Western Kenya Safaris

Western Kenya – The least-visited Western Kenya is home to rolling tea plantations, lush swamps, and equatorial forests, along with Kenya’s second-highest mountain and the largest lake in Africa.

However, the ultimate highlight is the Masai Mara a natural continuation of the famous Serengeti Plains undulating grassland, dramatic escarpments, beautiful acacia forests – and the greatest wildlife show on earth.

Scaling up the heights of Mount Elgon sampling Nile Perch big fishing opportunities, birding the remote islands, or just basking lazily on the mainland beaches of Lake Victoria are among the so many leisure activities to undertake while in Western Kenya.

With some of the most breath-taking sunrises and sunsets, Western Kenya remains to be one of the best locations in Kenya to see some of Kenya’s most sought-after bird species in its forests, swamps, lakes, and rivers, and even in the scattered hills with its neighboring countries. Beyond flora and fauna, it’s in Western Kenya where the 44th former US president, Barack Obama has his roots in the village of Alego, Kogelo. Well known to be among the most welcoming communities, the culture here isn’t something to be missed. Welcome to Western Kenya!

Western Kenya is a world of wonders. From its lush green highlands, rolling tea plantations, vast swamps, Kenya’s second-highest peak on Mount Elgon, and the equatorial rainforests, along with the largest lake in Africa – Lake Victoria. Western Kenya positions itself as an alternative gateway to the world’s most popular nature sanctuary, the Masai Mara Game Reserve, where annually the most spectacular show on earth takes place. These features make the region a premier ecotourism destination.

Other than these star attractions, the region has a wealth of cultural and historical attractions. The massive sacred stones of Kit Mikayi, Thimlich Ohinga, a 14th-century complex – a recent addition to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Mausoleum, The Obama’s Grandparents Home in Siaya, and the Tom Mboya Mausoleum on Rusinga Island are some of the remarkable historical features that stand out in the region that are worth visiting.

Kakamega is also home to one of the most exciting and popular cultural events – the famous bullfighting. A leisurely to Kakamega Forest is a sure way of appreciating the beauty of this equatorial rain forest for the best hiking and bird-watching experiences.

Why visit Western Kenya

  1. Lake Victoria – The second-largest freshwater lake on Earth after North America’s Lake Superior. Kenya claims a mere 6% of the lake as its own, but that’s still a generous area to sample island-style Africa and get to know the friendly Luo people – Kenya’s second-largest tribal group who settled these shores several centuries ago, substituting raising cows for fishing. From all along the shores of Lake Victoria and its islands, fishermen set sail in mahogany dhows and canoes — or, increasingly, their motorized boats — to cast their nets for much-sought-after, shark-sized Nile perch.
  2. Dunga Beach – This is one of many places on the lake where you can see the Luo fleets of traditional fishing dhows, whose white lateen sails, set against a deep blue background, appear to be out of the romantic myths of the Sinbad coast. And there is, in fact, a connection to the coast, dating back to the time when the Arab slavers were marauding around Victoria, building boats for the lake in the same style as their dhows on the ocean.
  3. Masai Mara National Reserve – Spanning over 1,510 sq km and hugging the Tanzania border, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the most famous protected areas in Africa, and it indisputably ranks among the continent’s top five premier wildlife-viewing destinations. From the western Kenya, it’s possible to combine your safari with Masai Mara and even beyond.
  4. Mount Elgon National Park – Northwest of Kitale, Mount Elgondominates the horizon, at least on the rare occasions when it is not shrouded in clouds. Elgon is around 880 meters short of Mount Kenya in terms of altitude, but the circumference of its base makes it a bigger massif. The upper slopes of this extinct volcano support a cover of lush montane forest giving way to moorland at higher altitudes, and are protected withinMount Elgon National Park, one of the country’s least visited sanctuaries. The dense tall forest and a lack of roads inhibit game viewing on the mountain, but it is possible to hike up to the summit, across moorlands of giant heather.
  5. Saiwa Swamp National Park – About 30km northeast of Kitale, town lies the park that is half submerged permanently in the swamp. Saiwa is Kenya’s smallest, at only 300 hectares and was established in 1974 to protect the semi-aquatic Sitatunga antelope, notable for its wide-splayed hooves, which allow it to walk on the soggy surface of the swamp. Though it is not teeming with big game like other parks and conservancies in Kenya, Saiwa is also home to several other forest and swamp dwellers. These include the De Brazza’s monkey, which like the sitatunga has a very limited distribution in East Africa, along with the African Clawless Otter, Giant Forest Squirrel, Black-and-white Colobus, Bushbuck and Grey Duiker.
  6. Kakamega Forest Reserve – Not far from the town is the Kakamega Forest, a jungle-like centre of significant ecological interest since it is a relic of the equatorial rainforest which once spread from West Africa to the East Africa’s coast. Though it lies somewhat off the main tourist trail, Kakamega is becoming increasingly a popular destination for butterfly lovers, birdwatchers and other specialists looking for species of special interests, normally associated with central and west Africa.
  7. Kendu Bay & Lake Simbi – Kendu Bay boasts two other diverting attractions. The first is a handsome and surprisingly large Tawakal Mosque, set along the road between the town center and the jetty. The other, about 2 km south of town, is Simbi Nyaima, a green crater lake whose shallows occasionally support large numbers of Lesser Flamingos. Simbi Nyaima means “Village That Sank”, an allusion to the Luo legend that the lake was created when a fearful storm engulfed what was formerly a village, to punish its inhabitants for refusing to help an old woman who had arrived there looking for food and shelter.
  8. Rusinga & Mfangano Islands – If you want the somewhat limited challenge of tackling one of Lake Victoria’s giant Nile perches, the place to stay is Rusinga Island or the furthest Mfangano Island. The introduction of these huge fish into the lake in the 1950s has been controversial. In the 1980s there was an explosion in their numbers and, as a result, many indigenous species of fish have since disappeared, particularly the small cichlids.
  9. Alego Kogelo, The Obama’s Home – If you want the somewhat limited challenge of tackling one of Lake Victoria’s giant Nile perches, the place to stay is Rusinga Island or the furthest Mfangano Island. The introduction of these huge fish into the lake in the 1950s has been controversial. In the 1980s there was an explosion in their numbers and, as a result, many indigenous species of fish have since disappeared, particularly the small cichlids.
  10. Ruma National Park – Is mosaic of landscapes, ranging from riverine woodland and rolling savannah to magnificent escarpments and towering cliffs, Ruma National Park promises undiscovered wildlife treasures and undisturbed peace.  It is also Kenya’s last remaining sanctuary for the endangered Roan Antelope. Ruma lies on the flat floor of the seasonally watered Lambwe River valley bordered by the Kanyamwa Escarpment to the South-East, and by the volcanic plugs of the Ruri Hills to the north. Ruma’s birdlife is exceptional. The park is also the only protected area in Kenya where the globally threatened blue swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, is regularly recorded. Blue swallows, which depend upon moist grassland for both feeding and roosting, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in Southern Tanzania around April and depart again in September.
  11. Aderema Hills – Aderema Hills stands majestically between Kenya’s last frontier, the acacia plains, the fertile dusty woodlands of the Iteso land, and the serenity of the Malaba River. With our ecotourism initiative, we have spent a good part of our lives working closely with the Iteso, and don’t forget the Oluokos are Nilotes too and this makes us be proudly associated with our Iteso community, the birds, wildlife, and land surrounding our nature-loving family.
  12. Bungoma – Characterized by several Luhya sub clans, Bungoma is the one of the best counties of Kenya to explore if you get a chance to visit Kenya. For those who are keen to learn about culture, Bungoma is the epicenter of cultural tourism. The county is full of traditions and customs that are strongly attached to the host communities. Bungoma is home to a number of interesting points that can be visited within a day or two. The attraction sites come along with very informative folklore and myths that are narrated by the resident community guides.

