Thika is an industrial town in Central Province, Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, lying on the A2 road 40 km north east of Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

, near the confluence of Thika River
Thika River
The Thika River flows through central Kenya and is a tributary of Tana River. The Thika River is a significant source of hydroelectric power in Kenya and provides most of the water supply for Nairobi, Kenya's capital and largest city....

 & Chania River. Thika has a population of 200,000
and is growing rapidly, as is the entire greater Nairobi area. The elevation of Thika is approximately 1631 meters in altitude.

Thika is home to the Chania Falls and the Thika Falls, while Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park lies to its south east.
The town has a railway station, but currently there is only limited passenger service with only cargo trains operating although there are plans to extend the proposed light rail system to Thika in the future. The town is currently the headquarters of Thika West district following the split of the larger Thika district (created in 1994) into five districts; Thika East and Thika West, Ruiru, Gatundu, Gatanga. It is also the seat of the South Central regional commissioner (deputy Provincial Commissioner) for Central Province appointed by president Mwai Kibaki in 2009 who is in-charge of the larger Kiambu, Thika and Murang'a districts. However, under Kenya's new constitution which has recognizes only the 47 districts in existence before 1992 as semi-autonomus counties, Thika falls under Kiambu County. Although, Kiambu Town is expected to be the new county headquarters, Thika should remain as the main commercial center.

The town is famous as the prime pineapple
Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries. It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone. The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae...

-growing region in Kenya, the Chania and Thika falls near the confluence of the respective rivers and as a gateway to the "Fourteen Falls" near Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park which is used as a popular picnic and corporate recreational site. Thika is also known as a center for light industry especially in food & horticulture processing. However, the decline of the textile industry has hit local firms such as Kenya Textile Mills (KTM), which was a cotton to fabric manufacturer that competed against Egyptian & Chinese manufacturers. Nevertheless, recent growth has been accentuated by the growth of the service sector especially in education & finance.

The Flame Trees of Thika (Memories of an African Childhood)
The Flame Trees of Thika
The Flame Trees of Thikais a British television mini-series of seven 50-minute episodes made by Euston Films for Thames Television in 1981. It was adapted by John Hawkesworth from the 1959 book of the same title by Elspeth Huxley, and is set in and around the town of Thika in Kenya's Central Province...

 is a book by Elspeth Huxley
Elspeth Huxley
Elspeth Joscelin Huxley CBE was a polymath, writer, journalist, broadcaster, magistrate, environmentalist, farmer, and government advisor. She wrote 30 books; but she is best known for her lyrical books The Flame Trees of Thika and The Mottled Lizard which were based on her experiences growing up...

, later adapted for television by Euston Films
Euston Films
Euston Films was a British film and television production company. It was a subsidiary company of Thames Television, and operated from the 1970s to the 1990s, producing various series for Thames, which were screened nationally on the ITV network...

 for Thames Television
Thames Television
Thames Television was a licensee of the British ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until 31 December 1992....

. It describes the life of English settlers in the "White Highlands
White Highlands
The term White Highlands describes an area in the central uplands of Kenya, so-called because, during the period of British Colonialism, white immigrants settled there in considerable numbers. The main motivation was to take advantage of the good soils and growing conditions, as well as the cool...

" in Edwardian times. A flame tree
Flame tree
Flame tree is a common name used in various parts of the world to refer to several different species of tree:* Delonix regia - Royal Poinciana* Brachychiton acerifolius - Illawarra flame tree* Koelreuteria bipinnata - Chinese flame tree...

 turns entirely reddish orange in June each year, depending on the previous rainfall.

History of Thika

There are two explanations for the name Thika. One has its origin in the Kikuyu
Gikuyu language
Gikuyu or Kikuyu is a language of the Bantu family spoken primarily by the Kikuyu people of Kenya. Numbering about 6 million , they are the largest ethnic group in Kenya. Gikuyu is spoken in the area between Nyeri and Nairobi. Gikuyu is one of the five languages of the Thagichu subgroup of the...

 word Guthika, meaning to bury. During a great drought, the Maasai ventured outside of their normal territories looking for water for their huge herds of cattle. Two rivers pass through Kikuyu land, River Thika and Chania, both providing sustenance for the agricultural Kikuyu. With this water in contention, and both tribes desperate for survival, they fought a bloody battle that left few survivors. A mound near Blue Posts Hotel supposedly is where the dead warriors were buried. Thika was also used a memorial burial site for soldiers who fought in WWII.

