Garissa County

Attractions in Garissa County

1. River Tana

Although River Tana does not ingress to Garissa County at any point, it is a key natural asset of all-importance to wildlife and a line-of-life for the people. River Tana flows just over the entire western boundary of Garissa, destined south for the Indian Ocean. It has a huge effect on climate and it can be noted that most settlement patterns and economic activities within Garissa County are centered around River Tana. Garissa Tana Bridge is crossed 5 kms before Garissa Town, pedestrians, bikers and animals accustomed to sharing it, battling motorists. It is the permanent source of water for the Somali community and the livestock of Garissa – which is the cornerstone economic activity. It is, perhaps, needless to point out that Garissa, almost in its entirety, is a water-deficient area and life is an endless search for water – for those living far from River Tana – at laghas or seasonal riverbeds which water runs occasionally. Season come season go, the people of Garissa have petitioned for the 4 kms-wide strip of riverine along the boundary of Garissa and Tana River Counties to be scrapped, with little success.

Garissa Tana Bridge near Garissa Town. Image Courtesy of Amir Mogharrabi
Garissa Tana Bridge near Garissa Town. Image Courtesy of Amir Mogharrabi

2. Almond Resort

Almond Resort, near Garissa Town, represents part of fast-growing hospitality industry in Garissa catering to the middle-budget business and casual travellers to this region. Almond Resort ticks all the boxes of a modern resort, to include, but not limited to, large spacious rooms with AC, cable TV, internet and king-size bed, swimming pool, gym and spa, outdoor garden, terrace and a business centre. In all, Almond Resort has 75 en-suite rooms (45 standard rooms and 30 deluxe rooms) housed in a two-storey complex overlooking the swimming pool and gardens. All things considered, this resort, in company with Nomad Palace Hotel and Lantern Resort, is now among the great attractions today in Garissa County. This is exemplary in Garissa in that they cater, luxuriously, for business and casual travellers to the region. It is located just 5 kms from Garissa Airport.

Spatial Location of Almond Resort in Garissa County
Spatial Location of Almond Resort in Garissa County

3. Suuq Mugdi Market

Garissa Town has two salient markets, the Suuq Mugdi and the Municipal Stage Market, although micro enterprises are generally spread over all streets in the town. Suuq Mugdi Market, sometimes cited as the ‘dark market’, offers a better experience, and it is to Garissa Town what Lamu Market is for Lamu Island, the stripped-down version of the community. At the least, a visit to the market is a moment to pause the general anxiety carried on a trip to Garissa County, and by extension NFD, and have a rare opportunity to get to the heart and DNA of the people of Garissa who, much to the surprise of many, are a very friendly coterie.

4. Garissa Culture and Heritage Center

Garissa is rich in the ancestry and heritage of Ogaden Somali tribes and Garissa Culture and Heritage Center, within Garissa Town, is of a national importance and is dutifully the equivalent of a Garissa Museum. Each year, in September, it hosts a cultural week when residents meet here to exchange ideas and to impart the future generations with rich centuries old traditions. Progress in developing and promoting the center are almost continuous, and of a recent development the County Government of Garissa approved Shs. 30 M for the construction of a multi-purpose hall and gallery museum in a bid to bolster the efforts to protect both the tangible and intangible facets of the Somali Culture. Highlights include a display of the ethnographic pottery making technology practiced for centuries by the Jareer Clan (a Cushitic-speaking community of Garissa County) and an exposition, in pictographs, of the migration of refugees into the globally-famed Dadaab Refugee Camp quoted as one of the largest of its kind across the world.

Garissa Culture and Heritage Center

In 2010, Kimberly collaborated with Somali women on art workshops at the Garissa Cultural Centre in northeastern Kenya. It is one of the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture’s 17 cultural centers. Cultural Officer, Issac Sagori said, “Culture brings unity. You understand my culture, and I understand yours. It brings us closer together”. Garissa Cultural Centre’s community committee represents various backgrounds and interests of civil society, including those of religious community, artists, public and private sector

5. Garissa Solar Power Plant

Garissa Solar Power Plant offers an opportunity for the enthusiastic go-greener to fuel their passion for clean power. It is found 20 kms north of Garissa Town. Here, in a bold effort to harness solar energy, sits one the first-rate examples of Kenya’s mettlesome goals of tapping into clean renewable energy, diversifying the power generation intermix and reducing energy costs. Currently this project is contributing about 2% of the national energy mix and has significantly led to a reduction of energy costs in the country and by so promoted the development of clean, reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy. “Garissa power plant has proved to be an exemplary project with many environmental advantages. Due to that, we shall be investing more on sustainable means of energy production in future,” REREC Chairman, Simon Gicheru. The 54.6 megawatt (MW) plant, the largest in East Africa, begun injecting power to the grid and has lend a hand to cut reliance on high-cost geothermal power, with a drop in use of the cheaper hydro power following the dry spell. The 85-hectares solar plant, built by China Jiangxi International (K) Limited at a cost of Sh13.5 billion, comprises 300,000 solar panels that generate 76,410 MWh a year; enough to power 621,100 homes.

The Garissa Solar Power Plant. Image Courtesy SCPPC
The 50MW Garissa Solar Power Plant. Image Courtesy SCPPC