Western Kenya - Included Tourism Highlights

Warm and ever-smiling tribes, tantalizing sunups and mind-blowing sundowns, charming cultural experiences, vibrancy in landscapes, unusual and rare wildlife, fantastic inland beaches one extensive the lakeshores and Kenya’s only rainforests is the best definition to the fascinating Western Kenya Tourist Circuit.

The slow-paced way of life, swaying trees in the virgin forests, the breezy winds, cheeping of birds winding on the landscapes down to the waves of splashing, calm waters on the lakeshores is indeed the gem of Western Kenya.

But there’s much more to western Kenya than these plains of herbivores and carnivores. The dense forests of Kakamega are buzzing with weird and wonderful creatures, the rain-soaked hills of Kericho and their verdant tea gardens bring new meaning to the word ‘green’, and amid the boat-speckled waters of Lake Victoria lies a smattering of seldom-visited islands crying out for exploration.

Western Kenya is an area of great geographic, cultural and natural diversity, offering tourists just as much, if not more, than many of Kenya’s better known tourist areas.

Most travelers dream of finding a new and unknown destination, somewhere far from the beaten tourist path, where the thrill of real discovery and exploration reward the visitor with new and unexpected experiences, sights and sounds. Kenya’s western region offers the above mentioned, and much more.

Comprising 11 counties, namely Kisumu, Siaya, Homabay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Trans-Nzoia western Kenya has so much more on to see and do. The  region’s flourishing physical features range from lakes, forested areas, mountains, hills, waterfalls and a chain of rivers. From Kenya’s second highest peak of Mount Elgon to the lowland basin of Lake Victoria. The main occupation agriculture and this is interspersed with various tourist attractions. The climate is hot and tropical humid with abundance of sunlight and availability of rainfall throughout the year. Kenya’s Western Tourist Circuit is among the most accessible with an international airport, airstrips and good roads that link the region not only with rest of the country but also with Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.

For many would be travelers, the precious reason to visit western Kenya is summed up in two very popular words: Masai Mara. Without any arguments, few places on earth support such high concentrations of wildlife, and the Mara’s wildebeest-dotted savannahs, where drama unfolds on a daily basis both on the ground and in air, are undeniably the region’s magnetic attraction. While in Kenya, don’t miss to explore western Kenya tourist attractions with Oluokos Signature.

Explore the Western Kenya Safari Options

8 Days Western Kenya Safari

Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Kakamega, Kenya

Masai Mara and Lake Victoria Safari 26 days

Kisumu, Kenya

5 Days Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Kenya


6 Days Masai Mara and Lake Victoria Safari

Kisumu, Kenya

The Western Kenya Map

Western Kenya Trip Ideas

Western Kenya Culture

Destination Spotlight: Western Kenya

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Western Kenya Trip Ideas
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