For all my travels around the country, and they’re many, I had never visited the lakeside city of Kisumu until two weekends ago. I finally got the chance to go courtesy of Simba Corp motors and the Acacia Premier Hotel in Kisumu.
The road trip and mini vacay in Kisumu could not have come at a better time. I was just through with a major project and had another one looming the following week. The break was a clear gap and a godsend. I was superbly relaxed and in just the frame of mind for a road trip plus fish, ugali, sightseeing and boat rides.
The trip started at the crack of dawn when a happy mix of the goofs, the serious, the talkative and the quiet departed from Villa Rosa Kempinski in a convoy of 6 cars from Simba Corp, the newest kid on the block among them being the Pajero Sport.
There are highlights to every trip and before getting to Kisumu, I was really looking forward to Kericho – a place I’ve frequented before and never seem to get enough of. I’m all for simplicity and if you think about it, Kericho is simplicity. Kericho does not have to do a thing to impress you. It just needs to sit there all green and disciplined and it will take your breath away. Having previously lived all my life in the tourist destination of Mombasa, people often asked me where coast peeps go when we need a change of air. Well, we go to places without the beach and heat and for me Kericho would easily be a favourite. Or places with a different kind of beach and culture, in which case Kisumu it is.
While in Kisumu, we passed by the derelict Kericho Tea Hotel briefly. In my former life, I worked in the tea industry for close to 10 years and over that time I kept feeling like I must be the only one in the industry who never once visited this hotel. Then I got there and was thoroughly underwhelmed. Someone needs to spruce up the place if it is to continue living to its name.
We got to Kisumu just past lunch hour and Acacia Premier Hotel was more than ready. First thing after check in, there was lunch at the Aqua Pool Bar. It was a buffet lunch but I barely saw any of the other foods on it. This was not one of those trips where I was going to be adventurous with food. I was there to feast of loads and loads of Tilapia and ugali and I did just that throughout my stay. With loads of chilli. Aqua Pool Bar ended up being my favourite part of the hotel especially for the outdoorsy feel, the view of the lake and parts of Kisumu town, and the spectacular sunrises.
Acacia Premier Hotel is a 94 room business hotel in central Kisumu which has all round facilities like conferencing, modern gym and spa, bars and restaurants, and accommodation which includes a presidential suite. For those coming or leaving by air, it is just 10 minutes drive in light traffic.
Day two and everyone was well rested and ready for some sightseeing which we kicked off with a visit to Kit Mikayi – stones of the first wife. Legend has it that an old man loved and cherished the rocks so much to the point where actual first wife called them his first wife. Hence the name Kit Mikayi (first wife). Kit Mikayi is not just a rock formation to the residents. It is a place steeped in rich history, culture, folklore and religion. Luo elders would come here to make sacrifices to beseech the gods for rain and good weather, or to avert catastrophes. Medicinal trees grow around the rocks and people come from far and wide to collect them. Kit Mikayi is in short a holy place. The area round Kit Mikayi is also characterized by a beautiful landscape of rocks in all shapes and sizes.
From there, we took boat rides to Ndere Island, an uninhibited (by humans) island which was gazetted as the Ndere Island National Reserve in 1986. Ndere is known for offering spectacular views of surrounding areas, as well as animal and bird life.
By the time we left Ndere, I was so hungry and thirsty I was dreaming of wet fry fish, ugali and a cold drink. That’s exactly what I had for lunch at Ndunga Hill, before going back to Acacia for a relaxing afternoon in their spa, and to cocktails and nightlife later on.
As much as it was my first time in Kisumu, I felt completely safe taking a walk to the nearest night club which was about 15 minutes away. The people of Kisumu love their night life and the first club that we tried, there was not even space to breathe! We quickly moved on to the next one.
I’m far from done with Kisumu and I’ll certainly be back to visit other areas like Lwang’ni, Impala Sanctuary, Kiboko Bay among others. But for this trip, there was only so much we could fit in.
Images courtesy of Thoroughbred Film Productions.
— Shiko-Msa (@Shiko_Msa) November 12, 2016