Headquarters of the Gusii people, and district town of a region vying with Nyeri in having the fastest-growing population in the country, KISII is a prosperous, hard-working trading centre in the hills. Notoriously muddy and rubbish-strewn, with a minor reputation for hassle which really only reflects the friendliness of the locals, the town is undergoing something of a makeover, with its sloping streets gradually being resurfaced with paving blocks. Kisii is most famous for its fine soapstone, though there’s little to be seen in the town itself. The best locality for watching the carvers and making on-the-spot purchases is Tabaka, some way south. One thing you may notice if you stay overnight in Kisii is the occasional earth tremor – the town lies on a fault line and minor earthquakes are not uncommon. Wildlife enthusiasts will want to check out the tree full of giant bats in the government compound between Moi Highway and the Sports Club at the southern end of town.

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