Best attractions in Kisumu and surroundings

A signature mark of Kisumu city lies in its bustling activities, people and recently emerging new developments. For someone who was last in Kisumu a year ago, there’s so many new things that will surprise you. Right from the outskirts of the city in Nyamasaria, a cool breeze from L.Victoria blends well with beautiful buildings and a smooth road to usher all to the city under the sun. So if you want to have great enjoyment and matchless experiences, pick the most exciting places in Kisumu to start with.

Many people mistakenly think that every luo person comes from Kisumu. This itself tells the high status the city has in the minds of many as being a converging point of a whole community. But the beauty and big name of Kisumu has to do with more than just that.

Today, posh estate buildings, hotels, restaurants, lakefront hotels keep coming up. Remember, it’s also in the Winam Gulf area where a shipyard currently operates. In short, nobody ever misses something worth feeling excited about in the city.

Kisumu city at a glance for newcomers

Kisumu city has a big name that even those who haven’t visited talk about. You hear some people calling it “Kisum city,Kisumu Kababa or just Kisumo.” In case you’re taking your first trip to Kisumu, there’s the option of flying in through the Kisumu International Airport, arriving by road or using the ferry. Whichever means of travel you prefer, there’s always something new to marvel about.

For those who may recall when Kisumu gained a city status, widely acclaimed singer Susana Owiyo sung sweet renditions in its praise. In her words “Ayayee tera adhii anee Kisumo, Kisumo ber Kisumo ” translated to Hey hey, please take me to the beautiful Kisumu, she perfectly painted the city for what it is.

So, ignore any negative perceptions about Kisumu and just throw your heart out to fully enjoy it. You won’t only get a chance to interact with the carefree residents and locals but also eat fish to your fill, get a boat ride, watch hippos and see fish cages among many more.

Landmark buildings in Kisumu worth visiting as a first timer

To some people, attractions only mean wilderness and wild animals. But those who know the great value of the built environment bring the best experiences, structures too matter as attractions. 

You may check in at a location in Kisumu and straightway head to what counts to you as an attraction-be it Impala game sanctuary or Ciala resort on the outskirts. But while there’s nothing wrong with venturing directly to the lakeside and eating some fish plus more, blending that experience with visiting landmark buildings will be even more heart giving.

Over and above whatever reasons you have in your travel plan for Kisumu, be advised to at least visit these buildings. Here, you can just enjoy pacing up and down the escalators, elevators or staircases.

 A lot of shopping and window shopping also take place in some of these buildings while there’s also room for refreshment and affordable hotel services in some. Also, office spaces and consultancies have their operation bases in these buildings which together give enough reasons to visit. 

  • Kisumu county Headquarters House
  • Kisumu Mega Plaza
  • Varsity Plaza
  • OD Mikayi
  • Lake Basin Mall
  • Tuffoam Mall
  • Reinsurance Plaza, Kisumu
  • Ofafa Memorial Hall
  • Royal City Hotel Dubai Complex-Kisumu 
  • United Mall in Kisumu
  • One Kentons Square building
  • New Kisumu Railway Station

Attractions outside the Kisumu city space

Kisumu may not be so big for its city status but then you soon realize that so many attractions exist outside its city circuit. You have to make short or long road trips to the deeper and sometimes remote areas to catch sight of the marvelous places. 

It doesn’t really matter whether you’re a local or someone from outside. You stand a perfect chance to experience greatness by combining visits to the city spaces as well as those outside. In any case, the best way to get a feel of the local culture is going out to the sprouting town and urban centers where locals practice their cultures undeterred by modernity.

For a memorable experiences and attractions in the outskirts of Kisumu city, check ou’t the following:

Precariously standing Kit Mikayi rocks in Seme

It isn’t everyday that we come across rocks standing so precas=riously as if almost toppling over. In the Seme Kombewa area, the Kit Mikayi rocks standing on top of each other only supported smaller stones at the joints. When on the road heading to Bondo from Kisumu, you can spot the rocks from a distance. But the best way to marvel at the rocks is getting a closeup of them.

Something captivating about the Kit Mikayi rocks is that although they appear easy to glide and fall over, they have been that way for the longest history. Whether earth tremors or heavy rains pour, these rocks remain defiant-keeping to the embrace of each other and not letting go.

Previously the rocks were a free access area but the county government has since fences it off and liaise with locals to place a gate entrance fee. The charges are pocket friendly and shouldn’t be anything to worry about. 

For the bold visitors who really want to get an adrenaline experience, it is possible to get under the huge rocks and climb to the top. From atop the Kit Mikayi rocks,it’s possible to have an oblique view of the sprawling Seme which is the rural home to Pro. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o. 

Experience the Winam Gulf

Lake Victoria, which provides a waterfront for Kisumu city, experiences cool evening breeze and has a lot of activities going on. You can take a short boat ride to the fish cages or visit the small islands in the lake. At the shores also lies great fish eateries that serve freshly landed fish at ugali. 

Fisherfork in L.Victoria going about casting their nets

Sometimes, the lake gets engulfed with water hyacinth that makes it completely out of view. In fact before the mechanical removal of the weed, one could easily believe that the lake was some farm area with green weeds all over. All the same, when you touch the lake water in Kisumu, be sure it connects you to Uganda, and Tanzania. Also, this same water empties through the River Nile to Egypt. 

Kisumu Museum

Kisumu Museum has a display of different historical and recent exhibitions. You get to know more about some of the local national leaders, culture and landmarks. Largely, you get to see the fishing practices on the lake, types of fish, notable luo leaders and read all these in history.

For younger children or even adults who want to ground their understanding of the luo and Kenya in general, Kisumu Museum has it all. At the end of a day’s visit to the city, you’ll be more than rejuvenated. 

At the snake park area of the museum, visitors get a close view of some slithering snakes around. Some of these snakes are lethal but have been sedated not to pose harm. So, you can easily see them from a close range. But as an emphasis, never try to pet a snake because being in cages doesn’t make them domestic animals. 

The ever busy Dunga Beach

Dunga beach burst into a frenzy when OSIENALA started activities on this lakefront. We had Radio Nam Lolwe station in this area then more and more activities started coming up. When Lwang’ni hotel was closed to pave way for the setting up of the port operations, they moved to the Dunga area.

Today, people throng the Dunga beach area to get a boat ride, eat fish, view the reeds and hippos enjoying the swim. In short, Dunga beach has a beehive of activities which can easily make one’s day. It’s also possible to take priceless photos of the sunset during the evening.

Other areas worth visiting in Kisumu

  • Sang’oro and Odino Falls Hydroelectric project
  • The sprawling rice fields of Ahero
  • Wasare area where Omieri snake appeared
  • Nyabondo plateau best known to locals as god mesa
  • Lejio Maria Shrines in Angoro
  • Lwanda Magere rock head
  • Ruma national park 

A final takeaway

Kisumu remains one hidden gem to many. Probably people believe that the city and its environments don’t have so much to offer but truth be told, it can easily take you aback. A brief visit to Kisumu will surely give you more reasons to come again and spend even more days to sample the offerings as well as attractions.

From shopping malls in Kisumu to Impala sanctuary, lakefront, natural sites and more, you will be taken away. Something fancy about touring Kisumu is that much of the attractions come at very pocket friendly prices-what proud luos in the area call a few notes of luo dollars (just for laughs)

Fredrick Awino

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