Wild, Wild West – Kisumu 1/4

Kisumu is a city in western Kenya along the shores of Lake Victoria. We went to explore the port town home to Africa’s largest lake, or the second largest freshwater lake in the world.

The Easter tag team (myself, Sam, Jess, Caitlyn, and our newest Canadian snack-providing-rapping-sleep-on-our-couch-anytime visitor Soo) started our travels by taking the overnight bus from Nairobi to Kisumu town. As a note, it was a mission trying to get those seats for five people a day before travelling. I lucked out at my third bus company, where the attendant told me I was very fortunate to be getting the seats, as they were the last ones on the bus, and it was the last bus to leave. The pre-thinking that is necessary when travelling on holiday weekends!

The actual bus ride was uneventful, and we arrived before the sun came up. Soon we were picked up by the owner of the guesthouse we were staying in, eating breakfast, and fighting the fatigue that comes with overnight bus travel.

Enjoying the view at Kiboko Bay

A short walk and we were on the shores of Lake Victoria at a lovely restaurant, part of Kiboko Bay Resort. If I wasn’t minding my Easter change, this is without a doubt where I would want to stay in Kisumu. The grounds were charming,  the tented accommodation looked so nice, and the restaurant never failed to disappoint (we kept returning as it the only restaurant where you can sit and enjoy food or a drink while over looking the lake).  Further, that’s where I saw the hippo previously mentioned while having my dinner.

The next stop was Hippo Point. We hopped on boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) and I was immediately thrilled to be in Kisumu, as I am anywhere where I can ride a boda boda. Short trip later, we arrived at Hippo Point, where you can negotiate for a boat ride on Lake Victoria. Jess put her expert bartering skills to good use, and we arranged for a sun-rise boat ride the following morning to spot the early morning fishermen, birds, and (eeeek!) hippos!

Boda boda stand - ah, how I miss you in Nairobi!

At this point, it was not yet 11am, and my bus travel was catching up with me. So I hopped on a boda to the guesthouse for an afternoon nap. Not really refreshed, but anxious to explore Kisumu town, I splashed some cold water on my face, and took a boda to town. What fun to ride through a more residential area of Kisumu, over a couple bridges, dirt roads to paved roads and end up in town.

I met up with the others at a rooftop restaurant over looking a very animated crowd gathered outside, shouting and clapping in a Good Friday service.

We left the restaurant to walk around and couldn’t resist the allure of the mtumba (second-hand) market. Who can am I to deny an attendant calling out, “10 bob! 10 bob! Blouses, 10 bob!”?? Oh, I was in mtumba Kisumu heaven!

Total damage: 3 shirts + 3 scarves = Ksh 60.

Tusker Malt beer ad - delightfully refreshing

After mtumba fun, I headed to the Nakumatt to pick up supplies (read Tuskers and banana chips) and the others went to scout for an afternoon lounge location, which ended up being another rooftop. Not a restaurant rooftop, but a guesthouse rooftop. Sooper Guesthouse! And yes it as super… so much so in fact that we ended up moving there for the rest of our stay. They let us simply chill on the roof, as we fashion-showed our newest purchases and watched the sun set on Kisumu town.

Bodas back to our initial guesthouse, dinner at Kiboko, hippo on land encounter, and an ETB for our early morning boat ride the next day…

Dinner delight - fresh Lake Victoria fish

Are you hungry too?

Good evening Kisumu! On Night 1 guesthouse porch.

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