Nandi County


The Nandi are part of the Kalenjin ethnic group found in East Africa.

They traditionally have lived and still form the majority in the highland areas of the Nandi Hills in the former Rift Valley Province of Kenya.

They speak the Kalenjin language.


  1. Tinderet.
  2. Aldai.
  3. Nandi Hills.
  4. Chesumei.
  5. Emgwen.
  6. Mosop.

Physical features


  • Kingwal and Kipterges Rivers
  • Kimondi and Mokong


  • Rankala


  • Nandi hills


  • Kapiti plains
  • Nandi plain


  • Meteitei Valley

The importance of the physical features

  • The Nandi hills provide a place of worship.
  • They rives are relief feature.
  • The Nandi hills are where they heard their cattle and the rivers provide water for the animals and domestic use.
  • They are a main source for revenue to the country as they are tourist attraction.

Main types of natural vegetation

  • Forest vegetation.
  • Grassland vegetation.

Importance of the vegetation

  • Natural habitat to animals and hundreds of species of birds.
  • Contribute to the climate of the region.
  • Provided natural places of worship for example the top of the hill.

Map of distribution of the physical features

People and population

Language groups 

  • There are number of tribal communities in Nandi, the majority of the people belong to the native tribe called Nandi.

Areas of high population density

  • Kapsabet being the capital of the town is the most populated place.

Areas of low population density

  • Aldai and Mosop are the places with the least population

Social relations and cultural activities 

Traditional way of life of the people


  • The depended of animal product like meat and milk mostly. They also drunk fermented porridge made from wheat.


  • Customary Kalenjin clothing was made of the skins of either domesticated or wild animals. Both male and female Kalenjin wore earrings made of heavy brass coils that stretched the earlobe down to shoulder level. Today, Kalenjin have adopted a modern style of dressing.

Songs and dances

  • Songs were part and parcel of the people’s way of life. They are used as a means of expressing the people’s world view and making sure their culture is maintained. Songs were used to accept norms and install wisdom in the young boys and girls.

Traditional medical practices

Medicine – Kerichek
Herbs- Sagitiek/Ndorenik/kiptoloshwaTraditionally there were medicine(kerichek) or Herbs (sagitiek, ndorenikor kiptoloshwa) most of the herbswere extracted from trees (ketik), shrubs (sondit or timwek or ndororet) The following parts of plants were commonly used.

  • Roots (tigitik)
  • Barks (Bertok)
  • Leaves (itik/sogek)
  • Flowers (Taptok)
  • Molokenik(fruits)
  • Tenterek(seeds)


  • Birth and naming

Baby naming takes place in the mother's hut while the men, who have been kept in the dark regarding the baby's sex, wait outside.

The mother and attending women call a spirit's name to watch over the baby.

The baby is supposed to sneeze to indicate that the name has been accepted. Snuff "helps" the sneezing amid the women's laughter!

There are intervals interspersing the women's laughter, which the men, waiting outside, can count as an indication of whether the baby is a girl or a boy.

In Nandi traditions, the original name that a child receives is used until another substitute name, birth-related and selected by the mother, is given a few days later.

  • Initiation

During initiation the initiates were taken to the nearby bush where a grass thatched hut had been set up for them. They would stay there and continue getting advice from the person who had been chosen to look after them.

Parents prepared and took food to the bush for all the initiates. Food was brought in turns and it had to be for all the initiates.

Boys had to move around the bush killing birds and wild animals which they would show when they came out of the bush.

A special rag was used to carry the killed animals and birds displaying them to the community members.

If one failed to kill any wild animal or bird it was taken as if he had not been ready for the rite of passage but according to Sangok, almost all the initiates managed to kill at least a bird or an animal.

They also practiced female circumcision


  • Harvest

Harvest ceremonies were held in September and October respectively to mark the change in Seasons

  • Music

There songs were performed rather than sang so they had a lot of body movement and style. There was occasions for solo performance for example lullabies. Many songs consist of phrases and verses which were sung by different people.

  • Drama

Every time they had an occasion be it harvest, war, marriage they had more performances that songs. Their songs consisted more of performances where people had to act and move with style.

Resources and economic activities


Main cash crops and food crops grown

  • The main food crops produced in the region are maize, beans, cow peas, potatoes and cabbages

Areas where the cash crops are grown

  • Timbered and Nandi hills

Types of livestock kept

  • Dairy and beef cattle are the main livestock bred in the county. Others are poultry, goats, sheep, pigs and bees.


Areas where fishing is practiced

  • Fish ponds are distributed all over the county along rivers mainly


The major forests

  • Nandi forest

Wildlife and Tourism

Types of wildlife

Avian species

  • Antelope
  • Birds

The game parks and reserves

  • Zulu waters game reserve
  • Bonjoge game reserve

The major tourist attractions

  • Handi hills
  • Rankala lake


Traditional industries and the products

  • Tourism
  • farming


The major trading centers

  • Kapsabet
  • Mosoriot
  • Nandi Hills are the major trading centers in the region.