Discover Nakuru County
Brief Overview of Nakuru County
Heading northeast from Nairobi along the A104, you fight through the tangle of this clogged highway – Kenya’s longest and busiest international trunk road – until you find the B3 near Limuru Town. It runs north then west all the way to Sotik in Bomet County, offloading some traffic on the ever-busy A104. The B3 is also the quickest of the two ways into Nakuru County, through Naivasha, away from the A104. Just 30 kms from Nairobi City, and 2 kms beyond the turn off to Limuru, is one of the best known and outstanding landscapes in Kenya. This, of course, is the breathtaking view of the Great Rift Valley. Here, for thousands of feet below, stretching as far as the eye can see, the floor of the valley transforms with the changing light. A display of nature’s brutal subterranean force, hewing out in the rugged terrain of the Rift Valley ample features of astounding beauty.
Standing behind the guard rails peering out at the Rift Valley you do what you are pretty sure everyone is doing, which is to run through a lengthy involuntary sequence of remembered landscape moments, surmising that beautiful valleys are natures comic, part on purpose, part unwitting, part unblemished. From the Rift Valley Viewpoint most opt to use the A104 Nairobi-Nakuru Road, turn left and drive into Naivasha, or proceed to Nakuru. The latter opt for the fascinating B3 Mai-Mahiu-Naivasha Road on a lovely, narrow and winding route down the escarpment before arriving at Naivasha. Either way, a majority assemble on the vantage points that its three vast lakes provide, in tented camps or hotels. From Naivasha, there is an option to take a pleasurable road right over the Aberdare Range that drops down into Nyeri. This means passing through the moorlands and forests of the Aberdare National Park. From Nakuru Town, its on into the green highlands around Njoro and Molo before dropping into Narok, and Mara.
At most times of the year, Nakuru County hosts many visitors from Nairobi and its environs seeking a weekend or longer away from the city. Part of this charm is the wildly beautiful drive. It also betokens Kenya’s diverse ecological gamut. Nakuru County is situated on the flat country embracing the two flanks of the Gregory Rift Valley with Kinangop Plateau in the east and Mau Escarpment in the west. On the Rift’s floor there are Lakes Naivasha, Elementaita and Nakuru, the Njorowa Gorge, Eburru mountains and Mount Longonot besides numerous volcanic craters and steam-jets all of which make this county of considerable scenic attraction. It owes its diversity entirely to the tectonic disturbances of the Rift Valley which has dislocated the peneplained surfaces of the African shield forming separated ridges and troughs, trending for the most parts north-south, and piling up great masses of picturesque volcanic masses and other structures.
Salient Features of Nakuru County
- County Number 32
- Area – 7497 km2
- Altitude – 6070 ft
- Major Towns – Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru
- Borders – Nyandarua, Laikipia, Kericho, Narok, Bomet, Baringo
Brief History of Nakuru County
With several roads radiating out of Nakuru Town, its importance as a regional communication centre was only improved when the station for the Mombasa Railway reached it in 1901. The main line of the East African Railways passes through the eastern part of the township. It also originally passed through the northern part of the county and skirted around the southern edge from Gilgil to Elementeita, but was later realigned. Historically, the more fertile lands around the Njoro, Elburgon and Mau Summit, as you rise toward the Mau Escarpment, played an important part as an agricultural settlement while the lower and less fertile regions were more suited for ranches. With the exception of the Kamasia Native Reserve to the north and large areas of forest around Mau and Bahati Escarpments, Nakuru was almost entirely alienated for European resettlement.