Is It ‘Snowing’ in West Pokot County of Kenya in 2020?

By Peris Gachahi and Purity Mukami

The image below has been circulating on WhatsApp this month with claims that it shows an area in Pokot, Kenya. It shows a mountainous region in the background, a fenced area and what looks like snow, which is uncharacteristic of the Kenyan climate.


On September 4, 2008, there were reports of snow falling in Naivasha, which was a new phenomenon in the area. A similar occurrence was witnessed in Nyahururu in July 2017 and allegedly in Kuresoi, Nakuru County, in April 2019.

West Pokot has a moderately warm and moist climate throughout the year. The average annual temperature ranges from around 15°Cto 25°C. There is also strong precipitation (includes drizzles, rain, sleet, snow, ice pellets and hailstones) gradient which, coupled with the temperatures, causes flooding, dry spells and heat stress in the county.


A reverse search on Google shows that the image was uploaded on October 29, 2018, as a cover photo for a Facebook page called Rimoi-Kapnarok Conservation Half Marathon-2018. The page, however, did not identify the location.

Still from the reverse search, we find evidence that the same picture was shared on Twitter on June 20, 2019. The tweep had shared another photo on June 19 in the same thread claiming it is from the same area as the photo in question, identifying it as Lelan area in West Pokot.

A Google search for the keywords ‘Snow in West Pokot’ yields another post of the same picture from July 6, 2017. The tweep at the time also claimed it was a picture of Lelan.

Unable to get a response from the tweeps, we contacted Raphael Pkemoi Magal, a resident of the area who works about 100km from the referred Tapach area in Lelan. He had also seen the image in question as shared by his friends on Whatsapp.

Magal confirmed that the area has, over the last two years, experienced hailstorms in the month of July. “We are expecting the same to occur in the coming month of July, this year.”

But as of 12th June 2020, when we contacted him, the area was only experiencing cold temperatures and rain, with no evidence of hailstones.

He claims that the pictures were taken from the area around Tapach Primary School in Lelan, and shared with us the picture below as being from around the same area in July last year:

A look at the area around the coordinates 1.2627038,35.418099 on satellite imagery could not satisfactorily confirm this.

A Google search for the keywords ‘Hail Stones in West Pokot’ leads us to this local weather report dated May 4, 2020, on the heavy rains that were being experienced in the country causing landslides and flooding in various parts. “Over the weekend, there were hailstones in West Pokot,” it reads in part

However, on the weekend being referred to, (2nd and 3rd May), there was a similar claim being circulated online at the time, of a hailstorm in West Pokot, only that this time it emanated from a video. That claim has since been found to be false by independent fact-checkers.


The photo making rounds with claims that Lelan area in West Pokot is experiencing ‘snow’/ hailstorms is misleading, as there is evidence that the photo is an old one.

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *