Sleep Like a Chicken at Acacia Premier, Kisumu

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Have you ever slept like a chicken? You know, early to bed, and rise up at the break of dawn? If you live along the Equator, your body will learn to shut down and power up with the sun each day.

That was me the other weekend after a blissful night at Acacia Premier. Chicken tend to rise only when they see day break – I slept all through my nights at Acacia that I almost was late for the day’s excursions.

 

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Poolside at the Acacia Premier. Catch a flaming sunrise everyday – Photo by Acacia Premier

Driving to Kisumu has never been my ideal journey, after I did that once, enroute to Siaya. I had gone to bury my friend’s dad (and my then friend turned out to be one great conman, but that’s a story for another day, over drinks). After that journey, I decided that Kisumu was too far, and the road too bumpy and potholed to make another road trip ever again. Thanks to the numerous affordable local flights, I didn’t have to reconsider my decision.

 

But when my colleagues at work told me of how smooth the road is all the way to Kisumu, I knew I had to try it once again. Not to mention that they threw in the offer to choose from a list of super comfortable rides courtesy of Simba Corp: a Pajero Sport, a Renault Duster, a Renault Kandar, a Mahindra Xylo, a Pajero and a Mahindra XUV500. Dude, I was spoiled for choice! I ended up riding in the Mahindra Xylo, super spacious with lots of leg room. We had 5 of us in the car – two up front, two middle and one Rayhab in the back, and she was super comfy. I didn’t get to test drive the car, cause… well, manual drive!

We kicked off the trip at 5.30am with a sumptuous breakfast at Villa Rosa Kempinski. These guys know how to make sure you have a good start to the day, and packed a nourishing cold lunch for us, and soon we were on our way, sans one pax.

 

You know that guy who has to take a flight to catch up with the rest of the trip, because he partied too hard and overslept? We now have a phrase for that: Pulling a Karugah.


The road to Kisumu is so well done and with wider roads that are well marked, so it’s easy to find your destination even without Google Maps. The joy of a road trip is that you get to stop in random places, not just for the perfunctory pee break, but to take in the scenery as you stretch your legs. We had a few stops along the way, with the rolling tea hills of Kericho dishing out spectacular views in the crisp fresh air. Kisumu welcomed us with the usual heat wave, but soon cooled down as the afternoon wore off.


Stepping into the Acacia Premier, you’re welcomed with smiles at the necessary security check, after which they tag your bag and deliver them to your room. We opted to first have lunch – we were itching to get our hands on fresh fish! The poolside deck at the hotel with open views of the city was a great spot to chill in, and we got time to get acquainted with the rest of the team on the road trip. After that, a nap was called for, though sleep eluded some of us. My room was just right – AC turned up to a crisp 18C, the bedsheets cool and inviting after a hot pulsing shower (no matter how hot it is, I can never have a cold one!). A complimentary fruit basket and water bottles were also placed in the room. Later on, we enjoyed cocktails and dinner at the hotel, mingling with other industry people in the area.

 

And this is where the chicken story comes in – my room was just the right shade of dark through the night and my bed so comfortable, that I didn’t realize dawn had arrived. I startled awake at 7.20am, and with  quick shower and breakfast, and I was ready to explore Kisumu with the team.

How can you not fall asleep in that room....
How can you not fall asleep in that room…. Photo by Acacia Premier

Day two was full of activity:  exploring Kisumu, Acacia Premier style. We set off to see the famous local site, Kit Mikayi. Three large boulders balance atop of each other in what seems to be a feat defying physics, and have remained standing for ages.

 

Legend has it that an old man, Mzee Ndeto, was looking for a home for his family when he found the rock formation. He named it Kit Mikayi, where “kit” means stone, and “mikayi” is first wife, in Dholuo. The site is a sacred shrine, with traditional healers collecting plants for their medicine in the plants that thrive around the rock, while rainmakers and elders make sacrifices for the gods to send rain in times of drought, or to appease them in times of calamity.

Kit Mikayi from above - Photo by Thoroughbred Films
Kit Mikayi from above – Photo by Thoroughbred Films

A quick drive through the mostly rocky area leads you to Bao Beach, from where you can board a pontoon boat across Lake Victoria and onto Ndere Island, courtesy of Marion’s Lake Cruises. Once you land on the island, you take a short walk to a view point to which you can see Homa Hills in the background, and if you go even further, you can see Uganda’s hills on the other side of the lake. Ndere Island is a gazetted National Park, inhabited by impala, waterbuck, snakes, hundreds of bird species and crocodiles and hippo in the waters. It’s very spacious and includes facilities to set up a campsite if you wish to stay overnight. You should check it out sometime.

Luxury boat to Ndere Island – Photo by Thoroughbred Films

To end the day, we drove back to the city to enjoy our late lunch at Dunga Hill, enjoying its impressive sweeping views of the city and lake. You can’t be in Kisumu and not eat some freshly caught fish. I can’t explain the joy of this dish well enough, so you just have to be in the lakeside to experience it yourself.

 

I got a chance to drive the Pajero Sport from Bao Beach to the city and boy, that ride is sweet! Even with my somewhat sharp cornering (sorry guys, you chose to be my passengers), that car was stable and didn’t feel the rough roads in some areas. I felt that it dragged a bit though while accelerating, but well, I’m no car expert. That said though, I’d seriously consider putting money down on one of those.

 

Dinner back at the hotel was fantastic – they let us mix our own cocktails and make our meals, and you know I had to get my back into that. I served up a mean mojito – heavy hand, lol, and made a creamy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta. Needless to say, the night went well from the first sip of that mojito, and we found our way downtown to Kisumu’s finest clubs. I was knackered though, and only lasted till 2:00am before escaping the revelry.

 

Sunday came too soon, and we had to hightail it out of there after a champagne breakfast at the hotel. The Acacia Premier is a perfect place to get pampering. Who said that holidays in Kenya only need to be at the coastal beaches? Try it, you won’t regret it!

Kericho's lush tea farms stretch for miles - Photo by Thoroughbred Films
Kericho’s lush tea farms stretch for miles – Photo by Thoroughbred Films

Travel Details:

Accommodation:

Acacia Premier Hotel, Kisumu

Contact: 0709-850000

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Route:  

Drive from Nairobi to Kisumu via Kericho,

Try the Nairobi – Narok – Bomet route for more scenic views and wide open plains, then connect back at Kericho.

Local flights operate on Jambo Jet daily amongst other airlines

 

Local Cuisine: 

Try the freshly caught fish at Dunga Hill, or if you have time, the local lakeside restaurants at L’wang Ni.

 

Nightlife:

Barcadia seems to be the new spot. Bucaneers will never disappoint.