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Delightful Nakuru

Flamingos in L. Nakuru

by Anthony Kinyua Charles.

Allow me to take you through the bio-data of  Nakuru;  a town  located 160km North West of Nairobi-ninety minutes drive from Nairobi. Its the fourth largest urban centre in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. It’s situated at an altitude of 1859m above sea level at the bottom part of the Great Rift Valley whose formation gave rise to a unique natural structure.  This modern town, as with many others in Kenya, derives its name from the Maasai speaking people of Kenya.  The name Nakuru comes from a Maasai word ‘Nakurro’ which means ‘dusty place’.

Nakuru is a hub for national and international faces. However the town's population is predominantly African. People from different regions of the country have added a unique flavor to the town: they have made Nakuru a vibrant social and political town. As per 1999 Kenya Population Census, Nakuru had the third largest urban population in Kenya.

Nakuru owns scenic peripheral towns - Lanet lie ten kilometers towards Gilgil. It is a residential town and home to an army base. Njoro beckons from twenty kilometers, along the Eldoret-Kitale highway. It is agricultural town, established in 1934 and houses Egerton University.

Njoro supplies the world with coffee, wheat, barley, maize, and beans hence  makes Nakuru Africa’s fastest growing town and the fourth in the World.

Visitors recognize Njoro because of its cleanliness and freshness. The air engulfing this town is clean and pure to the meaning of it. One is bound to find beautiful trees and less traffic than in Nairobi.

Nakuru is home to L. Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes, which forms part of the L.  Nakuru National Park. The park has large numbers of flamingos 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. 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.

Nakuru is a water buck conservation county. The best place to catch a glimpse of the nearly tamed herds is the L. Nakuru National Park, recently renamed ‘The Birdwatchers Paradise’.

Waterbucks at L. Nakuru mingle freely without knowing that they share neighborhoods with the few remaining world’s white rhinoceros, who loves as a protective mother.  Lions, duikers, Thompson's gazelles, Rothschild’s giraffes, buffaloes, leopards, giraffes, baboons and zebras trespass Nakuru’s jungle at will. Flamingoes are a major tourist attraction in the environs of Nakuru and they like bathing at feed the hot springs of the L. Bogoria. Although L. Bogoria and L. Baringo are 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.

Nakuru is also an important educational center. Apart from Egerton University, it holds Kabarak University and other middle level colleges led by  Rift Valley Institute of Technology and  Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI).

Downtown Nakuru is composed of only several streets all lined up symmetrically and stretching for only a couple of blocks. In this small area, a visitor can have his fill of what an African town offers.  There is one block devoted wholly to souvenir salesmen all selling a wide array of wonderfully crafted carvings and trinkets.

There are numerous typologies of housing in the town- flats/high rise type, mansionettes, bungalows, semi-detached, terrace housing, row housing and informal housing.

For your comfort when visiting this beautiful country side town , Nakuru is home to a number of very clean , designed and well structured  hotels and lodges. You won’t go wrong by choosing a hotel from this list-Kungste, Chester, Waterbuck, Merica and Malewa Wildlife Lodge . You can camp at Kigio Wildlife or Lake Elementaita Serena Camp.

 One of Kenya’s proverbs says, “a person who doesn’t visit others thinks that it is only his mother who prepares the most sumptuous meals.”

Start preparing for a visit to Nakuru.




Anthony Kinyua is a freelance journalist based in Mombasa, Kenya. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.