Facts about Voi

Bostäder i Voi. Foto: Sune Broman
Affärer i Voi. Foto: Sune Broman
Torget i stadsdelen Sofia. Foto: Sune Broman
Fruktbod i Voi. Foto: Sune Broman
Voi is a city and a municipality in Southwest Kenya, about 330 km  from the capital city Nairobi and 160 km from the coastal city of Mombasa.  Voi sits along the main road and borders two national parks – Tsavo West and Tsavo East.

Voi is about 600 meters above sea level and has a warm, dry climate (about 300 mm of rain falls each year), which isn’t especially suited for farming.  A river runs through Voi that only contains water during the rainy season in spring and autumn.  There is a large sisal plantation just outside Voi, with small stores and service businesses making up the majority  of employment.  Industry work is nonexistent.

The most recent official census is from 1999.  At that time, the city had 24,000 residents and the entire municipality had about 33,000 residents.  It is likely that those numbers have grown considerably since that time.

You’ll find several schools in Voi, everything from preschools and trade schools, and up to high school education opportunities.

Transportation wise, the city in a good location because of its placement between Mombassa and Nairobi (and onward towards Kampala in Uganda).  The train to Nairobi/Kampala also passes through Voi, and there are several bus companies stationed in town. There are also travel connections between Voi and Tanzania.  The amount of traffic in and out of town has also negatively contributed to the higher rate of HIV/AIDS there in comparison to other areas of the country.  Even so, Kenya is one of the ten countries in Africa hit hardest by AIDS.

The Geographic Institute at Helsingfors University has conducted a study in Voi on the effects of urbanization and population growth on the community, and the problems which may arise.  The study includes an overview of the situation:
– 75% of the population in Voi lives in informal settlements.
– Of those who live in these informal settlements, 70% live in houses built of
temporary materials (clay, dirt floors, corrugated plastic, etc).