Nakuru County is located in the former Rift Valley Province of Kenya, about 90km from Nairobi, Nakuru is an agriculturally-rich county blessed with various tourist attractions such as craters and lakes.
It’s made up of 11 constituencies namely;
- Naivasha Constituency
- Nakuru Town West Constituency
- Nakuru Town East Constituency
- Kuresoi South Constituency
- Kuresoi North Constituency
- Molo Constituency
- Rongai Constituency
- Subukia Constituency
- Njoro Constituency
- Gilgil Constituency
- Bahati Constituency
Nakuru borders seven counties; Laikipia to the north east, Kericho to the west, Narok to the south west, Kajiado to the south, Baringo to the north, Nyandarua to the east and Bomet to the west.
It covers an area of 7496.5 square kilometres.
The name Nakuru means ‘a dusty place’ in the Maasai language – in reference to frequent whirlwinds that engulf the area with clouds of dust.
NAKURU COUNTY GOVERNMENT
The county’s top leaders are Kinuthia Mbugua (Governor), Joseph Ruto (Deputy Governor) Mohammed Birik (County Commissioner), James Mungai (Senator) and Mary Mbugua (Women Representative).
Other top leaders in Nakuru County include
1. David Gikaria (MP-Nakuru Town East)
2. Arama Samuel (MP-Nakuru Town West)
3. Onesmas Ngunjiri (MP-Bahati)
4. Kipruto Moi (MP-Rongai)
5. Nelson Gaicuhie (MP-Subukia)
6. Moses Cheboi (MP-Kuresoi North)
7. Zakayo Cheruiyot (MP-Kuresoi South)
8. Samuel Ndiritu (MP-Gilgil)
9. John Kihagi (MP-Naivasha)
10. Joseph Kiuna (MP-Njoro)
11. Jacob Macharia (MP-Molo)
Nakuru County is home to 1, 603, 325 people (male – 50.2% and female – 49.8%), according to the 2009 National Census. It is a cosmopolitan county, with its population originating from all the major tribes of Kenya.
The Kikuyu and the Kalenjin are the dominant communities in Nakuru, making about 70% of the county’s population. Both communities are mainly engaged in farming, livestock rearing and trade business.
Other communities such as Luo, Luhyia, Kamba, Meru and Kisii are also present in Nakuru County especially in the urban centres.
Majority of these people migrated here for business and employment.
The government is the main employer in the county.
RELIGION AND TRADITIONAL CULTURE
Majority of people living in Nakuru County are Christians, with a small number of Muslims and Hindus being present in major towns. The Kikuyu people speak Gikuyu; a language widely spoken across the country even in major towns where a majority of people speak Kiswahili.
On the other hand, Kalenjin community comprises several sub-tribes; Tugen, Nandi, Pokot, Keiyo, Kipsigis, Sabaot, Terik and Marakwet – all speaking in Kalenjin language. Many Kikuyus and Kalenjins also speak Kiswahili and English and are among the most educated ethnic groups in Kenya.
Traditionally Kikuyus believed in a single god, called Ngai (the provider), living at the top of Mount Kenya, while the Kalenjins believed in a supreme god, Asis, who is represented in the form of the sun. The two communities have abandoned their traditional beliefs for Christianity.
Christian denominations in Nakuru County include the African Inland Church (AIC), Roman Catholic, the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA).
Located about 165 km to the north west of Nairobi, Nakuru is a major agricultural centre thanks to the county’s favourable weather and the fertile farms that surround the town. Crops grown around Nakuru and sold in the town include maize, beans and wheat. Nakuru is also a popular stopover on the way to the western parts of Kenya.
Located about 90km from north-west of Nairobi, Naivasha is quickly becoming a popular destination. The town is the gateway to major tourist attractions such as Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate and Longonot national parks. Besides tourism, horticulture is a major economic activity in Naivasha. Some of the best freshly cut rose flowers sold in the european markets have been grown and exported from Kenya flower farms like the Oserian, Homegrown and Karuturi flower farms all found in Naivasha. Nakuru and Naivasha towns are complemented by other urban centres spread across the county, including Molo, Njoro, Gilgil, Mai Mahiu, Subukia, Salgaa and Rongai.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Nakuru County has predictable weather patterns with temperatures ranging between 10°C during the cold months (July and August) and 20°C during the hot months (January to March). The county receives between 700mm and 1200mm of rainfall annually, with average annual rainfall being an approximated 800mm. Nakuru has two rainy seasons; April, May and August (long rains) and October and December (short rains).
