Eldoret is a principal city in western Kenya. It is the capital and largest city in Uasin Gishu County. Lying south of the Cherangani Hills, the local elevation varies from about 2100 metres above sea level at the airport to more than 2700 metres in nearby areas (7000–9000 feet). The population was 289,380 in the 2009 census, and it is currently the fastest growing town in Kenya. It is also the second largest urban centre in midwestern Kenya after Nakuru and the fifth largest urban centre in the country.
The name "Eldoret" is based on the Maasai word "eldore" meaning "stony river"; a reference to the bed of the Sosiani River that runs through the town.
The area that is now Eldoret and the plateau around it had been occupied by the Sirikwa for several centuries prior to the era of Maasai ascendancy. At their greatest extent, the lands of this society covered the highlands from the Chepalangu and Mau forests northwards as far as the Cherangany Hills and Mt Elgon. Their lands were roughly conterminous with present-day Kalenjin lands save for a south-eastern projection into the grasslands of Nakuru that was permanently taken over by the Maasai no later than the 17th century.