Virgin TouristsTreasure in Kenya; Western Kenya

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By James Asudi, CEO, Victoria Safaris Kenya tourism is associated with the wildlife in the Maasai Mara, Tsavo, Amboseli, Samburu, Mount Kenya region and Malindi and Mombasa. The former are known for their superb game parks and reserves, the latter for their fine beaches and hotels. It is a wonder that there some tourist destinations in the country which are considered virgin tourist treasures which are unexplored which can offer a lot to the keen tourist; The New Western Tourist Circuit. The New Western Kenya Tourist Circuit Victoria Safaris is keen to promote the western Kenya tourist circuit which covers the Lake Victoria basin which includes the entire tourism activities inside and around Lake Victoria gulf in Kenya. Kenya boasts 10% of the great Lake Victoria in East Africa, but within the 10% portion of Lake Victoria, many tourists activities are unexplored within this region. As 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 them with new and unexpected experiences, sights and sounds, western Kenya, Lake Victoria region is the place for them. Western Kenya is an area of great geographical, agricultural, cultural and natural diversity, offering the tourists just as much, if not more, than many of Kenya's better known tourist destinations. The Kenya Tourism Board is in the event of promoting this region both locally and internationally. It is not a wonder that most Kenyan populace have never seen Lake Victoria. This beautiful region is virgin, an undiscovered world of wonders, with huge contrasts. Endlessly diverse, Western Kenya has lush green highlands, the tropical rain forest of Kakamega, the great water expanse of Lake Victoria, which is the source of the Nile, and much more for it is a vast area. The Western Kenya Local Traditional Markets Tourism Western Kenya has the best local traditional community markets which are staged on a daily basis in every village for the local peasants and traders to sell their wares. These markets are different from the western style of markets. as such, the demand for market tourism in Western Kenya is growing on a daily basis. Ng'iya market is famous for those visiting Kogelo village on a Tuesday. Tourists are treated to a market tour of Ng'iya market which is staged on every Tuesday of the week. You will see thevestock section, the Vegetable and the chicken section of Ng'iya market not to mention the general commodity market activities. Very fascinating. Other Markets include; Akala Market on Saturdays, Kibuye Market on every Sundays, Lubao Market on every Thursdays, Yala Market on every Saturdays, and many others on diverse days. Kogelo, The African Home of the Famous USA President, Barack Obama Located in Alego in Siaya County, Kogelo is today a famous touristic village since the election of the 44th First African President of the USA. Many visitors flock at the famous Kogelo Village to witness the birth place of the father of the American president who happens to be a Luo by tribe. Mama Sarah Obama has become famous as the grandmother of President Barack Obama and now she has involved herself as a celebrity of the Universities in Kenya due to her communal activities such as the Sarah Obama children Foundation for the orphaned children. She has since earned two honorary degrees from Tich and Moi Universities in Kenya. Today, Kogelo has several infrastructures such as the Hotels, Electricity, Tarmacked road and clean pipied water for the villagers, not to mention a new police station. The Equatorne at Maseno The Equatorne spot at Maseno, located few meters from the main gate of the Maseno University, The Equatorne spot is quite touristic today with many tourists stopping for photography, though not developed as the Equatorne spot at Nanyuki in Central province. Not known so much by the locals as a touristic site, Maseno Equatorne spot is yet to be touristically developed as a tourist attraction centre by Victoria Safaris. Agritourism and Aquaculture Tourism Activities Dominion Farm Based in Luo Nyanza in Siaya County at the Delta of River Yala at Yala swamp, it is an upcoming Agri /Agro tourism center. It is a modern Farm built by the Americans using American Agricultural Technology. Famous for Aquaculture Tourism in Kenya and the Bob Greene Weir on river Yala and Pro poor- poverty eradication tourism in Western Kenya Tea Farms of Kericho The first stop from Nairobi is Kericho. This town is at the heart of the tea-growing zone of the Rift Valley. Here you find the lush green carpet of tea bushes which isterally a gold nugget as tea remains one of Kenya's biggest foreign exchange earners. This region produces one of the world's finest quality teas. Agritourism and Agrotourism is becoming popular, and Kericho has grown into a reasonably big rural town. Kericho is the perfect base to launch a tour of the tea plantations. There are also horticultural farms producing cut flowers. A tour of the Finlay company flower farm will make even the ordinarily dull person appreciate the smell and beauty - and even value - of flowers. The company exports more than 90 per cent of the flowers it grows. Luo cultural Folklore