Kenya's Last Frontier Bird Watching Safari

Discover Best Hidden Gems

Discover the
Charming Kisumu City

Known for its spectacular photos of the sunrise and sunset, the lakeside city of Kisumu calls for more than a couple of days during your visitation. From its humid temperate climate to its laid-back city life where its community is well reputed for its warm hospitality, Kisumu offers more than just an urban city.

Having accepted some modernization over the years, Kisumu still maintains that the old town feels charmed especially on the outskirts and the culture is still very much ingrained. If you are looking beyond its intriguing city life, then you won’t be disappointed by the available options.

Historically, and by some good margin, Kisumu has remained an important link in the trade route between Lake Victoria and Mombasa because of its water and rail connections with the neighboring countries notably Tanzania through its Mwanza Port and Uganda through Port Bell.

At an altitude of 1,134 meters above sea level, and covering 69,484 square km, Lake Victoria is the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, only exceeded in size by Lake Superior in North America.

With its greatly ascertained depth of about 85 meters, Lake Victoria is home to numerous archipelagos contained within the lake, as are some least known reefs, often just below the surface of the clear waters. From a collection of more than 84 islands commonly known as the Ssese Islands in Uganda to the largest island in Lake Victoria, the Ukerewe in Tanzania, and without forgetting the paleontologists’ paradise of Rusinga Island and the Rock Painting on the Mfangano Island both in Kenya.

Luxuriously, Discover Kisumu Beyond The Norm

#1. Ruma National Park

Beyond the beauty of Lake Victoria, the colorful tribes and the islands, lies the hidden gem of Ruma National Park – Beyond the beauty of Lake Victoria, the lake region tribes and the islands, lies the hidden gem of Ruma National Park. This is Western Kenya’s only terrestrial park  with promises of undiscovered wildlife treasures and undisturbed peace.

Ruma, is the only sanctuary for the endangered Roan Antelopes in Kenya. While its birdlife is prolific, it plays a vital role in the survival of the globally threatened Blue Swallow and also a bunch of other bird species that are unique to western Kenya.

According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, Blue swallows, which depend on moist grassland to feed and roost, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in South Africa around April and return in September.

Serenade in Lake Victoria’s tranquility on Ndere Island. Leaving Kisumu city behind, we will drive through the Luo countryside to the shore of Lake Victoria at Kaloka beach. From here, we will connect your boat for a ride to Ndere Island National Park.

Ndere Island is only 4.2sq km just off the northern shores of Lake Victoria. The park is known for its awesome vistas where on a clear day it’s possible to see Kampala, Uganda.

Ndere means ‘Meeting Place’ in the dialect of the local Luo tribe. In connection to Kit Mikayi Rock, according to Luo folklore, Mikayi – the mother of the tribe, rested up near Ndere after her long journey south down the Nile Valley. She found the lush shoreline so pleasing that she and her people stayed to date.

This tranquil island is home to a variety of birds including Fish Eagles and a dense population of other birds. Hippos, Monitor Lizards, and Crocodiles, including the lesser-known Spotted Crocodiles, are a familiar sight.

Impalas and zebras have been introduced to the grasslands while the woodland which fringes the shores is home to reptiles, more birds, and a plethora of butterflies. For nature lovers, attractions to the island are unlimited from hiking, walking, optional traditional fishing, and optional boat cruising at an additional cost. We will enjoy a picnic lunch before our return boat ride to Kaloka for a further drive to Kisumu stopping on the way at Kit Mikayi. We will later continue with our drive to Kisumu to mark the end of our excursion.

#2. Ndere Island National Park

#3. Luxury Birdwatching
Tours in Kisumu

Apart from wildlife such as the big five and others that you can find around Kisumu and its environment, birds do exist in plenty. Birding has become a popular past time for those in the know but has started to pick up of late as more and more guests flock to the region for its affordability and unique experiences of flexibility that come with it.

Kenya is home to over 1330 species of birds, and a good number of these birds can be seen around Kisumu and its surrounding environments. over half of which can easily be seen over a period of two weeks on a birdwatching tour of Kenya, making it one of the best birdwatching destinations in the world! The third capital of Kenya, Kisumu, is home to over 250 bird species, a lot of which are easily spotted if you’re at the right place, the right time and of course with the right safari company Oluokos Signature!

Every year between April and May, the lush swamps around Lake Victoria become a central breeding ground for a throng of bird species especially, the passerines. Among the most notable species are the breeding colonies of cranes, herons, storks, cormorants and egret, which are among the numerous species, which flock the Kisumu waterfront especially at Dunga.

On our Kisumu Day Birding itineraries, we shall be visiting some of our elaborative handpicked birding hotspots that are located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the world’s largest fresh-water lake.

By using the most convenient means of transportation, we will explore local riparian zone and look for its birdlife for our major target species. On foot, motorized boats or taking short distance drives we will enjoy the best that the lake region has to offer.

Our chosen bird trails offer opportunities not only for birding but also for bird photography, wildlife viewing, cultural interactions and mind-soothing nature walks. Please read more on Birdwatching in Kisumu.

