Busia County

Discover Busia County

Spatial Location of Busia County in Kenya
Spatial Location of Busia County in Kenya

Brief Overview of Busia County

If you leave Mombasa travelling northwesterly via the A104 Mombasa-Uganda Road you will find yourself on a good road crossing through the entire range of Kenya’s ecological gamut. Then, 920 kms later, going through Nairobi, Eldoret and Bungoma, you finally reach Malaba, the gateway out of Kenya into Uganda beyond one of Kenya’s busiest border points. For mile upon mile it is lined with hundreds of dumper cargo trucks. On average, 600 trucks cross at Malaba every month en-route Tororo and Kampala towns in Uganda. In the distance are the conic hillocks of Uganda, and Tororo Town lies just 17 kms from Malaba Town.

25 kms south of Malaba on a murram road going through Amukura and Alupe, or via C31 Mumias-Busia Road through Nambale is Busia Town, the larger and busier of the two border crossings in Busia County. It too is a round-the-clock hive of activity and on average 700 transit cargo truck cross this border point destined for Tororo, Kampala and beyond. It is a much longer journey to Tororo Town from Busia, of about 51 kms. Communication in Busia is mainly by road, although the non-functioning railway to Tororo in Uganda passes through the northern part of Busia County through Malaba. It is hoped that new Nairobi to Malaba standard gauge railway connecting to various rails in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and DRC will ease communication along the A104 and the two border crossings within Busia. It has one unused airstrip at Busia Town.

Busier and populous in the central area where the main roads and border towns sit, the more or less crescent-shaped Busia County is topographically diverse. South to north, the 80 kms western border of Busia County southerly from Lake Victoria (Port Bunyala) to Kolanya and Malikisi in the extreme north marches on with Uganda. Its eastern boundary marches with Bungoma, Kakamega and Siaya Counties. The principal sources for water are Nzoia in the extreme south, Sio and Walatsi in the centre, and Malakisi in the extreme north. These goodly perennial rivers are reinforced by some seasonal streams. Generally, the terrain is undulating to flat – inclining only gently from 1500 ms in Teso North to 1,130 ms asl at the shores of Lake Victoria. The north area features extensive granitic outcrops, which are essentially part of the peneplain, interspersed by sizeable granitic hills including those seen at Amukura and Chelelemuk. The two main ethnic communities in Busia are the Teso (in the northern area) and the Luhya.

View of the conspicuous Kakapel Rock at Amagoro.  Photo Courtesy
View of the conspicuous Kakapel Rock at Amagoro. Image Courtesy

Salient Features of Busia County

  • County Number 40
  • Area – 1694 km2
  • Altitude – 1200 ms
  • Major Towns – Busia, Malaba, Nambale
  • Borders – Bungoma, Kakamega, Siaya
Busia County Map

Brief History of Busia County

Busia District was formed in 1963. Busia Town, the present headquarters, was formerly a colonial era border outpost, and has kept us as one of the busiest of Kenya’s 35 gazetted entries that facilitate trade. Busia border point, which is the concept one-­stop border post border with Uganda, is a critical entry and exit point.  Seven of other salient border post between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania includes the Malaba, Isbania, Taveta, Lunga Lunga, Loitoktok and Namanga borders points. Still and all, the people of Busia County in Kenya and Busia District in Uganda have on all occasions sought relations and the Samia, Iteso, Banyala, Acholi/Japadhola (a mirror community of the Kenyan Luos) and the Abagissu, who mirror the Kenyan Bukusu, have always trades and intermarried.

View of Lake Victoria near Budalang'i.  Photo Courtesy of NMG
View of Lake Victoria near Budalang’i. Image Courtesy of NMG
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14 Attractions in Busia County, arranged as one would visit these - east, south then north - with the aid of in-depth narratives, images, strip maps and distance chart:

Lake Victoria, Samia Hills, Bakhulo Shrines in Samia, Port Victoria, Che's Bay Resort, Bunyala Rice Farm, River Nzoia, Yala Swamp, Sio Siteki Swamp, Kavirondo Rocks, Emakina Hills, Kakapel Rock Art, Kakapel Cultural Centre, Malaba Sanctuary 

Geography, Land-Use, Highlights, Population, Roads, Airports, Climate and National Monuments in Busia County