Kit Mikaye There are many spectacular rock formations which abound with myths and mythologies in western tourist circuit. The massive columns of Kit Mikaye in Seme are towers of boulders piled together into gravity defying columns. According to legend, this was once the homestead of a powerful man who used to abuse and mistreated his first wife. The woman returned to haunt him after her death, eventually turning him and his property into stones. The stones have been a source of solace for the Luo people for a long time. They believe that if any man with a problem visits the stones, his problems will be solved and his wishes answered, so long as elders sacrifice a goat at the site. In the past, only men were allowed near the rocks, but visitors are these days welcome. The site is managed by the Kit Mikaye Rock Development group which plans to construct a Banda where visitors can get refreshments and accommodation. To day, religious groups visit the rocks hoping that their prayers will be answered. Got Ramogi The Luo believe their people were born in a sacred forest hill known as Got Ramogi in Yimbo. This area of Bondo has beaches and unique plants. At Kang'o ka Jaramogi, there is a museum built in honor of the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. His mausoleum is at this site. The tomb of his first wife is part of the museum in which various traditional items are displayed. Lake Victoria and its Touristic Islands Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, is a sight to behold. It has sandy beaches and is dotted with about many small islands. The lake is an endless expanse of blue, stretching as far as the eye can see and beyond into Tanzania and Uganda. The islands are also tourist sites, each with unique features; Ndere Island National Park Ndere Island Game Park is a gazetted National Park inside Lake Victoria. Antelopes and crocodiles are in plenty. This Island is 10 minutes on boat from Kaloka beach. Rusinga Island Rusinga Island, which is accessible by road, is the burial site of political genius Tom Mboya. At the site is the politician's mausoleum. There is also the Mary Leakey archeological site. Although the site is not developed, plans are under way to return the excavated fossil and construct a proper archeological site. The Rusinga Island Club is built right on the beach and can accommodate 18 visitors. It offers lots of activities including, fishing, sport fishing, sight seeing and water skiing. Mfangano Island The Mfangano camp is situated on the un-spoilt island of that name in Lake Victoria and occupies an entire secluded bay on the island's western shores. A boat ride across the lake brings one to Mfangano Island. This is basically a fishing village, on it is where the Governor's Camp, an exclusive club with six cottages and a capacity of 12 guests, is built. The 6 rooms all have stunning views of the lake and offer complete privacy, en suite bathrooms with bath and shower, basin and flush toilet, as well as hot and cold running water. Decorated in ethnic style, all rooms have four-poster beds and private verandas, which give them a special charm. Each room is open to the lake and offers uninterrupted views and spectacular sunsets. Visits to Mfangano Island on Lake Victoria provide a unique opportunity to see the colorfulfe on the lake, where enchanting Luo fishing villages have not changed in centuries, the birdfe is unsurpassed and seeing the families of otters is an added bonus. Mfangano Island Camp is a perfect place for nature lovers, and is particularly recommended as a relaxing retreat for honeymooners. Takawiri Island Takawiri Island is a sandy beach,kes of Mombasa beaches inside Lake Victoria. It can be reached by road from Kisumu via Homabay to Mbita and by ferry from Luanda K'otieno beach-45 minutes ride on the lake ferry. It has cottages which can accommodate 16 people sharing a double room. It is famous in fishing activities and the amazing sunset on Lake Victoria. You can also enjoy walks through lush vegetation on top of the hills or along the lakeshore. For those interested in culture, there is the possibility to visit a Luo family and experience their day-to-dayfe or the school in the next village. Mbasa and Mholo Islands The Mbasa and Mholo islands are a few meters apart. Both are famous for abundance of birdfe. Uninhabited by man, the islands have many bird species including Egrets and the Fish Eagle. There are also many monitorzards, which feed on eggs and birds. One of the islands is inhabited by wild goats and sheep. Visiting these islands at the end of the day is an incredible experience. Thousands of birds fill the air,terally carpeting both islands infe as they descend to roost among the rocks and trees. With the last rays of the sun turning the waters of the Lake to gold, this is one of Kenya's greatest natural spectacles. Boat Rowing contests in Lake Victoria This is an exiting tourist sports adventure which is conducted throughout the years along the fishing beaches on Lake Victoria. It is used mainly for creating awareness of an epidemic and as a sports event during festivities. Ruma National Park Ruma National Park, home to the rare Roan Antelope, Jackson hartebeest and the tiny