Kakamega rain forest is the only remaining rain forest in Kenya and the furthest East remnant of the Guineo-Congolean rain forest that is scattered across Zaire, Uganda, and Kenya. This forest provides a unique sanctuary for a remarkable diversity of endemic plants, birds, and insects not found anywhere else in the country.

To note is its most outstanding feature of water that runs down this towering rock making it look like a gowned figure in perpetual tears. The Crying Stone is located in an ideal place to host traditional dances such as Isukuti, Tindikiti, Litungu, Bukhana, Shilili, Indebendebe just to mention a few. On display are artifacts from the Western Kenya communities where we will sample and if possible buy what we need. From here, we will drive back to Kisumu marking the end of our excursion.

Kakamega Forest, is a jungle-like no other and an epicenter of significant ecological interest since it is a relic of the equatorial rainforest which once spread from West Africa to the East African coast. Though it lies somewhat off the main tourist trail, Kakamega is increasingly becoming a popular destination for butterfly lovers, birdwatchers and other specialists looking for species more normally associated with central and West Africa.

Sykes monkey, Red-tailed Colobus and Black-and-white colobus are both very common and overnight visitors with a spotlight stand a good chance of picking out the nocturnal potto, a sloth-like primate distantly related to the better-known bush babies. In addition, around 10 percent of the reserve’s over 300 bird species occur nowhere else in Kenya, most alluringly perhaps is the majestic and comical Great Blue Turaco, flocks of which fly clumsily in the canopies between the trees like psychedelic turkeys.

#4. Kakamega Forest National Reserve

#5. The Mfangano
Island Lodge Safari

Secluded away on one of the remote corners of Lake Victoria, Mfangano Isalnd Lodge’s cottages have been built in Luo tribal style with stone and mud walls, open sides, thatch roofs and private verandas overlooking the expansive lake.

The lodge is an oasis of tranquility, and an ideal retreat from the busy safari destinations. Mfangano Island Lodge presents luxury and the quite island life where you can enjoy relaxing moments and we recommend this perfect getaway at the end of your Kenyan safari. Your first view is of beautiful tropical gardens set on a secluded bay. Enormous boulders sit at the water’s edge, a perch for the sunbathing cormorants or giant monitor lizards.

With only six double cottages and honeymooners’ suite elegantly by the shoreline, Mfangano Island Lodge’s each room has been built in the Luo tribal style, with banana thatch and natural clay. The rooms are light and airy with four-poster beds, from where you have almost a 360 degree view of Lake Victoria, similar to the dining and lounge area, where you can sit and enjoy the lakeside life as it goes by.

With no road connection to the mainland, vehicles, and transport is via colourful local canoes and scheduled ferries and catamarans thus making the island a perfect place to unwind.

Archeologically, Rusinga Island came to the limelight in 1948 when Louis and Mary Leakey announced the discovery of the Proconsul skull and other 18-million-year-old fossils. Rusinga regularly hosts a team from the American Museum of Natural History who continue this work and give personal guided tours of the sites. The two most rewarding prehistoric sites are located a short walk from Rusinga Island Lodge.

Rusinga Island Lodge is a family friendly Kenya lodge on Rusinga Island on the shores of Lake Victoria. Activities include fishing, watersports, mountain biking, spa, cultural tours and game viewing in Ruma National Park.

What more could a family want than excellent Kenya accommodation, wholesome food and plenty of water sports and activities to keep everyone very happy! Rusinga Island Lodge is a family friendly Kenya lodge in an exotic part of the world.

Rusinga Island Lodge prides itself on its wholesome cuisine. Whatever can be home grown is done so with great care and without the use of chemicals. Fresh fruit and vegetables are collected daily and the breads, pastas and cakes are all home made.

At Rusinga, a Kenya safari lodge, fish dishes are a speciality and meals are served either in the garden under massive fig trees, in the dining area, by the floodlit pool or even on the jetty. The Bush Breakfast at Ruma National Park is a memorable occasion! Enjoy a short boat ride to the Ruma National Park for excellent birding activities.

The en-suite cottages at Rusinga Island lodge each have their own veranda looking out over the second largest fresh water lake in the world, Lake Victoria. Guests will enjoy comfort and tranquillity as well as warm hospitality.

Families and guests can totally relax in the fabulous garden with its lush lawns stretching down to the water. There is a modern, professional Spa and with the warm climate, lots of fun water sports and activities to enjoy.

#6. Rusinga
Island Lodge Safari

#7. Kweisos House

Kweisos, meaning place of palms in the Kipsigis language, implies a useful place, as palms were traditionally used to clean out calabashes. Situated in the high altitudes of the Rift Valley escarpment, Kweisos House offers something out of the ordinary.

First owned by Olga Watson, of Olga in Africa, Kweisos House idea came to birth in the early 1900s as a farmhouse. Currently, Homa Lime, a family run business in limestone, jaggery, arable farming, livestock rearing, forestry and tourism, owns it.

With 4 en-suite double rooms, and 2 rooms with shared bathroom, ideal for families. The house is let exclusively to a private group at a time. Bed linen, crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils are supplied on a daily basis. Staff use fresh farm produce for meals and picnics; guests can also choose to cater for themselves.

