Muranga County

Discover Muranga County

Spatial Location of Muranga County in Kenya
Spatial Location of Muranga County in Kenya

Brief Overview of Muranga County

Muranga promotes itself as a “home to a number of key historically significant attraction sites”. It features the distinguished Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga – the Agikuyu’s hamlet of origin, Karia ka Mbari ya Ngware and Muranga (St. James & All Martyrs) Churchyard. Also within its bucolic setting, enjoying year-round greenery, a pretty rural edifice built by the Catholic Mission in partnership with the local community, dating back to 1902 is marketed as one of the historically significant Churches in Kenya. At an adjacent touring attraction is a century old native shrine. Muranga county is also, topographically, hilly and mountainous. The fact that nearly 70% of the land in Muranga County is considered hilly and mountainous should obviously suggest that its roads are steep and winding, and a thrill to drive on. In fact, the only noted natural features and landmarks seen are the hills. What’s more, sited in the heart of the highlands of Central Kenya, Muranga is a picturesque upland that marches on the fertile ‘Kikuyuland’ from near Blue Post Hotel in Thika up to Sagana, where it borders Kirinyaga County.

The terrain in Muranga County rises gradually from an altitude of 914 ms in the east to 3,353 ms along the slopes of the Aberdare Range, where the rugged and acclivitous landscape, composed of scarped valleys punctuated by bulbous hills very often associated with Muranga, is at full stride. The highest regions, in the west, have a deeply dissected topography and are well drained by several goodly rivers like Mathioya and Maragwa which flow eastward to join with Tana River. As you near Thika Town, the overtly hilly terrain rolls out and plains off to even plains. Muranga is bound in the south by Kiambu, in the north by Nyeri, in the west by Nyandarua and in the east by Kirinyaga, Embu and Machakos Counties.

By the same token, the bulk of the valleys in Muranga (some as deep as 100 ms) have sparkling streams and rivers flowing through them, most rising from the Aberdare Forest, which offer both serenity and spectacular beauty. Granted that fishing has been an attraction in Muranga County for many decades, it is only in the recent decade that fishing in these scenic rivers has gained national interest, with an increasing number of visitors already running into hundreds each year visiting the area primarily for a weekend fishing holiday. This has been followed by the blossoming of several idyllic fishing lodges especially along the Aberdare Range where organizational and guide support, to find great fishing spots for a fine day of fishing in the alpines, is amazingly pocket-friendly. It’s not at all rare to catch a dozen brown or rainbow trout weighing over 10 pounds in the utterly delightful rivers in lovely surroundings of forested glade and sparkling streams.

Confluence of Rivers Mathioya and Githugi.  Image Courtesy of Tripadvisor
Confluence of Rivers Mathioya and Githugi. Image Courtesy of Tripadvisor

Salient Features of Muranga County

  • County Number 21
  • Area – 2558 km2
  • Altitude – 2998-11000 ft
  • Major Towns – Muranga, Kenol, Kiriani
  • Borders – Nyeri, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Embu, Kirinyaga, Machakos
Map of Muranga County

Brief History of Muranga County

Muranga, originally known as Mbiri and later as Fort Hall, is the most centrally set area in Kikuyuland and was the epicenter of sundry reforms in the colonial era. Kikuyuland is bound by the four mountains of Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga), Ngong Hills (Kiri Mbiruiru), the Aberdares (Nyandarua) and Ol Donyo Sabuk Hill (Kia Njahi). In August 1900, Francis Hall arrived at Mbiri in company with a regiment of the East African Rifles and set base near present day Muranga. He named it Fort Hall. This signalled that the “colonial machinery” was in full gear. Although the imposition of colonial policies brought with it much disruption to the socio-political systems of Kikuyuland, the agricultural economic enterprise of Muranga gained from the introduction of new farming techniques and crops notably of tea which remains an important cash crop of Muranga. The reaction to colonial policies in the area had strands of consent and dissent, majority of peasants and farm labourers offering resistance in one way or another between 1920 and 1952. During the high-point of the struggle for independence crunch, political conflicts taking class, these ideological dimensions continued with the loyalists or those who had benefited from the capitalist system emerging still as winners and had already been mingled into a socio economic and political class.

View of landscape in Muranga County.  Image Courtesy of Nation Media
Rugged landscape in Muranga County. Image Courtesy of Nation Media
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19 Attractions in Muranga County, arranged as one would visit these - south, north, west then east - with aid of in-depth narratives, images, strip maps and distance chart:

Ndakaini Dam, Ndakaini Dam, C70 Gacharage-Kangema Road (Nyoka-nyoka run), Kakuzi Ranch, Makuyu Golf Club, Makuyu Ridge, Mathioya Dam, Fort Hall, Muranga (St. James & All Martyrs) Churchyard, Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga, Karia ka Mbari ya Ngware, Tuthu Catholic Church, Kenya Fly Fishers (Southern Camp), Manguyo Falls, Aberdare Range, Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge, Kimakia Tea Cottage, Stanley’s Haven, Sagana Getaway Retreat.

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