Found on the lakeside of the of Lake Victoria, Kisumu is a Kenyan port city famous for lakeside views which are especially stunning when seen from the heights at Dunga Hill Camp and Hippo Point. Kisumu offers an array of exciting activities for tourists seeking to experience African nature, wildlife, culture and of course some well-deserved downtime.So what makes this beautiful port city a must-visit when you're in Kenya?
We've put together a list of activities, that should convince any sceptic to give Kisumu a chance.
For the shopaholic in Kisumu
1. Kisumu main market
Kisumu's Main Market is one of Kenya's largest markets, and certainly one of its animated. Its popularity has grown over the years and so has its size as its stalls are now spilling out onto the surrounding roads. If you're keen on getting a few saviours or just looking for essentials, it's worth a stroll around.
2. Kibuye Market
During the week you can give the Kibuye Market a miss, it will be a quiet and desolate place. However, as soon as the weekend comes around it transformed into a blossoming spring flower of colour activity and covered in spice scents. Saturday is the ideal day to visit if you want to get the most out of your time there.
3. Maasai Market
Maasai Market located in Kisumu also offers art enthusiasts an unrivalled selection of art pieces and decorations. You can't leave Kisumu without passing by here to purchase a piece of authentic Kisumu art for your home, family or friends.
For the foodie in Kisumu
4. Green Garden Restaurant
Green Garden is surrounded by colourful murals and potted palms, giving it the impression of a little oasis of culinary delight. The dining area is set in an Italian-themed courtyard and is very popular with expat area, make sure you're drinks are sorted for as meal order times are notoriously long. If you need a dish recommendation, note that there is quite the hype about the fish in a spinach and coconut sauce.
5. The Laughing Buddha
The Laughing Buddha has a limited menu so if pasta, pizzas and chips with a couple of flavour variants is not your thing we suggest you stay clear. While their menu may not win over everyone, the streetside tables earn some big points giving you a view of the town as you chow down.
6. Juiz Parlour
These guys are the combination kings when it comes to juices. You name it, and they’ll stick it in a blender and pulverise the life out of it. If you're feeling adventurous, then feel free to mix up whatever your imagination and stomach can handle or play it safe with a mango-and-pineapple combo instead.
For the explorer in Kisumu
7. Ndere Island National Park
Ndere Island was gazetted as a national park back in 1986. This protected area spans 4.2-sq-km across the island however in its 20 years it has never really seen tourism take off. Which is rather strange considering it is lushly forested and with some stunning views that act as housing for a variety of bird species. While exploring the area should yield a sighting or two of the occasional hippo, impalas and spotted crocodiles, a lesser-known cousin of the larger Nile crocodiles.
8. Impala Sanctuary
Found on the road to Dunga, this 1-square km sanctuary is home to a small herd impalas and no not the car made by Chevrolet. The sanctuary provides essential grazing grounds with the Impalas as well as for local hippos. In addition to the Impala, there are other inhabitants such as the Kenyan antelope and monkeys; it is, in fact, a small zoo!
9. Kiboko Bay
It has often rated as the best resort in Kisumu because of its amazing charm and host of natural attractions. Spend your stay watching the sun setting on the shimmering waters of Lake Victoria. The vibrant birdlife at the resort is something you don’t want to miss. If available for bookings make sure, Kiboko Bay Resort is one of your top spots for places to stay in Kisumu.
10. Dunga Hill Camp
Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Dunga Hill Camp is a perfect venue for camping with friends and family and getting a little dirt between your fingernails. Take the trek and rough it for a few days on top of the hill by the lake and unwind as you watch the village life around the lake. The phenomenal Vista is something you will want to capture into memories. Of all the hills in Kisumu, you do not want to miss spending a couple of days on this one.
