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Village in accident mess has one tale of beautiful past

By John Oywa | Published Thu, October 11th 2018 at 00:00, Updated October 11th 2018 at 23:18 GMT +3
Strewn luggage of passengers at an accident scene after bus lost control at Fort Ternan in Kericho County on October 10,2018. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Fort Ternan, the village where a bus accident caused the death of more than 50 people yesterday, is known for its beauty and great geographical features.

Sitting on a prehistoric site, where archaeologist Louis Leakey discovered a 14 million-year-old fossil in 1961, Fort Ternan was a little known village until white settlers grabbed it soon after the construction of the Nairobi-Kisumu railway line.

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It is characterised by picturesque rolling hills, valleys and breathtaking escarpments-one which became the scene of yesterday's accident.

Indians working on the 1901 railway line blew tunnels across the hanging ridges and built long scenic but scary bridges, turning the area into a great tourist attraction.

It is near one of these tunnels that the bus flew off the road before rolling down.

Fort Ternan is located in Kericho County but lies on the border with Kisumu. Fort Ternan town is a small but busy cosmopolitan centre inhabited by farmers and traders.

The township, located some 70km from Kisumu, falls in the Kipkelion West Constituency.

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It neigbhours Koru on the Kisumu side and is popular with wealthy farmers and immigrants from other parts of Nyanza and Rift Valley.

The area is an agriculturally rich with large maize, coffee, and tea farms. Locals here also invest heavily in dairy farming.

The new Londiani-Muhoroni road that cuts across Fort Ternan meanders around the escarpment like a snake while providing a breath-taking scenery. It is also a death trap owing to its many bends, rivers, valleys and hilly sections.

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Before the Butere-Kisumu-Nairobi railway line collapsed more than 10 years ago, the Fort Ternan  Railway station was one of the busiest in the region.

Records show that Fort Ternan's original Kipsigis name was Kapkures. The name was changed by the British colonial government in 1903, two years after the railway line passed there.


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