Kisumu is a lake-port city in western Kenya at 3,710 ft. (1,131 meters), with a population over 700,000. It is the 3rd largest and the primary city of western Kenya, capital of Nyanza Province and headquarters of Kisumu District.
It’s on the Gulf of Nyanza and is the 2nd most important city after Kampala, Uganda, in the greater Lake Victoria basin. From Mombasa on the coast through Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, Kisumu is a lake-port terminus for railroad, bus and highway transport. A growing western Kenya tourism industry revolves largely around Kisumu, Lake Victoria and the wildlife that calls the area home.
Among the places to visit include a Landrover trip to the Maasi Mara game preserve where you can see lions, elephants, zebras, wildebeest, monkeys, baboons, giraffes and much more wild-life grazing and roaming in natural habitat. Local markets are available with African wood and soapstone cravings, woven baskets, crafts, clothing and jewelry — all camera-ready!
Situated at the equator but with an elevation which provides mild temperatures, Kisumu is the site of modern hotels, restaurants, commerce, education and banks.
English is the official language of Kenya, spoken with British accent and musical lilt. Many people are trilingual. They are also fluent in the national language, Swahili, and a tribal tongue. Luo is 2nd largest. Kisumu people are 90% Luo. Kisumu is pronounced “kee-SU mu.” Visitors and friends are greeted with “JAM-bo” (Hello), or national motto, “Ha-RAM-bee.” ( “Let’s pull together.”)
Kisumu has been named the first Millennium City in Africa by the United Nations. It places the city in the forefront of diplomatic and economic reforms to become a ‘model’ aimed at bettering life in Central and Eastern Africa. Roanoke supports tech. programs, scholarships, orphanage and HIV/AIDS care. Roanoke Sister City Committee has an ongoing relationship with Agape Children’s Ministry, Salem Orphanage, New Life Babies Trust, and Kisumu Hospice. There are initiatives to provide water wells in rural areas for better quality of life for those living in Kisumu & surrounding areas. “Harambee.”
[Kogelo, a suburb of Kisumu, is home to President Barack H. Obama’s paternal roots.]