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Kisumu City is a major city found on the banks of Lake Victoria, which is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest fresh water lake in the world, making the main economic industry fishing. Kindly note, fresh water doesn’t mean it is clean and clear, it means that it is not salty. It is located 330.6km from Nairobi and can be accessed via road, air or water. I really wanted to experience Lake Victoria and the  culture of Luo, which is the dominant tribe in the area. I got to do the following, feel free to follow suit:
1. Visit Impala Sanctuary:
Regardless of the name, this place isn’t only home to Impalas, but to so many other animals. As we walked in, we were impressed by the landscaping, the lawn is neatly cut and the park clean and smart.
Impala Sanctuary in Kisumu, Kenya

Right after we entered, we saw impalas and zebras lazily chewing  grass and I couldn’t wait to get close.The impalas are shy but the zebras will allow you to get close enough to take pictures with them, however, do not touch them as they are still wild.

Told you -you can get close to animals at the Impala sanctuary in Kisumu, Kenya

We then moved over to the cages where we saw several  animals like lions, a leopard, hyenas among others. You  can go alone, with friends, family, your significant other and there after rest in the picnic areas.

Two male lions at Impala Sanctuary in Kisumu, Kenya
A leopard at Impala Sanctuary in Kisumu, Kenya
Zebras roaming free in Impala Sanctuary in Kisumu, Kenya

I only have two recommendations for KWS 1. Do not keep any animal alone in a cage. Those that were alone seemed lonely and frustrated-actually dimmed my mood. 2. Some of the cages have been put in a very tough environment, it is pure hard rock, stones and streaks of grass. The animal hardly have anywhere it can really walk or shade from the scorching sun.

3.Hire transport  for the day

Tuktuks and bodabodas are everywhere and the common means of transport. Since we were on a tight budget, we opted to hire a tuktuk for the day. When he found out we were visitors to the county, he went out of his way to expose Kisumu to us, their culture and sites and never once complained when we overstayed at a site. The county government should maximize on educating  the locals on the beauty that is their county as these are your best advertisers and  marketers. Thank you Francis, Oh and I got to seat on the driver’s seat.

the hussle is real-for all those wondering how I make money for travel-Sometimes tuktuk driver

4.Dunga Hill Camp

We ended up here by error as we were trying to get to Dunga Beach and when we got tired of the “ bad road” we diverted here. It was actually a good diversion as this is the first place we got to see Lake Victoria in all its glory. It’s a relaxed place and you can enjoy a meal as you gaze at Lake Victoria.

At Dunga Hill, Kisumu
  1. Kiboko Bay

This hotel is beautiful and has a pier which I thought was really cool. It is quite private but you can take some amazing pictures here , enjoy a boat ride  or sample a ride on a pontoon. I know most people have no idea what that is, see pictures below.

This is called a pontoon and is a luxury boat that can be found at Hippo Lake Victoria in Kisumu, Kenya
Pontoon parking lot at Kiboko Bay on Lake Victoria in Kisumu,
  1. Bull Fight:

    If you are as lucky as we were, you may get to see bulls fighting by the roadside. It was really interesting to watch as the aggressor bull kept challenging another, head butts delivered, one chasing the other, dust flaring, their friends trying to break them up, a true spectacle I tell you.

    When the bulls started head butting each other in Kisumu, Kenya
    How the duel started- bull fighting just about to happen in Kisumu, Kenya

7. Enjoy a boatride on Lake Victoria:

Hippo Point

Take some time to rest and unwind here. It is on the shores of lake Victoria and  is frequented by locals during lunch time.  It was great watching the ladies prepare lunch, different vendors setting up, fishermen with their rods at work and just the relaxed mood in the air. We took time to finally enjoy a boat ride on Lake Victoria and it was an amazing time indeed. I  was very sad when the ride was over, make sure you confirm the duration of your ride before you board.

