Explore what Kenya’s only lakeside city, Kisumu, has to offer on the Lake Victoria and Masai Mara Safari in Kenya
Explore the best that Kenya’s only lakeside city, Kisumu, on the Lake Victoria and Masai Mara Safari in Kenya
From its welcoming atmosphere to its beautiful sunsets over the world’s second-largest water body. Sampling available excursion options alongside being in some of the luxury accommodation facilities on this side of the country will really change your perception of Western Kenya.
For a few days, stay on Rusinga Island and experience the lifestyle of the Luo who are traditionally fishermen. Enjoy local interactions, sample the best lakeshore cuisine, and visit Ruwa National Park for wildlife viewing where you can look for the rare roan antelope, Rothschild giraffe, and Jackson’s hartebeest.
Then continue to the renowned Masai Mara Game Reserve for the finest wildlife experience in Kenya, home to an abundance of big cats as well as two million wildebeest, Thomson’s gazelles and zebra that migrate annually across the vast grasslands.
Day 1: Kisumu City
Your warm welcome in Kisumu city, also known as Port Florence, Kenya’s third-largest city with the third biggest metropolis. It is also the headquarters of Nyanza province. Over the past years, Kisumu city has transformed itself from a mere fishing port to a throbbing business and a tourism hub in the great lakes region. After breakfast, we will unmask the hidden face of Kisumu. By undertaking a well-curated excursion, we will enable us to see the attractions of amazing Kenya’s only lakeside city. We will begin by visiting the museum where ethnographic exhibits and a display of the dominant Luo tribe, musical instruments and their traditional culture stands out prominently. Kisumu Museum is considered by many to be one of Kenya’s finest collections of artifacts.
We will then proceed to Kisumu Impala Wildlife Sanctuary for a leisurely walk. While here, a harem of impalas enjoy this grazing ground with zebras and hippopotamus that live in the lake. Spread over an area of less than 1sq km, this wildlife sanctuary acts as a holding point for problematic animals like baboons, hyenas, and leopards, which can be seen at a close range. From the Impala Park, we’ll drive for lunch at Dunga beach followed by a boat ride to get a first-hand experience of the second largest freshwater body in the world, Lake Victoria. After the boat ride, we’ll visit the Dunga Ecotourism boardwalk in the swamp where you can experience some birdlife especially the biome restricted and the papyrus endemics of Lake Victoria. We will later visit the fishing village where you will encounter the local anglers and fishmongers.
From the lakeside, we’ll drive to the imaginary line that splits the earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Maseno, the lush institutional center is located northwest of Kisumu and at an altitude of 1503 meters above sea level. We will be here for some photos and enjoy the scenic backdrop of the rugged volcanic hills of the Kavirondo Rift Valley system. With the equator cutting across Kenya almost in the middle, the sun is directly overhead at noon on the two equinoxes in March and September 21st. For your information, the most intriguing fact is that areas located on the Earth’s equator have the fastest sunrises and sunsets. Therefore, it’s worth noting that the time it takes the sun to set and rise at the equator point is the fastest on Earth hence the transition from day to night surprisingly, takes only a few minutes. From the equator point, we’ll drive back and settle down for dinner and overnight at the well-appointed Ciala Resort.
Day 2: Kisumu - Rusinga Island/Lake Victoria
Today, we will leave Kisumu after breakfast and drive to Kit Makayi. This is Kenya’s most dramatic cultural site, a vast granite rock tower that is about 80 feet tall, located 30 km to the west of Kisumu city. We will get to learn more about the legendary story behind Kit Mikayi, which in Luo dialect means “the stone of the first wife” – this will be an awe-inspiring cultural experience.
From here, we will proceed with our drive and then cross Winam Gulf by ferry to the pre-historic Rusinga Island. Our arrival here will be in good time for lunch and thereafter we will spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the island that is one of the most magnificent localities in the world for fossils, particularly primate fossils. Louis and Mary Leakey were some of the first to discover fossils on Rusinga Island. When they announced the skull and other 18 million-year-old fossils, discovered in 1948, paleontologists took a big interest in the island. The species to which this beautifully preserved skull belonged to the Proconsul.
In 2006 and 2007, fossil sites were re-opened by the University of Minnesota, American Museum of Natural History, and Pennsylvania State University. Thousands of fossil remains were discovered, including over 20 Proconsul specimens and the largest mandible (lower jaw) known for the species Proconsul Nyanzae.
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes and an awe-inspiring adventurer's Mecca. Historically, the lake was renamed Lake Victoria after Queen Victoria by the explorer John Hanning Speke, in his report as the first Briton to document it. Speke accomplished this in 1858, while on an expedition with Richard Francis Burton to locate the source of the world’s longest river, the Nile.
After exploring the island, we’ll drive back to the luxurious Rusinga Island Lodge for dinner and the night.
Day 3: Rusinga Island - Ruma National Park - Rusinga Island
We will this morning leave Rusinga Island at dawn in time for a game drive in Ruma National Park. This is the largest national park in Western Kenya and you can see a variety of wildlife here including the Big Four and the rare roan antelope. Apart from the roan antelope, Ruma has other rare wild animals such as the Rothschild giraffe and the Jackson’s hartebeest. Other wildlife found here include impala, topi, buffaloes, Bohor’s reedbuck and oribi. We will enjoy a picnic breakfast in the park and continue with the game drive that will see us leaving the park for the island where we will arrive in good time for lunch.
Our afternoon will be spent at the Tom Mboya’s mausoleum, which lies on family land at Kamasengere on the north side of the island. The mausoleum contains various mementos and gifts Mboya received during his life. Tom Mboya, civil rights champion, trade unionist, and charismatic young Luo politician was gunned down in Nairobi in 1969, sparking off a crisis that led to over forty deaths in widespread rioting and demonstrations. We will leisurely drive back to Rusinga Island Lodge for dinner and the night.
Day 4: Rusinga Island - Masai Mara National Reserve
Traveling to the premier Masai Mara National Reserve through the lush Western Kenya highlands will be a memorable journey. Our arrival will be in good time for lunch before heading out for an afternoon safari through vast, acacia-dotted plains, driving past throngs of elands, impalas, zebra, and giraffes; and keep an eye out for lions, elephants, and the rest of the African “big five.” In the evening, relax at the camp and enjoy the scenic sounds of the night at the Mara Leisure Camp.
Day 5: Masai Mara Game Reserve - Full Day Game Drive
After breakfast, we depart for a whole day’s game drive in the reserve. No trip to Kenya would be complete without this traditional experience. Spanning approximately 3,000 square km, the Masai Mara National Reserve and Greater Mara Concession Areas form the northern section of one of the most astounding animal migrations on the planet. While the region has become busier and busier over the last decade or so, a visit to this stunning area is still well worthwhile. Often seen as in its prime when the migratory herds arrive, from July to November, a visit out of season can be just as rewarding, and that’s the reason the BBC has based themselves here for the last decade or so.
What makes Masai Mara one of the world’s top safari destinations is its abundance of big cats – cheetahs, leopards, and lions – as well as the two million wildebeest, Thomson’s gazelles, and zebra that migrate annually across the vast grasslands in search of water. Watching elephants and giraffes grazing, photographing zebras and wildebeest, and with a little luck, you’ll even spot animals feasting on a recent kill. Drive back to the camp for dinner and the night.
Day 6: Masai Mara Game Reserve - Nairobi
Depart the Masai Mara Game Reserve after breakfast and drive to Nairobi arriving in the afternoon to mark the end of your wildlife safari.