Found in the western part of Kenya is Homa Bay County which oozes both beauty and splendour, with so much to behold.
Beautifully sited on the shores of Lake Victoria, this is your go-to place if you are looking to spice up your weekend with a fantastic road trip.
The largest town in the county is Homa Bay town which also doubles up as the county’s capital. The area has a population of roughly 963, 700 people and is inhabited by mainly the Luo and Abasuba, quite an interesting lot of people that you need to interact with if you haven’t already.
Their culture uniquely stands out, and their values are to be adored, even imitated where possible.
If you wish to make your travel more epic, rent out a car and have a road trip as you sightsee along the way, though there is the option of travelling by air via the Homa Bay Airstrip.
Things to do in Homa Bay include nature-related activities and sightseeing. Below is a list of places to visit and the respective activities to engage in.
Ruma National Park
Located about 30 kilometres from Rusinga Island, this is the perfect haven for nature lovers. It is home to hundreds of animal species ranging from lions, antelopes, rhinos, hyenas, giraffes and monkeys.
Game drives and safari tours are offered for guests who wish to make their experience more thrilling. It is also the last remaining sanctuary that is home to the endangered roan antelope, making it one of the top attraction sites in the region.
Bird watching is another activity that you can engage in that is less involving but therapeutic all the same.
Enjoy the beauty of nature by trekking along one of the many nature trails found in the park. Not only is it healthy to exercise, but nature does quite a number on you, including your mental health.
Climax your little tour by taking stunning photos against the backdrop of lush green scenery.
Need to have the ultimate wild experience? Consider camping within the park and fall asleep to the roaring of lions and howling of hyenas, and wake up to the chirping birds and the tranquillity that the park has to offer, which is an unrivalled experience.
Hearing about the lake is one thing, seeing it up close and experiencing it is an entirely different thing, and the beauty found here is one to behold.
Enjoy endless boat rides at an affordable fee that cruises you through the teeming waters as you enjoy the sunshine and cool air.
On a good day, swimming is possible in the waters, though guests are advised to exercise caution due to waterborne diseases.
Fishing is a top activity in the lake and is even a source of food and livelihood for the locals who sell fish to residents and visitors.
Fishing expeditions can be organized for interested guests where the local fishermen teach them how to catch fish.
Take an evening stroll on the shores of the lake to enjoy some quiet time, not to mention the stunning sunset view.
The orange horizon reflecting on the waters is quite a sight you wouldn’t want to miss and be sure to bring along your camera and capture every beautiful moment.
Rusinga Cultural Festival
The Abasuba being staunch holders of their traditions and values, decided in 2012 to annually perform a two-day festival to celebrate their epic culture.
The event is held on the last Thursday and Friday before Christmas. Over time, the event has gained so much popularity that people from all corners of the country come to witness the festival.
The festival includes composed folk songs and dances that will leave you thoroughly entertained even if you won’t understand a thing.
Enjoy sumptuous local delicacies, especially fish which is sourced from the nearby Lake Victoria.
Performances are held where locals showcase different talents, including poems and plays, mostly in their local dialect.
The festival runs till late in the night, and the darkness does not deter anyone; bonfires are lit to ensure the festival carries on.
Don’t be surprised if at the end of the festival you become fluent in Abasuba.
The island is unique in that it has a small stretch of pristine sandy beaches that will instantly elevate your mood. It is easily accessible from Mbita via a boat ride or water buses found within.
The top activity on the island is boat riding, where guests get to cruise the waters of Lake Victoria for the ultimate experience.
Swimming is also highly recommended, where you lose yourself in the thrills of the cool waters. Afterwards, you can sunbathe on the shores while soaking in the sun rays and sipping your favourite sundowner.
You could also try fishing expeditions which can be easily organized, and the locals teach you how to fish; the experience is quite thrilling, especially if you are a fast learner.
If you wish to do something less physically engaging, try bird watching, since the island is constantly flocked by hundreds of different bird species.
A resort is located within, ready to put you up in case you need a place to stay. Enjoy incredible meals, both local and international cuisines made by the best hands.
The best way to climax your day on the island is by taking a stroll at dusk. You will be rewarded by the epic sunset views that will have you feeling all pumped up.
Mfangano Island Camp
This is the perfect getaway if you are looking for a romantic kind of vibe with your loved one, or simply a place to lose yourself in the beauty of nature.
With stunning views of Lake Victoria, enjoy unlimited cruises along the lake with boat rides. Bird watching will have you feeling therapeutic, with the rare bird species that inhabit the island.
Take a walk along the shores of Lake Victoria to wind down and loosen your thoughts a little. Fishing activities also take place on the island, and what’s more, you can have the fish specially cooked to suit your taste.
Nature trails for you to take walks are also found within the island, making your experience all round.
Wind up your day by watching the golden sun go down on the distant horizon, all while listening to your favourite artist, the view will blow your mind.
Tom Mboya Mausoleum
Located in a village called Kasawanga, a few kilometres from Mbita town is this facility. Named after Tom Mboya, one of the people at the forefront of fighting for the country’s independence.
The mausoleum was erected after his assassination in 1969 in honour towards the works he did. Being one of the few literate people at the time, he made sure to carry out negotiations with the British government on behalf of his people.
He also helped form political groups and rallied people to fight for independence. The mausoleum has his personal belongings like pictures and some of the status reminders he collected on his political tours.
The facility is open daily at 9.00 in the morning and closes at six in the evening. It is run by a keeper who also happens to be his nephew, who will give you a detailed history about his life, career and death.
Simbi Nyaima and Mawanga Rock Art
Simbi Nyaima is a volcanic crater lake that was formed after the eruption process. The lake is ideal for sightseeing activities.
Flamingoes constantly dominate the lake, forming a beautiful pink carpet that will leave you awed. The locals hold on to the superstition that the water carries some medicinal value, and even use it to treat common illnesses.
The lake is also used by the locals for domestic purposes such as doing laundry.
The Mawanga rock art centre is a scenic artistic site that bears evidence of the early existence of man. The rocks bear symbols drawn back then by hunters and gatherers on their economic activities.
The symbols include initiation signs and weather patterns. It is the biggest centre of attraction in the whole Lake Victoria region.
Hotel Hippo Buck
The best way to spice up a trip is by putting up at a good hotel with top-tier services. The Hippo Buck hotel gives you value for money with its exemplary services and hospitality.
It is located about a kilometre from Homa Bay town and is your go-to place if you are looking for luxury and pomp.
They have a children’s playground that is fully equipped, ready to burn off your child’s energy. Services are 24/7 in case you have one of those late-night emergencies.
Enjoy unlimited delicacies of your choice at the on-site restaurant, and wash it down with your favourite drink at the bar found within.
Private parking facilities are available free of charge, and the security is tight, so all you need to do is relax and enjoy your time.
If you still hunger for more things to do in the Western region of Kenya, hop on guides on things to do in Kakamega and Busia, and if you are adventurous consider making a trip to the North Eastern parts of Kenya and explore Garissa.