Nakuru County is a county in Kenya. It is County number 32 out of the 47 Kenyan Counties. The capital and largest town is Nakuru, although Naivasha is another major significant urban centre. With a population of 2,162,202 (2019 census), it is the third most populous county in Kenya after Nairobi County and Kiambu County in that order. With an area of 7,496.5 km², it is the 19th largest County in size. Until August 21, 2010, it formed part of Rift Valley Province.
The history of Nakuru 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. 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 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 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.
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 County is home to Lake Nakuru, Lake Elmenteita and Lake Naivasha some of the Rift Valley soda lakes. Lake Nakuru is best known for its thousands, sometimes millions of flamingoes nesting along the shores. The surface of the shallow lake is often hardly recognisable due to the continually shifting mass of pink. The number of flamingos on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff. Also of interest, an area of 188 km around the lake fenced off as a sanctuary to protect Rothschild giraffe and black rhinos.
Other sites of interest around Nakuru include Menengai Crater, an extinct volcano 2,490m (8,167 ft) high and the Nakuru National Park with wildlife. The views of the crater itself, as well as the surrounding countryside, are spectacular.
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.
The second-largest surviving volcanic crater in the world, the Menengai Crater is 2,242 meters above sea level at its highest point. The crater plunges 483 m down from the rim and the summit is accessible by foot or vehicle 8 km from the main road. The mountain is also surrounded by a nature reserve.
Surrounding towns include Lanet, which lies approximately 10 km from Nakuru is predominantly a residential town and is 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).
Molo Constituency represented by Hon. Jacob Waweru Macharia, The National Alliance Party (TNA) a member of Jubilee Coalition
Rongai Constituency represented by Hon. Raymond Kipruto Moi, Kenya African National Union (KANU), a member of Amani coalition
Subukia Constituency represented by Hon. Nelson Gachuiya, The National Alliance Party (TNA), a member of Jubilee Coalition
Njoro Constituency represented by Hon. Joseph Nganga Tiuna, The National Alliance Party (TNA), A member of Jubilee Coalition
Gilgil Constituency represented by Hon. Nderitu Mathenge, The National Alliance Party (TNA) a member of Jubilee Coalition
Bahati Constituency represented by Hon. Onessmus Kimani Ngunjiri, The National Alliance Party (TNA) a member of Jubilee Coalition
Nakuru County was seen as the epicenter of violence in the aftermath of the disputed 2007 Presidential Elections which left over 1,100 people dead and over 350,000 displaced nationwide
Nakuru County Peace Accord
The Nakuru County Peace Accord (or “Rift Valley Peace Accord”) refers to the peace agreement signed on 19 August 2012 between elders of the Agikuyu (see also Kikuyu) and Kalenjin communities as well as other ethnic groups of Kenya.
The agreement was designed to address sources of ethnic conflict and a history of violence in the rift valley region of Kenya. It was signed following a 16 month-long peace process led by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management
The food culture of Nakuru includes a variety of local and international cuisines.
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
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
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.Flamingos on Lake Nakuru
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.
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.
Higher education and research
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.
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.
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.
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 km away from the city center.
Streets and highways
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
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