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Eldoret

From Academic Kids

Eldoret is a town in western Kenya and the administrative centre of Uasin Gishu District of Rift Valley Province. Its elevation is 2314 feet (842 metres) and population is around 79,000.

The name is based on the Masai word "Eldoret" meaning "stony river" because the bed of the nearby Sosiani River is very stony. A "t" was added to make it sound like a Nandi word. At start of the colonial era, the area was occupied by the Nandi, before that by the Masai and before that the Sirikwa.

The town of Eldoret itself started in 1910 with a post office on what was known to the white settlers as "Farm 64" or just "64" because, at that time it was 64 miles from the newly built Uganda Railway railhead at Kibigori. Willy van Aardt owned the farm. The town was officially named "Eldoret" in 1912. Peter van Aardt, now living in England, is Willy's great grandson. The Central Lounge in Eldoret is all that remains of Willy's farm.

Many of the original settlers were Afrikaans-speaking South Africans who "trekked" there from Nakuru in 1908 after a journey from South Africa by sea and by rail from Mombasa. Other European and Asian settlers and traders began arriving shortly afterwards.

The railway extension toward Uganda reached Eldoret in 1924 starting a new era of prosperity and growth. In 1928 a piped water supply from Sosiani River was installed. In 1933, the East African Power and Lighting Company installed an electricity generator.

Eldoret is the hometown of numerous Kenyan star runners, the most renowned of whom is Kipchoge Keino. Eldoret is the fastest growing town in Kenya today.

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