Kisumu is a port city in western Kenya at 1,131 m (3,711 ft), with a population of 355,024 (1999 census). It is the third largest city in Kenya, the principal city of western Kenya, the immediate former capital of Nyanza Province
Situated on the shores of Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest freshwater lake after Lake Superior in the USA, Kisumu has one of the most breath-taking sunsets. The port was founded in 1901 as the main inland terminal of the Uganda Railway and named Port Florence.
A good starting point discovering the town is the Kisumu Museum on the Nairobi Highway. The main two-way traffic road, named after the famous ‘son of the lake’ – the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga – runs down the middle of the town. The road leads to the Industrial Area and further down to the golf course and the airport.
From the link span, you can see the Sunset Hotel, which was built in the 1970s on the lakefront from where guests can watch the sunset. It is a beautiful view that a first time visitor should not miss. Next to the hotel is Impala Park, which houses the town’s ‘original residents’–the remaining impalas and stray animals, including leopards and hyenas–in pens. Hippos walk around at night. The park is a rich ground for birds like African fish eagle. A few metres away is the Nyanza Club. The budget traveller can camp at the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya grounds, within walking distance of Sunset and Nyanza Club.
The Kisumu Municipal Market, built in 1935 is a must-see. Earthen pots and all the vegetables in season are on display here. Moving out of town, a drive along the lakeshore takes you down the members-only Yacht Club, through the Impala Park to Dunga. There is a restaurant and the local anglers might just lure you to a boat ride. The boats are not always fitted with lifesaving jackets, so you ride at your own risk.
On the other side of the lake, roads lead to Kakamega and on to Kakamega Forest, the only remnant of the Guinea-Congolian rainforest that once stretched across the entire expanse of Central Africa. The forest is about 240 sq km and great for bird lovers and those who want a quiet retreat. Accommodation comes in the form of the Rondo Retreat under the Trinity Fellowship and the Isecheno Bandas for visitors who prefer camping or self-catering. There are many circuits to drive in and out of Kakamega Forest. You can drive out via the gate that leads to Kapsabet and on to Nandi Hills and Songhor, passing through the tea hill slopes to the sugarcane plains of Chemelil, Miwani and Kibos. There are some fantastic sites around this route, like the South Nandi Forest, the prehistoric sites of Fort Ternan and Songhor, the high hilltop forest of Tinderet, down to Koru and Muhoroni. Driving through the sugar belt of Kibos, you can visit a typical Luo village at Kajulu. It is very picturesque and the surrounding hills are great for hiking. However, there is no tourist facility in the vicinity.
Enjoy your visit to Kisumu. You can do so much from there. Kisumu has a mix of restaurants and even boasts a German one. So, eating out is not limited to Chinese and Indian. It is important to carry lots of insect repellent because the lakeshore is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Kisumu is hot and humid but the nearby towns like Eldoret, Kitale, Kakamega and Nandi hills can be cold.
Kit-Mikayi is a rock formation, a tor, around 40 m high situated about 29 km west of the town of Kisumu in western Kenya. It is about 1 km from the Kisumu-Bondo road. The sign board is on the gate of Kit Mikayi primary school and entrance is via N’gop-Ngeso primary school.
Kit-mikayi means "the stone of the first woman", or "stone of the first wife", in the Luo language.
The legend behind Kit Mikayi, which in Luo dialect means "the stone of the first wife", is that: Long time ago, there was an old man by the name Ngeso who was in great love with the stone. Every day when he woke up in the morning, he could walk into the cave inside the stone and stay there the whole day, and this could force his wife to bring him breakfast and lunch everyday. The old man became passionately in love with this stone to the extent that when people asked his wife his whereabouts, she would answer that he has gone to his first wife (Mikayi) hence the stone of the first wife (Kit Mikayi).
An explanation of the shape of this unique stone is that the structure represents the Luo cultural polygamous family which had the first wife’s house (Mikayi) built further in between on the right hand side was the second wife’s house (Nyachira) while the third wife’s house (Reru) was built on the left hand side of the homestead. This rock also is seen to have a nuclear family whereby the father (Ngeso) being the middle stone followed by the bulky Mikayi (first wife), then Nyachira (second wife) followed by Reru (third wife) and further in front they have the child which is representing Simba (which is the house for the first born boy in the homestead). From a long time, this stone has been a sacred place for the villagers to worship in times of trouble.
Locals living around the stones are known as the Luo-Kakello clan. The site is associated with sacrifices and many legends from pre-Christian times, especially stories explaining the meaning of the name.
Kit-Mikayi is a regional point of sightseeing interest, especially among the neighbouring Luo tribes. It also has become a popular local pilgrimage site for followers of the Legi Maria sect who come to the rock to pray and fast for several weeks at a time.
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