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Makueni County

Makueni County covers an area of 8,034.7 KM2.  The County borders several counties which include Kajiado to the West, Taita Taveta to the South, Kitui to the East and Machakos to the North. It lies between Latitude 1º 35´ and 30 00 South and Longitude 37º10´ and 38º 30´East. In the year 2012 the projected population in the county was 922,183 consisting of 449,036 males and 473,147 females.

The county lies in the arid and semi arid zones of the eastern region of the country. The major physical features in Makueni County include the volcanic Chyulu hills which lie along the southwest border of the county in Kibwezi West Constituency, Mbooni Hills in Mbooni constituency and Kilungu Hills in Kaiti constituency which rise to 1,900m above sea level. The county terrain is generally low-lying from 600m above sea level in Tsavo at the southern end of the county.


The main river in the county is Athi River, which is perennial and fed by tributaries such as Kambu, Kiboko, Kaiti, Thwake and Mtito Andei, which drain from various parts of the county. A few other streams flow from the Mbooni and Kilungu Hills but their flow becomes irregular as they move to the low-lying areas. These rivers provide a high potential for both large and small-scale irrigation.

Tsavo National park which lies in the southern part of the county, in Kibwezi West Constituency is considered as one of the world's biodiversity strongholds. It is home to diverse wildlife species which include the famous 'big five' consisting of lion, black rhino, cape, elephant and leopard. The park also has a great variety of bird life such as the black Kite, crowned crane, lovebird and the sacred Ibis among others.

Over time, the county has experienced climate change and variability which includes insufficient rain and prolonged dry spells among others. Human activities such as farming on hill tops, charcoal burning, and sand harvesting have contributed to this scenario. As a result there has been crop failure affecting the food security and thus economic activities. Water scarcity has also become worse due to this condition.

The total area under forest cover in the county is 191 Km2, which includes 151Km2 of the five Gazetted forests and 40 Km2 of the three non-gazetted forests. The Gazetted forests are Nthangu, Makuli, Mbooni, Kilungu and Kibwezi forests. The main forest products are Timber, poles and fencing posts. The other notable forest products are charcoal, wood carvings, seedlings, wood fuel, pastures, resins and medicinal products.

Environmental degradation has been a major issue in the county due to charcoal burning, overgrazing, firewood and sand harvesting. The reduced agricultural production due to drought and dry being experienced in the county has immensely contributed to environmental degradation as residents seek an alternative source of livelihood. These include sand harvesting and charcoal burning which have reduced the vegetation and forest cover. Industrial effluent into Athi River at the upstream and plastic materials and poor farming methods has also contributed to environmental degradation.

Sand is the major natural resource available in almost all the rivers and streams. Sand harvesting however, remains illegal in the county and this makes it hard to get the data on amount harvested and personnel employed this informal sector.


The Tsavo Climate Challenge is a tree growing program of the Tsavo Heritage foundation, a charity duly registered in Kenya.


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