Jambojet, a low-cost airline in Kenya, is changing travel and especially domestic tourism in the Kenyan airspace. Since its inception has since caught on as the go-to airline due to its reliability, affordable rates and wide coverage of destinations both locally and in Rwanda and the DRC. Its most recent campaign the #NowTravelReady brought the biggest comeback for travelers after the Covid-19 travel restrictions. The campaign helped travelers explore local destinations by partnering with hotels across Kenya. Now it is easier and more convenient to visit local destinations in Nairobi, Kisumu, Diani. Mombasa, Eldoret and Malindi.
As we continue to adapt to the #NewNormal in travel, and navigate the Covid-19 Pandemic Jambojet guarantees its travellers safety and top-notch quality services.
Trust me to keep discovering the beauty of our land especially with such reliable service becoming so convenient. As we say here on Bonita on Safari: we catch flights, not feelings. I recently sampled the beautiful city of Kisumu through Jambojet. Join me and discover the must-do things when you catch your flight to Kisumu. Let’s explore, shall we?
A little Background about Kisumu
There is nothing short of enchanting about Kisumu. Even back in the day when we were just learning about Kisumu in Social Studies this Lakeside city always held an allure of its own. Kisumu is the 3rd largest city in Kenya but from the unapologetic flamboyance and expensive air that comes with its natives, we can unashamedly say it is the capital city of enjoyment. Yet that does not take away from the metropolitan interests the city serves. So if you are about business don’t move yet.
Kisumu is ideally located on the shores of Lake Victoria; Africa’s largest freshwater lake. This gives Kisumu a unique place as an inland port city with a large shoreline. You will learn a lot about the fishing lifestyle and enjoy the best fish meals.
There is much to learn and discover in Kisumu. However, if it is your first time visiting it can be a little overwhelming. For a city with so much to go about, I understand your fear. Worry not, that’s why I made this list to help get the best out of your time here.
Visit Kit Mikayi
The Kit Mikayi is one of the most famous local attractions in Kisumu. The legendary tor is an impressive rock formation that goes up to 40m. The rock is famously known as the crying stone or culturally the stone of the first wife. The site is associated with many legends and religious practices.
The most common legend is that of a man called Ngeso who fell in love with the gigantic rocky outcrops. He spent all his days from early morning at a cave inside the rocks. His wife would then have to serve him all meals from the rocks. The bitter wife got used to responding to questions about his whereabouts that Ngeso was at his first wife’s. Hence the name Kit Mikayi which means stone of the first wife in Dholuo. The site is open all year round and entry is free.
Visit the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary.
The Impala Sanctuary is just 3km away from the city. The sanctuary provides a haven for threatened animals in the area. The swamps attraction has grown due to the different wildlife that can be found there. It is a favourite location for travellers who get a chance to view some wildlife in the sanctuary.
As the name suggests Impalas are the main wild here although other breeds like sitatunga antelopes and giraffes, lions, leopards, hyenas amongst others are found here. These animals which were rescued from threatening situations have found a safe home at the sanctuary.
The swamp marsh has also become a favourite grazing place for hippos which are often spotted at the sanctuary.
The sanctuary has beautiful trails for nature walks, natural canopies for picnics and boat rides. You can also go back in time to the historic terminus of the first railways from Mombasa to Kampala.
Visit the Kisumu Museum
Kisumu has a rich history dating back to colonial times. The city started as a barter trade station owing to its vantage location; border with Uganda and the railway station terminus.
The Museum provides a one-stop location to discover the rich history of the town and the outstanding culture of the people.
The dainty Museum comprehensively captures the history of Western Nyanza in its exhibitions and galleries.
For less than Ksh 200, you will learn how people used to dress, how they would farm and also the agricultural tools; hunting and fishing implements that they used. A life-size model of the traditional Luo homestead sponsored by UNESCO gives an unadulterated look back into the culture and traditions of the people.
The museum has different pavilions, some of which have live animals and fish aquariums, an outdoor snake park and tortoise pens. The most interesting is an unusual display of one of the largest Nile perch ever caught in Kenya.
I highly recommend the Kisumu Museum as the first stop for you. It offers the best introduction to Kisumu and at that price, there is no excuse.
A demonstration of the traditional Luo living in a homestead is nicely put together by a group of story tellers and dancers.
Explore Dunga Hill camp
If a relaxed time is a must-have in your itinerary, Dunga Hill Camp got you covered. The camp has a refined rustic aesthetic perfect for an easy afternoon or evening. And if there is one thing that is guaranteed at Dunga Hill it is the breathtaking sunsets. There is also a luxury boat on standby that you can pay for to enjoy a nice sunset cruise.
The camp serves views all over. The revamped camper van covered with graffiti that serves as a fully stocked bar brings the whole aesthetic together. Over the weekend, there is always a live band perfomance. I can’t possibly think of a better way to unwind the day.
This makes a great stop if you are travelling with friends. Conversations keep getting easier perched on the high wooden bar stools dotted near the camper van. The tasty meals here are unforgettable especially the fresh lake tilapia.
Benches near the lake, and a wooden jetty that doubles up as a performance stage for events and entertainment also provide nice spots for a sundowner.
Visit Ndeda Island
Ndeda Island is a fishing island in Lake Victoria. When visiting Kisumu, visiting the islands is a custom experience. It is also the easiest way to fully experience the culture of the people. In Ndeda island, the inhabitants predominantly rely on fishing activities for their livelihood. You will no doubt enjoy the scenes of the fishermen drawing their fishing nets from the lake to remove their harvest.
The locals in their element are a sight to behold. They take the fish to the receiving area, where they are weighed and priced. It is also advisable to buy some fish from the fishermen and promote their hustle.
Kiboko Bay is a group of cottages and luxurious safari tents overlooking the lake. The setting of Kiboko Bay is what makes it unique. Drawn away from the busy parts of the city, Kiboko bay provides a laidback accommodation and entertainment option. Its most outstanding feature is the viewing deck that extends into Lake Victoria. The deck provides sights of the other with the most beautiful sunsets you can ever imagine.
The splashing of water adds to the idyllic setting of the bay. You will just want to lay back and soak in the sounds of nature while time ticks away. What’s more Kiboko bay is just a short distance from Dunga Hill and The Impala Sanctuary. So if you are making it your mainstay or just passing by it is quite convenient.
Hike up the Maragoli Hills
Adrenaline junkies here is something for you. The Maragoli Hills is a great way to mark your visit to Kisumu. Gather your friends and discover the rocky and steep terrain of Maragoli Hills. The imposing hills are an unofficial boundary between Kisumu and Vihiga Counties.
The hike starts off easy and steadily progresses to a moderate one as you near the summit. The climb is also a way to learn about the Maragoli people who live up the hills, rear animals and grow crops.
Test your fitness as you hope for the breathtaking views guaranteed at the summit. At the end of it, all savour the sweeping views of Kisumu and Vihiga counties and Lake Victoria disappearing in the distance.
Stay at Acacia Premier
While in Kisumu, I enjoy staying at the Acacia Premier Hotel. The hotel boasts world-class accommodation facilities and is the best dining experience I have had in Kisumu. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave Kisumu without having sampled the luxurious lifestyle of the people. The Acacia Premier hotel is a ninety four-roomed facility with tastefully furnished rooms with an epic view of Lake Victoria and the city landscape. The go-to place for business meetings and conferences but also premium holidaymakers.
Whether you are visiting for business or leisure, you will never go wrong with the choice of cuisine, fine dining experience and luxury accommodation at Acacia Premier. Enjoy your stay home away from home.
What other activity or place do you swear by in Kisumu?
Let me know in the comment box below.