11. Kit Mikayi
Located about 29 km west of Kisumu, the rock stands tall over Kangeso village, and It is a sight not to be missed on the Kisumu-Bondo road. Famously known as the ‘weeping rock’, Kit Mikayi is a 70-80 ft large rock with three smaller rocks on top. There are many stories and folklore surround the rocks, and a visit to Kit Mikayi is the only way you'll be able to listen to them as you explore the caves and climb the rocks.
12. Ruma National Park
You may know Gor Mahia to be a football team, but the history behind the name comes from the original Gor Mahia who was said to be a powerful wizard who lived near the park. It was established in 1966 to protect the declining population of the rare roan antelope. You can find Black Rhinos which were translocated here and the blue shallow.
It plays host to a range of wildlife including the Roan antelope, Leopards, Buffalos, Hyenas, Rothschild Giraffes, velvet monkeys, bush pigs, Impalas, honey badgers. There are also 400 species of birds to be seen. You can also go bird watching, have team building activities, go on game drives, bring your team for team building, and go sightseeing. There are even two campsites in the park, called the Nyati and Fig Tree, so if you have a few days to spare why not spend it in this national park.
For the site seer in Kisumu
13. Kisumu Museum
A relatively old-fashioned museum commemorating the town of Kisumu includes a lot of information as any self-respecting museum should. To get the most out of your visit take advantage of the guided tours available. They will help you make sense of what you're looking at and can give you more background on the three sections the museum covers.
- The first covers western Kenya’s three principal linguistic groups namely Luo, Bantu and Kalenjin.
- The second is a traditional Luo homestead.
- The last section is a small and rather sad aquarium displaying creatures from the lake and a reptile house holding examples of all the local snakes you don’t want to meet.
14. Hippo Point
Standing on 6oo acres, Hippo Point is the perfect viewing area of Lake Victoria. The lookout is the best place in Kisumu if you want to enjoy breathtaking sunsets over the lake. If you're not keen on just being a spectator, then take to the waters and enjoy the boat rides in the lake. Relax on the lake while you check out the hippos in their natural setting.
15. Riat Hills
Riat Hills is among the most popular areas in Kisumu. Developers are flocking there to reserve their spot on this prime real easter area this includes the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga whose new mansion is the talk of the town. If you are one of those travellers with an eye for investment, then take a drive up Riat Hills. Riat is the preferred destination for the region’s mega real estate projects.
Why is it so popular? You ask! Riat Hills offers one of the most magnificent views of Kisumu City, the lake and the nearby international airport, need we say more?.
16. Alego Nyangoma
This Kogelo village shot to promise when it discovered that it is the birthplace of President Obama’s father and where his grandmother Sarah Obama lives. Security here is tight, and you will have to get a clearance letter to visit from either the Police or the District Officer in Siaya Town.
17. Kanjera Prehistoric site and Kanjera hot springs (Bala Rawi)
These are hot salty springs ‘discovered” by Doctor Louis Leakey in 1932. Be warned these hot springs pack some serious heat; you can quickly boil eggs there. The local people use the salt collected from the evaporated salt water to cook.
For the party goers in Kisumu
18. Social Centre
You may struggle to find this secret spot since its tucked behind the main matatu stage. This club is big on Luo traditional music with the odd Kiswahili hip-hop tune thrown in for good measure so bring your dancing shoes and don't expect a quiet drink here.
Oasis provides patrons with live music most nights. This is the hot spot if you want to see Lingala music performed by Congolese bands. Be prepared for a fair bit of rump-shaking so don't be afraid to get on the dancefloor.
The ultimate club in Kisumu town, which doesn't say too much since there isn't a host of clubs to compete with for the top spot offers you a spacious area to get your groove on. The interior is fantastic and spacious which is ideal for Kisumu's best Dj – Vj Slim to lay down the tunes. Signature is the type of club you can go to and enjoy partying at from Monday to Monday. Located in downtown Kisumu on the 4th floor. If you struggle to find it then ask locals in the area. Everyone in Kisumu knows Signature.