Why Nakuru should be on your travel bucket list for 2024


The swimming pools at The Waterbuck Hotel, Nakuru.

Photo credit: Kemzy Kemzy| NMG

What you need to know:

  • I believe that the city has not yet been fully explored because most visitors prefer to visit only Naivasha and overlook the fact that Nakuru has much more to offer.
  • I discovered this during my visit.

The holiday season is all about creating memories, and my recent trip to Nakuru achieved just that. I'm still getting used to calling it a city rather than a town. Nakuru, located in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, dazzles with its natural beauty and vibrant urban pulse.

With its numerous lakes, rich scenery, and diverse attractions, it is a destination that entices travelers looking for an authentic Kenyan experience.

The newly opened Safari Water World at Ivory Park Hotel, Nakuru.

I believe that the city has not yet been fully explored because most visitors prefer to visit only Naivasha and overlook the fact that Nakuru has much more to offer. I discovered this during my visit.

Our drive to Nakuru was an incredible feast for the eyes. We snaked across the Great Rift Valley's gorgeous curves, marveling at the vastness and rugged beauty of the landscape.

Lake Naivasha, a shimmering gem surrounded by rolling hills, provided a tranquil backdrop to the adventures that were ahead. A detour to Kariandusi Museum allowed us to unravel the fascinating mysteries of Kenya's prehistoric past. The archaeological site unveiled early Stone Age tools and artifacts, providing a captivating glimpse into the lives of our ancestors and a vivid picture of their lives millions of years ago. It sparked our curiosity and left us in awe.

Is a trip to Nakuru worth it if you don’t stop at Kikopey for nyama choma? We had to do it for the nation and keep the tradition alive.

At around 3pm, we finally arrived in Nakuru, which is a charming blend of bustling markets, colonial architecture and modern amenities.

We discovered a refreshing retreat at the Waterbuck Hotel right behind West Side Mall, where we enjoyed a dip in the sparkling pool. They have fairly priced their menu, and we loved the fact that the swimming pool was clean and not crowded.

The entrance fee to the swimming pool was Sh500 per adult and Sh300 per child. We spent the rest of the afternoon here, swimming and catching up with each other.

After dinner and putting the children to sleep, we had to try out the Nakuru nightlife, and it gave Nairobi a run for its money.

A signpost for Lake Nakuru National Park.

We went to the newly opened Space Next Door club and danced our hearts away, wrapping up the night at the nearby legendary Platinum7D Lounge. It was an epic experience.

The next day, we went on a thrilling game drive around Lake Nakuru National Park, the town's jewel, and took advantage of the current prices of Sh860 per adult and Sh215 per child before they increase to Sh2,000 per adult and Sh500 per child in January 2024.

Lions, giraffes, gazelles, zebras, and of course the famed pink flamingos that paint the lake in a captivating show inhabit the park. After the safari adventure, we went to check out the newly opened Safari Water World at the Ivory Park Hotel.

This waterpark is a perfect place for families and adventure seekers alike, with water slides and a pool for children. It costs Sh2,000 per person during the off-peak season and Sh3,000 during the festive season.

For a better deal, they offer accommodation for two in bed and breakfast at Sh8,000 with free access to the waterpark and swimming pool, which we plan to take advantage of on our next visit to Nakuru. Unfortunately, at our time of visiting, it was a bit crowded, and the young ones opted to go back to the Waterbuck Hotel.

Nakuru's culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavours. We savoured the succulent nyama choma at the legendary Kwa Jimmy, a local hotspot where the meat sizzles and the atmosphere crackles with energy.

The nyama choma here is delicious and reasonably priced, with a kilo costing Sh1,000. It gave us the vigor we needed to continue our city excursion.

As the night progressed, we craved some Italian goodness and junk food, and Galitos pizza filled the spot perfectly, the crust crispy and the cheese gooey to perfection.

We spent the night reminiscing on the experiences of the previous two days and planning for the next adventure. Unfortunately, we felt that our trip ended so quickly, but we enjoyed the city’s breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and vibrant urban culture.