Tana River County
Flag of Tana River County
Location in Kenya
Location in Kenya
Coordinates: 1°30′S 40°0′E / 1.500°S 40.000°E / -1.500; 40.000
Country Kenya
Formed4 March 2013
 • GovernorGodhana Dhadho Gaddae
 • Total35,375.8 km2 (13,658.7 sq mi)
 • Total512,000
 • Density14/km2 (37/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

Tana River County is a county in the former Coast Province of Kenya. It is named after the Tana River, the longest river in Kenya. It has an area of 38,437 km2 (14,841 sq mi) and a population of 315,943 as of the 2019 census. The county borders Kitui County to the west, Garissa County to the northeast, Isiolo County to the north, Lamu County to the southeast and Kilifi County to the south.[1] The capital and largest town is Hola (also known as Galole).

Apart from the River Tana, there are several seasonal rivers in the county popularly known as galan, which flow in a west–east direction from Kitui and Makueni Counties, draining into the River Tana and eventually into the Indian Ocean.[2][3]

District subdivisions

Despite the large area of the Tana River district, its only local authority is Tana River County Council. The district has three constituencies: Garsen, Galole and Bura,15 wards, 54 locations, and one hundred nine (109) sub-Locations [1].

Administrative divisions
Division Population* Urban
Area (km2) Headquarters
Bangale 14,853 0 2 x Murarandia
Bura 28,848 0 6 x Bura
Galole 34,948 9,383 4 x Hola
Garsen 51,592 4,885 4 x Garsen
Kipini 16,243 0 19 x Kipini
Madogo 21,731 0 12 x Kamwangi
Wenje 12,686 0 23 x Wenje
Total 180,901 14,268 5 (average) x
* 1999 census. Sources:[4][5]


  Christian (18%)
  Muslim (81%)
  Other Religions (Including Atheism) (1%)

Religion in Tana River County[6]

The county consists of 81% Muslims, 18% Christians and 1% of people in other religions (including Atheism).


Historical population
1979 92,401—    
1989 128,426+39.0%
1999 180,901+40.9%
2009 240,075+32.7%
2019 315,943+31.6%

The major ethnic groups are the Somalis, of which the Wardey are the largest clan. The minority groups are the Pokomo (many of whom are farmers), and the Orma people. The county is generally dry and prone to drought. Rainfall is erratic, with rainy seasons in March–May and October–December. Conflicts have occurred between farmers and other people over access to water. Flooding is also a regular problem, caused by heavy rainfall in upstream areas of the Tana River.[8]

A recent survey prepared by ALMRP, Tana River District presented to the Tana River District Steering Group (2004) found that the county is 79% food insecure and with an incidence of poverty at 62% (Interim Poverty Strategy Paper (I-PSP), 2000–2003, Kenya).

2012 ethnic violence

Main article: 2012 Tana River District clashes

On 22 August 2012, in the worst violent incident in Kenya since 2007, at least 52 people were killed in ethnic violence in Tana River County between the Orma and Pokomo communities residing in tana river county.[9]

Villages and settlements

Bura Irrigation and Settlement Project is located in Tana River County. During the years 1981-1988 about 2,200 families from different parts of Kenya were settled in this irrigation scheme.

Tana River County consists of forest, woodland and grassland which are minor centers of endemism. The forests are designated National Reserve status if they have >4 plant endemics and >7 vertebrate endemics (IUCN, 2003). Despite the apparent adequate natural resources, the region remains marginalized from the rest of the country. Efforts at development always seem to center on the huge River Tana, despite massive failures in all the previous irrigation projects in the district, i.e. Bura, Hola and the Tana delta rice irrigation project which failed after the water works were damaged by the El Niño rains in 1998.[citation needed] .Other economic activities in Tana River county include mining with gems such as Iron ore,[10] Uranium,[11] Gypsum,[12] Barite[13] and illmenite [2].

See also


  1. ^ "About Us". County Government of Tana River. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Makueni County", Wikipedia, 15 September 2022, retrieved 27 October 2022
  3. ^ "About Us". County Government of Tana River. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  4. ^ Communications Commission of Kenya – Status of Coverage of Communications Services Archived 16 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ International Livestock Research Institute – Urban Poverty Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine (.xls)
  6. ^ "2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census Volume IV: Distribution of Population by Socio-Economic Characteristics" (PDF). Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  7. ^ Kenya: Administrative Division population statistics
  8. ^ "Earth from Space: Tana River". www.esa.int. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  9. ^ "Dozens killed in Kenya clashes". Al Jazeera. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Iron ore", Wikipedia, 4 January 2023, retrieved 9 January 2023
  11. ^ "Uranium", Wikipedia, 17 November 2022, retrieved 9 January 2023
  12. ^ "Gypsum", Wikipedia, 30 November 2022, retrieved 9 January 2023
  13. ^ "Baryte", Wikipedia, 14 October 2022, retrieved 9 January 2023