The other explanation come from the Maasai
Maasai language
The Maasai language is an Eastern Nilotic language spoken in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania by the Maasai people, numbering about 800,000...

 word Sika meaning "rubbing something off an edge". In addition, the area was also inhabited by the Akamba tribe and hence was a border region between three communities.

Towards the end of the 19th century, outsiders began to settle in this outpost as a convenient resting spot between Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

 and the upcountry highlands for British settlers. Europeans and Asians began to stop and remain at Thika, the former setting up farms, and the latter setting up shops. A monument in the shape of a pillar was erected by the British in the early 1900s in the central business district of Thika, it commemorates the founding of Thika as a town. The town was given its status by the government gazette in 1924. Thereafter it was elevated to a municipality when Kenya gained independence in 1963, and the first Mayor was enthroned in 1968.

The town has historical sites like the Mugumo Gardens which is named for the giant fig tree where the ancient legendary seer "Mugo wa Kibiro" prophesied. Believers claim that all of his prophesies have come to pass. According to legend, the fall of the tree would symbolise the fall of British rule in Kenya. The British Government reinforced the tree to prevent it from falling, but it split into two parts and fell in two stages in 1963. This Land is said to have belonged to the first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Economic activities

Thika is externally serviced by a dual carriage way to Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

 (currently been expanded into a eight-lane superhighway with a completion date of April 2012), a highway to Garissa & the rest of Northeast Kenya, a highway to the Central highlands and also a railway line (with plans to add a passenger light rail to Nairobi). Internally, the town has a well-maintained road network. The main economic activities of the town include agricultural processing, particularly in horticulture & pineapple (exports mainly to Europe), coffee (exports mainly to the USA and Europe), cooking oils( rest of Kenya and Eastern Africa) & animal feed processing. Other industries include textile (cotton), macadamia nuts, wheat, tannery, motor vehicle assemblies, cigarette manufacturing, bakeries, packaging & industrial chemicals. About one hundred small scale industries and about twenty major factories exist in and around the town. The service sector is also well represented with the growth & establishment of a number of educational & financial institutions. Thika is currently home or close to three universities, tens of middle level colleges, hundreds of secondary and primary schools & dozens of financial institutions.

Thika also has a bustling nightlife, modern recreational centers & significant retail trading operations. The growth of greater Nairobi region and improved infrastructure & services has also led to new residential estates.


The town is located on a gentle plain before the ascent into the central highlands. Small valleys are present on the Western and Northern edges following the Chania and Thika Rivers that have waterfalls and meet on the North Western edge of the town. The climate is moderate tropical with sunshine most of the year round and typical average temperatures of 25°C during the day with the hottest period in January & February leading to the long rains and the coldest in July after. The "long rains" season occurs from March/April to May/June. The "short rains" season occurs from October to November/December.

Local Government

The local government consists of a thirteen-member Municipal Council, with responsibilities for various governmental functions delegated to appointed committees. The Mayor is currently chosen from one of the elected or nominated Councillors for one year terms. However, with the new constitution, the Mayor will be directly elected by the populace for a five year terms starting from 2012. The Council sets the policies and by-laws while the day-to-day running is managed by the Town Clerk seconded from the Local Government ministry.

The town in 2008 signed a sister city agreement with Dixon, Illinois
Dixon, Illinois
Dixon is a city in Lee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,733 as of the 2010 census, down from 15,941 at the 2000 census. Named for its founder, John Dixon , it is the county seat of Lee County. Located on the Rock River, Dixon was the boyhood home of former U.S...

to create new economic, cultural and social opportunities.

Top Companies

# Company
1 Fresh Delmonte Kenya
2 Bidco Oil Refineries
3 Thika Coffee Mills
4 Broadway Bakeries
5 Kel Chemicals
6 Metal Box
7 Chania Food Mills
8 Equity Bank
9 Muramati Sacco
10 Kakuzi

Universities & Major Colleges in Thika

External links

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