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Kisumu is a port city in Western Kenya, the third largest in the country. It is the capital city of the Nyanza province and the headquarters of the Kisumu district. It lies on a bay on the Eastern shore of Lake Victoria.


The city was founded by the British under the name Port Florence in 1901. It was originally 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.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Kisumu has a regional airport.
  • 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.
  • Jambo Jet is s low-cost Airline that has flights from Kisumu to Nairobi. Jambojet has fares for as low as Ksh2950
  • Fly540 also operates direct flights to Nairobi and seasonal flights to Eldoret.

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 2016, a matatu cost about 50 KSH and a taxi cost about 500 to 600 KSH. Some hotels and car rental companies can arrange pickups. Jambojet has a bus to and from Kisumu airport.

By boat[edit]

Several ferries used to link Kisumu with other cities on Lake Victoria. Ferry service on Lake Victoria was marred by a series of grave accidents in the 1990s and 2000s, with several ships sinking, and the service was discontinued. In 2011, EarthWise announced a new, safer service, with one ferry (the MV Amani) operating since October 2012 but no service out of Kisumu as of 2013.

By train[edit]

There use to be A thrice-weekly train, the Port Florence Express, operated by Kenyan Railways to and from Kisumu to Nairobi, but there have been no Trains for some years now and now the train station in Kisumu looks very run down.

By bus & Minivan[edit]

  • Easy Coach: Buses depart from United Mall and Bank Road Behide the KPLC office, the ticket office is also located there. Easy Coach now has 7 trips per day to and from Nairobi and the ticket cost KSH 1400 and takes 8 hours. Easy coach also has two buses a day from Kisumu to Jinja and Kampala which take 5/7 hours. and a ticket cost Ksh1500. one departs at 13.30pm. and one departs at 22.30pm.
  • Modern Coast express Gumbi Road Kisumu bus park. also has buses six times a day to/from Kisumu to Nairobi. a ticket cost from Ksh1000. modern Coast also have three buses a day from Kisumu going to Kampala with a fare of Ksh1600.
  • 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.
  • Pretige Shuttle has 11 seat vans to and from Kisumu to Nairobi via Nakuru from 7am till 5pm. the fare is Ksh 1000 per person. and the trip takes only 6 hours.

By car[edit]

Make sure to have an international driving license. You can obtain one from the Road Transport Office in Nairobi. Traveling by day is recommended as the roads can be unsafe at night. You may encounter police stops.

  • From Nairobi, the distance is about 380km. Take Chimoro Road towards Gitaru, then turn onto A104 (Waiyaki Way) past Naivasha and Nakuru. About 30km 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 kms.
  • from Kisumu to Jinja Uganda is 237 kms.
  • from Kisumu to Nakuru is 197 Kms.
  • from Kisumu to Kisii is 120 kms.
  • from Kisumu to Kitale is 158 kms.
  • from Kisuma to Kericho is 90 kms.

Get around[edit]

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 simply rent a car.


In Kisumu[edit]

  • 1 Kibuye Market. This is the second largest open air market in Kenya, and one of the oldest. It is located on Jomo Kenyatta Highway, north-east of the city center, about 1.5km from the long distance bus stop. The market is active day and night every day.
  • 3 Impala sanctuary (in the south-west, on the lake shore).
  • 4 Town ClockOginga Odinga Rd.
  • Kiboko point (At the south end of the impala sanctuary).

Near Kisumu[edit]

  • The Equator. Kisumu is just 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.
  • 5 Kit Mikayi rocks (29km from Kisumu, near road C27 towards Bondo).


  • Fishing. Kisumu is a very good starting spot for fishing expeditions on the lake.
  • Golf. There is a golf course in the Nyanza Club, near the lake, close to the airport. The club also has a swimming pool and a tennis court.
  • LearnOchieng Ave. The national library has books in English, Swahili and Luo.


Many local crafts can make good souvenirs.

  • 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.
  • Kibuye Market.
  • Kisumu Craft Stalls (in the Kisumu Municipal Market on Nairobi Road). Soapstone objects
  • Kisumu Main Market (Jomo Kenyatta Highway). This market specializes in textile (kikoi, kanga, batik).
  • Pendeza Weaving (on Nairobi Road, 3km from the town center),  0735/229904. Another textile market.

Banks ATMS & shopping[edit]

  • C F C Stanbic bankAngao Rd. Has a no-fee MasterCard ATM.
  • Naivas SupermarketJomo Kenyatta Rd. has the best prices of any of the supermarkets.
  • Uchumi Supermarket (Kisumu west End mall),  0712650578.
  • West End Shopping MallGot Huma Rd. 9AM-8PM.
  • Ecobank United MallJomo Kenyatta highway. 9AM-8PM. Has a Tuskys Supermarket. Ecobank also has an Master card/visa card ATM.
  • Mega City mallNairobi Rd. 9AM-9PM. Has a big Nakumatt.
  • Equity Bank. Has a MasterCard/visa card ATM.
  • I & M Bank. Has a MasterCard/visa card ATM.
  • Kenya Commercial Bank. Has a MasterCard/visa card ATM.
  • Ukwala Choppies Supermarkets. five branches in Kisumu. owned by Choppies supermarkets Botswana.


