Baringo County is located in the Rift Valley and cover about 8,655 square km. The area that is covered with water is about 140.5 Square km. This county lies on longitude 35 degrees and 36” degrees 30” east. On the latitudes it lies on 13” South and 40” north and borders Turkana, Laikipia and Samburu counties.
According to the Census that was carried out in 2009, the population of Baringo County is approximated to be 555,561 and this figure is projected to increase by about 5% in the next census.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Baringo County has some of the best geographic features in the country and helps to promote tourism in the country. Some of the geographic features include valleys such as Suguta Valley and Kerio Valley which forms part of the Rift valley. Some of the hills in the area include Tugen Hills that has one of the best escarpments in the country. Waterfalls also contribute to the geographic features in the country.
This hills and the Rift Valley contribute to the climatic patterns in the area. Baringo County has agro-ecological zones with different weather patterns that contribute to the diversity in the agricultural activities in Baringo County. The county has two rainfall seasons with an average of about 1000mm in the highlands and 600mm in the lowlands. The lowlands experience high temperatures as compared to the highland areas.
In the highlands thee are alluvial soils which are very suitable for agricultural activities that are carried out under irrigations in the lowlands. The altitude is approximately 1000m to 2600m above the sea level and this contributes to the weather patterns. The higher you go the cooler it becomes. The temperatures vary between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius, however in January the temperatures rises up to 35 degrees Celsius on average.
There are 5 constituencies in Baringo County namely:
- Baringo Central
- Baringo East
- Eldama Ravine
- Baringo North
This is one of the main economic activities carried out in Baringo County. In the highlands cotton and coffee are grown as cash crops. In the lowlands rearing of animals in ranches is carried out to provide animal products in Baringo Town and other neighbouring towns. Some of the animals that are kept include camel, goats, cattle and sheep. Bee keeping is also one of the emerging economic activities in the county.
The main backbone of the economy in this county is agricultural activities that include growing of cash crops such as coffee and cotton. Other crops that is grown mainly for consumption includes maize and beans. There are 6 commercial banks and 2 micro finance institutions that offer financial services to the residents.
Tourism is also contributes to the economy due to the many tourist attraction sites in Baringo County. The county is proud of a wide diversity of wildlife that attracts both local and international tourists. Some of the sceneries are Lake Baringo and wildlife reserves and conservancies such as Ruko Conservancy. This conservancy helps to conserve the diverse plant and animal species in the area. The wildlife species in the area includes elephants, Buffaloes, Hippos, crocodiles and more than 500 species of birds.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL PRACTISES
Kalenjin is one of the predominant tribe in Baringo County. This tribe is formed by a combination of seven tribes of the Nilotic ethinic group that lives in the Great Rift Valley. Tugen is one of the tribes that form the Kalenjin group of people. The main economic activity carried out by this group is cattle keeping that provide animal product for the consumption of the people. For example, the cattle are used for paying dowry in wedding ceremonies.
The many tribes in Baringo County promote diversity of cultural and social activities in the county. Asis is the name of the God that the people in Baringo County believe in. Some of the people are located in the highlands and practise crop farming while those that are located in the lowlands practise animal keeping as their main economic activity. The main languages spoken by the residents of the county are Kalenjin and Tugen.
The different weather patterns such as rainfall patterns influence the economic activities carried out in the different parts of Baringo County. For example, in the highland the rainfall and temperature regimes provides favourable conditions for dairy farming and agricultural activities.