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.