Nakuru lies about 1,850 m above sea level. 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 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 which is now a County.
Small-scale agriculture, manufacturing and tourism are the backbone 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, and beans.
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. 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.
Higher Education and Research
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 Daniel Moi. 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.
An 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
Nakuru is also a home to various private colleges and privately owned secondary schools. Famous private secondary schools include; Roots Academy Nakuru, Melvin Jones Lions Academy, Mountain Park Academy, Greensteds School and Shah Lalji Nagpar Academy. Students in these schools follow the British curriculum and education up till A-levels is being offered.
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, is also another attraction. It was discovered by the Leakeys in 1926, and is considered a major Neolithic and Iron Age site. The adjoining museum features finds from various nearby excavations. Another tourist site in Nakuru is the Lord Egerton Castle built in 1938 by Lord Maurice Egerton Tatton, the fourth and last Baron Egerton of Tatton, for a woman to whom he wished to become engaged to.