Kisumu as a tourist destination site is very much underrated. More often than not, when we think vacation, Mombasa and other coastal towns yell so loudly in our minds limiting the possibility of exploring other amazing locations. Kisumu is one such place that is unfortunately overlooked.
Suzzana Owiyo, a songstress from the lake city, articulately storied in her hit song Kisumu 100, the vast, productive, hopeful, fun, industrious, compassionate, peaceful and therapeutic side of Kisumu. And true to her words, Kisumu has a lot to offer- from beautiful sunsets overlooking the lake to spectacular wildlife to beautiful islands with relaxing and serene ambience, just to mention but a few.
Previously known as Port Florence due to its proximity to the Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, Kisumu is located 224 miles from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, by road and 164 miles by air. Kisumu International Airport is conveniently located 10 minutes away from the Central Business District. The CBD is busy but relatively slower than Nairobi, thus perfect for a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of the capital.
Kisumu’s weather is warm/ hot making it perfect for holidays. Looking to fill out your itinerary? there are plenty of places to visit, and they are pretty affordable too:
Looking to learn more about the inhabitants’ culture? Kisumu Museum offers a variety of traditional crafts giving a glimpse of the original inhabitant’s dressing, housing, food, economic activities such as fishing, hunting, farming etc. Kit Mikayi and Luanda Magere site also offer great legendary stories. K’ogello village is also quite popular as it is where Barrack Obama hails.
Contrary to popular belief, Kisumu boasts of a wide variety of wildlife available in various parks and sanctuaries. Impala Sanctuary as the name suggests hosts herds of impalas and is only a kilometer from the CBD. Lions, Zebras, Cheetahs, buffaloes and baboons are also hosted in the park. Ruma National Park, close to the shores of Lake Victoria protects the only indigenous population of rare roan antelopes. Ndere Island National Park also hosts hippos, impalas and crocodiles.
Kisumu beaches are perfect for boat riding activities, sundowners with a magnificent view of the lake, meet-up with friends and views of hippos and plenty of birds. Dunga Beach is famous for delicious tilapia and wonderful sundowners.
There are various islands in Kisumu that are perfect and ideal for romantic getaways. Some of these islands include Takawiri island, Mfangano island, Rusinga island. These islands will have you thinking you are at the Coast with their pristine, white sandy beaches, clear waters, blue skies. Visiting these islands will definitely change your perception of Nyanza.
Camping and hiking activities
For those with an adventurous spirit, various camping and hiking spots exist for your fancy. Dunga Hill Camp overlooking the lake has a vibrant feel to it and is a great camping spot. Hippo point is also a great spot offering lovely sundowners.
The night life in Kisumu is ever buzzing with popular entertainment joints such as Club Signature, Ja Nam,Lounge, Laughing Budha Lounge, Samba Marina, Buddy’s Grill and other great in-house lounges in major hotels.
Lastly, you have not been to Kisumu if you haven’t been to Lake Victoria. Take the opportunity and explore one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes at least to earn bragging rights over your adventures at the source of River Nile. Convinced yet? Well then, take a chance and explore Kisumu this time around for a change, won’t you?
By Lizz Abade