Kisumu City forms part of the Western Tourism Circuit and offers so much more in terms of activities to do, what to see and places to visit. It forms the forgotten areas of Kenya with great geographic, cultural and natural diversity, offering tourists just as much, if not more, than many of Kenya’s better known tourist areas.
Most travelers dream of finding a new and unknown destination, somewhere far from the beaten tourist path, where the thrill of real discovery and exploration reward the visitor with new and unexpected experiences, sights and sounds.
Below are the 10 gems of Kisumu that will awe you wherever you are in this city. Listed in no particular order.
1. Dunga Hill Camp
Located at the shores of Lake Victoria at Dunga, this place is set to change the leisure destinations in Kisumu City. It is a perfect venue for camping, picnic or just a lazy afternoon pastime with friends. One can also go out in the lake with kayaks added to give this place a sporting element. It is also a perfect place to catch the sunset at the lake’s horizon.
You can also get boat rides here for the faint hearted who can’t kayak and would just love to enjoy the lakeâ€™s scenery. You can also go out fishing. Want to camp at the most beautiful place in Kisumu? It is a serene spot by the lake where you can watch hippos and the amazing sunsets. You have to see it to believe it! You can do a lot with kayaks.
2. Impala Sanctuary
The Kisumu Impala Sanctuary spans about 38 ha. It was created to provide a home for threatened Impalas within Kisumu city and its environs. The sanctuary is one of Kenya’s smallest wildlife preserves. It also provides a safe grazing area for hippos from the lake.
Located just a Kilometer from Kisumu CBD, it lies close to Hippo Point and features 3km of nature trails and a selection of picnic sites. This walking sanctuary is a holding area for animals which require special protection in this densely populated area. The Sanctuary’s focus is herds of impalas and zebras which roam freely in the sanctuary. This is where it derives its fitting slogan: A Lakeshore Walk with Impalas.
The Sundowner tower which faces the Railway trail is a perfect area for sundowners on the shores of the second largest fresh water lake in the world.
A shady and peaceful place, with its abundance of birdlife and picnic areas beside the lake, the Sanctuary provides an ideal refuge away from Kisumu’s busy town centre. The Sanctuary is open all year round. It offers excellent venues for weddings, corporate events and functions.
The Sanctuary is open daily from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm. Entry on foot is allowed. Security is available for vehicles parked. Payment is by cash only.
3. Kit Mikayi
Kit Mikayi, a large rock (Tor) with three rocks on top, is situated about 29 km west of Kisumu, and located about 1 km from the Kisumu-Bondo road. It stands tall above many surrounding rocks in Kangeso village. The 70 ft to 80 ft stone is also a weeping rock. It poses like a woman with a load on her back.
It is a place about a lot of stories and myths about the rocks, and you will be entertained hearing of the stories about them and also get the chance to visit the caves that have now been turned into worshiping abodes of the Legio Maria sect who pilgrimage to the site for prayers and fast.
Climb the rocks and observe the breadths and span of Lake Victoria, Kisumu City and the Kisumu International Airport as well as the rolling plains. You can get here and do your picnics too, or even participate in soccer matches with the locals at the nearby Kit Mikayi Primary School. It is the perfect get-away from town with a whole new experience.
4. Hippo Point
Hippo Point is a 600-acre open viewing area on Lake Victoria. Despite its name, it is better known as a viewing point for its unobstructed sunsets over the lake than for its occasional hippos.
Hippo Point is near the village of Dunga, a few kilometers SW of the town. The village also has a fishing port and a camping site.
Enjoy a boat ride as you check out hippos and birds in their natural habitat. Go out fishing and enjoy the scenery of Kisumu city straight from the deep waters.
It is very popular during the weekends and holidays, when merry-makers, friends and foe converge here for the sunset or just to meet up with friends. It is a perfect getaway spot in the city.
5. Kiboko Bay
Set on the shores of the Majestic Lake Victoria in Kisumu, Kiboko Bay Resort is a jogging distance from the high street, the Impala Park and the Dunga Fishing Village.
Kiboko Bay Resort has been consistently rated as the best among Kisumu resorts, giving the discerning travelers the luxury of embracing the Safari feel of an African adventure in absolute comfort.
Once a quarry harvesting rocks and sandy soil from the lake shore, Kiboko Bay Resort is now a friendly site for both business and leisure travelers.
The idyllic lakeside setting is a perfect getaway for romantic tourists and overworked corporate to recharge their batteries.
