Western Kenya - an overlooked pearl

Nandi hills in western kenya
Students walking home after school in the green and lush Nandi hills just outside Kisumu

For good reasons the majority of tourists to Kenya seek the ultimate wildlife safari experience and head off to some of the exquisite Kenyan National Parks like Samburu, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara – rounded up by a week at the coast for relaxation. Yet the Western parts of Kenya have such an abundance of amazing sites to visit, that it will probably just be a matter of time before this region will be discovered by more visitors.

Kenyas Western region somehow has more of a resemblance with Uganda than the rest of kenya – its fertility allowing the majority of the Kenyan population to make a living here. This is why Western Kenya is also a great place to experience and learn more about African culture and there are quite few tourists in this part of the country giving a feel of being among the lucky ones to discover this overlooked Pearl of Kenya that maybe geographically has less resemblance with the rest of Kenya than with Uganda – a country that is often described as the Pearl of Africa.

As an example of this, Mbasha Islands in lake Victoria – two small rocky islands with an amazing bird life, are not even described in any tourist guides to Kenya and nearby Takawiri Island looks like a lost bounty isle with its white beaches and coconut palms. Setting out in a small boat from Mbita to explore this remote part of Lake Victoria is a real adventure and here you will discover the rural Africa.

Cormorants at Mbasha Islands in lake Victoria
Cormorants at Mbasha Islands in lake Victoria

Kit Mikaye in western kenya
Kit Mikaye - huge rocks that are a historic holy place for the Luo tribe in western Kenya

Great attractions in Western kenya other than Lake Victoria and its myriad of exotc islands like the newly established Ndere Island National Park, Rusinga, Mfangano, Takawiri and Mbasha Islands would be Kakamega Forest, Mount Elgon, Lambwe Valley National Park and Saiwa Swamp as well of access to roads leading to both Lake Turkana to the North, Masai Mara to the south and Uganda to the West.

Kit Mikaye stands as a truly spectacular Landmark with its three or more gigantic rocks stabled onto eachother reaching the equivalent of three stories in height. The delicate formation of the rocks have naturally generated much thought and curiosity about the meaning of it and it has been a holy place for worshipping by the Luos for centuries.

Despite Western kenya being the most populated part of the country, there are still lots of wildlife to be seen here and it is quite fascinating to experience large mammals like hippos living in the vicinity of eg. Kisumu – the third largest town in Kenya.