One month is nearly over and soon, it’ll start to get old to say ‘Happy New Year’! Indeed time doesn’t wait for us to catch up. Can you imagine that the flyers and requests floating my way are ‘whatsup for Valentine this year?’… and am thinking… already?? (we’re hardly over the Christmas blues)??!!
Depending on which side of groupings you are (single, coupled or somewhere in between), it can be quite a stressful time. A friend whined to me that everyone seems to plan for couples, and why not for ‘singles’?? Doesn’t anyone care to host a celebratory event for ‘us too’?? Clearly not. Okay AMO (accepting and moving on)… the increasingly commercialized and controversial Valentine’s Day can also be an exciting time for those who want show off their romantic streak, in style and opulence. And we have one such male cohort in Kenya, well-known for their extravagance in spending, exoticism in romance & voguish in dress style: the eminent Luopeans from the west-most side of the country. Both men and women are outstanding in demonstrating how to enjoy the ‘best that money can buy’. The statement goes that Luo is not a tribe, it is a ‘Lifestyle’ (of Luo Europeans)!! J So this time round, let’s go westward to ‘the UK’ – United Kisumu (County) and visit ‘the Ciity’ (Kisumu)… for an amazing array of options to… Escape!
(The) Kisum Ciity, Kisumu County
To get to Kisum Ciity (spelt as it is pronounced by the owners), as a true Luopean, you fly. End of story. You land at the magnificently refurbished International Kisumu Airport, where your automobile is parked complete with chauffeur to deliver you in style to a Grand Mansion hidden away, perhaps by a private Lake Beach, where the rest of your veritable fleet of luxury cars are parked and a retinue of servants awaits to cater to your every need…
Okay back at the ranch… (where ordinary people live), we get to Kisumu (by any means necessary), which is a Port City on Lake Victoria (spanning three countries and is the largest lake on the continent). Founded in 1901 as the main Inland terminal of the Uganda Railway, it was named Port Florence, which lasted just a year before it reverted to its original Dholuo name – Kisumu. There lots to do in here and nearby, and I list just a few (in no particular order):
- Visit Kit Mikaye – Referred to as the ‘Weeping Rock’, or ‘Stones of the first wife’, this natural feature is located off Kisumu Bondo Road towards Bondo. A popular local pilgrimage site for adherents of a certain sect, it is worth a visit to find out… why does it weep?
- Kisumu Impala Sanctuary – Measuring just one km square, the sanctuary is one of Kenya’s smallest wildlife preserves. As its name suggests, it is home to a herd of impala, as well as some hippos, reptiles, a few caged leopards and over 115 different species of birds.
- Hippo Point – This is a 600 acre viewing area on Lake Victoria, which despite its name, is better known as a viewing point for its unobstructed sunsets over the lake (and the occasional hippo). It is near the village of Dunga, a few km South West of The Ciity. The village also has a fishing port and a camping site.
- Jomo Kenyatta Grounds – Located at the centre of The Ciity, the nicely manicured, expansive grounds function as a Public Park, as well a sports centre, and social joint for both the youth the elderly. It is a must visit to experience the poignant vibrancy in the air, while you enjoy a moment of quiet (or not depending on what’s happening nearby).
- Kisumu Museum – Established in 1980, it has a series of outdoor pavilions laid out in a formation similar to that of a Luo homestead; make time if you want to know more about Luo culture and history, or to see an assortment of wildlife including the numerous aquaria exhibiting a wide variety of fish from Lake Victoria. It is located on the Kisumu – Kericho highway.
- Ndere Island National Park – Ndere means ‘the meeting place’ and was branded as ‘the island of serenity and beauty’ in March 2010. It is located on northern shore of Lake Victoria, and is one of the scenic & special interest parks managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. It consists of six mini-islands, variety of wildlife & birdlife and the possibility of camping too. From the Ciity, it’s an adventurous one hour away by boat or 45 km by road.
- Watch an outstandingly, splendid Sunset – For obvious reasons, the Ciity offers the opportunity to enjoy one of the most spectacular sunsets to behold. Marvel at the kaleidoscope of colours as the sun sets over the lake waters, while you enjoy a sumptuous feast of tastefully prepared fish at Tilapia Beach market (and car wash), or at Hippo Point mentioned afore, or even afar on-high at Riat Hills (with a panoramic view of the Ciity to boot!).
- Enjoy the vibrant nightlife – Finally, at the end of the day, if you are a party animal and enjoy dancing the night away, then you’ll looooove Kisum Ciity!! Find a local who’ll be happy to show you around, and you may decide to stay in town for good. Pulsating, entertaining and vibrant, the nightlife of The Ciity is made for the full delight… let yourself go, and get drawn by the allure of the sights and sounds of the fine seductive & endless Dholuo music, and the merry-making lifestyle of the jovial cosmopolitan crowd, as you toast to the amazing Kisumu Ciity, again and again and….
So there you have it, next time you are headed out west to The Ciity, whatever the purpose consider picking just 1-2 of the wide range of stuff to do and take time to enjoy a Luopean… Escape! J