Elgeyo-Marakwet County is located in the former Rift Valley Province of Kenya. Its’ capital and largest town is Iten. The county borders West Pokot to the North, Baringo County to the east, Uasin Gishu to the southwest ant Trans-Nzoia to the northwest.
Elgeyo-Marakwet is known as the home to the best athletes in the country, those who have put Kenya on the global map in the field of athletics.
It is ecologically diverse and it’s also home for a number of forests which form part of the country’s water sources due to the seasonal streams that are used for irrigation purposes and for feeding livestock in the area.
It is also home to famous Kerio Valley escarpment and Rimoi Game reserve. This paves way for the county to hold the title being a tourism destination center, both for its physical feature and sports tourism (due to the existence of the Iten High altitude training camps). This is proving enough that the county has a huge untapped tourism potential that need to be explored fully.
Iten, is where athletic trainings take place in the county. This is due to its perfect location with the best altitudes of 2400m, endless soft dirt running trails and a year round sunshine. This ideal climatic condition and the altitude of the highlands within the county offers an opportunity for sports tourism. Many local and international athletes train in Iten, Kapsait and Kapcherop areas.
Tourist facilities need to be developed in the county for sports tourism, eco-lodges and resorts, sky diving and even hiking. There is enough space for these developments where hotels can be constructed. Eco- loges can be constructed in the national reserves.
Local and international tourists visiting the area fail to get places where they can hold conferences and retreats and most of them are forced to seek such services in the neighboring counties, which becomes abit hectic and discouraging for them to come back again.
The county’s diverse tourist attractions will not only be of benefit to the economy of the Elgeyo-Marakwet, but also to the country as a whole. It will help in the expansion of the revenue base.
There only exists one training location in the area, The Lornah Kiplagat High Altitude Training Center. This is not enough for the many athletes who come for training in the county all year round. There need to be another training center which should be put up, so as to reduce congestion on the available one.
Article by Vera Shawiza.