General facts

The Kamba people is known for their basket weaving

Kitui is a rural town in Kenya, 160 kilometers east of Nairobi and 75 kilometers east of Machakos. It used to be the capital of the Kitui District in Eastern Province of Kenya. Due to political reforms, Kitui is now the headquarters of Kitui County, which covers a larger area than the former district did. As a consequent the city has become a natural meeting point for politicians and businessmen. And most of the hotels are therefore expanding. In addition, people have noticed that Kitui town is suitale for a pit-stop or a sleep on the way from Mt. Kenya to Mombasa.

Kitui town had a population of 13,244 in 1999, but has grown substantially since this. According to the local Non-Govermental Organization KICABA, there are now about 60,000 living in the city, whereas 100,000 if you include the outskirts. A large majority of the people are Akamba’s, but there are also sizable Swahili and Somali population. The Akamba people of Kenya speak Kamba language- Kikamba, and are considered as friendly and welcoming people.

Kitui Town is hot, though the nights can be cold. The minimum mean annual temperature vary from 14 to 22° Celsius. The maximum mean annual temperatures range from 26 to 34° Celsius.

Although most of the sites are located in the outskirts of town, Kitui is a busy trading center, its streets lined with arcaded shops. Every Monday and Thursday is a market day. All sorts of vegetables can be bought, in addition to goats, hens and sometimes even cows.

Banks
There are several banks in Kitui; Barcley’s, The National Bank, KCB, Co-operative Bank and Family Bank – of which all have ATM’s. In addition to these you can find more banks, but the ones mentioned above are mostly recommended.

Hospitals
Hospitals in Kitui town: Kitui General Hospital (Governmental Hospital), Jordan Hospital (private), Nema Hospital (private) and Kitui Nursing Home (private).  If you have the opportunity it is probably wise to use one of the private hospitals which often has a smaller waiting-list. Jordan Hospital has a 24/7-service which means a doctor is available (on call) at all times.

Naivas with motorcycle taxies outside

Shopping
Naivas is a new supermarket in town, which opened in December 2009. This store got everything you need, from food to furniture, office supplies and toiletries. The standard of this store is very good, so don’t be afraid if you have forgotten some necessities for the trip. Muli Mall is the only mall in town and contains a few small shops, so most of what you might need you will probably have find in other shops around town, if not in Naivas. There are also several pharmacies in town, of which all are clean and trustworthy, though the variety is limited. For example; the selection of bandages is very poor – so be sure to bring this on the trip in case you’ll get injured. Recently the town opened several stores where you can buy wine and other alcoholic beverages. In addition it also works to buy at hotels like Park Side Villa, where you even can ask them to order for you if you wish for something they don’t have in store.

Transportation
Buses: Mar Mash Poa buses have daily departures to Mombasa. The Kintawa Sacco buses travels to Nairobi non-stop every day. You can find them both at the New Bus Station in Kitui town. The road from Kitui to Nairobi via Thika is among the better roads in Kenya. The Kitui-Kibwezi Road is a tough slog of three hours-plus, much of it rough and dusty, or muddy (but the shortest). Some 20 to 30 km at each end is reasonably graded, but the rest is mostly very poor conditions, save for the off bridge where the road builders have been at work. The road heading north to Embu is tarred and in good condition to Kangond. There are some morning matatus through Embu.

Parking
If you visit Kitui by car, you should notice that parking is not free of charge. Although there are no signs with information, be aware that parking without a parking ticket can be annoying and complicated. There should be parking attendants strolling the streets, normally in yellow coats, so make sure one of these contact you before leaving the car. The fee for parking a full day is 40 KES (September 2012), while the penalty is 500 KES. In addition the car may be locked, so that you need to visit the municipal offices in order to release it.

Total Gas Station and Tyre Center

Mechanics
If your car is damaged in some way, there are many competent mechanics in town, so there should not be a big issue finding one. However, though competent – reparation may consume more time than what you may be used to. The equipment are somewhat old fashioned, and most of the work is done by hand. If your car is stranded, you can call for a mechanic to come fix it. You will then, in addition for the cost for fixing it, probably also have to pay approximately 50 KES in the motorcycle transport for the mechanic. For fixing flat tires we can recommend the Total Tyre Center next to Total Gas Station.
Telephone for mechanics: +254(0)720304504 / +254(0)721513676
Telephone for Total Tyre Center: +254(0)725340220 (Moses)

Gas Stations
There are several gas stations located nearby the Kitui market. These are served by employees, and telling them in advance how much you want to fill in shillings may be clever.

Taxi
Taxis may not seem to be a very common sight in Kitui town, but taxis can be found. Many of them are located opposite Traveller’s Café. The public taxis are suppose to have a yellow stripe along the side of the car, although this is not always the case. The motorcycle taxis however are much more commonly used by the locals – and are also less expensive. You can easily fetch them all over town. Seeing a motorbike packed with three or four people is not an unusual sight. Since the car-version of the taxis could be hard to seek out, you might want to call for one instead of searching for it on the streets.
Telephone: 0723438368 / 0724962007  (for Taxi car)

 

Last updated: 05.09.2012

 

Africa as you have never seen her.