Aside from the town centre there are a number of places to eat and drink in the evenings in the Kondele region on both Kibos Road and Jomo Kenyatta Highway with guest houses close by to sleep in too.


  • Florence RestaurantJomo Kenyatta Highway +254 57 2022211. Local and international cuisine. One of the best classical restaurants.
  • Lakeside Meeting PointOginga Odinga Rd. Local and international cuisine from fresh produce. Probably the best fast food in the city.
  • Mon AmiMega Plaza on Oginga Odinga Rd. Italian and international cuisine.
  • Hussein Pan HouseAccra St. Indian cuisine.
  • Oriental RestaurantAl-Imran Plaza. Chinese cuisine.
  • Kimwa CafeOgada St. Local cuisine from fresh ingredients.
  • Kisumu Yacht Club (in the Dunga neighborhood, between the impala sanctuary and Kiboko Bay Resort). Local and international cuisine. You need a member card from the club (temporary cards are available).


Aside from the town centre there are a number of places to eat and drink in the evenings in the Kondele region on both Kibos Road and Jomo Kenyatta Highway with guest houses close by to sleep in too.


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 House1 Kibos Rd +254 0 736 531205, e-mail: . Said 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. from Ksh 1,100.
  • Mountain View Resorts (Mamboleo suburbs, 10 minutes' drive from the city centre),  0772511527. Affordable single/double rooms with own bathroom. decent and rather pleasant accommodation. stay 4 days get one day free. from Ksh 1000 per person.
  • [dead link]Sooper Guest HouseOginga Odinga Rd (At the intersection of Oginga Odinga Road with Kendu Lane.). Very 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 cost KES 200 per person. KES 1200/1500.
  • Lakeside GuesthouseKendu Ln opposite lake view hotel short walk from minoki building (Opposite of Lake View Hotel, about 30m from corner with Oginga Odinga Rd.),  +254729553066. Check-out: 10 AM. single/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 KES cost 150 per person, free Wi-Fi in all rooms. 1200/1500 Ksh.
  • Kisumu Backpacker HostelWinam Square 43 Milimani +254-0-704316285. Check-in: 12 noon, check-out: 12 noon. Has a 5 bed Dorm and two double rooms. Ksh 1200/3000.
  • Joy Guest house (3 kms south of town near Hippo points turn off),  +254-720-272037. 1000 Ksh.
  • YWCA hostelAngawa Avenue +254 57-2024788. five dorms with 8 beds per dorm Nov 2015. has to be the most low cost place to stay in Kisumu. dorm bed 450 per person Ksh.
  • Jumuia Guest houseLumumba Rd. Single/double rooms
  • St Anna Guest HouseMillimani Tom Mboya St +254-057-2024792. Has 35 single and double rooms double Ksh 1900.
  • New Razbi Guest houseKendu Ln (next to Sooper Guest house),  0721824349. Single/double rooms. Hot water bathrooms. Has a TV lounge. some rooms out side bathrooms. Ksh 1200..
  • New East View hotelOmolo Agar Rd 0722556721. Single room. Ksh 1200.
  • Phaldomar Guest houseKenya re Rd +254723053026. Single/double rooms with own bathroom. from Ksh 1200/1600.
  • Lake ViewAlego street 0721-778287. single/double rooms with own hot water bathrooms and nets Ksh 1500.
  • New VictoriaGar Mahia Road 057-2021067. single room with outside bathrooms Ksh1100.
  • Mirukas LodgeApindi Street 0727233887. single/double rooms with hot water bathrooms. Ksh 1200.

Stay safe[edit]

Kisumu is less stressful than Nairobi or Mombasa. However pickpockets are common, especially around Kibuye Market. If you are driving, you should lock the car doors.

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 [1]:

  • Phone: (20 is the national prefix for police forces)
  • +254 20 465767 (provincial headquarters);
  • +254 20 333151 (Kisumu division)
  • There are police stations all over the city and policemen are clearly visible. The headquarters are located on Nairobi Road near the long distance bus terminal.




All cybercafes have phone booths. Beware that 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 operators are Safaricom and Kencell [dead link] (also known as Zain Kenya). Safaricom is slightly cheaper but the quality is less good and the network is often overloaded.

Go next[edit]

Jinja Uganda

Mwanza Tanzania


This city travel guide to Kisumu is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.