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 307,990. (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 which 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.

Lake Nakuru National Park History

Lake Nakuru National Park started as a bird viewing and sport shooting area of migratory birds in 1950s, but has since been expanded and fenced to protect populations of endangered giraffes and rhinoceros.

  • 1957 – declared a conservation area
  • 1961 – Southern two thirds designated a bird sanctuary
  • 1964 – the bird sanctuary was extended covering the whole lake and a small strip of land around it
  • 1968 – gazetted as National Park
  • 1977- a number of Rothschild Giraffes translocated to the park from western Kenya for their protection
  • 1984 – established as first government managed rhino sanctuary
  • 1986 – an electric fence was erected around the park to replace the earlier chainlink
  • 1987 – the park was declared a rhino sanctuary.
  • 1990 – the lake was designated as a Ramsar site
  • 2009 – designated as IBA (450 identified bird species)
  • 2011 – Designated by UNESCO as one of the Kenya Lakes System (Lakes Elementaita, Nakuru and Bogoria) World Heritage Sites


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