Kisumu is nothing like it was the last time you visited. Neat streetlights line up freshly paved up roads. Malls rise from corners of the city with a defiant gait. People walk the streets with a renewed sense of self-belief. If you’re lucky to be sucking in the evolution of Kisumu into a real city from your room at Acacia Premier Hotel, the scene in front of you stretches from the happy people having fun at the poolside bar below to the lake and onward to Riat Hills beyond. Beautiful! With Jambojet flying to Kisumu International airport twice a day, it’s easy to get to.
You could be n Kisumu for work, on hoiday to have fun, or-and this is the most happening group-you accompanied to pay or receive dowry. Whatever your reason, here’s your ultimate to-do guide of this city.
Stay at Acacia Premier Hotel and you’ll wake up feeling like God has looked upon you with favour. Acacia Premier Hotel is in it’s own class of ‘first and only’ in Kisumu. It’s the first and only four-star hotel in Kisumu. It’s the first and only hotel within an attached mall, which helps if you have a sudden bout of homesickness during your stay – just walk out through the back and you are at Java House, Woolworths, home. The food at Acacia Premier Hotel is excellent and the service is professional.
Your other options include The Vic Hotel (also located next to a mall), Vittoria Suites, Ikonia, Kogelo Villas and Clarice all of which are located within the posh Milimani Area. Within the CBD, stay at the timeless Imperial Hotel or it’s younger cooler sibling Imperial Express. You want a little removed-from-CBD experience? Pinecone on Tom Mboya, Kiboko Bay in Dunga or Wigot Gardens up in the hills will be ideal options.
Eat at Kiboko Bay: bring your partner because the food they make here can wash away most sins.
Eat at Acacia Premier: try their whole tilapia specially prepared by chef Robert.
Eat fish at Lwang’i beach, down by the lake.
Eat kuku choma at one of the many bars along the strip at Wayside.
Eat meat at one of the three Hangover hotels (popularly known as Ka’Akwacha), ask for anti-stock theft.
If you’re going out, go to Barcadia. Sit outside on the verandah; everyone you need to know in Kisumu will pass by at some point. The great nights at Barcadia are Wednesdays through Saturdays. Roan Rooftop bar has karaoke on Wednesday nights, go croak. Fridays and Saturdays are big club nights with the most happening counters being Barcadia, Signature, Roan Rooftop Bar and Buccaneers. Club Da Place up in Mamboleo hosts exciting events from time to rhyme, you might want to check if they have something lined up when you’re in town.
Go to Dunga Hill Camp. Dunga Hill Camp is everything you want it to be. It can be touristy. It can be a pub. It can have a band playing songs you’ve never heard. It can be serene. When it’s full, it’s a pleasant crowd. And when the sunsets across the lake, you’ll never forget it!
Hop onto a boat at Kiboko Bay and turn Lake Victoria into your playground. Water games are not as developed in Kisumu as they should be but the ride from Kiboko Bay comes close. Visit the Impala Sanctuary or Ndere Island, both run by KWS, if you’re in the mood for hanging out with wild animals. If you’re a soccer fan and happen to be in town during a Gor Mahia match, don’t miss it for anything! Get to Moi Stadium early, buy a VIP ticket, jab a stiff first into the air above your head and wait for the chorus.