Top 15 Reasons Why Visit Western Kenya

Western Kenya – The least-visited Western Kenya is home to rolling tea plantations, lush swamps, and equatorial forests, along with Kenya’s second-highest mountain and the largest lake in Africa.

However, the ultimate highlight is the Masai Mara a natural continuation of the famous Serengeti Plains undulating grassland, dramatic escarpments, beautiful acacia forests – and the greatest wildlife show on earth.

Scaling up the heights of Mount Elgon sampling Nile Perch big fishing opportunities, birding the remote islands, or just basking lazily on the mainland beaches of Lake Victoria are among the so many leisure activities to undertake while in Western Kenya.

With some of the most breath-taking sunrises and sunsets, Western Kenya remains to be one of the best locations in Kenya to see some of Kenya’s most sought-after bird species in its forests, swamps, lakes, and rivers, and even in the scattered hills with its neighboring countries. Beyond flora and fauna, it’s in Western Kenya where the 44th former US president, Barack Obama has his roots in the village of Alego, Kogelo. Well known to be among the most welcoming communities, the culture here isn’t something to be missed. Welcome to Western Kenya!

Western Kenya is a world of wonders. From its lush green highlands, rolling tea plantations, vast swamps, Kenya’s second-highest peak on Mount Elgon, and the equatorial rainforests, along with the largest lake in Africa – Lake Victoria. Western Kenya positions itself as an alternative gateway to the world’s most popular nature sanctuary, the Masai Mara Game Reserve, where annually the most spectacular show on earth takes place. These features make the region a premier ecotourism destination.

Other than these star attractions, the region has a wealth of cultural and historical attractions. The massive sacred stones of Kit Mikayi, Thimlich Ohinga, a 14th-century complex – a recent addition to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Mausoleum, The Obama’s Grandparents Home in Siaya, and the Tom Mboya Mausoleum on Rusinga Island are some of the remarkable historical features that stand out in the region that are worth visiting.

Kakamega is also home to one of the most exciting and popular cultural events – the famous bullfighting. A leisurely to Kakamega Forest is a sure way of appreciating the beauty of this equatorial rain forest for the best hiking and bird-watching experiences.

Western Kenya Tourist Attractions

Top Western Kenya Tourist Attractions

The second-largest freshwater lake on Earth after North America’s Lake Superior. Kenya claims a mere 6% of the lake as its own, but that’s still a generous area to sample island-style Africa and get to know the friendly Luo people – Kenya’s second-largest tribal group who settled these shores several centuries ago, substituting raising cows for fishing. From all along the shores of Lake Victoria and its islands, fishermen set sail in mahogany dhows and canoes — or, increasingly, their motorized boats — to cast their nets for much-sought-after, shark-sized Nile perch.

This is one of many places on the lake where you can see the Luo fleets of traditional fishing dhows, whose white lateen sails, set against a deep blue background, appear to be out of the romantic myths of the Sinbad coast. And there is, in fact, a connection to the coast, dating back to the time when the Arab slavers were marauding around Victoria, building boats for the lake in the same style as their dhows on the ocean.

Spanning over 1,510 sq km and hugging the Tanzania border, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the most famous protected areas in Africa, and it indisputably ranks among the continent’s top five premier wildlife-viewing destinations. From the western Kenya, it’s possible to combine your safari with Masai Mara and even beyond.

Northwest of Kitale, Mount Elgondominates the horizon, at least on the rare occasions when it is not shrouded in clouds. Elgon is around 880 meters short of Mount Kenya in terms of altitude, but the circumference of its base makes it a bigger massif. The upper slopes of this extinct volcano support a cover of lush montane forest giving way to moorland at higher altitudes, and are protected withinMount Elgon National Park, one of the country’s least visited sanctuaries. The dense tall forest and a lack of roads inhibit game viewing on the mountain, but it is possible to hike up to the summit, across moorlands of giant heather.

About 30km northeast of Kitale, town lies the park that is half submerged permanently in the swamp. Saiwa is Kenya’s smallest, at only 300 hectares and was established in 1974 to protect the semi-aquatic Sitatunga antelope, notable for its wide-splayed hooves, which allow it to walk on the soggy surface of the swamp. Though it is not teeming with big game like other parks and conservancies in Kenya, Saiwa is also home to several other forest and swamp dwellers. These include the De Brazza’s monkey, which like the sitatunga has a very limited distribution in East Africa, along with the African Clawless Otter, Giant Forest Squirrel, Black-and-white Colobus, Bushbuck and Grey Duiker.

Not far from the town is the Kakamega Forest, a jungle-like centre of significant ecological interest since it is a relic of the equatorial rainforest which once spread from West Africa to the East Africa’s coast. Though it lies somewhat off the main tourist trail, Kakamega is becoming increasingly a popular destination for butterfly lovers, birdwatchers and other specialists looking for species of special interests, normally associated with central and west Africa.

