Kisumu – City on the source of the Nile

Passengers to Kisumu and other destinations take a break at Nakuru for snacks

This article is about Kisumu City in Kenya. Kenya is on the Eas African Coast, with Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan as its northern Neighbours. Uganda is the Western Neighbour withTanzania in the South. The East has the scenic Indian Ocean Coastline with numerous world heritage sites including the island of Lamu island.

Kisumu is Kenya’s third largest city after Nairobi and the port City of Mombasa. It is the second largest in the Lake Victoria basin, after Kampala in Uganda. Kisumu’s origins as a town can be traced to the arrival of the Uganda Railway in 1901 from the port of Mombasa. The train went into service in 1903. The terminus was first called Port Florence, though the locals called it Kisuma. This was later changed to Kisumu. It is likely that the locals met at Kisuma for barter trade long before the arrival of the railway. Ancient pictures show a thriving market in Kisumu. The gulf on which Kisumu (1,131 m, 3,711 ft above sea level), is situated at Winam gulf, which is part of the larger Kavirondo Gulf on Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is the second largest Fresh water lake in the world and the source of the River Nile. The City is the headquarters of Kisumu County which will soon elect a Governor. One can get to Kisumu by road, rail, air and boat, depending on which direction or country one is coming from.

Before commercial jetliners came into service, Kisumu was a landing for the British Flying Boat Passenger and Mail en route from Southampton to Cape Town. The City is surrounded by agriculturally rich neighborhoods where large-scale farming of sugar, and irrigated rice are grown. Ground nuts and cassava are important products for the local community. The climate of Kisumu, as some pictures will show, can support large scale production of coconut but this has not been exploited. Some of the attractions in Kisumu are the Mount Elgon National Park, the Kakamega Forest, the Saiwa Swamp and the scenic Lake Victoria. Other attractions are Dunga point (where fishermen land their catch) and Hippo Point, where one can see hippos and crocodiles.

Kisumu has a Friendship status with the City of Cheltenham, United Kingdom. Though it is commonly referred to as a City, It has never been given a city charter. It also has a Sister City status with Roanoke, Virginia and Boulder, Colorado, both in the United States of America.

Polution of the lake by locals and industry is a major threat to the ecosystems. The water hyacinth weed has also been a menace to fishing for over a decade now. All efforts to get rid of it using biological, mechanical and even human labour have been in vain. The people of Kisumu have learned live with the weed which is a floating mass.

Inside the Municipal Market

Striking architecture on Oginga Odinga Street

high end accomodation

The Imperial viewed from Jomo Kenyatta recreation park. Expect to pay a princely sum.

Oginga Odinga Street

A view down Oginga Odinga Street

Princely accomodation

A colonial style hotel, very similar to the Norfolk in Nairobi. You should have deep pockets to lodge in this one.

The Imperial Hotel on Kenyatta Avenue

Zoppen Mulit-purpose Rfid Blocking Travel Passport Wallet (Ver.4) Trifold Document Organizer Holder, Baby Green

The Kisumu Municipal market has more order than many markets In Nairobi. There is space for the buyers to walk through. In Nairobi markets there is so much competition for space, that buyers wade through produce on the ground. The City planners should plan for many more similar markets as the city is growing.

The building that houses the Maseno University, Kisumu Campus

low budget accomodation

Or you go to a guest house like the Novelty. About $ 11 (sh. 900) for a single and $15 (sh. 1200) dollars for a double, bed and breakfast.

Sausage, egg, toast and hot tea. You can choose to have coffee or milo.

Fruit and Fruit juice at the Novelty

Food and Drink

Breakfast at the Novelty is something to look forward to. There’s cornflakes, fruit and juice followed by tea or coffee with toast, egg and sausage. As if that is not enough, you can add boiled arrow root if you like. It’s always in a hot pot on the table. What’s more, before the egg comes, the chef asks you how you want it done.

Eating out

When in Kisumu, try eating in joints that are frenquented by the locals. Fish and ugali is the favourite. I prefer Chapatti and Beef stew which is harder to find. Do not be surprised if the meal comes without any cutlery. People culturally use their bare hands to dexterously pinch at the fish bit by bit. A chunk of ugali is molded in the hand into a neat ball. A hole is thumbed into the ball and the cavity is used as a vessel for the stew or greens. If you haven’t tried it, you’d better, otherwise just ask for the cutlery and it will be obvious you are a stranger. While you are at it, do not use your left hand to eat!

Visitors from Nairobi will miss Nyama choma joints. Most places have roast chicken beside the fish. Goat meat is very rare. When I found a spot with goat meat I ordered a roasted half kilo without delay. It is a rare commodity unlike in Nairobi.


