#TembeaKenya Western: Kisumu

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The next leg of the trip had us back on Rusinga Island, and on to Ruma National Park.

The only terrestrial park in the entire Nyanza province covers around 120 square kilometers, and hosts the indigenous and now rare roan antelopes.

Now, let me warn you… if you are going to have a late start to the morning, and end up at a national park on a hot day in the dry season, rumour has it that you will see very little wildlife. This rumour is true…

Entrance to Ruma National Park

We had had a sluggish start to the morning, and ended up getting slightly lost as we drove to the park, and got to the main (Kamato) gate at midday. I’m sure even the rangers were shocked to see us drive up at that hour.

That didn’t deter us from looking for the obviously resting wildlife. Driving up and down the area, through the savannah landscape, the highlight was when @Qarue spotted a cobra sunning himself on a rock. The funniest part was that our driver was afraid of snakes, and instinct took over when he heard the word ‘snake’ – he floored the gas pedal and we took off, only stopping after a few meters and a lot of pleading. As we expected on reversing, the snake had spotted us and promptly raced off.

We searched but we didn’t spot the elusive roan antelope – we did see lots of giraffe, waterbuck and hartebeest. Word to the wise: stick to early morning or late afternoon game drives.

We had to get back to Kisumu that evening, and we set off to drive through Homa Bay, a 42km stretch by road. At some point, we hit a huge rock and had to fix a puncture, and not without some drama. The car threatened to tip over at some point – thank God for quick thinking, and many hands; we literally held the car up as it was jacked up again and the spare tyre affixed. After wiping the sweat off our brows, we were well on our way through Homa Bay.

It was interesting driving through Nyanza’s countryside and getting to figure out where places like Sondu Miriu were. We stopped at the bustling Homa Bay town to have a very late lunch then continued on our way. Evening had us pulling up at the Kiboko Bay Resort.

The former quarry site has now been turned into an exquisite tented camp was a welcome sight for sore eyes. With an amazing view of the sunset over Lake Victoria, we dined and retired from the adventurous day.

Sunset at Kiboko Bay

Checking out the next day, we set off for a quick stop around the corner, at Kisumu Impala Sanctuary, a grassland and woodlands ecosystem located about 3km from Kisumu city. The ecosystem hosts a number of animals and provides grazing lands for hippos, habitat for numerous small mammals including the threatened Sitatunga, and supports a variety of reptiles and birds species. Our guide was very informative and took us round to see the leopard, buffalo, lion, cheetah, monkeys, ostriches and more in the sanctuary. I was particularly having fun watching Eve the young leopard, she was quite playful in nature, until she bared her teeth and reminded you of her wild feline nature.

Playful Eve

As we left the sanctuary, we were led to the newly built Impala Eco Lodge, a true gem hiding on the shores of the lake. You have to visit it yourself to believe. A luxury lodge, the place is built to cater to the highest standards. Sitting on the deck watching the water lap at the shores as birds twittered away was blissful, and we really had a hard time leaving and not spending the night here! But we had a few more stops to make, and then head off to our next stop.

Lunch at Lwang'i

But first we had to have lunch at the wildly famous Lwang’i Beach; lwang’i is the name for the fly, the insect. Given the state of the beach – effluent pouring in from the bustling car wash business on the shore, as well as fishermen dumping fish waste into the water, then it is no secret that the place is teeming with flies. However, that has not deterred the overflow of outdoor eateries that serve you what is voted by many as the best fish dishes in Kenya. Made into a simple meal, you should not leave Kisumu without consuming this.

We could not leave Kisumu without visiting the popular cultural site of Kit Mikayi. Believed to have been the home of Ngeso, one legend goes that he was so in love with the stone that he spent all his time there.  Eventually, his wives nicknamed it Mikayi, and thus the legend was born. Another legend says that the stone was brought there by a man so strong, and he used it to mark the household, and it was used as a sacred site. The stories are many, but are best heard from the locals.

Kit Mikayi

By the time we were leaving Kit Mikayi, it was close to dusk and we had to hightail it to the next stop – Kakamega.

More pictures on our Facebook Page: A Kenyan Girl

Next stop: Kakamega leg

 

Activities in Kisumu

  • Visit Dunga wetlands and view the bird sanctuary
  • Visit a village near the resort and watch as fishermen engage in their age old trade
  • Visit the Ndere Island National Park and view the Winam Gulf while you’re there
  • Visit Kisumu Impala Sanctuary
  • Have lunch at Lwang’i Beach
  • Visit Kit Mikayi and learn folklore

 

Places to Stay

Kiboko Bay Resort

Tel: +254-572025510 or +254-733532709

Email:- info@kibokobay.com

 

How to get there

  • Fly to Kisumu International Airport and transfer direct to the hotel.
  • Drive to Kisumu and take directions towards Dunga, past the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary and Kisumu Yatch Club.