Kendu Bay boasts two other diverting attractions. The first is a handsome and surprisingly large Tawakal Mosque, set along the road between the town center and the jetty. The other, about 2 km south of town, is Simbi Nyaima, a green crater lake whose shallows occasionally support large numbers of Lesser Flamingos. Simbi Nyaima means “Village That Sank”, an allusion to the Luo legend that the lake was created when a fearful storm engulfed what was formerly a village, to punish its inhabitants for refusing to help an old woman who had arrived there looking for food and shelter.

If you want the somewhat limited challenge of tackling one of Lake Victoria’s giant Nile perches, the place to stay is Rusinga Island or the furthest Mfangano Island. The introduction of these huge fish into the lake in the 1950s has been controversial. In the 1980s there was an explosion in their numbers and, as a result, many indigenous species of fish have since disappeared, particularly the small cichlids.

If you want the somewhat limited challenge of tackling one of Lake Victoria’s giant Nile perches, the place to stay is Rusinga Island or the furthest Mfangano Island. The introduction of these huge fish into the lake in the 1950s has been controversial. In the 1980s there was an explosion in their numbers and, as a result, many indigenous species of fish have since disappeared, particularly the small cichlids

Is mosaic of landscapes, ranging from riverine woodland and rolling savannah to magnificent escarpments and towering cliffs, Ruma National Park promises undiscovered wildlife treasures and undisturbed peace.  It is also Kenya’s last remaining sanctuary for the endangered Roan Antelope. Ruma lies on the flat floor of the seasonally watered Lambwe River valley bordered by the Kanyamwa Escarpment to the South-East, and by the volcanic plugs of the Ruri Hills to the north.

Ruma’s birdlife is exceptional. The park is also the only protected area in Kenya where the globally threatened blue swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, is regularly recorded. Blue swallows, which depend upon moist grassland for both feeding and roosting, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in Southern Tanzania around April and depart again in September.

Aderema Hills stands majestically between Kenya’s last frontier, the acacia plains, the fertile dusty woodlands of the Iteso land, and the serenity of the Malaba River. With our ecotourism initiative, we have spent a good part of our lives working closely with the Iteso, and don’t forget the Oluokos are Nilotes too and this makes us be proudly associated with our Iteso community, the birds, wildlife, and land surrounding our nature-loving family.

Characterized by several Luhya sub clans, Bungoma is the one of the best counties of Kenya to explore if you get a chance to visit Kenya. For those who are keen to learn about culture, Bungoma is the epicenter cultural tourism. The county is full of traditions and customs that are strongly attached to the host communities. Bungoma is home to a number of interesting points that can be visited within a day or two. The attraction sites come along with very informative folklore and myths that are narrated by the resident community guides.

Set on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya’s Western Tourism Circuit, Kisumu city is a destination not only for business travelers but also for tourists. It is easily accessible by road, the recently revived meter gauge railway and by air through Kisumu International Airport, which is about 10 minutes from Kisumu’s Central Business District.

For those who would like to do a combination of Kenya’s wildlife safari with Gorilla Tracking in Uganda, air travel is possible for your onward travel to Uganda from Masai Mara to Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport via Kisumu on a daily basis through Air Kenya. Connections to Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo can be done by road through the Busia border point between Kenya and Uganda.

This is one of Kenya’s most important wetlands and therefore a natural resource for wetland ecotourism. It is Kenya’s third-largest wetland covering over 200 sq. kilometers of land in both Yala and Busia Counties of Kenya. Both River Nzoia and River Yala empty their waters into Lake Victoria at Swamp. The swamp is an Important Bird Area according to the classification by BirdLife International and is also home to the endangered semi-aquatic antelope animal by the name Sitatunga.

However, this fragile ecosystem is under heavy threat from anthropogenic activities such as land conversions to agricultural farms, industries, and human settlements, among others Lake Kanyaboli within Yala Swamp Lake Kanyaboli on the other hand is a unique geographical feature and tourist attraction within the greater Yala Swamp Complex. It is an ox-bow lake about six meters deep. The Lake is home to rare species of fish that some of which are extinct in the
main Lake Victoria.

The hill is of great significance to Luo because it is believed to be the first point where the community settled in Kenya from South Sudan, before dispersing to other parts of Nyanza and neighboring Tanzania. The Ramogi Hill is a unifying factor for all the Luo since their ancestors first settled there on their way from South Sudan through Uganda.

Ramogi Hills is a significant attraction in Luo land and beyond. The Luo community believe that the father of the Luo tribe Ramogi Ajwang’ settled on the hills after a long, hard and tiresome migratory journey from Uganda. At this modern time, this settlement region is a reserved forest and has many cultural sites that are important to the Luo community. From the hill top, you are rewarded by spectacular views of the Gangu Rift that includes Lake Kanyaboli and the Yala Swamp.

Western Kenya Trip Ideas

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