Situated to the north of Nairobi and forming the eastern boundary of the Rift Valley, the central region is one of the most fertile agricultural regions in Kenya which is one of the reasons the white settlers choose it for their farmland. They took much of the best land here for themselves, and the area became known as the ‘White Highlands’.

Today, however, the land define the lives of the country’s largest rural community & is mostly farmed by the indigenous Kikuyu tribe. A drive north from Nairobi is full of breathtaking views, passing through thatched huts, lush slopes of coffee trees and assorted horticultural produce.

If you will be traveling on a Tuesday or Saturday, be sure to stop by the open-air market at Karatina, about 20km before Nyeri, the center of the region.

The central region is famed for being the host to Africa’s second largest Mountain, Mount Kenya as well as two of the most intriguing national parks in Kenya: the rhino and lion-rich Meru National Park; and the Aberdare National Park, home to a great range of wildlife and some of the oldest mountains on the continent.

Highlights

  • The highest mountain in Kenya and second highest in Africa (after Kilimanjaro) is located in central Kenya. It is the only point around the globe to have continuous equatorial snow. Formed about 3million years ago, Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano lying on the equator that has two main snow-capped twin peaks – Batian at 5,199m and Nelson at 5,188m. The two peaks were named after two 19th-century Maasai ritual chiefs. The third peak which the easiest and the most common to climb is called Lenana which rises at 4,985m above the sea level.
  • The central Highlands used to call the “White Highlands,” as most of its most fertile land was grabbed off by the colonial settlers who established major coffee, wheat, pineapple, and livestock farms.
  • 65 years ago, Princess Elizabeth (technically) became the Queen of the British Empire while on a trip to Kenya’s Aberdares National Park. Her father died on 6 February 1952 while she was visiting the famous Treetops hotel but she didn’t know until the next day when Prince Philip broke the news back at their fishing lodge, the Sagana State Lodge. This was where she first heard the news that her father George VI’s had died and that she was to be Queen.
  • Located in Nanyuki, Mount Kenya Safari Club was established by Hollywood’s heartthrob William Holden and has since been once graced by notable figures like Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby.
  • The Aberdare Mountains, also known as “Nyandarua” were named after the Victorian president of the Royal Geographical Society, Lord Aberdare. The ranges harbor Kenya’s most unique hotels; the Ark that was built to look like Noah’s vessel as well as the Treetops Hotel that was literally built on stilts in a forest clearing.

Figures & Facts

Area 11,449 km²
Population 4,783,743
Region’s Capital Nyeri
Internet Access Average 5.0 Mbps
Electricity 220/240 Volts AC, 50Hz
Counties in Central Kenya Nyandarua, Nyeri, Murang’a

Kiambu & Kirinyaga

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