Book Flights to Kisumu

Kisumu – Kenya

The name Kisumu comes from ‘Adhi Kisuma’ meaning ‘I am going to trade’ as the town in its early days after European settlement attracted the local Luo tribe to trade.

Kisumu is Kenya’s third largest town and it’s located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake and the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river. It is an excellent starting point to explore west Kenya. This area of Kenya doesn’t see many tourists, but avid bird watchers, butterfly enthusiasts, and primate lovers will certainly enjoy what western Kenya has to offer.

The town is a hive of activity, socially and economically, but still keeps a pleasant and laid back feel aboit it. It offers the visitor a good look at life on the great lake, as well as ample opportunities o take advantage of the lake shores.

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Why visit Kisumu?

  • Go bird spotting, or find butterflies and primates in Kakamega Forest National Reserve
  • Challenge yourself to excellent game fishing in Lake Victoria and try to catch a massive Nile Perch
  • Dunga Hill Camp viewpoint
  • Relaxing and enjoying beach life on one of the islands in Lake Victoria
  • Have a sundowner at Hippo Point for stunning sunsets over Lake Victoria
  • Market is colourful and vibrant.


  • Time zone: UTC / GMT +3
  • Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KSh, often written as =/)
  • Driving: left-hand side of the road.
  • Power Outlets: 220V-240V 50Hz. Plug types are ‘Type D & G (British)’
  • Closest airport: Kisumu International Airport (KIS)
  • Local Tribes: the Luo people, Kenya’s third largest ethnic group, one of the few tribes in Kenya who do not practice circumcision, are well-known as fishermen.

There are several scheduled flights from Nairobi and other towns to Kisumu, making it an easily accessible town to start exploring the west of Kenya. It is also possible to drive to Kisumu from Nairobi, which will take approximately 6 hours, with lots of speed bumps along the way.

Best time to visit

Kisumu has a tropical rainforest climate and receives a lot of rain throughout the year. January is the driest month and April is generally the wettest. Average daytime temperatures range from 27.7°C / 82°F in July to 30.8°C / 88°F in February. April to September are the coolest months.

Sights and sounds

Kisumu is a great place to start exploring the west of Kenya. Kakamega Forest is a popular destination for all kinds of wildlife. It’s famous for its many butterflies, more than 400 species have been recorded, 7 species of primates as well as around 360 species of birds (40 of which can only be found in this area including the great blue turaco). Exploring the forest of Kakamega on foot is an amazing way to take in all its wonders, a different experience to the more traditional safaris by car in other areas.

The exclusive lodges on the islands Mfangano and Rusinga are excellent places to wind down after a safari, something different to the usual coastal stays, and are also perfectly set-up to try to catch a massive Nile perch which can weigh up to 140kg / 300 pounds and grow up to 1.8m / 6 feet.

Use Tripindigo to book a trip to Kisumu and start exploring the west of Kenya before everybody else comes here.

Dining and Dietary Considerations

As a lakeside town, you expect the locals to fish and know how to prepare the fish and Kisumu is no exception to this rule. Of course, you can still find the usual staple Ugali (maize porridge) here, but make sure you try some of the excellent eating fish as well. Nile perch is usually exported to Europe, but if you can get it on your plate then don’t pass up on the opportunity.

Kisumu offers a range of food, from restaurants to street food for a range of budgets.

Religious and Cultural considerations

In Kisumu the majority of people are Christians, most practicing actively. You can also find Muslims, Hindus and other religions in Kisumu.

When photographing people, always ask permission first and agree on payment if required.

Cost of Living

Kisumu has facilities for all budgets, although good quality accommodation is hard to find. Exclusive lodges can be found on the islands in Lake Victoria and good lodges can be found in Kakamega Forest as well as some decent hotels in Kisumu.

In Eldoret this is what you can expect to pay for:

  • Domestic beer (0.5-litre bottle) in a supermarket – 175KSh
  • Imported beer in a supermarket (0.33-litre bottle) – 180KSh
  • Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) – 190Ksh
  • A bottle of coca cola / pepsi (0.33-litre bottle) – 55KSh
  • A small bottle of water (0.33-litre bottle) – 40KSh


  • Winston Churchill visited Kisumu back in 1907.
  • Kisumu used to be a landing point for the British flying boat service from Southampton to Cape Town.
  • If a man dies in the Luo tribe, one of his brothers or another close male relative inherits his widow.

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