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Clockwise: Sunrise in Nakuru, Flamingos in Lake Nakuru, Avenue Suites Hotel, Baboon Cliff, Nakuru Skyline, Merica Hotel and entrance to Lake Nakuru National Park.
Clockwise: Sunrise in Nakuru, Flamingos in Lake Nakuru, Avenue Suites Hotel, Baboon Cliff, Nakuru Skyline, Merica Hotel and entrance to Lake Nakuru National Park.
Nakuru is located in Kenya
Location of Nakuru
Coordinates: 0°18′S 36°4′E / 0.300°S 36.067°E / -0.300; 36.067Coordinates: 0°18′S 36°4′E / 0.300°S 36.067°E / -0.300; 36.067
Country Kenya
CountyNakuru County
1,850 m (6,070 ft)
 • Total570,674
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

Nakuru is a city in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. It currently serves as the capital of Nakuru County, and formerly as the capital of Rift Valley Province. As of 2019, Nakuru has an urban and rural population of 570,674 inhabitants,[1] making it the largest urban center in the Rift Valley, with Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County following closely behind. It lies about 1,850 m above sea level.

Nicknames for the city include Nax or Naxar (from Naxareth, derived from Nazareth), and Nax Vegas (derived from Las Vegas).


Nakuru in 1913

The history of Nakuru[2] can perhaps be traced to the prehistoric period due to the archaeological discoveries located about 8 km from the Central Business District at the Hyrax Hill reserve.[3] Nakuru is Kenya's 4th largest urban centre with a population of 570,674. (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 city. It received township status in 1904, became a municipality in 1952, and achieved a city status in 2021.

The history of Kenya as a country is closely intertwined with that of Nakuru as a town and a district that is now a county. The first and second presidents of Kenya (Jomo Kenyatta, and Daniel Arap Moi) maintained their semi-official residences within the city. The city for a long time has been a hotbed of Kenyan politics and it was home to a variety of colourful 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 Pastor 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.[4]

On 3 June 2021, Nakuru was officially endorsed for city status after the Kenyan Senate voted for its elevation from a municipality.[5][6] Following the approval of the Senate of Kenya in June, the President of the Republic of Kenya gave a city charter for official transformation of Nakuru to a city status in December 1, 2021,[7] making it the fourth city in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.[8]


Nyayo gardens

The city of Nakuru is situated in Nakuru County, Kenya. It lies 1850 meters above sea levels on the highlands of Kenya giving it a climate similar, albeit a bit colder, to Nairobi.


Ben Omwaka.jpg


Like most rift valley cities, Nakuru enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year but temperatures fall significantly at night and during the cold season of June to August. The city has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb).

Climate data for Nakuru
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 27.3
Average low °C (°F) 8.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 29
Average precipitation days 6 6 9 17 15 11 12 14 11 12 13 6 132
Source: World Meteorological Organization[9]


Nyayo gardens[edit]

It is located along Kenyatta Avenue in Nakuru, Nakuru County, Kenya.


Kenyatta Avenue, Nakuru

Agriculture, manufacturing and tourism are the backbones of the economy of Nakuru. The area surrounding the city 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 city include coffee, wheat, barley, maize, beans and potatoes. These crops are stored in massive silos at the outskirts of the city 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 city.

Other manufacturing industries include Menengai soap factory, Car and General motorcycle plant, Eveready battery plant, Fertiplant East Africa, and many more.

The city also prides itself on being the home of Kenya's largest retail supermarket chains. Nakumatt, Naivas, Tuskys, and Gilanis supermarkets were all founded in the Nakuru.

According to a UN study released in 2011, Nakuru is Africa's fastest-growing city and the fourth in the world.

The city 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.

Human resources[edit]


Higher education and research[edit]

Mount Kenya University (MKU) Nakuru Town branch

Nakuru is also an important educational centre. 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. Molo Academy (both primary and secondary) school are located here) 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 centre of academics with campuses for the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Mount Kenya University, Laikipia University, Kenya Methodist University being set up in the city. 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, Savannah Institute for Business and Informatics (SIBI) 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 (Finland) among others. Mwangaza College, initially called the Bishop Ndingi Centre for skills formation, is also another known college in Nakuru.

Primary and secondary education[edit]

Nakuru is also a home to numerous public and private secondary schools. Public schools include Nakuru Boys High School and Nakuru Girls High School formerly Nakuru High School founded in 1926 as a school for European settler children, and Menengai High School and Nakuru day secondary school.

Public library system[edit]

There is a well-stocked public library run by the Kenya National Library Service. The Library is along Moses Mudavadi road a short distance from the town centre.

Martin Gicinga at Nakuru Public Library.jpg

Public health[edit]

Nakuru hospital is one of the largest in the county previously the biggest in Rift Valley province. It is also home to the Nakuru War Memorial Hospital opened shortly after world war 1 by Norman Jewell to commemorate troops both African and European.

Public safety[edit]

Police and law enforcement[edit]



World from Menengai Forest, Nakuru


Nakuru is home to the Lanet Airstrip that was approved in 2017 for upgrade to an international airport by the ministry of Transport and county government.

Nakuru is also home to Kabarak Airstrip located 20 kilometres (12 mi) away from the city centre.

Streets and highways[edit]

Dondori road C86 linking the city to central Kenya. The Eldoret-Nairobi highway passes through this city linking Uasin Gishu County with the capital Nairobi.


