Like Nanyuki, NYAHURURU is almost on the equator, and it shares much of Nanyuki’s character. It’s high up (at 2360m, Kenya’s highest town), cool and set on open savanna lands with patches of indigenous forest and plenty of coniferous plantation. Since the B5 road to Nyeri was completed, Nyahururu has been less cut off, but it’s still something of a frontier town for routes north to Lake Turkana and the desert. A tarmac road goes out as far as Rumuruti and then the fun begins.
Joseph Thomson gave the town its original name when he named the nearby waterfall after his father in 1883. Many still call it “T. Falls”, and not just the old settlers as you might expect. Thomson’s Falls was one of the last settler towns to be established. The first sign of urbanization was a hut built by the Narok Angling Club in the early 1920s to allow its members to fish for the newly introduced trout in the Ewaso Narok, Pesi and Equator rivers. In 1929, when the railway branch line arrived, the town began to take shape. The line has closed now, but the hotel built in 1931, Thomson’s Falls Lodge, is still going strong, and Nyahururu remains an important market town, and not really a tourist centre. The market is well worth a browse, especially on Saturdays. It sprawls out over most of the district west of the stadium, an indication of the town’s rapid growth over the last couple of decades.Read More
On the northeast outskirts of town, Thomson’s Falls are pretty rather than spectacular, though they can be dramatic when the Ewaso Narok is in flood after heavy rain. The falls are a popular stopoff for tourists travelling between Samburu and Maasai Mara game reserves, and the hotel lawns above the falls get crowded with picnickers from town at weekends. Uniformed council officials have taken to extracting an “entrance fee” at the turning from unwary tourists: only pay if they can give you an official ticket or receipt, otherwise tell them you have business at the hotel. The path leading down to the bottom of the 75m falls is somewhat dangerous, especially when wet, and you should ensure there have been no recent incidents of robbery. Don’t attempt to climb up again by any other route, because the cliffs are extremely unstable.