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Nakuru, the provincial capital of Kenyamarker's Rift Valleymarker province, with roughly 300,000 inhabitants, and currently the fourth largest urban centre in the country, lies about 1850 m above sea level. It is also the capital of Nakuru Districtmarker.

History

The history of Nakuru can perhaps be traced to the prehistoric period due to the archeological discoveries located about 8 km from the Central Business District at the Hyrax Hill reserve.Nakuru is Kenya's 4th largest town. However, 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 town. It received township status in 1904 and became municipality in 1952.

The history of Kenya as a country is closely intertwined with that of Nakuru as a town and a district. The first and second presidents of Kenya maintained their semi-official residents within the town, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, and within the district, Mzee Daniel arap Moi. The town was for a long time been the hotbed of Kenyan politics and it was home to a variety of colorful politicians including the late Kariuki Chotara, Kihika Kimani and the late Mirugi Kariuki.

In 2006, the then MP, Mirugi Kariuki was killed in a plane crash in Marsabitmarker 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 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 a sister city of East Orange, New Jerseymarker [142638].

Economy

Agriculture, manufacturing and tourism are the backbone of the economy of Nakuru. The area surrounding the town 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 town include coffee, wheat, barley, maize, and beans. These crops are stored in massive silos at the outskirts of the town 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 arount the town.The town is also a center for various retail businesses that provide goods and services to the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. A large public market lies to the west of the town on the main throughfare to the capital, Nairobimarker.

Education

Nakuru is also an important educational center. 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. 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 center of academic with centers like Kenya Institute of Biomedical Sciences and Technology being opened in the Town and the most recent Nakuru Counseling & Training Institute [NCTI], 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 ry (Finland) among others.

Nakuru is also a home to various private colleges and privately owned secondary schools. Famous private secondary schools include Melvin Jones, Lions Academy, Greensteds School and Shah Lalji Nagpar Academy. Students in these schools follow the British curriculum and education up till A-levels is currently being offered.

Tourism

Tourism is an important economic activity in Nakuru. The town, and the region, are endowed with vast resources that make tourism a key income source. Nakuru is home to Lake Nakurumarker, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes, which forms part of the Lake Nakuru National Parkmarker. The park is famous for the vast 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 Cratermarker, 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.


Although Lake Bogoriamarker and Lake Baringomarker and in Baringo District, they are easily accessible from Nakuru. These are major tourist attraction sites too.

The Rift Valley Sports Club lies in the centre of the town. 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 thoroughout the year.The town hosts an annual rugby festival dubbed "The Great Rift 10-a-side" which features teams from across the East Africa region.

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.

People

Nakuru is populated by people from the whole of Kenya and from many regions of the world. The town has a sizable population of Kenyans of Indian origin and a few of the original settler families also remained in the area. Although the town's population is predominantly African, the town has a cosmopolitan feel. People from different regions of the country have added a unique flavor to the town. The people and their politics make Nakuru a vibrant town. As per 1999 Kenya Population Census[142639], Nakuru had the third largest urban population in Kenya.

Surrounding towns include Lanetmarker, which lies approximately 10 km from Nakuru, predominantly a residential town and 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 Kenyamarker, namely Egerton University (est. 1934).

John Kitilit of ODM was elected the mayor of Nakuru in July 2009, beating the outgoing mayor David Gikaria .

See also



References

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