The small town of KITUI is a busy trading centre, its streets lined with arcaded shops, although it has no sights. Like Machakos, 100km to the west on the C97, it has sizeable populations of coastal Swahili and Somali people, descendants of the traders and travellers who criss-crossed Ukambani in the nineteenth century. The town’s mango trees were planted then, and are a reminder of the trading tradition.

Kitui was the home village of Kivoi, the most celebrated Kamba trader, who commanded a large following that included slaves. It was Kivoi who met the German missionary Ludwig Krapf in Mombasa, and who guided him to Kitui in 1849, from where he became the first European to set eyes on Mount Kenya.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Kenya features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Saving the elephants: on the poaching frontline in Kenya

Saving the elephants: on the poaching frontline in Kenya

The African elephant is under constant threat from poachers, and numbers have fallen by one third in seven years. Joe Minihane journeyed to the Samburu reserv…

19 Apr 2017 • Joe Minihane local_activity Special feature
6 reasons to stay in Nairobi before you head off on safari

6 reasons to stay in Nairobi before you head off on safari

Most people coming into Kenya will arrive in Nairobi, but head straight for the country’s vast national parks and beautiful coastline. Stay a little longer in…

23 Aug 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
7 amazing African journeys

7 amazing African journeys

Africa is a continent of wild open savannahs, terracotta sunsets, thousands of vibrant green hills and rugged coastlines. Here, you can be chugging along on …

06 Jul 2016 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month