By Nikko Tanui
Compact and orderly, Kericho is neat as evidenced from the rows of tea bushes that surround it. The scenic tea plantations that line the roads and extend deep into the horizon create a breathtaking view.
Kericho is home to the best of Kenyan Tea, which is world famous for its brightness, attractive colour and brisk flavour. No wonder some of the largest tea companies including Unilever Kenya, James Finlay and Williamson tea are based here.
Lying within the highlands west of the Rift Valley, the town has a comparatively good transport network. Three main highways lead to Kericho town, the Nakuru-Kericho, Kisumu-Kericho and Kericho-Kisii highways.
Rail transport is available from Kipkelion town and one can also charter a plane and land on Kerenga airstrip, ten kilometres from the town.
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The wealthy prefer to settle in their own bungalows and mansions around Mid-West, Golf Club, Emmanuel and Mortgage areas.
These areas also have some of the best homes. Majority of the middle class is found at Moi Estate and Gorofa Moja, among other areas. Nyagacho, Matobo and Mjini accommodate the low-income earners.
Though there is a huge demand for commercial as well as residential houses, some of the plots within the estates are laying idle covered with weeds and bushes.
Housing crisis is at its worst at the moment since hundreds of houses were burnt during the 2007 post-election violence and the landlords are yet to reconstruct them.
Apart from public transport vehicles that lead to Nyagacho area, residents who don’t have private vehicles have to walk or take motorbike taxis to their estates.
Kenya Highlands Bible College, Kericho Teachers Training College, Kenya Institute of Management and Niskam Saint Puran Singh Institute are some of the institutions of higher learning found here.
The tea industry employs most people here, with a few doing maize farming. Kericho is a cosmopolitan town, however majority of the residents are Kipsigis a sub-tribe of the Kalenjin community.
Some of the churches here are Emmanuel Assemblies of God, Anglican Church, SDA, Full Gospel, Catholic Church, AIC as well as a number of evangelical churches. Kericho is also home to the largest Gurudwara or Sikh place of worship. It is a monument, dedicated to the memory of "Baba Puran Singh Ji of Kericho" who was the founder of the international charitable organisation. When it comes to sports, Kericho, has not been left behind in the elite games.
It has one of the most magnificent ‘members only’ golf course. The district is also home to some of the world's best long distance athletes.
Thursdays is a market day in Kericho and the streets are usually teeming with people literally creating a human traffic along the streets.
Tengecha is the most famous street and is lined with hotels, lodges, chemists, general shops, clothes outlets, hardware and veterinary shops amongst others.he town is served by three supermarkets — Tuskys, Ukwala and Stagematt.