Kisumu is a port city in western Kenya; located on a bay on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria at an altitude of 1,131 m (3,711 ft). It is the headquarters of Kisumu County and after Kampala, the second largest city in the Lake Victoria basin.
The city was founded by the British as "Port Florence" in 1901 as a stop on the railway between Mombasa and Uganda. A year later, the city was renamed Kisumu, from a Luo word meaning "market, trading place".
In 2006, Kisumu was designated one of Africa's 11 'Millenium Cities' by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
Kisumu enjoys a tropical savanna climate. The lowest temperatures (about 12°C at night and 17°C to 19°C by day) occur in August and September. The highest daytime temperatures can reach 37°C in the warm season (December to April).
The rain season is from March to May. A secondary rain season occurs in November and December. The dryest month is January.
- is served by daily flights from Nairobi.
- Kenya Airways has five daily flights to the capital Nairobi,Kenya Airways. The flight lasts about 45 minutes and takes you above lakes Naivasha and Nakuru.
- Jambojet is a low-cost airline that has flights from Kisumu to Nairobi.
- Fly540 also operates direct flights from Nairobi.
- Silverstone Air Low-cost airline which has direct flights from Kisumu to Wilson Airport in Nairobi and Mombasa.
The airport is about 3.5 km from the city. A few taxis and matatu minibuses do the journey between the airport and the city. In 2018, a matatu cost about Ksh 50 and a taxi cost Ksh 500-1000 KSH. Some hotels and car rental companies can arrange pickups.
Jambojet has a bus to and from Kisumu airport.
There are no ferries linking Kisumu with other cities on Lake Victoria.
As of 2018, all train service to Kisumu is suspended. In a few years time, the new standard gauge railway is expected to be operational.
By bus & minivan
- Easy Coach: Buses arrive at United Mall and Bank Road Behide the KPLC office, the ticket office is also located there. Easy Coach has 7 trips per day from Nairobi (Ksh 1400, 8 hours). Easy Coach also has two buses a day from Jinja and Kampala (Ksh 1500, 5/7 hours). There are also three departures daily from Mbale.
- Modern Coast Express (Gumbi Road Kisumu bus park) has buses six times a day from Nairobi (from Ksh 1000). Modern Coast also have three buses a day from Kampala (Ksh 1600) with a stop in Busia. Note that Modern Coach has more than one bus stop in town; travelers are encouraged to confirm the exact location in advance, and allow extra time in case of last-minute changes.
- In Nairobi, some buses depart from the Country Bus Station near Wakulima Market, between Pumwani Road and Landheis Road. Easy Bus departs from their own bus station on Haile Selassie Avenue in Nairobi, near Nairobi Train Station.
- Prestige Shuttle has 11-seat vans from Nairobi via Nakuru from 7AM-5PM (Ksh 1000, 6 hours).
- The Guardian Coach has service from Nairobi.
- There are also minivans from Kisii, Kericho, and Eldoret.
Make sure to have an international driving licence. You can obtain one from the Road Transport Office in Nairobi. Travelling by day is recommended as the roads can be unsafe at night. You may encounter police stops.
- From Nairobi, the distance is about 380 km. Take Chimoro Road towards Gitaru, then turn onto A104 (Waiyaki Way) past Naivasha and Nakuru. About 30 km past Nakuru, turn left onto B1 towards Kisumu. The trip can take from 5 to 12 hours depending on whether you want to stop and observe Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Kericho.
- from Kisumu to the Uganda border at Busia is 119 km.
- from Kisumu to Jinja Uganda is 237 km.
- from Kisumu to Nakuru is 197 km.
- from Kisumu to Kisii is 120 km.
- from Kisumu to Kitale is 158 km.
- from Kisuma to Kericho is 90 km.
Kisumu is a small town with lots to see. You can use the notorious boda boda (bicycle taxi), pikipiki (motorcycle taxis), matatus, buses, or you can rent a car.
Kibuye MarketThis is the second largest open air market in Kenya, and one of the oldest. It is on Jomo Kenyatta Highway, north-east of the city center, about 1.5 km from the long distance bus stop. The market is active day and night every day.
address: Nairobi Rd
Town Clockaddress: Oginga Odinga Rd
- Dunga Beach, A simmering fishing village with welcoming residents. Ideal for boat cruise, hippo viewing, bird watching, and fresh tilapia in local restaurants.
The EquatorKisumu is a few kilometers south of the Equator and you can easily reach the equator by car. Drive north on A1 towards Kakamega and you'll cross the Equator near the village of Mutet, or drive on B1 towards Busia to the small town Maseno.
Kit Mikayi rocks
FishingKisumu is a very good starting spot for fishing expeditions on the lake.Get to Dunga fishing village contact local guide +254 715604993
GolfThere is a golf course in the Nyanza Club, near the lake, close to the airport. The club has a swimming pool and a tennis court.
Learnaddress: Ochieng AveThe national library has books in English, Swahili and Luo.
Dunga Papyrus Boardwalkphone: +254 715604993address: 3954The papyrus boardwalk offers lake museum with luo cultural artifacts. the place is ideal for birding especially endemic species e.g. papyrus gonolek, carruthers cisticola
It offers space for photo shoots, camping and parties/occasions.
- Musical instruments such as nyatiti and orutu, typical of the Luo's musical culture.
- Soapstone objects. The historical center of soapstone crafts is in Kisii, about 100 km south of Kisumu.
- Objects woven from sisal (such as kiondo handbags), papyrus or water hyacinth. Loincloths: vikoi (singular kikoi) for men, kanha for women.Batik (paintings on textile).
- Household wood items.
Kisumu Craft StallsSoapstone objects.