The 3000-acre estate offers a variety of activities, including nature walks, game drives and horse riding. Birdlife is prolific in its lush forest and wetlands where birdwatchers are guaranteed to have so quality birding.

There are a number of activities to undertake where its small dams, filled with tilapia, catfish and bass, provide good fishing spots. Further afield, fishing trips to Lake Victoria and the Kericho dams can be arranged. The resident guide provides trips to the waterfall, sticky dam, booze cruise and arboretum. Kweisos House has a swimming pool, and the Greenhill’s area of the estate has tennis courts, snooker table, badminton and table tennis. For the wildlife lovers, a visit to the nearby attractions namely, Kakamega Forest, Kerio Valley and Ruma National Park are highly recommended.

For your cuisine indulgence, you are at the right place. Kisumu gives you plenty of reasons to pack up and explore the culinary spectacle and it’s not just about fish… All the best food that you love and other food that you might not have tried or known from home will be on your menu too, but made with passion and a delightful lakeside twist. Remember, you can’t miss the lakeside city’s signature meal, the unusual fish, often accompanied by ugali (maize meal) alongside green vegetables.

It is only natural that you will get plenty of fish and other seafood, made in different ways close to the Lake, but as a foodie, it will help to know where to go. While with limited time and you can’t go wrong with the Sarova Imperial Hotel Kisumu, Jalil’s Grill, Acacia Premier, Ciala Resort, Mill View Hotel, Sovereign Hotel, Vic Hotel, Wigot Gardens Hotel, The Grand Royal Swiss and the lakeside restaurant at Dunga beach. The choices are unlimited!

#8. the Lakeside
Tranquility by City

#9. Luo
Cultural Immersion

Around the sixteenth century, the ancestors of the Luo began migrating from the Bahr alGhazal region, south of the Nile valley in the modern Sudan, finally settling on the eastern side of the Lake Victoria basin. They continued arriving in a steady stream until the nineteenth century.

In Kenya, Luo are the fourth largest ethnic group. They speak ‘Dholuo’ which is part of the Nilotic language group. They’re popularly known as ‘Ramogi’s descendants,’ the Luo community are in particular known for their musical skills and instruments and away from these, Luo as a community has been part and parcel of Kenya’s politics even before the country gained its indipendence. 

Notable Luos include the former Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga; the former president of the United States of America, Barack Obama; and the environmental scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Professor Sam Odingo.

Traditionally, the Luo were organized into exogamous clans consisting of several families and headed by a clan elder. A council of elders were under a supreme chief (‘Ruoth’) and played the role of advisors to the supreme elder. All Luo leaders wore special regalia and had special items that portrayed their status including headdresses, a spear, special robes, a flywhisk and a stool.

For the Luo culture and cuisine indulgence, you are at the right place. Kisumu gives you plenty of reasons to pack up and explore the culinary spectacle and it’s not just about fish… All the best food that you love and other food that you might not have tried or known from home will be on your menu too, but made with passion and a delightful lakeside twist.

Remember, you can’t miss the lakeside city’s signature meal, the unusual fish, often accompanied by ugali (maize meal) alongside green vegetables. It is only natural that you will get plenty of fish and other seafood, made in different ways close to the Lake, but as a foodie, it will help to know where to go. 

Kisumu city has a rich history, with ‘Port Florence’ dating back to the start of the 1900. The communities living around the lake have maintained aspects of their culture and learning about it all is an interesting experience.

Points of interest where you can learn about the culture include the Kisumu Museum where attributes of the people including dressing, housing, food and farming, fishing and hunting tools are exhibited.

Further afield, a visit to Kit Mikayi, Luanda Magere Site and Grave and Kogelo Village (birthplace of President Barack Obama’s father) are also quite popular day excursions.

The prehistoric sites at Fort Songhor and the Kanjira Prehistoric site and hot springs (Bala Rawi) where you can boil eggs might also be of interest to you if your time permits.

From the laid back Kisumu city atmosphere, you could explore the Impala Park by lakeshore, go for bird wathing in the expansive swamps, take a hike to the numerous hills, explore Maseno and the equator point, go for fishing expeditions or explore the wilderness of Kakamega Forest National Reserve and if you have more time visiting Ruma National Park for a relaxing wildlife safari would be more ideal.

#10. Wildife,
Culture and Archeology

Keen on Luxury Kisumu Wildlife Holidays Trip Ideas?

Luxury Kisumu Tours and Safaris

Entrust our experts to plan for your Kisumu safari experiences

Are you in or planning to visit Kisumu for a business meeting, leisure or one of those big conferences? Oluokos Signature team is available to organize for you customized memorable Kisumu, Kenya excursions and safaris. You can also explore other parts of Kenya and beyond with us.

Text/Call: +254755124643

For any further assistance, be it photography, cultural tours, wildlife safari, where to watch birds in Kisumu or even more information about us, or anything else, kindly do not hesitate to get in to reach us on +254755124643 or via our website Oluokos Signature

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