The Rift Valley Railways narrow gauge track runs through the city with a railway station located on the edge of the CBD. it connects to cities of Nairobi and Mombasa to the east and Kisumu and Eldoret to the west.

The government is currently extending the newer standard gauge railway from Nairobi to Nakuru and further on to Kisumu with a brand new station planned for the city. The railway line is expected to reach neighboring town Naivasha by June 2019


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.

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

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

A section of the Nakuru skyline, Lake Nakuru is on the far end

Culture and contemporary life[edit]


The food culture of Nakuru includes a variety of local and international cuisines.


Afraha Stadium

Afraha Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Nakuru, Kenya. It used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of Nakuru AllStars of the Kenyan Premier League and Ulinzi Stars of the Kenyan Premier League. The stadium holds 8,200 people and opened in 1948. The stadium is two kilometres from the famous Lake Nakuru National Park. Even though it is a football stadium, it became famous for hosting many political meetings including the GEMA promoted change the constitution series held in the 1970s. The former ruling party KANU also held many prominent meetings there during the Moi era. Nakuru also offers a great experience and opportunity for local skaters that are easily notable in the Maasai market area on weekends. The Maasai market also caters for Nakuru's growing skateboarding scene.

Rift Valley Sports Club[edit]

The Rift Valley Sports Club lies in the centre of the city. The club was started in 1907 by white European settlers who had settled in Nakuru in the early 1900s. 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.

Nakuru athletics club[edit]

The city hosts an annual rugby festival dubbed "The Great Rift 10-a-side" which features teams from across the East Africa region. It is held at the Nakuru Athletics Club. It is also one of six cities to host a leg of the national rugby sevens circuit, an extremely popular event held at the athletics club and attracting thousands of fans nationwide. Nakurus leg is referred to as the prinsloo sevens and its popularity and party atmosphere it brings to the city has contributed to Nakurus moniker as Nax Vegas


A motor racing track, Nakuru Park, (not to be confused with the Langa Langa circuit near Gilgil) operated in the Lake View Estate area from 1956 until the mid 1980s.[10]

Flamingos on Lake Nakuru


Nakuru is populated by people from the whole of Kenya and from many regions of the world. The population is predominantly Kikuyu and Kalenjin but it has a cosmopolitan feel. The city has a sizable population of Kenyans of Indian origin and a few of the original settler families have also remained in the area. As of 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).

Nakuru is now the headquarters of the newly created Nakuru county in the Counties of Kenya. The current governor is Lee Kinyanjui and the Member of Parliament for the town is David Gikaria. The senator for Nakuru is Susan Kihika.

Famous People From Nakuru City[edit]

Avril Nyambura, Vanessa Pym, Sandra Solit, Teferah, Ngangalito, Samidoh, Allan Aron, Mimah Shaffie, Mavo on da beat, Sifa, Hush BK, Lexsill, Tory Lynn, Silverstone Barz, Savara Mugidi(Sauti sol).[11] James Wakibia,[12] Shikoh Kihika,[13] Gufy,[14] Ben Omwaka,[15] Brygettes Ngana, Magix Enga, Nyokabi Macharia,[16] Salim Swaleh, Henry DeSagu.

Sister cities[edit]

Country City County/District/Province/Region/State Date
 USA East Orange New Jersey unknown[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kenya | U.S. Agency for International Development" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 February 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Nakuru – Kenya – Margiti! The Market Place". 20 March 2012. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  3. ^ "About Us1 – County Government of Nakuru". Archived from the original on 28 October 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Africa | Curfew after Kenya town clashes". BBC News. 25 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  5. ^ June 04 2021, Friday. "Senate approves Nakuru bid for city status". Business Daily. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  6. ^ Gachuhi, Kennedy. "Nakuru town's long journey to city status". The Standard. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Nakuru County Becomes Kenya's Fourth City". The Kenya Forum. 2 December 2021. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  8. ^ Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (21 February 2020). 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census Volume II: Distribution of Population by Administrative Units (Report). Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. p. 241. Archived from the original on 16 November 2020. Retrieved 3 March 2020. Distribution of Population by Urban Centers Nairobi: 4,397,073; Mombasa: 1,208,333; Nakuru: 570,674; Ruiru; 490,120; Eldoret: 475,716; Kisumu: 397,957
  9. ^ "World Weather Information Service – Nakuru". World Meteorological Organization. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  10. ^ Galpin, Darren. "Nakuru". GEL Motorsport Information Page. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Here are Kenya's bigshots who were born and raised up in Nakuru . . . one of them will make you hate Nax".
  12. ^ "Meet James Wakibia, the campaigner behind Kenya's plastic bag ban". UNEP. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  13. ^ "Shikoh Kihika of The Tribeless Youth | Startup Grind". Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  14. ^ Milimo, Dennis (22 September 2021). "List of Nominees for the Pulse Influencer Awards (Full List)". Pulselive Kenya. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  15. ^ "Nakuru photographer wins competition, pockets Sh60, 000". Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Nyokabi Macharia: Marching to the Beat of Her Own Drum". The Theatre Times. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  17. ^ "Nakuru – City of Kenya". Sphere Info. Sphere Info. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.


  • Gordon Prain; et al., eds. (2010). African Urban Harvest: Agriculture in the Cities of Cameroon, Kenya and Uganda. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4419-6249-2. (Includes articles about Nakuru)

External links[edit]