Makueni County

Discover Makueni County

Spatial Location of Makueni County in Kenya
Spatial Location of Makueni County in Kenya

Brief Overview of Makueni County

The arid Makueni County 8,034 km2 in area remains untravelled, the good and rare surprises it has in store for the intrepid an experiment yet to determine. 87 kms from Nairobi via A109 Nairobi-Mombasa Road you reach Salama and the northeast gateway town into Makueni County, which stretches east of the A109 Nairobi-Mombasa Road through Emali, Kibwezi and Mtito Andei Towns for 205 kms up until the Tsavo Gate into Tsavo East National Park. Keen motorists who decide to explore Makueni from Machakos – it is 141 kms from Machakos to Makindu through Wote – now travel on tarmac all the way through some of the most unfamiliar and off-the-cuff scenery of Ukambani. The country is least populated, the entire county by only one million inhabitants, with a population density of 125 people per km2. Their sustenance is typically small scale farming.

Fairly good linkages are one of the pertinent features of Makueni. The Nairobi-Uganda Railway has three stations in Makueni County: at Emali, at Kibwezi and at Mtito Andei. The A109 Mombasa-Nairobi Road virtually straddles its entire length from the northwest to southeast as the key line of communication, and which gives it a vantage position to exploit tourism. Or if you are in a hurry, you can fly on a small chartered plane from Mombasa or Nairobi to Makindu. The other main impression on the visitor is how poised the landscape is. Travelling southerly from Nairobi, the scenery has switchbacks of shrubland, picturesque hills, rocky plains, and the much more open country near Mtito Andei. Makueni County is widely known for co-hosting three of Kenya’s most treasured wildlife habitats: Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks, and Chyulu National Park.​

On the western side of the county there is an explosion of impressive hills. The scenic hillscapes, major and minor scarps for which Makueni is famous for are predominantly found in the western region. Generally speaking, the land rises from 600 ms in the south close to Tsavos, to almost 1,900 ms at the uplands of Mbooni and Kilungu Hills in the northern area close to Machakos County. The monotony of the undulating plains set at 900 ms is decorously broken only by batteries of inselberg and the tops of hills such as Makueni, Katambua, Kianga, Thabu, Poi, Mandoi and Mubau. The form of these hills varies, though generally they are narrow rounded stumps and occasionally flat-topped. The eastern area of Makueni County is gently sloping but as one moves westwards, the angle of slope increases as a result of residual hills on the western and northern regions.

Kalamba Section of Kibwezi-Kitui Road. Image Courtesy of Pius Maundu

Salient Features of Makueni County

  • County Number 17
  • Area – 8034 km2
  • Altitude – 3734 ft
  • Major Towns – Kibwezi, Emali, Mtito Andei
  • Borders – Kajiado, Taita Taveta, Kitui, Machakos
Makueni County Map

Brief History of Makueni County

Between 1925-1936 the colonial government declared as Crown Land the areas settled by the Kamba around Ngulia Hills (present day Ngulia Lodge) in Tsavo. Although European farms had little impact on the Kamba, they did attract a few industries like Kenya Meat Corporation at Athi River and East African Portland Cement Company. Makueni District was hived-off Machakos District, in 1922, as one of thirteen districts forming Eastern Province. Much of Makueni County was not inhabited until the 1930’s due to low agricultural productivity. Owing to semi-aridity to arid with low and erratic rainfall, hence highly prone to frequent drought, severe food shortages and scarcity of water, it was of little interest to early settlers but surprisingly of much interest to the early missioners in Kenya.

Beautiful scene of Mbooni Hills.  Photo Courtesy of Fly Shots
Beautiful Scene of Mbooni Hills near Machakos. Image Courtesy of Fly Shots
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36 Attractions in Makueni County, arranged as one would visit these - north, east, west then south - with aid of in-depth narratives, images, strip maps and distance chart:

Mbooni Hills, Thwake Dam, Konza Technopolis, Kilima Kiu Manor, Makongo Viewpoint, Kaiti Bridge, Kampi ya Mawe, Kusyombunguo Hotel, Nzaui Hill, Mii Project, Makueni Cultural Center, Nzaui Rock, AIC Kalamba, Kalamba Fruit Factory, Virgin Mary Rock, Emali, Ka Kindui Falls, Dare Devil's Rock, Kyanzizi Falls, Hunter's Lodge, Kiboko Crafts, Makindu Sikh Temple, Simba-Kibwezi (Mbiu Nzau) Hills, Kambua Resort, Kivungoni Springs, Kibwezi Forest, Chyulu Hills National Park, Kisula Caves, Tsavo West National Park, Tsavo East National Park, Yatta Plateau, Ngai Ndeithia National Reserve, Kilalinda Conservancy, Tsavo Safari Camp, The Peterson Camp Ruins, Patterson's Safari Camp 

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