for this role. The title was hereditatry. They used herbs they gathered to treat varous illnesses.

Ceremonies and festivals


  • Birth and naming

They name their new born babies according to inherited names, cultural practices, and character.  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

Traditional male circumcision is an important ritual in most Luhya sub-tribes. It marks the initiation from boyhood to manhood. The modern and educated Luhyas today choose to circumcise their sons in hospitals upon birth.


  • Harvest

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 was called Wekesa for female and Nekesa for the male child.

  • 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.

Resources and economic activities


Cash crops and food crops grown

Agriculture-maize, beans, sweet potatoes, millet, cassava, cotton and sugar cane



  • Perch and Tilapia

Areas where fishing is practiced

  • Sio port
  • Bukoma beach in Budalang’i 


Major forests

  • Samia and budalang'i hills forests.

Wildlife and Tourism

Types of wildlife

  • Game parks and reserves 

Major tourist attractions

  • Kakapel National Monument
  • Lake Victoria Viewpoint.


Major trading centers

  • Malaba
  • Busia