Kwale County is located in south coast of Kenya, it borders the Republic of Tanzania to the South West, and the following Counties; Taita Taveta to the West, Kilifi to the North, Mombasa to the North East and the Indian Ocean to the East.

Kwale County covers a total surface area of 8,270.2 square km and accounts for 1.42% of Kenya’s total surface area.

Headquarters and Major Towns

The County’s capital is Kwale Town which is located 30 km southwest of Mombasa and 15km inland. It borders the Shimba Hills National Reserve. Other major towns include:

  • Ukunda,
  • Msambweni,
  • Kinango, and
  • Lunga Lunga.

Geography and Climate

Kwale County has four major topographical features namely the coastal plain, the foot plateau, the coastal uplands and the Nyika plateau. Kwale County has a monsoon type of climate; it’s hot and dry from January – April while June to August is the coolest period of the year. Rainfall comes in two seasons i.e. short rains are experienced from October to December while the long rains run from March- June/July. The average temperature of the county is 24.2oC and rainfall amounts range between 400mm and 1,680 mm per annum. Seasonal rivers and the Ramisi River form the drainage pattern in the district. The main rivers and streams are Marere, Mwaluganje and river Ramisi. Rivers Marere and Mwaluganje have been harnessed to provide piped water.

The People of Kwale County

Based on the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census, the county had a population of 649,931 which accounted for 1.7% of the total Kenyan population.

Kwale County is populated mainly by the Digo and Duruma. These people belong to the Mijikenda ethnic group of coastal Kenya. Other tribes found in the district include the Kambas, Arabs and Indians though to a very small proportion compared to the Digos and Durumas.

Administrative Units

Kwale County has 3 administrative districts, namely:

  • Kinango
  • Matuga
  • Msambweni.

Electoral Units

The County is divided into 4 constituencies and 20 wards. The constituencies are:

  • Matuga
  • Msambweni
  • Kinango
  • Lunga Lunga


  • The county has rich titanium deposits with extraction activities already ongoing.
  • The Monsoon type of climate in the region that is characterized by hot and dry weather between January and April and cool weather between June and August is favourable for livestock rearing which is a main activity in certain parts of the county.
  • Being crisscrossed by rivers and streams some of which are seasonal, the county has water resources giving the county huge agricultural potential.
  • Potential to be a key destination for eco-tourism (rainforests and national parks) 


  • Land tenure
  • Security
  • Poor infrastructure development e.g. roads, electricity, water etc.
  • Low agricultural production due to land tenure problems.
  • Poor and undeveloped agricultural marketing.
  • Poor agro-industry base.
  • Yearly droughts due to rainfall inadequacy particularly in Kinango and Samburu divisions.
  • Vagaries of nature of droughts and flood e.g. the El-Nino phenomena.
  • High population dependency ratio.

Location: Located in Southern Kenya, it borders the Republic of Tanzania to the South West, and the following Counties; Taita Taveta to the West and North West, Kilifi to the North and North East, Mombasa to the East, and the Indian Ocean to the East and South East.

Area (Km 2): 8,270.2 Km 2

Climate/Weather: The average temperature is 24.2°C and rainfall amounts range between 400mm and 1,680mm per annum.

Road Network: Bitumen Surface (212.5 Km), Gravel Surface (120 Km), Earth Surface (1,695.5 Km)

Kwale County

Constituencies: Msambweni, lunga lunga, Matuga, Kinango

Population: 649,931 (Male – 49 %, Female – 51 %)

Population Density: 79 people per Km 2

National Percentage: 1.7 %

Annual Growth Rate: 2.6 %

Age Distribution: 0-14 years (47.2 %), 15-64 years (49.4 %), 65+ years (3.4 %)

Number of Households: 122, 047 

  • Tsavo National Park,
  • Shimba Hills National Reserve,
  • Kisite/Mpunguti National Park and Reserve.

The five districts have four (4) livelihood zones that include livestock farming, mixed farming, fisheries and formal employment /tourism. Mixed farming is the main livelihood of the district although most of the county area is under livestock farming. The district meets 60% of its grains, vegetables and pulses requirements. The deficit is met from imports from other neighbouring districts (mainly Taita Taveta) and upcountry.


Key agricultural activities and industries pertain to fruit farming where the main agricultural products are: oranges, pawpaw, mangoes, and coconuts. The Coastal Upland of the county has been identified as being an area of medium to high agricultural potential. Mixed farming is spread throughout the county and it is estimated that 22%[1] of the regions income is derived from cash crop farming.


Inland Kwale is not particularly popular with tourists however this is more than made up for by beautiful stretches of tropical forest in the Shimba Hills. The Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, owned and run by the local Duruma people, is also an attraction in the county.

Along the coastline there are a number of popular tourist attractions including Kisite and Mpunguti Marine National Parks, the second most famous marine park in the world (after Australian Marine Park), and the world famous Diani Beach.

Major Attractions

  • Kisite Marine National Park
  • Mpunguti Marine National Park
  • Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary
  • Shimba Hills National Reserve
  • Diani Beach
  • Wasini Dhow Tours
  • Sheldrick Falls
  • Maji Moto Springs

Ongoing Developments

Kwale International Sugar Company limited (Kiscol) is in the process of constructing a sugarcane plant which is expected to be operational by March 2013. Kiscol took over the defunct Ramisi Sugar Factory and is putting up a state-of-the-art milling plant in Ramisi at a cost of Ksh18 billion ($180 million). When fully operational, it will employ up to 3,000 people directly and another 11,500 indirectly.

kwale economic status

Source: KNBS census 2009.


  1. Employed - are those people that are working
  2. Not employed - are those people that are potential employees but have not secured any form of employment.
  3. Economically inactive - are the non-working age that comprises of very old and young people in the population.
  4. Unclassified - the population that had not indicated their economic category.
  • Number of Institutions (2007): Primary (349), Secondary (41)
  • Primary Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:57 (Public Schools)
  • Secondary Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:35 (Public Schools)

kwale Education



Kwale County has some of the worst socioeconomic and health indicators in Kenya with Kinango and Samburu as the most affected divisions in the county. Child malnutrition is a serious public health problem in the county. Stunting prevalence in Samburu and Kinango Divisions has been estimated to be 44.7%.

District Hospitals (2), Dispensaries (64), Health Centres (6) and Medical Clinics (17).

kwale health

  • Doctor to Population Ratio: 1:82,690
  • Infant Mortality Rates:70/1000
  • Prevalent Diseases: Malaria, Skin Disease, Diseases of the Track System and HIV/AIDS.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence in the county in comparison to other coastal counties is as shown below.

kwale HIV


Kwale County-Fact-Sheets_Dec-2011_035


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