Nakuru

From Kenya - Margiti! The Market Place

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PINK AS THE FLAMINGO!


Nakuru can be regarded as Kenya’s most central town. It is only one and a half hours drive from Nairobi. For most visitors who've been to Nakuru, the awesome experience was oftenly spoilt by the torturous journey to make it there (the road from Nairobi to Nakuru had been one of the worst roads in Kenya). Fortunately that nightmare of a road is no more than an awful memory. The project to build a completely new and smooth road has been successfully completed. This road was completed in 2007 and what a relief it is for Kenyans and tourists alike. Nakuru is situated at the bottommost part of the Great Rift Valley. To approach Nakuru from any part of Kenya One has to descend through the most scenic and captivating panorama of the awesome Rift Valley. To top it all off, there is the Lake Nakuru within the town limits, glimmering like a jewel in the crown of the incredible Lake Nakuru national park. It is this lake sprinkled with pink flamingoes and this park filled with a variety of wildlife species that give this town its appeal. It is a considerably hot town especially due to humidity from the Lake.

Nakuru was established as one of the major East African Railway stops for trains as they rumbled between Mombasa and Kisumu. It has grown steadily from a railway stopover to a major Kenyan town with its own unique character. Nakuru is a focal point for travellers making vehicle connections to destinations all over Kenya. Economically, this town also serves as a central marketplace for the Rift valley where produce such as corn and green vegetables are traded and distributed throughout Kenya.

Nakuru is slowly regaining its foothold as a bustling Kenyan town. This once very vibrant town suffered terrible stagnation during Kenya’s economic slump in the 90’s. It is now experiencing an economic boom due to the re-awakening of the previously dead agricultural activity in the neighboring high output farming areas. As one walks around Nakuru, there is ample evidence of increasing economic activity highlighted by new multi storey office buildings in construction almost on every block. Several Four Star hotels have been completed and are now taking in guests.

DOWNTOWN NAKURU

Though this town is Kenya’s 4th largest, its modest size and warm climate makes it an ideal destination for any visitor wanting to experience a laid back African town. One can walk, shop, and sample cheap African dishes with relative ease in Nakuru. For those who enjoy staying connected to friends and relatives through the internet, there are many cyber-cafes charging very cheap prices (some may charge as low as 1$ per hour). As far as shopping is concerned there are numerous supermarkets where you can purchase any and everything you need. Downtown Nakuru is composed of only several streets all lined up symmetrically and stretching for only a couple of blocks. In this small area, a visitor can have his fill of what an African town offers; There is one block devoted wholly to souvenir salesmen all selling a wide array of wonderfully crafted carvings and trinkets. In the good old African tradition these goods don’t have price labels since the price is determined by a thorough yet lighthearted negotiation. It’ll help if you know a little bit of Swahili, it could knock the price down a couple of bucks.

CULTURAL NAKURU

This town’s central location and its vital role in Kenya’s transportation and economic sectors, has over the years pulled in thousands of rural migrants from all over Kenya. These inhabitants have once again mixed together in multilingual neighborhoods and been joined by the common Swahili language. Much like Nairobi, the Nakuru residents have transcended the cultural and tribal boundaries to form a homogenous Kenyan identity. To wander around Nakuru is to get a feel of the real Kenya where you will find individuals conscious of their tribal roots but also aware of their position as Kenyan’s first and foremost. The majority of Kenya’s other towns are dominated by a certain tribe or culture. Once again the inhabitants of this town then settle in the different neighborhoods according to their income. There are the wealthy suburbs which are complemented by the low-income housing schemes which stretch out all the way to the game park boundaries. In these neighborhoods it’s no big deal to find baboons sneaking into your kitchen and scrounging for leftovers.

Nakuru is Water buck country and the main towns attraction. The best place to catch a glimpse of the nearly tamed herds is the Lake Nakuru National park recently renamed ‘The birdwatchers paradise’.

The Lake Nakuru; home to the few remaining world’s White Rhinocerous holds these animals as a protective mother. A few lions, duiker, Thompson's gazelle, Rothschild’s giraffe, buffalo, leopard also grace the park.

The main but quickly disappearing attraction– unless something is done pretty soon– are the pink Flamingoes. Lake Nakuru main water source, The Njoro river among others has shrinked to a trickle. The river has its source in the Mau Forest. Today the forest lands are badly desecrated. The destruction happened over a period spanning the last 20 years. The bulk of the destruction has been blamed on un-controlled commercial lumber harvest. Little progress has been made to replenish the bare forest lands. It takes a long time for trees to mature.

The government in office has made concrete steps at rejuvenating the forest lands. Direct issues standing in the way of re-afforestation efforts are forest inhabitants. Most of these inhabitants were evicted from their own farms in 1992 by politically motivated tribal fighting in areas like Molo, Olenguruone, Burnt forest, Keringet, Narok, Laikipia and others. The Colobine Conservancy (A Non Profit environmental organization) is working with the government to develop a policy that would establish a public-private forest lands tenure system. Under this system, communities living in forest lands would be allowed to reside in the forest lands. In exchange they will be required to cultivate trees on 90% of their land holdings and grow their own subsistence crops on the remaining 10 %.

Inland Kenya boasts of many agricultural towns, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kericho are some of them. Its re-emergence can also be attributed to its proximity to The Lake Nakuru national park famed the world over for its natural affinity and abundance of the Pink Flamingoes. The Town is also lucky to be served by the Kenya railway network. It can also be correctly put that in the town, you can make important connections by road to virtually anywhere in the country due to its central geographical location in the country. The town usually attracts a lot of visitors enbound to Lakes Baringo and Bogoria only 1hr away by road. Lake Bogoria is a major attraction for hot geyser thrill seekers.

ACCOMMODATION

Places to stay while in Nakuru


  • Great Rift valley lodge & golf resort

North Lake road, Naivasha rv@heritagehotels.co.ke (050)5 00 48 [1]

  • Alliance Naro Moru River lodge

Naro Moru, Nanyuki (062)6 22 01 [2]

  • Bontana Hotel

Tom Mboya st, Nakuru (051)2 21 01 34 [3]

  • Chester hotel

Adjacent to Afraha Stadium, Nakuru (051)2 21 55 00 [4]


  • Jams Hotel

Off Kariba rd (051)2 21 36 35

  • Jumuia guest house

Kanu st, Nakuru (051)2 21 34 77 [5]

  • Lake Baringo Club

Baringo blockbaringo@africaonline.coke (053)5 14 02 [6]

  • Lake Naivasha Country club

Moi South lake rd, Naivasha blocknaivasha@kenyaweb.com (050)2 02 11 60


  • Lake Naivasha resort

Off South lake rd, Naivasha info@lnaivasharesort.com (020)2 72 87 75 [7]

  • Merica hotel

Kenyatta avenue, Nakuru merica@kenyaweb.com (051)2 21 42 32 [8]


  • Stem Hotel

Nairobi road [9]

Food in Nakuru[[10]]



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