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Nakuru is northwest of Nairobi, at Lake Nakuru (click map to enlarge)

Nakuru, the provincial capital of Kenya's Rift Valley province, with roughly 300,000 inhabitants, and currently the fourth largest urban centre in the country, lies about 1850 m above sea level. It is also the capital of Nakuru District.

Contents

History

The history of Nakuru can perhaps be traced to the prehistoric period due to the archeological discoveries located about 8 km from the Central Business District at the Hyrax Hill reserve.Nakuru is Kenya's 3rd largest residency, larger even than the smallest of the three cities, Kisumu. However, the modern town, as with many others in Kenya, derives its name from the Maasai speaking people of Kenya. Nakuru was established by the British as part of the White highlands during the colonial era and it has continued growing into a cosmopolitan town. It received township status in 1904 and became municipality in 1952.

The history of Kenya as a country is closely intertwined with that of Nakuru as a town and a district. The first and second presidents of Kenya maintained their semi-official residents within the town, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, and within the district, Mzee Daniel arap Moi. The town was for a long time been the hotbed of Kenyan politics and it was home to a variety of colorful politicians including the late Kariuki Chotara, Kihika Kimani and the late Mirugi Kariuki.

In 2006, the then MP, Mirugi Kariuki was killed in a plane crash in Marsabit on his way to a peace meeting. The crash also killed five other members of parliament. The ensuing by-election was contested and won by his son, William Kariuki Mirugi of the Narc-Kenya party. At the age of 27, Hon. William Kariuki Mirugi became one of the youngest members of parliament to represent Nakuru Town Constituency. He was however defeated by Lee Kinyanjui during the 2007 general elections beating his close rival Mike Brawan. The 2007 post-election violence also took a toll on the town, with dozens of buildings burnt to the ground by various factions.[1]

Nakuru is a sister city of East Orange, New Jersey [1].

Economy

Agriculture, manufacturing and tourism are the backbone of the economy of Nakuru. The area surrounding the town is known for its vast agricultural potential with numerous small farms and also vast agricultural enterprises..The main crops grown around Nakuru and marketed in the town include coffee, wheat, barley, maize, and beans. These crops are stored in massive silos at the outskirts of the town by the National Cereals and Produce Board and Lesiolo Grain Handlers Limited. The crops provide the primary raw material for the manufacturing industries found in Nakuru and Nairobi. These industries include flour milling and grain ginneries. Dairy farming is a key economic activity and provides the inputs for various milk processing plants arount the town. The town is also a center for various retail businesses that provide goods and services to the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. A large public market lies to the west of the town on the main throughfare to the capital, Nairobi.

Education

Nakuru is also an important educational center. It is the home of Egerton University, a large public university, and Kabarak University, a private university associated with former President Moi's business and religious interests. The Rift Valley Institute of Technology is also based here, as is the Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI). The Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) has a college branch in Nakuru. Nakuru is now becoming a center of academic with centers like Kenya Institute of Biomedical Sciences and Technology (KIBSAT) being opened in the Town and the most recent Nakuru Counseling & Training Institute [NCTI], which is a project of Nakuru Christian Professionals Association. The institute, popularly known as Centre of Hope trains youths at moderate fees and offers full sponsorship to the needy in the community. It partners with Nakurun Lapset ry (Finland) among others.

Nakuru is also a home to various private colleges and privately owned secondary schools. Famous private secondary schools include Melvin Jones, Lions Academy, Greensteds School and Shah Lalji Nagpar Academy. Students in these schools follow the British curriculum and education up till A-levels is currently being offered.

Tourism

Tourism is an important economic activity in Nakuru. The town, and the region, are endowed with vast resources that make tourism a key income source. Nakuru is home to Lake Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes, which forms part of the Lake Nakuru National Park. The park is famous for the vast numbers of flamingoes that can be seen foraging in the shallow lake. The park also has many wild animals that can be seen during a safari. Apart from the animals numerous other sites of interest are accessible from Nakuru. These include Menengai Crater, a dormant volcano. Small fumaroles and steam vents can regularly be observed within the forested caldera from above. The second largest surviving volcanic crater in the world, it plunges 483 m down from the rim and the summit is accessible by foot or vehicle 8 km from the main road to Nyahururu. The wood-covered crater ground is a nature reserve.

A Nakuru flamingo in Kenya

Although Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo and in Baringo District, they are easily accessible from Nakuru. These are major tourist attraction sites too.

The Rift Valley Sports Club lies in the centre of the town. A number of sporting activities are hosted at this club and popular among them is cricket. The local Indian community can be found at cricket fixtures thoroughout the year. The town hosts an annual rugby festival dubbed "The Great Rift 10-a-side" which features teams from across the East Africa region.

Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Site, discovered by the Leakeys in 1926, is considered a major Neolithic and Iron Age site. The adjoining museum features finds from various nearby excavations.

People

Nakuru is populated by people from the whole of Kenya and from many regions of the world. The town has a sizable population of Kenyans of Indian origin and a few of the original settler families also remained in the area. Although the town's population is predominantly African, the town has a cosmopolitan feel. People from different regions of the country have added a unique flavor to the town. The people and their politics make Nakuru a vibrant town. As per 1999 Kenya Population Census[2], Nakuru had the third largest urban population in Kenya.

Surrounding towns include Lanet, which lies approximately 10 km from Nakuru, predominantly a residential town and home to an army base. Njoro lies 20 km from Nakuru and is a small agricultural town with a local university aimed at promoting agricultural development in Kenya, namely Egerton University (est. 1934).

John Kitilit of ODM was elected the mayor of Nakuru in July 2009, beating the outgoing mayor David Gikaria [2].

See also

References

External links

Coordinates: 00°17′S 36°04′E / 0.283°S 36.067°E / -0.283; 36.067

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Nakuru is a city in Rift Valley.

Understand

Nakuru is the adminstrative and economical headquarters of Rift-valley Province. Convienently situated between Nairobi and Western Kenya, it also serves as a transit city for many travellers.

Get in

By plane

L.Nakuru airstrip is available for landing.

By train

Take the Nairobi-Kisumu train.

By car

From Nairobi, the 158km (100 Miles)journey would take approximately 2hours. The newly renovated roads can be dangerous as only sections have dual carriageways. The scenery is beautiful, from Nairobi you will see the Great Rift Valley below from the highway.

By bus

Mololine, Crossroads and other matatu operators offer 9 seater and 14 seater matatu services from Nairobi. Mololine is known for its excellent service and security.

See

Lake Nakuru National Park is home to the famous pink flamingoes. It also offers viewing of various other species of animals and birds.

Menengai Crater is a dormant volcanoes that still spews out smoke. A view from the edge of the crater is a must.

  • Nakuru Backpackers Hostel, Oginga Odinga Dr. (Just off Nairobi-Nakuru highway), +254 (0) 716 705 149, [1]. checkin: 24h; checkout: 10 am. The Nakuru Backpackers Hostel is the perfect home away from home! We offer a comfortable bed, a hot shower and a friendly atmosphere all at a fantastic price! The Nakuru Backpackers Hostel is located in the heart of the Rift Valley. We are next to Lake Nakuru National Park. During your stay, you can venture out on safari through the park, climb to the top of the Menengai Crater, or just chill out at our bar!. 800 kshs per person.  edit

Stay safe

Wild animals can get angry! Keep all your personals locked up safe and with you.

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