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About The County

Homa Bay County is located in the now defunct Nyanza Province. It borders Lake Victoria to the West and North, Kisumu and Kericho to the North East, Nyamira and Kisii to the East, and Migori to the South. The county's size is 3,183.3 Km2 and its temperatures ranges from a mean annual minimum of 17.1°C to a mean maximum of 34.8°C, with rainfall amounts of between 250mm and 700mm per annum. The county is poised to be one of the major tourism hubs given its enormous tourism resources that are yet to be exploited such as Ruma National Park, Tom Mboya Mausoleum, Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kanjera archaeological site, Rusinga and Mfangano Islands. Homa Bay County has eight constituencies comprising of Kasipul, Karachuonyo, Kabondo, Rangwe, Homa Bay Town, Gwasi, Ndhiwa, and Mbita.

History

Lake Victoria is the center of life for Homa Bay, and indeed the entire Nyanza Region. Before the arrival of European explorers, many people had settled in what is now Homa Bay County. The Bantus and Nilotes who moved into the region were attracted to the lake side because it offered them means of livelihood.

A high plateau towers high above the beaches on Mfangano Island. The shelter of a high curve overhangs a series of cave paintings ranged along the length of a wall. This has been identified as the work of Twa pygmy hunters from the Congo. A band of Twa hunters sheltered here 18,000 years ago under the cover of the overhand, with a view across the forested valley ay Mfangano's center. They were excited about the view of the rising sun and reapetedly painted its image across rocks. Among the local people, the sun plays an important role in their beliefs. They consider it a deity that coexists with the supreme creator.

Lake Victoria, the second largest inland lake on earth, has found its history as one of the greatest 'prizes' in 19th century exploration. The question of the source of river Nile plagued the best minds in Europe, before its waters were traced back to somewhere deep in the heart of what was then referred to as the 'dark continent'. Exploring the source of the Nile presented opportunities for great adventure, for both geographers and scientists alike. It was a treasure trove of knowledge and to rulers, it held potential for acquisition of fertile land and possible colonization of the region. Many expeditions were made but the majority failed. It was not until 1858 that the mystery of the source of River Nile was solved by the British explorer Jonathan Speke. With the lake at the center of a massive protectorate, the British controlled both the Nile and East African Coast. Southern Nyanza was an area of anti-British activity. The people resisted the establishment of an administration station at Karungu in 1903 but were defeated.

Capital

Homa Bay County headquarter is Homa Bay Town, one of the cleanest in East Africa. The area of Homa Bay County is partly submerged in water and got its name from the beautiful bay area of Lake Victoria, located in the North-eastern part of the lake. Apart from uninhabited islands, beaming with unique plant and animal species, the region is reported to have gold and cement deposits Like many Kenyan towns, Homa Bay Town is multi-ethic even though Luos make a large percentage of the population. Other ethnic communities found in Homa Bay Town are Kisiis, Kikuyus, Somalis, Arabs, Luhyas, among others. The dominant language is Luo which is being spoken by other ethnic groups who live within the town. Other languages are English and Kiswahili.

Climate

Homa Bay lies 4000 feet above sea level with a semi-arid climate. Due to its proximity to the lake it experiences two rainy seasons throughout the year with a maximum of 1180mm of rain being received. Temperatures experienced in the region are between 260 C and 280 C. The relatively high temperatures, particularly around the shores of Lake Victoria, makes swimming and other water sports activities quite an experience.

Economy

Fishing on Lake Victoria and agriculture are the main economic activities in Homa Bay County accounting for the largest share of household income in the region. Subsistence farming is practiced extensively with crops such as maize, sorghum, cassava, beans, ground nut, millet and potatoes being grown. Ruma National Park and Mount Homa are major tourist attractions. Opportunities therefore exist in development of tourist facilities to tap into this market. The county is also endowed with large tracts of forest cover which offers a good opportunity to exploit forest resource.

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