With Nduta enjoying a boat ride on Lake Victoria in Kisumu, Kenya
Fisherman fishing on lake Victoria

8.Kisumu Museum:

We walked through a set up homestead dubbed ” Mr. Oderos homestead” and got to learn lots about the Luo culture eg A mans house is called Abila. Walk through the aquarium and get to enjoy some really cool aquatic animals especially at  feeding time. I recommend a bit of renovation though, as some bowls had no light, others were broken and others empty. At the snake park, we got to see a really huge snake shed its skin before our eyes.

At the Museum with Nduta in Kisumu, Kenya

9. Lwang’ni

You haven’t been to Kisumu if  you haven’t been here. This area is popular to enjoy viewing Lake Victoria where you will see several fishermen fishing as well as boats ferrying people. It is however famous for its fresh fish, and the way it is prepared and served at the local restaurants by the Lake. We opted to sample the same and I can confirm that their fish is great. First, it is fresh and you actually choose the one you want cooked. We opted for Tilapia just because its was big. We ordered for the stewed Tilapia, which came dressed appropriately with greens and  some Ugali on the side. Really sweet, and it didn’t have the fishy after taste that keeps me away from eating fish regularly, as well as the fear of chocking on small fish bones.

Lwang’ni is famous for fresh fish from the Lake Victoria in Kisumu, Kenya
I know I shouldnt play with my food but…..
Look at how they presented our fish meal at Lwang’ni in Kisumu, Kenya
This shows what became of our hearty meal in Lwangni, Kisumu, Kenya

10. Party

Kisumu city is a vibrant town with various entertainment spots. We visited Signature, Bacardi and Tilapia Beach and enjoyed great company and music.

  1.  Interact with the locals:

Take time out to hang out with the locals. You will learn lots from their culture, to their catch phrases as well as make friends. The men from the region have the popular tag of “high lifestyle” and we came face to face with this. When we told people we were backpacking, they couldn’t comprehend why, because according to them, we should fly as buses are so 20th century :-).


Accommodation options vary from the cheapest lodgings , to hostels, guesthouses, budget hotels to luxurious hotels. We ended up being accommodated at Palmers Hotel which is a nice hotel, pocket friendly and located near most social amenities.

Offroad Challenge:

Most of the sites are actually on the same road i.e the road leading to Dunga beach. However, the current state of the road as of April 2016, was deplorable and in dire need of  rehabilitation. The road does not exist but is a collection of potholes and pits and rocks. The ride is a never ending attempt to avoid the bigger  pits by delving into the smaller pits. In addition, its dusty, the vehicle will rattle, you will rattle and when you disembark you will have a funny walk as you will be rattling. It is actually a turn off for travelers/tourists/locals/backpackers and could greatly affect your tourism industry, we actually turned back at some point. Kindly consider rehabilitation with urgency as tourism is a great income earner and this may negatively affect you.


Kisumu is 264km from Nairobi . You will be spoilt for choice on how to get to Kisumu everything from  personal driving-road is good,  buses and shuttles for the budget conscious to flights that will drop you at Kisumu International Airport or helicopter drop offs for the luxurious traveler. We were backpacking Nairobi-Eldoret-Kakamega-Kisumu, and thus arrived via bus from Kakamega. 

Kisumu is a very interesting place to visit. The people are warm, vibrant, friendly and they love to have a good time. I plan to return when I have more time as this trip only allowed be to experience a snippet . I want to go fishing with the fishermen and learn how to cast and tend to a fishing net , interact more with their culture and learn more words than “Yawa Tho!”. For more on this backpacking experience, check out

Elgeyo Marakwet: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/scenic-elgeyo-marakwet/

Kitale: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/kitale/

Kakamega: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/kakamega/


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  1. Pingback: Kisumu: In the eyes of a Backpacker | Amazing Kisumu

  2. Kevin alaka Reply

    Wow… What a review of my city… You should have gone up the Hills and get the view of Kisumu skyline

  3. next time ho to Mamboleo, go to Riat hills, kit mikai,ndere iland etc…. otherwise karibu tena Kisumo dala, wamor

  4. Pingback: Kisumu: In the eyes of a Backpacker » Amazing Kisumu

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