Planning a trip to Kisumu? Here’s a list of some of the must-see attractions in and around this relaxed, pleasant and laid back city that alluringly straddles the shores of Lake Victoria.
Set up base at the Acacia Premier Hotel
Set within the leafy suburbs of Milimani and overlooking the shores of Lake Victoria, Acacia Premier Hotel is a perfect base from where to explore Kisumu. Its notable feature are the excellent views over Lake Victoria, particularly from the second floor outside terrace which features a swimming pool, bar and restaurant. Additionally are the comfortable and spacious rooms, well equipped gym, wonderful service, quality internet connectivity, professional warm and friendly staff and the variety of foods to select from. Acacia Premier Hotel is definitely a place we would recommend to anyone who is visiting Kisumu.
Dunga Board Walk
The Dunga beach area is an extensive marshland characterized by tall reed plants. Much of the land has been lost to human development, however a considerable acreage has been set aside by the county government for conservation. If you are looking for a family friendly place to relax or to enjoy a Sunday picnic outdoors then this is a place worth checking out. Experience a walk on the boardwalk through the lush and serene environment while also encountering a variety of fauna such as Sitatungas, bird life, snakes and in the evening you may get to spot Hippos enjoying a sun-downer.
There is also a small Museum which has a collection of wares and crafts made by the various women groups around the area.
Don’t forget to pack some snacks and drinks. Entrance: ksh100 ($1) only per adult
Stop on this majestic pile of giant rock formation, not only for the view but to learn the myths surrounding the rock. Once upon a time, there was this man called Ngeso who was in love with this stone. Ngeso would go to the cave every day and when his fellow elders come seeking for him at his home, the wife would tell them he has gone to visit his first wife ‘Mikayi’ hence the name ‘Kit Mikayi’. This meant that the stone was Ngeso’s first wife. The rock is still sacred especially to the local Legio Maria sect who claimed to have seen the image of Jesus and Mary in 2017.
Hike to the top and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the adjacent surroundings and on descent watch a traditional dance by the local women (do make sure to tip them).
Abindu in Dholuo means a series of small caves in one place. A visit to the location reveals a unique ecological marvel full of spiritual lore, attracting adherents of various religious denominations who come to the caves to seek spiritual solace. Hike to the top of the caves and savor the marvelous view of Kisumu city. Due to its spiritual significance, the county government allows visitors in for free. Please do tip the locals to help in maintaining the caves.
Visit the Equator Point: A great place to understand the Coriolis Effect
Kenya is among 13 countries in the world that the equator passes through. This place in the outskirts of Kisumu town, is famous for its equator point and hordes of locals and tourists alike pay a visit just to stand on the equator. We had a chance to ‘visit’ both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere and conduct the Coriolis Effect experiment. Eager locals will arrange for an experiment to depict how the Coriolis Effect works, water oscillates clockwise in the North and anticlockwise in the south.
The Impala Sanctuary
Located about 3km from Kisumu city, the Impala sanctuary gives you a chance to encounter wildlife just a stone throw away from the town center. The sanctuary has both free ranging (mainly zebras and Impalas which graze peacefully near the picnic area) and captive animals (lions, leopards, and hyena) as well as over 115 species of birds, fauna among others.
Great place for a picnic and a weekend getaway with your family. The sanctuary is also home to five campsites all with spectacular views of Lake Victoria. Bird watching, nature walks and glass bottomed boat rides compliment the activities availed at the sanctuary.
Wear comfortable walking shoes and give yourself a few hours to enjoy the animals and the nature walk trails. Best of all, carry a blanket and a picnic and sit near the water in the shade. Bliss doesn’t get better than this in Kisumu
Park entry fee to Kisumu Impala Sanctuary is Ksh 215 and Ksh 125 for adults and children (citizens).
Dunga Hill Camp
Drop by for lunch, chill and vibe the entire afternoon as you sip your favorite drink solo or with friends at the Dunga Hill camp. Set on a hill with phenomenal views overlooking the lake, you’re treated to the sound of lapping waves and birds while staring out at the water. The calming breeze from the lake, is the perfect evening antidote for Kisumu’s crazy heat. Coupled with the gorgeous sunsets, live band music, tasty food, ice cold beer and friendly service, this is by no short measure a must visit hangout while in Kisumu.
You cannot go to Kisumu and leave without eating fish right from Lake Victoria. Lwang’ni Beach happens to be one of the most popular fish eating outlets in Kisumu. Enjoy your meal as you soak the charm of the beach whilst being only a stone throw away from the town center.
Ndere Island: “The Island of Serenity and Beauty”
Located about 40km from Kisumu town, this is one of Kisumu’s best kept secrets. Ndere Island hike has among the most beautiful views over the Lake Victoria, from a view point you can see the distant Kisumu skyline, the Homa hills to the south and even see Kampala, Uganda when the weather permits.
Ndeere Island is a perfect spot for photography, camping, hiking and picnics. The lake shore supports a wide variety of animals including hippos, monitor lizards, Nile crocodiles, several fish species and snakes. There is also some wildlife within the Island, you will occasionally spot some Zebra, the rare Sitatunga and Impalas. Over 100 different species of birds can be seen here including African fish eagles, black headed gonoleks and grey headed kingfishers.
Entry fee for the park is very affordable at 350/= ($3.5) for an adult and 200/= ($2) for children. Carry enough water and food since there is no big shop around. You’ll be accompanied by a KWS Ranger while on your excursion.
Kiboko Bay adjacent to Dunga Fishing village is a great place to catch the breathtaking Kisumu sunset - one of the best we’ve seen. You can take a sundowner cruise, experience the local sights and sounds, from watching herds of grazing hippos or the site of diligent fishermen grasping their nets.
No tour to Kisumu is complete without sampling the night scene. Here are some of the places to check out during your pub crawl in Kisumu. Start with Aqua Bar at Acacia Premier for a polite evening or a sundowner cruise on Lake Victoria then hit up TLC, Signature, Barcadia, Roan Rooftop, Barcadia lounge and Club Da Place
Getting to Kisumu
You can travel from Nairobi to Kisumu by plane, car or bus
Fly540, Kenya Airways and Jambojet Limited fly from Nairobi to Kisumu every 3 hours. Alternatively, there are several bus companies that operate regular trips from Nairobi.
Alternatively get a package with a tailored itinerary designed by Turnup.Travel