Nakuru is a county in the Rift Valley region of Kenya, known for its rich wildlife, diverse culture and scenic beauty. But beyond the popular destinations such as Lake Nakuru National Park, Lord Egerton Castle and Hyrax Hill Museum, there are many other attractions that are worth exploring. Here are some of the hidden gems of Nakuru that you may not have heard of, but will surely impress you.
Lake Elementaita is a soda lake located in the Soysambu Conservancy, about 30 km from Nakuru town. It is one of the three Rift Valley lakes that form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kenya Lake System. Lake Elementaita is home to over 400 bird species, including flamingos, pelicans, storks and eagles. It is also a breeding ground for the endangered Great White Pelican and the rare Lesser Flamingo. The lake offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and escarpments, as well as opportunities for hiking, camping, birdwatching and photography.
Njoro Caves are a series of ancient rock shelters located in Njoro sub-county, about 20 km from Nakuru town. They are believed to have been used by early humans as dwellings and ritual sites for over 200,000 years. The caves contain archaeological evidence of stone tools, pottery, beads, bones and paintings. They also have spiritual significance for the local communities, who still use them for prayers and ceremonies. The caves are accessible by foot or by bike, and offer a glimpse into the prehistoric past of Nakuru.
Kariandusi Museum is a prehistoric site and museum located in Gilgil sub-county, about 40 km from Nakuru town. It is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Africa, dating back to 1 million years ago. It was discovered by Louis Leakey in 1928, and contains fossils of extinct animals such as elephants, hippos, rhinos and crocodiles. It also has stone tools made by early humans who lived in the area. The museum showcases the evolution of life and culture in Nakuru, and has exhibits on geology, paleontology, archaeology and ethnography.
Kigio Conservancy is a private wildlife reserve located in Naivasha sub-county, about 50 km from Nakuru town. It covers an area of 3,500 acres and hosts over 250 bird species and 50 mammal species. Some of the animals that can be seen in the conservancy include giraffes, zebras, antelopes, buffaloes, hyenas and leopards. The conservancy also has a rhino sanctuary that protects the endangered black rhino. The conservancy offers eco-friendly accommodation, game drives, nature walks, cycling and fishing.
Crescent Island is a peninsula on Lake Naivasha that forms part of the Naivasha sub-county. It is accessible by boat or by road from Naivasha town, about 60 km from Nakuru town. It is one of the few places in Kenya where you can walk among wild animals without fences or barriers. The island has a variety of wildlife such as wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, giraffes, monkeys and hippos. It also has a rich birdlife, with over 200 species recorded. The island offers spectacular views of the lake and the Mount Longonot volcano.
These are just some of the hidden gems of Nakuru that you can explore on your next visit to this county. As one local resident, John Mwangi said: “Nakuru has so much to offer to tourists and locals alike. There are many attractions that are not well known but are very beautiful and interesting. I encourage everyone to come and discover them for themselves.”