|Elevation||1,850 m (6,070 ft)|
|Time zone||EAT (UTC+3)|
Nakuru, is the capital of Nakuru County in Kenya and former capital of the Rift Valley Province. It has 307,990 inhabitants, making it the fourth largest urban centre in the country and the largest urban centre in the Kenyan mid-west with Eldoret in Uasin Gishu following closely behind. Nakuru lies about 1,850 m above sea level.
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 4th largest urban centre with a population of 307,990. 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 a municipality in 1952.
The history of Kenya as a country is closely intertwined with that of Nakuru as a town and a district which is now a county. The first and second presidents of Kenya maintained their semi-official residents within the town, Jomo Kenyatta, and Daniel arap Moi. The town for a long time has 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 and Koigi Wamwere.
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.
Small Scale 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 around the town. According to a UN study released in 2011, Nakuru is Africa's fastest growing town and the fourth in the world.
The town is also a centre 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 thoroughfare to the capital, Nairobi.
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 academics with campuses for the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Mount Kenya University, The Kenya Methodist University being set up in the town. Other important institutions include The Institute of Advanced Studies, Kenya Institute of Biomedical Sciences and Technology (KIBSAT), Institute of Advanced Technology (IAT), Tracom College, AIRADS and most recent Nakuru Training Institute (NTI), 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.Mwangaza College,initially called the Bishop Ndingi Centre for skills formation,is also another known college in Nakuru.
Nakuru is also a home to various private colleges and privately owned secondary schools. Famous private secondary schools include( Radiance Academy Nakuru) Melvin Jones Lions Academy, Mountain Park Academy, Greensteds School and Shah Lalji Nagpar Academy. Students in these schools follow the British curriculum and education up till A-levels is being offered.
Nakuru is home to Lake Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes, which forms part of the Lake Nakuru National Park. The park has large 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.
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 throughout 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. A motor racing track operated in the Lake View Estate area from 1956 until the mid 1980s.
Nakuru is populated by people from the whole of Kenya and from many regions of the world. The population is predominantly African and it has a cosmopolitan feel. The town has a sizeable population of Kenyans of Indian origin and a few of the original settler families also remained in the area. People from different regions of the country have added a unique flavour to the town. The people and their politics make Nakuru a vibrant town. As per 2009 Kenya Population Census Nakuru had the fourth largest urban population in Kenya.
Surrounding towns include Lanet, which lies approximately 10 km from Nakuru, predominantly a residential town and home to the Moi Forces Academy and 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 Orange Democratic Movement was elected the mayor of Nakuru in July 2009, beating the outgoing mayor David Gikaria. Nakuru is now the headquarters of the newly created Nakuru county in the Counties of Kenya.
- Nakuru is a sister city of:
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nakuru.|
- "Kenya | U.S. Agency for International Development" (PDF). Kenya.usaid.gov. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
- "Nakuru - Kenya - Margiti! The Market Place". Margiti.com. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
- "Africa | Curfew after Kenya town clashes". BBC News. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
- Galpin, Darren. "Nakuru". GEL Motorsport Information Page. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- The Standard, July 24, 2009: ODM brawls way to Nakuru mayoral seat
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- Nakuru Kenya
- Nakuru County
- Nakuru Kenya
- Nakuru Municipal Council
- Nakuru Town Constituency
- Nakuru online
- Hivisasa Nakuru County News
- Nakuru pictures