Make sure you have a bottle of your trusted brand of mineral water at all times. Being a lakeside City, Kisumu is hot and humid. you will dehydrate very fast and some of the brands sold by hawkers cannot be trusted.

Medium budget accomodation

The Palmers Hotel a few meters from the Municiple market. This should be good accommodation at a reasonable price.

Landing fish at Dunga Point

People and fashion

A young man in vibrant colour walks with a girl away from the waterfront

A coconut palm fruit in Kisumu

another burnt out building four years after the post election violence

Jomo Kenyatta Park

Public Transport to Kisumu

There are many transport companies that operate on the Nairobi Kisumu route. Many of the Nissan 13 seater vehicles have the word shuttle or prestige in their names. They charge the least and will take you there in record time – 6 hours. Buses take up to 9 hours but you will feel safer in the bus.

The bus company with the best safety record, besides courtesy is the EASY COACH. They however have not computerised their ticketing which takes too long to write by hand especially during peak travelling periods like Easter and Christmas. One can be in a queue for up to an hour. It will be better to do advance booking two weeks earlier during those periods. Fortunately you can book your tickets in select Uchumi and Nakumatt supermarkets, besides the bus station itself. The bus station is near the railway station, opposite where the American Embassy that was bombed in 1998 stood. A comemoration park was built there after the embassy was demolished and relocated.

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Patagonia Trek: Exploring the Natural Wonders of Patagonia, South America

Setting the Scene

Rugged mountains surrounded by dense forests, magnificent glaciers and cascading waterfalls are just a few of the inspiring natural wonders waiting for avid adventurers to discover in Patagonia.

It’s an incredibly desirable location for passionate hikers wanting to explore the world, and it’s no wonder that Patagonia is considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in South America.

Patagonia is a vast region, located at the southern end of South America. Spanning 1.043 million km² and with an estimated population of just under 2 million residents, Patagonia has been able to maintain it’s famed natural beauty and wonders.

Patagonian Glacier

Beginning the Trek: El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Huemules

Typically, the starting point of any Patagonia trek is the small town of El Calafate. This small, charming town has since developed from its origins as a wool trading shelter, and offers accomodation and museums for visiting tourists.

The Glaciarium museum located in the town gives tourists a scientific insight into Patagonias glaciers, and even features an ice bar. Guests are given a jacket upon entry of the bar and are only allowed to stay and enjoy their drinks for up to 30 minutes, due to its icy temperature!

El Calafate serves a hub for some of Patagonias most famed sights. From El Calafate, the Los Glaciares National Park can be reached. As the parks name suggests, this area is surrounded by frosty azure glaciers and snow-capped mountains.

Within the national park, resides the Perito Moreno Glacier. Trekkers are able to explore the top of the glacier, with private guides available. 1 hour or 3 hour guided treks are available, depending on your fitness level.

Fans of forest hikes will enjoy the Los Huemules Private Reserve. Lush foliage, waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife can be found in this forest. Five walking trails lead you through wild forest sights, with the Fitzroy mountain range serving as a picturesque backdrop for your hike.

Visitors of the private reserve must register before entering, to ensure that they are kept track of and recognised should any emergencies occur while they are exploring. Taking food with you is essential, however the water in the reserve is said to be clean and safe to drink.

Forests in Patagonia

Fitz Roy Mountains and the Cerro Torre

Due to its vertical granite faces and stretches of technical climbing, the Fitz Roy mountain is considered to be one of the most challenging mountains to ascend. It is suggested that any attempt to climb this daunting mountain range should only be considered by incredibly experienced climbers.

Due to the extreme landscape of Patagonia, guided treks make it easier for you to plan your holiday. Travelling in a group also makes it safer, especially for those who don’t enjoy travelling alone. A planned Patagonia Trek allows you to spend 12 days trekking the vast landscape of Patagonia with other keen explorers.

For avid photographers, the Fitz Roy range provides an excellent opportunity to take fantastic shots of the harsh yet remarkable mountains. Surrounding the mountain range are clear icy blue lakes, adding to the awe-inspring landscape.

West of Fitz Roy stands the Cerro Torre mountain. An upright rocky spire reaching 3128 metres in height, the Cerro Torre is also known as the ‘impossible mountain’. Claims from climbers who have reached the top of Cerro Torre have had their credibility widely disputed, with many determining that it is a truly impossible feat.

The Fitz Roy range

Paso del Viento and Lake Toro

Paso del Viento, which translates as ‘windy pass’ is a trek which involves wading through the ice cold Túnel River before reaching the top.

