With a long list of popular attractions like Lake Nakuru National Park, Mt. Longonot, the Big Five and Naivasha’s breathtaking getaways – it’s easy to see why Ngata might be top-of-mind if you are asked to list Nakuru County’s top attractions.
Those with a keen eye for investment have seen the vast potential that the town – which is situated along the busy Nairobi-Eldoret highway – has and have cashed in on it.
Ngata was this year listed as one of the strongest climbers in Hass Consult’s Kenya County Land Report. Utange, Kitengela, Embakasi and Bamburi follow the town in ranking.
The average price per acre in the town stood at Sh6.4 million at the close of 2017, up from Sh5.6 million in 2016 and Sh3.4 million in 2012.
“Land prices in Ngata town rose by 20.66 percent in 2017, making it the best performing town of all the 75 towns surveyed,” the report read.
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Investing in Infrastructure
The construction of the Sh34 billion Itare dam, according to the county, will help resolve persistent water shortages in Kuresoi, Njoro, Ngata, Rongai and Nakuru towns.
The dam will produce 100,000 cubic meters of water a day, serving over 800,000 residents with clean and reliable piped water.
Speaking exclusively with Standard Digital, Tourism and Trade CEC Dr Peter Ketyenya says the county’s location and infrastructure has increased investment.
“A good road network and availability of air strips have been a major boost. The recent approval of an airport places the county as one of the best investment destinations,” Dr Ketyenya said.
Noting that more needs to be done to manage the influx of vehicles in the county, Dr Ketyenya said extensive upgrades covering 55 wards are underway under the county government’s Boresha Barabara initiative.
The second phase of the 120km SGR already underway from Nairobi to Naivasha is speculated to further raise the land prices in all areas that it will pass through. These include Mai Mahiu, Longonot and Naivasha. It is also expected that the development will woo a number of investors.
Tourism and local business
Tourism has also witnessed extensive growth in the past year, the Nakuru County Tourism Association adds.
“The tourism sector, particularly the hotel industry is growing rapidly due to the influx in investment in the region. The demand has seen several high-end facilities coming up,” says association chairman David Mwangi.
In the last year alone, three high-end hotels - Ole Ken, Sarova Woodlands and Lake Naivasha Resort - opened their doors to the public. According to Mwangi, plans for new developments are underway.
“In the next one year, there will be more high-end facilities opening up in different parts of the county,” Mwangi said.
Religious and medical tourism too, is growing; the recently launched Margaret Kenyatta Mother-Baby Wing at the Nakuru Level Five hospital is set to receive referrals from neighboring counties.
Tapping into the increasing interest in the region, local business have partnered with the county to host major events. The International Tourism Day Celebrations at Lake Nakuru National Park held in September is one such event.
“Packaging the sites for marketing is part of the ambitious plan to tap into the digital space to transform travel and tourism trends. This is in a move to boost the facilities in the region as well as create space for investors,” he added.
Besides hosting the World Tourism Day, the county hosted the World Food Day celebrations and s set to host International Investor’s conference by December.
Agriculture has not been left behind. In 2017, the county generated over Sh23 billion from the horticulture sector alone. In 2016, the county realized approximately 180,388 tons of maize valued at Sh2.91 billion.
With maize production, the county has the potential to produce over 500,000 tons of maize if modern farming methods can be applied to increase production per unit area.
In recent years maize production in the county has been declining as a result of prevalence of pest and diseases, changing climates and post-harvest losses.
And while Lake Naivasha supports about 100 boats; 1,760 fishing nets with over 704 fishermen directly and more than 3000 people indirectly, fish production has increased over the years attaining 1080 metric tonnes of fish in 2016, valued at Sh141.9 million. Fish from the lake is not only consumed locally but also exported out of the county.