Instagram Tours commonly known as IG tours are synonymous with Turn.Up Travel. IG tours have quickly become a household name in the Kenyan travel scene with its popularity spanning amongst the Nairobian millennial who want it all when it comes to travel. I have experienced two episodes of the IG tours, both of which were in Nairobi and I must say they are a great avenue to explore the city of the moment.
When I got an invite to attend the Kisumu version I had no reservations. If the previous versions were anything to go by, then I was in for a real treat.
What I did not know was that Turn.Up had partnered with Simba Corp to put up a legendary trip to the Lakeside city.
Going to Kisumu in style
People from Kisumu are known for their larger than life living and rightfully so, you don’t just go to Kisumu without calculating your moves. If you are not flying to Kisumu,then please try and and get there in zero mileage European machines like we did :-). Opulence thrives in this Lakeside city.
Renault Kenya have these newer versions of their cars in the market and truth be told the vehicles were worth the hype. We were going to self-drive to Kisumu in the new, shiny, sleek, high performance newer versions of their Flame Red Kadjar,Duster,Logan,Megane,Sandero Stepway,Kwid and Koleos.
I rode in the Duster; a compact SUV, with a tiptronic automated transmission,embellished with beautiful chrome accessories.
The road from Nairobi to Kisumu via Kericho was picturesque. The last number of times I was on that route it was under heavy construction every few kilometers and to see it all complete and fully functional was so satisfying. Well, that being the case, observing speed limits in an almost new empty road was the hardest part of the trip.
My all time favorite view was the Kericho tea estates. It never goes unnoticed.
Checking-In,Acacia Premier Hotel
Located on Achieng Oneko road, at the mouth of the leafy suburb of Milimani is Acacia Premier Hotel. The ninety four roomed,four star hotel boasts of a loyal clientele hence it usual fully booked status.
The carpeted hallways and lobby,tastefully furnished rooms with an epic view of the Lake Victoria and the city rooftops only confirms why the hotel is a darling to holiday markers and business persons alike.
The hotel was neat,the staff was charming and breakfast was finger-licking good!
Top things to do in Kisumu
Kisumu has so much to offer. Some of these gems are hidden deep from the obvious, while others stand out tall like the legendary Kit Mikayi.
Legend has it that a long time ago, a man called Ngeso fell in love with the gigantic rocky outcrops. Everyday, he’d wake up very early in the morning just to go and sit at a cave inside the rocks. He would then force his wife to serve him all meals from the rocks. Every time his fellow villagers come to check on him or ask of his whereabouts, his not so happy wife would sadly respond that Ngeso was at his first wife, hence the name Kit Mikayi which means stone of the first wife in Dholuo.
The stone has since been used by faithfuls from the Legion of Mary as a shrine.
2. Impala Sanctuary
Just three Kilometers from the city center, is the Impala Sanctuary. The sanctuary provides a safe haven for threatened animals in the area like the swamp dwelling sitatunga antelopes, impalas and giraffes. Rescued animals like lions,leopards, hyenas amongst others are provided for a safe home at the sanctuary. There are dozens of hippos from the lake that find a secured grazing place at the sanctuary.Apart from game viewing,the sanctuary has beautiful trails for nature walks,natural canopies for picnics and boat rides. It also houses the historic terminus of the first railways from Mombasa to Kampala, commonly referred to as the ‘lunatic express’.
3. Abindu caves
There are many theories surrounding the history of these caves, one of them being that the name Abindu was derived from the Kibindo sub-clan of the Kipsigis community who currently live in Kericho. History has it that the Luos who lived around the caves drove the Kipsigis who kept livestock away, because the place was divine and needed to be reserved for prayers and rituals. It is said that the gods have kept the place intact and every attempt to bring down even a single tree within the caves have proven futile, with the perpetrators going blind from wooden chips from the trees or even having the axe miss the target and landing on their feet.
The place is also used as a prayer ground by most faithfuls.
One of the curators also mentioned that in 1970,a student from the university of Nairobi called Adete arrived at Abindu and it was believed that he was a prophet because the predictions he made then came to pass including the deaths of Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga Oginga,
The caves are located North west of Kisumu, about 12km from the city center on the Kisumu-Maseno road.
Maseno Town,Home of the famous Maseno University on the Kisumu-Busia highway is one of the towns where the equator crosses in Kenya. Like they say, it is an imaginary geographical line that divides the earth into two equal parts.
It is always nice place to hear local guides explain ‘Coriolis effect’ and other interesting stuff like the direction of flow of water. For example,when you flush your toilet in the northern part of the equator the water flow clockwise… and the reverse is true for the southern hemisphere.
Maseno is also the birth place of the former prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga.
5. Sunset at Kiboko Bay
I am a lover of a good dramatic sunset. I chase sunsets until the glow of the golden rays disappear under the hills. After it sinks, I go back to my space and absorb every hue that is left behind as the dark slowly creeps in. It is my job to wish the birds a good night as it is theirs to wake me up.
A Kiboko bay sunset in Kisumu is everything I have described and more. It is perfect. I saw the lake swallow the sun.The luxury boats,young wine and good vibes is all that is needed to mark the end of an otherwise fruitful trip to the lakeside city.
Watch this video by Turn.Up Travel on how it all went down.