‘NAKURU CITY’: Does It Deserve the ‘City’ Status

Hey there,

Welcome to the final blog post of the year 2021!🎊

The next time I write to you will be in 2022, when I’ll most likely be sitting in the same spot, wondering if time is really real… But let’s not go there right now. The past few months have been nonstop school work. Allow me to blame my silence on school. I hope you’ve been doing well all this time.

I’m just here to offer you all the urban news in a lighthearted manner❤️ before you stop reading your email before the holidays. Happy Holidays🎉, I can’t say I’m feeling all merrily. That, I suppose, is adulthood, and if you’re an adult reading this, I’d love to hear where you get your Christmas vibes from aside from family and, of course, food. Or, what are we supposed to feel?😂

This piece was inspired by the president’s declaration that Nakuru has been designated as a city. Many of us were thrilled, but others questioned whether Nakuru truly deserved the title.

A fierce argument has raged in Kenya for some time about whether the two cities, Nakuru or Eldoret, should be given city status.

In today’s post, I’ll highlight several factors that a town needs to meet for it to be a city, and we’ll discuss whether it truly deserves that title, and I’ll let you judge and draw your own conclusions.

According to the urban areas and cities act (an act of parliament that, provide for the classification, management, and governance of urban area and cities), a town must meet the following criteria in order to be upgraded to a city.

• Has a population of at least five hundred thousand residents according to the final gazetted results of the last population census carried out by an institution authorized under any written law, preceding the application for grant of city status. 
• Has an integrated urban area or city development plan in accordance with this Act;
• Has demonstrable capacity to generate sufficient revenue to sustain its operation;
• Has demonstrable good system and records of prudent management;
• Has the capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver essential services to its residents as provided in the First Schedule;
• Has institutionalised active participation by its residents in the management of its affairs;
• Has infrastructural facilities, including but not limited to roads, street lighting, markets and fire stations, and an adequate capacity for disaster management; and
• Has a capacity for functional and effective waste disposal.


It is also one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the country and the main way to get to most of the rest of the country. The city is situated at the intersection of several major highways, including the Baringo-Turkana, Nyahururu-Nanyuki-Isiolo, Nairobi, Eldoret-Malaba, Kisumu-Busia, Narok-Kisii-Migori, and Nyeri-Embu-Kitui roads. The Northern Corridor, which connects Mombasa-Nairobi and Kampala, passes through Nakuru. It is also served by the old Mombasa-Kampala railway, making it an ideal center for raw material movement.

The fact that it’s easy to get to from any part of the Rift Valley or the country, except for Mombasa, makes it a good place for businesses to set up. This gives the county a big boost in socio-economic development.

Its Economy Growth Rate

It is one of the country’s most important commercial and economic centers, and one of the top five contributors to GDP (GDP).

Furthermore, Nakuru was ranked as one of the cleanest towns in East Africa in the 1990s, attracting investors and tourists.

As per the UN-Habitat, Nakuru is the fastest-growing town in East and Central Africa, and it’s the fourth-largest metropolitan center in Kenya.

Infrastructure Upgrade

The city has undergone a substantial infrastructure improvement to improve traffic flow, including the development of bypasses and interchanges as well as dual major roads.


Nakuru is a popular tourist destination for both local and international visitors, especially due to its proximity to a variety of game parks. Visitors flock to Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Elemetaita, the Hyrax Prehistoric site, Menengai Crater, and the private Soysambu farm, all within a short distance of the city. Lake Baringo, Bogoria Lake, Lake Naivasha, Aberdare, and Thomson Falls in addition to the Laikipia Conservancies are all accessible via the region’s tourism loop.

Nakuru is also recognized for being a convenient escape from Nairobi for revelers, thanks to its vibrant nightlife, which has earned it the nickname “Nax Vegas.” Afraha, the city’s major stadium, hosts football, athletic, and rugby competitions.


It is estimated by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics that the town has 260,000 residents, which means the city could have more than 300,000 residents. With the increase of services, Nakuru is expected to have more than 500,000 residents in the next 15 years, providing the necessary population for supporting industry growth.

On the brighter side, the city will be the only city in the world that has a lake and a national park. With the title, Nakuru will join the likes of Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu in cementing its status as one of Kenya’s cities, with a range of benefits that will see the formerly small town transformed into an economic powerhouse.

What are your thoughts on this, Is Nakuru worth the ‘city’ title?

I haven’t had the opportunity to live in Nakuru; this piece is primarily based on research; I frequently travel through the city on my way home. Your feedback will be very important to those who live there.