Agriculture is the mainstay of Nakuru’s economy. The county’s weather is conducive for large-scale farming, horticulture and dairy farming. Food crops grown in Nakuru include maize, wheat, beans, peas, cabbages, tomatoes, kales and carrots. The produce is consumed locally and sold to consumers in neighboring towns and cities.
Some of the largest flower farms in the county include Homegrown, Oserian, Karuturi and Preesman. The bulk of flowers grown in these farms are mainly exported to Holland, UK and Germany. Tourism is also a major economic activity in Nakuru thanks to the county’s numerous tourist attractions such as craters, lakes, wildlife and birds.
There are numerous manufacturing industries in Nakuru town and other urban centres, including wheat and maize flour processing plants.
Nakuru has numerous healthcare facilities serving the residents of the county. Main hospitals include the Rift Valley Provincial Hospital, Nakuru War Memorial Hospital, Valley Hospital and Nairobi Women’s Hospital (Nakuru).
There are 898 primary schools and 334 secondary schools in Nakuru County, serving 358,556 pupils and 25,475 students respectively. The county’s Teacher to Pupil Ratio is 1: 49 for public primary schools and 1:36 for public secondary schools.
Some of the top high schools in Nakuru County include Moi High School Kabarak, Molo Academy, Nakuru High School, Bahati Girls Secondary School, Naivasha Girls Secondary School and Rongai Secondary School.
Universities and other institutions of higher learning in the county include Egerton University, Mt Kenya University Campus, Kabarak University, Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) and Kenya Institute of Management (KIM).
Famous people in Nakuru County include The second President of the Republic of Kenya Mzee Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi who resides at his Kabarak home, veteran political activists Koigi wa Mwere and Rumba Kinuthia; shrewd politicians Dixon Kihika Kimani, Kariuki Chotara and Mirugi Kariuki who met his death in a plane crash in Marsabit in April 2006. He was then the Nakuru Town MP and Internal Security Assistant Minister. Kimani Maruge is also a famous person from Nakuru County. He holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest student in school when he joined class one in 2004 at the age of 84. Maruge died in August 2009.
ATTRACTIONS AND PLACES OF INTEREST
Tourist attractions in Nakuru County include Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park and Menengai Crater.
Lake Nakuru National Park, situated just 4km from Nakuru town, is one of Kenya’s most popular tourist destinations. The park’s ecosystem, which comprises Lake Nakuru and surrounding grasslands, supports over 50 species of mammals including white rhino and about 450 species species of birds including flamingos.
Located just outside Naivasha town, Lake Naivasha draws a huge array of wildlife to its shores – including buffalo, giraffes and hippos. The lake offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. With over 350 species of birds, Lake Naivasha is a great birding destination.
Hell’s Gate National Park, which is situated beside Lake Naivasha, is ideal for rock climbing and biking. The park supports a thriving population of wildlife, including cheetahs, leopards and lions. The 2,490 meters-high Menengai Crater, which is located 10km north of Nakuru, is the world’s second largest surviving volcanic crater covering 90 sq km.
TRAVELING TO NAKURU COUNTY
Nakuru County is easily accessible from Nairobi by road. Public transport plies the Nairobi-Nakuru route on a daily basis. The 160km journey takes about two hours. Nakuru is also accessible by road from Nyeri, via the 167km Nyeri-Nakuru road, and from Kisumu via the 180km Kisumu-Eldoret-Nakuru highway.
Nakuru County offers a wide choice of accommodation. Popular places to stay when visiting Nakuru include Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, Merica Hotel, Midland Hotel, Lake Nakuru Lodge, Bontana Hotel, Hotel Kunste, Cathy Hotel, Flamingo Hill Tented Camp and Ufanisi Resorts. Numerous guest houses and budget lodgings can be found in Nakuru town, Naivasha town, Njoro, Gilgil and other urban centres.
Nakuru County is served by all the major banks including Kenya Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Equity Bank, CFC Stanbic, Diamond Trust, Barclays and Family Bank. Safaricom M-Pesa services are readily available in the county.
There are stopover facilities with convenience stores and curio shops in many parts of the county, especially near tourist attractions such as Lake Nakuru and the Great Rift Valley Viewpoint along the Nairobi-Naivasha highway.
Delamare Farm shop on the outskirts of Naivasha is a nice stopover on the way to Nakuru. The shop sells farm fresh yoghurts and some yummy hot dogs. Top supermarkets in Nakuru town include Nakumatt, Naivas, Uchumi, Tuskys and Ukwala. These stores offer a wide range of products, including food and beverages.