Rocky terrains set the scene for this steady uphill climb. At the top (1550 metres above sea level), trekkers efforts are rewarded with a view of the vast Southern Patagonian Ice Field. This ice field, spanning 16,800km², is the second largest in the world and a sight that is not to be missed.

After descending from Paso del Viento, taking time to relax and set up camp at Lake Toro is a good idea. After resting, head back to El Chalten via ‘Pliegue Tumbado’. This route takes you through marsh, burnt forests and eventually into a lush beech forest.

Impressive lakes can be discovered on Patagonia treks

El Chalten

Cabins in El Chalten provide a warm retreat after a busy adventure. For people who typically buy souveniers for their families, El Chalten is a great opportunity to find something memorable.
Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the local chocolate and ice cream shops that El Chalten has to offer.

Fans of beer can sample local ales in La Cerveceria, a brewery which also serves hot food. A perfect place to visit after a long days trek!

El Chalten Views

Buenos Aires

After catching a flight from El Chalten to El Calafate, Buenos Aires will be your last stop before returning to the UK.

Buenos Aires is considered the Paris of South America, and is home to 13 million residents. After being in the sparse Patagonian wilderness for so long, exploring this city may feel slightly intimidating. However, there are plenty of exciting things to see and do here before getting a flight back home.

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rose-rabbit-lieROSE.RABBIT. LIE.
Through a haze of purplish smoke, a buxom jazz singer in elegant evening dress appears, fluttering eyelashes heavy with falsies as she bursts into the first bars of Alicia Keys’ Fallin’. Strutting from table to table without dropping a note, Skye Dee Miles has the sort of charisma that makes every diner stop, fork in air, and stare. Every aspect of an evening at supper club Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is imbued with theatricality – menus arrive at the table sealed with red wax; chat to one of the pin-striped waiters and you might discover he’s an aspiring actor or stuntman. The décor borrows heavily from the ’20s, but with added incongruities that make it feel weirdly futuristic – over-sized
lightbulbs hang above the bar, and stained glass
windows cast pools of greenish glow.
The food itself is presented with real flair:
tiny caviar tacos (shown) are whimsical and
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a sundae glass is a tongue-in-cheek homage
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the chocolate terrarium, is a consumable
backyard under a domed glass lid – its ice
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and creamy marshmallow fluff sprout real
edible flowers. It’s the culinary finale, but as
Skye returns to the stage and another
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the evening needn’t end anytime soon.
Open Wednesday–Saturday; small plates
from around £10;
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Mains from £9, monthly farm table event
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Once in a lifetime FOGOISLAND INN

fogo-island-innFOGO ISLAND,CANADA

WHAT’S THE OCCASION? An island off the already remote island of Newfoundland, this place takes getting away from it all to the next level, making it perfect for besotted lovers and those in search of an unconventional honeymoon.
This futuristic box on stilts sits in contrast to Fogo’s rugged surroundings, but its design shares the island’s stark beauty, always visible through the floor to-ceiling windows. Any literal or metaphorical coldness is offset by the rooms’ wood burning
stoves, plus quilts and furniture handmade by local craftspeople. ‘Newfie’ hospitality is
deservedly famous, described by Canadian poet EJ Pratt as ‘doors held ajar in storms’.
From £430 (two-night min stay);

WHAT’S THE OCCASION? With 56 cliff-side villas, this is a memorable spot for a
special holiday with friends. Built from teak and thatched with palm leaves, each has
a private pool, and some have spectacular views over Phang Nga Bay.
WHYIS IT SO SPECIAL? Tucked away amid jungle foliage on a small island between Phuket
and Krabi, Six Senses is cast adrift from busy neighbouring resorts. Take a tour by kayak or
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a spa edged with tropical gardens.
From £275;

WHAT’S THE OCCASION? You’ll find a lot of couples here, plotting a proposal or celebrating a
significant birthday, but any excuse will do – a new haircut, a PPI rebate, an extra day gained in a leap
year. Raymond Blanc’s place is England’s finest luxury hotel, and everyone deserves to stay once.
WHY IS IT SO SPECIAL? There’s nothing simply average here: from the moment you stroll down
the lavender-lined path towards the 15th-century manor, all is worthy of a pause and a quiet
gasp. The grounds are a treat, with more formal lawns and gardens nudging against vegetable
beds and greenhouses, from whence much of the produce for your two-Michelin-starred meal
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your every whim before you’ve had a chance to think of it.
From £535;; quote ‘Lonely Planet Traveller’ if booking before end of 2015
to receive a free copy of Raymond Blanc’s book Kew on a Plate


underwater-roomATMANTA RESORT
WHAT’S THE OCCASION? A minor lottery win, perhaps? Though eye-wateringly expensive, you won’t find another hotel suite like it – a private mini-island afloat in the warm
waters of the Indian Ocean, its glass-sided bedroom submerged four metres below the water’s surface.