Kisumu Main MarketThis market specializes in textile (kikoi, kanga, batik).
phone: +254 735 229904, +254 734 587253 (mobile)Another textile market.
Currency exchangeMost banks in town offer currency exchange between Kenyan Shillings and major international currencies. You may have a harder time buying or selling Ugandan shillings, despite the proximity to the border.
DTB's branch in the West End shopping center offers currency exchange and other banking services and is open 7 days a week. A passport is required.
Ecobankaddress: United Mall Joma Kenyatta HighwayHas a Mastercard/Visa card ATM.
Equity BankHas a Mastercard/Visa card ATM.
Malls & supermarkets
address: Jomo Kenyatta Rd
West End Shopping Malladdress: Got Huma Rd
United Malladdress: Jomo Kenyatta HighwayHas a Tuskys Supermarket. Easy Coach departs from here going to Uganda and Nairobi.
address: Oginga Odinga RoadFive branches in Kisumu. Owned by Choppies supermarkets Botswana.
Lake Basin Shopping Malladdress: Kisumu-Vihiga RoadBiggest shopping mall in Kisumu. Five floors, 140 stores, and a car park for 335 cars.
Florence Restaurantphone: +254 57 2022211address: Jomo Kenyatta HighwayLocal and international cuisine. One of the best classical restaurants.
Lakeside Meeting Pointaddress: Oginga Odinga RdLocal and international cuisine from fresh produce.
Mon Amiaddress: Mega Plaza on Oginga Odinga RdItalian and international cuisine.
Hussein Pan Houseaddress: Accra StIndian cuisine.
Oriental Restaurantaddress: Al-Imran PlazaChinese cuisine.
Kimwa Cafeaddress: Ogada StLocal cuisine from fresh ingredients.
Kisumu Yacht ClubLocal and international cuisine. You must have a member card from the club (temporary cards are available).
Kisumu has a number of guest houses, hotels, motels, hostels, all dependent on your needs and budget. It is common for hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation to be called a guest house in Kisumu Kenya. They are the most common and best value places to stay — hotels seem to ramp up their prices just because they are a hotel — beware.
London Guest Housephone: +254 736 531205address: 1 Kibos RdSaid to be the best-value accommodation in the city. Mosquito nets are provided and a lovely outdoor but surrounded yard with tables and to sit and chat. They also provide breakfast. Single/double rooms. Has its own power generator. Has 25 rooms. Has Wi-Fi.
phone: +254 772511527Affordable single/double rooms with own bathroom. decent and rather pleasant accommodation. Stay 4 days and get one day free.
Sooper Guest Houseaddress: Oginga Odinga RdVery clean, hot showers, mosquito nets and window screens, TV with satellite, a beautiful roof top terrace with lake view. Seems to be the only cheap place in town that has free Wi-Fi, even in the rooms. Has 34 single and double rooms. Breakfast costs Ksh 200 per person.
Lakeside Guesthousephone: +254 729553066address: Kendu Ln opposite lake view hotel short walk from minoki buildingSingle/double with own bathroom and dstv. Clean place with a Spectacular view of the lake. Total of 22 rooms. Good security and you can lock the room with your own padlock. Clean large mosquito nets, clean bathroom, hot water instant showers in all rooms. Breakfast costs Ksh 150 per person, free Wi-Fi in all rooms.
Kisumu Backpacker Hostelphone: +254-704316285address: Winam Square 43 MilimaniHas a 5-bed dorm and two double rooms.
Joy Guest housephone: +254-720-272037
YWCA hostelphone: +254 57-2024788address: Angawa AvenueFive dorms with 8 beds per dorm. Has to be the most low cost place to stay in Kisumu.
Jumuia Guest houseaddress: Lumumba RdSingle/double rooms
St Anna Guest Housephone: +254 57-2024792address: Millimani Tom Mboya StHas 35 single and double rooms
New Razbi Guest housephone: +254 721824349address: Kendu LnSingle/double rooms. Hot water bathrooms. Has a TV lounge. Some rooms out side bathrooms.
New East View hotelphone: +254 722556721address: Omolo Agar RdSingle room.
Phaldomar Guest housephone: +254 723053026address: Kenya re RdSingle/double rooms with own bathroom.
Lake Viewphone: +254 721-778287address: Alego streetSingle/double rooms with own hot water bathrooms and nets
New Victoriaphone: +254 57-2021067address: Gar Mahia RoadSingle room with outside bathrooms
Mirukas Lodgephone: +254 727233887address: Apindi StreetSingle/double rooms with hot water bathrooms.
Hacienda Guest Housephone: +254 722965472, +254 721266716address: Migosi, Kenya Re Road, Green View StageA small guest house of 5 rooms. Wall fence with 24 hours security. Very neat and quite.
All public buildings (airport, post office, banks, shopping centers, etc.) are watched by security guards wearing a blue uniform. Private estates are generally guarded as well.
Kisumu police :
- Phone: (20 is the national prefix for police forces)
- +254 20 465767 (provincial headquarters);
- +254 20 333151 (Kisumu division)
Aguch Kisumo Public Information Resource Centerphone: +254 57 2021060, +254 723 201779
Bhavniks Cyberphone: +254 57 23395address: Mega Plaza, ground floor
Noble Service Enterprisesphone: +254 57 2022994, +254 722 370473address: Mega Plaza, ground floor
TelephoneAll cybercafes have phone booths. The rates to phone abroad are very high in Kenya. It is usually cheaper to buy a Kenyan SIM card in a cybercafe or from a phone vendor.
The main cellphone operators are Safaricom, Airtel and telkom . Safaricom has slightly higher prices but has faster Internet.