Nyanza region is made up of 6 counties. They include Siaya County, Kisumu County, Migori County, Kisii County, Nyamira County, and Homa Bay County.
The region is home to many Historical sites, Museums, Monuments, and very intelligent personalities. Below are some of the activities and things to do in Kisumu and the entire Nyanza Region.
Top 10 Things to Do and Places to Visit in Nyanza Region
#1 Got Ramogi Hill and Shrine
Ramogi (The father of the Luo community) settled here after a long journey from Uganda with his people. You can visit these historical hills, climb and have a view of the western rift. It includes lake Kanyaboli and the Yala swamp which is one of the biggest after the Okavango Delta.
At this place, you can have a chance to see a tree which is believed that nobody could cut down. It was named Omwonyo Le meaning an Axe swallower because it used to swallow axes whenever anyone tried to cut them down.
#2 Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Mausoleum
It is located about 60km from Kisumu town. The Mausoleum is the final resting place of the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenya’s first Vice President.
The Jaramogi Mausoleum houses several regalia collected and preserved in his honor as well as displays that include his briefcase, ceremonial hats, and clothes he wore at various stages of his political life.
#3 Tom Mboya Mausoleum
Tom Mboya was a pioneer and leading trade unionist in Kenya. He was also the brainchild of the famous airlifts to the USA – for most of Kenya’s pioneer intellectuals.
The mausoleum located on Rusinga Island is built in the shape of a silver bullet and has a lot of historical significant exhibits. The most popular exhibits include the briefcase he was carrying when he was assassinated, his beloved black flywhisk books, and newspaper cuttings on the struggle for independence. The Mausoleum also has information on the Mboya family and Luo history.
#4 Kisumu Museum
Located in Kisumu town, the museum serves not only as an educational and recreational center for visitors but also as an educational channel. This channel is on the maintenance and sustainability of the biodiversity of Lake Victoria. The lake is the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.
Unique to the Kisumu Museum are its natural history exhibits in the form of a fresh-water aquarium, an outdoor snake park, and tortoise pens. The largest Nile Perch ever caught in Kenya is also preserved and displayed here. A visit to the Museum is not complete without viewing the 300-year-old giant tortoise, imported to Kenya from Seychelles in 1930.
It is a sprawling compels that exhibits small yet comprehensive galleries that focus on displays of the material culture of the peoples of the Western Rift Valley and Nyanza Region. These include traditional smoking pipes water pipes, traditional clothing and adornment, basketry, fishing gear, agricultural tools, and hunting weapons.
Within the museum is a life-size replica of a traditional Luo homestead that offers an excellent explanation of Luo culture and a unique insight into traditional Luo homesteads.
#5 Kit Mikayi Shrine
According to Luo history, these famous rocks are the place where Mikaye (the Mother of the Luo community) sheltered herself after a long journey down the Nile. The locals still believe that Mikaye could be spotted around this place today. These huge stones were naturally made on top of one another leaving a cave that was believed to have been the house of Mikaye. Kit Mikayi is one of the famous rocks in the Nyanza region.
#6 Luanda Magere Site/Grave
It is believed by hunters around this place that if you sharpen a spear on the rock, you could make a kill with it easily. Along the Nyando River, the grave of the great son of Luo is found. Luanda was a Luo warrior and it is believed that he was made of stone, and no one he fought could kill him.
One time war broke out between Luo and Kipsigis tribes, Luanda as his name the rock killed very many people during this war.
After peace negotiating teams brought peace, Luanda was given a woman from the Kipsigis tribe who he married. This woman learned and knew the secret of Luanda’s life (his life was in his shadow). One day when Luanda fell sick, the woman was told by Luanda himself to treat his own shadow. The war broke again and the woman went back to tell her people the secret of Luanda’s life.
On the day he died, he killed so many people before they tried what their daughter had told them. Finally one of the Warriors threw his spear into the shadow of Luanda; he fell down and died instantly after killing the person who killed him. He turned into a stone which is still there today.
#7 Macalder mines
Macalder mines are Located in Migori County. The copper sulfide deposit is located at the western end of the Migori greenstone belt in Kenya. This is at the northern margin of an intensely dislocated metamorphosed Archaean volcanogenic sedimentary sequence known as the Nyanzian system.
It is a copper sulfide deposit interpreted as having a metasomatic origin with hydrothermal solutions interacting with and modifying a banded iron formation. Copper, Zinc, Gold, and Silver have all been sporadically mined from the ore bodies from 1935 to 1966.
#8 Kanam Prehistorical site
Kanam is situated along the shores of Lake Victoria on Homa Peninsular around Homa Mountain. The site was gazetted in August 1933. This was soon after a Louis Leakey expedition in 1932 discovered a fossil human mandible together with Pleistocene fauna and pebble tools in the early Pleistocene Kanam beds at Kanam West.
#9 Songhor Paleontology Site
The 78-acre site situated in Nyando was gazetted in 1982. Dating back to about 19 million years ago, it is a Miocene site that has evidence of a large variety of animals living there. The fossil hominoids collected from this site range from small to bigger apes. With enough evidence that the proconsul Africanus lived at this site, so far eight species of hominoids have been identified.
#10 Thimlich Ohinga
Thimlich Ohinga is an architectural site and national monument, 181 km south of Kisumu in Migori County. It is a site with magnificent stone structures dating back over 500 years ago.
Thimlich Ohinga in the Luo language means a frighteningly dense forest. It is the second-best stone enclosure or stonewalling in Africa. These magnificent stone enclosures sit on a 52-acre area and also contain a variety of medicinal plants.
These incredible structures are the remains of stonewalled cities and the only kind found in East Africa. Since the Luo community arrived probably some three centuries ago, it seems most likely that the Bantus who occupied this region prior to that built the stone structures. Skillfully constructed without cement, the walls are 1.2 to 4.2 meters high and 1 to 3 meters thick. Thimlich Ohinga is a rare early example of defensive architecture that remains unrivaled in East Africa.
Let’s go and explore Kisumu and the Lake region counties. What are your favorite activities and sightseeing in the Nyanza region?
Featured Photo: Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site (Author: Ephraim Mwangi).