History of Nakuru

Published on 24th July 2007

Located 160km North West of Nairobi, Nakuru is the fourth largest urban centre in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. It is situated at an altitude of 1859m above the sea level and it is within the region of the Great Rift Valley. The town’s population has been growing at the rate of 5.6% per annum. From a population of 38,181 in 1962, the population reached 163,927 in 1989, and 289,385 in 1999 (GOK, 2000). The town was once dubbed "the cleanest town in East-Africa".


The town started as a railway station on Kenyan-Uganda railway at the turn of this century. Established by the British as part of the White highlands during the colonial era, it has continued growing into a cosmopolitan town. The town derived its name from the Maasai speaking people of Kenya. The name 'Nakuru' is derived from Nakurro, the Maasai word meaning a 'dusty place'.


Nakuru is sandwiched between Lake Nakuru National Park to the south and the Menengai crater and its associated volcanic landscapes. Further to the North East of the town is the Bahati Escarpment forming the western fridge of the Aberdares Escarpment.


Agriculture, manufacturing and tourism are the backbone of the economy of Nakuru. The surrounding area is known for its vast agricultural potential with numerous small farms and also vast agricultural enterprises. The main crops include coffee, wheat, barley, maize, and beans. They provide the primary raw material for the manufacturing industries found in the town. 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.


The town and region are endowed with vast resources that include 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, and some wild animals. It also hosts Menengai Crater, a dormant volcano.


The town is an important educational center too hosting Egerton University, a large public university, and Kabarak University, a private university, The Rift Valley Institute of Technology and the Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) among others.


There are numerous types of housing in the town such as high rise, maisonettes, bungalows, semi-detached, terrace housing, row housing and informal housing typologies. Private housing offers a wide range of housing typologies as most people own and occupy their units.







This article has been read 2,198 times