WHYIS IT SO SPECIAL? By day guests can loll on one of two sundecks with a cool drink in hand, or use a snorkel or kayak to explore the coast off Pemba Island, where the main resort is based. Dinner is delivered by boat at a time of your choosing, then it’s into ‘the blue hole’ to gaze in awe as a subaquatic world begins to reveal itself: shoals of reef fish
shimmering past the spotlights and the occasional octopus sidling up to the windows to bid you goodnight.
From £975 (fully inclusive);

WHAT’S THE OCCASION? If it were possible to pick a place for a spiritual epiphany, this would be it. Within a luxury campsite in Australia’s Red Centre, guests sleep on the very doorstep of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), a sacred site to the Anangu, the local Aboriginal people.
WHY IS IT SO SPECIAL? For those lucky enough to spend a night in one of the 15 white-canopied tents, stirring from your kingsize bed at sunrise to see Uluru bathed in spectral light is a truly unforgettable experience. But the magic doesn’t end there – book in for dinner at Table 131° and you’ll be whisked away to a secret location for a four-course menu served under a night sky bursting with milky stars. From£ 1,130 (fully inclusive, two-night min stay);


California Wine Country: Your Overnight Accommodation Options

Are you interested in visiting California’s wine country? If you are, you may want to make arrangements to make it a vacation. After all, many wineries in the wine country area state that you should spend at least two days in the area. Since you are encouraged to spend as much time touring wine country as possible, you will want to review your overnight accommodation options.

Since Northern California’s wine country area is relatively large in size, you will find a large number of options, in terms of your overnight accommodations. With that being said, you are still encouraged to make your reservations well in advance of your trip. This is particularly true on the weekends. For that reason, you will want to take the time, now, to review all of your options.

Hotels are one of the most popular ways to stay in wine country. They are ideal because most are affordably priced. When renting a hotel room, you get the basics, such as beds, a television, and a bathroom. Although you may find an onsite restaurant, you will typically have to buy or prepare your own meals elsewhere. For those interested in spending every minute of the day outdoors, a hotel room is a nice accommodation.

If you like the convenience that is associated with most traditional hotels, but want something more, youwill want to examine vacation resorts. Vacation resorts come in a number of different formats. In California, they are commonly referred to as spa resorts, as many have onsite spas. What is nice about staying at a vacation resort is that you often gain access to great features, services, and other amenities. For example, you may gain access to an onsite spa, restaurant, laundry service, and so forth. Generally, vacation resorts are more elegant in nature than traditional hotels.

Inns are another one of your overnight accommodation options when visiting California wine country. Inns are defined as lodging that serves both food and drinks to visitors. Typically, you will find that most inns are known for their food and drinks, but they also happen to offer overnight accommodations above the bar or restaurant. For many, inns are a great option when hotels or vacation resorts are filled up with reservations.

Similar to inns, are bed and breakfasts. Bed and breakfasts are overnight accommodations that are popular in wine country. This is because many bed and breakfast establishments are scattered all throughout wine country, making them conveniently located. In fact, many bed and breakfasts are located right on the property of some wineries. One of the many appeals of bed and breakfasts is the small home like feel. The only downside to staying at a bed and breakfast is their popularity, as they are typically small in size.

Vacation rentals are another option that you have when looking to visit California wine country. Vacation rentals are one of your most expensive options, but many recommend vacation rentals. Vacation rentals come in a number of different formats, including homes, cottages, and villas. What draws many tourists to vacation rentals in the wine county area is their privacy. Due to having the ultimate level of privacy with most vacation rentals, like homes and cottages, they are ideal for those traveling to wine country with the purpose of achieving romance.

RV park and public campgrounds are another one of the many options that you have when looking to visit California wine country. RV parks are ideal for motor home owners or renters who must travel a long distance or for those who plan to stay in the area long. Public campgrounds are nice, as they accommodate to both RV owners and traditional tent campers. For many, camping is another fun activity all on its own. Camping is also one of the cheapest ways to stay overnight in California wine country.

As outlined above, you have a number of different options, when looking to travel and stay in wine country. If you are on a budget, you may want to examine all of the above mentioned options and compare the cost of each.

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