The resort is endowed with amazing charms and natural attractions. For some the attraction of the lake is its sheer expanse. For others it is the vibrant bird life, and for many, gliding through the waters absorbing the beauty of the unspoilt wetlands and mangrove forests, and for every lover of beauty a thousand splendid sunsets on the shimmering sweet waters.
6. The Kisumu Museum
This is the location of the history of this side of Kenya. It’s a small yet comprehensive exhibit gallery and displays of material culture of the peoples of the Western Rift valley and Nyanza Province. This includes traditional clothing and adornment, basketry, fishing gear, agricultural tools and hunting weaponry. Also on display are several dioramas, including a lion, De Brazza monkey, and the largest Nile Perch ever caught in Kenya.
The museum contains numerous pavilions with some of the pavilions containing:
â€¢ Live animals
â€¢ Numerous aquaria with a wide variety of fish from lake Victoria, along with explanatory posters
â€¢ Terrarium containing mambas, spitting cobras, puff adders and other venomous Kenyan snakes.
â€¢ Additionally, outdoors, the museum has a few additional exhibits, including a snake pit and a crocodile container.
â€¢ Other pavilions show weaponry, jewelry, farm tools and other artifacts made by various people from Nyanza province. Additionally, there are exhibits of stuffed animals, birds and fish.
â€¢ One pavilion houses the prehistoric TARA rock art, which was moved for its own protection to the museum after it was defaced by graffiti in its original location.
â€¢ Beyond the exhibit gallery and Snake Park is a life-size replica of a traditional Luo homestead. This is the museums most important and largest exhibition is the UNESCO-sponsored Ber-Gi-Dala. This is a full-scale recreation of a traditional Luo homestead. Clubbing
7. Planet Media and Starflix Cinemas
For the movie junkies and the indoor people, Planet Media Cinemas that opened shop in Kisumu late last year offers to bring to this lakeside city latest blockbuster movie releases from Hollywood and Bollywood.
Planet Media â€“ a multimedia arm of the Nakumatt Holdings enterprises prides itself as the premier is the first movie theatre house in Kenya to adopt the new digital film-screening standard. With digital format, patrons at Planet Media Cinemas enjoy better sound clarity, a smoother and more life-like picture as the eye sees twice the number of images per second.
Starflix Cinemas which also opened shop in Kisumu almost two years ago offers same movies experience.
Both cinema houses are located at the Mega City Mall along the Kisumu â€“ Nairobi road.
8. Bike rides â€“ tour the town with â€œcharteredâ€ bikes â€“ Bike Ventures, bodaboda and tuk-tuk tours
The best way to tour the city is to get a â€œchartered bicycleâ€ provided by Bike Ventures. At only KShs 300 bob only for a whole day, one can sufficiently tour the city and its environs to sample the best of this city. You also get the chance to exercise your legs.
One can also get to tour the city while riding on a tuk-tuk or the bodaboda bikes, but the charges would be a little higher.
9. Kisumuâ€™s Nightlife
If you are a nocturnal animal and love to groove and shake a bit, then the over 20 clubs and lounges in town will give you the very best of Kisumu in terms of musical entertainment and dance shows, live bands and thrill from the fun crowds.
From within the town, all the way to Mamboleo and even towards the airport; you will be able to find somewhere at night where you can get entertained at night.
Security is better in town, though one must beware of the drugging that happens in clubs too. Donâ€™t get your drink laced with â€œmcheleâ€ â€“ so they call it. Some clubs are very notorious with this scenario, while you are at it just be sure your drink is safe.
10. Flea Market
Kisumu City is served with two major flea markets â€“ Kibuye and Oile Markets.
Kibuye touted as one of the biggest flea/open air markets in East Africa is more popular on Sundays, and one is able to get a good deal on whatever is the nature of their trade. Cheap second hand clothing is prominent here. This is the best day too to shop for your groceries as the many green groceries suppliers from the surrounding regions visit the market.
Oile Market located near the bus park (was initially a public park before it was invaded by hawkers who have now made it their selling grounds). It is always open throughout the week and one is able to get most of the green groceries here anytime plus second hand staff.
11. Bonus: Art Markets
a. Kisumu Art House stocks various art paraphernalia from the famous Janeqo Collections, paintings among others. It is located behind Mamba Hotel.
b. Maasai Market located along the Kisumu â€“ Nairobi road also offers unrivalled art pieces and decorations. You canâ€™t leave Kisumu without passing by here to purchase a piece of Kisumu arts.