Oribi antelope is located near Mbita at Lambwe valley. Thisttle visited park comprises 120 square kilometers of Savannah and gently rolling hills. This is the last refuge of the very Roan antelope, with the world's last remaining wild population found within the boundaries of the park. The Roan is easy to see on the wide open grasslands, grazing freely among stands of whistling thorn acacia. Ruma is also home to several other rare species, chiefly the Rothschild Giraffe, Jackson's Hartebeest and the tiny Oribi antelope. Saika Swamp National Park and Lake Kanyaboli National parks These are known for their elusive and endangered Sitatunga Antelope. Lake Kanyaboli is the recently Sitatunga antelope sited lake and is famous for wildlife boating game drive adventure. The Mount Elgon National park and Mt. Elgon Hiking adventure Mount Elgon National park is famous for its elephant caves, vegetation and wildlife though not visited much by tourists. Hiking Mount Elgon from Kenya side is adventures and very educative. It is preferred as a team building corporate adventure for many companies and organizations in western Kenya. The Kisii/ Gusii Community Folklore From the heat of Ruma, you move on to a relatively cool area of the beautiful Western Highlands; Kisii land. First stop is at Tabaka near Kisii, home to Kenya's finest stone carvers. The Kisii / Gusii community are renowned for their artistic skill with the local soapstone. They have a long tradition of carving ornate decorative art and jewelry, together with functional items such as plates and bowls. The stone is found in a series of large open quarries throughout the Gucha area, which have also proved equally rich in uncovered fossil evidence and prehistoric artifacts. Cooperative workshops have been formed to produce work for the international market. Kisii stone is sold worldwide, and several works by Tabaka artists have found a place in major international art collections. Tabaka soapstone graces the UN HQ in New York, and the UNESCO HQ in Paris, in the form of a massive 7- ton bird of peace or Enyamuchera. The success of this industry shows in the town of Tabaka, where every household seems to be busily engaged in carving, polishing, washing and packaging stoneware. This very success has meant the preservation of a very important cultural tradition. A visit here is an excellent opportunity to experience this rich culture and to purchase some beautiful handcrafted works of art. Luhya Community Folklore The main road from Kisumu leads to Kakamega Town, the heart of the land of the Luhya community. The Luhya have a diverse culture. There are many clans and sub-clans, each with varying customs and traditions. The Luhya community is known for the vibrant traditional dance known as the Isikuti. The dance is performed by groups of paired men and women to the accompaniment of bells and whistles. Bull fighting of Kakamega Among the Luhya, the most important traditional sporting event is bull fighting. Two large bulls are brought into a large open field to fight. The bulls are spurred on by an excited throng of onlookers, blowing traditional horns. Bull fights are held throughout the year and are fast becoming a commercial venture, with the champion bull's owner winning money. Recently we visited the small village of Sigalagala, near Kakamega, where we attended a spectacular traditional bullfight. Such events are an important event for the local Luhya community, these are pitched battles between two bulls each one representing an individual village. Thronged by excited supporters, the bulls lock horns and fight until one bull turns and runs. The winning bull is led around the field in a victory lap, accompanied by a chanting, jubilant crowd. This impressive spectacle represents a significant culturalnk between traditional African cattle culture and the art of bullfighting as practiced throughout Southern Europe. The Cock fighting of Butsotso, at Lurambi This is a new cultural phenomenon whereby villagers take their well bread cocks for a fight at Butsotso Market in Lurambi. The cocks are cheered just as the bulls are during a fight. The owner of the winning cock takes away a price. The winning cock can also be sold at a higher price because of its status. The tourists enjoy this new tourist attraction found only in western Kenya, Lurambi. The Dog Market in Lubao in Western kenya Lubao market situated along the Kakamega - Webuye road is regarded as one of the largest dog market in the whole of East and Central Africa, the largest in Africa and maybe, the oldest in the world. The Dog Market days are on Thursdays. On a typical Thursday market day, there are over 100 dogs ready to be sold starting as early as 6.00am and by 10:00am, there are barely any dogs seen at the market. This is a touristic attraction which victoriasafaris participates in. Weeping Stone Not far from Kakamega Town is the weeping Stone of Maragoli. This huge rock produces a constant stream of spring water, which flows on the sides, giving rise to many and varied local legends. Kakamega Forest The only rain forest in Kenya - is a feast for the senses, a vibrantving spectacle of animal and plantfe. The forest, which covers 240 square kilometers, has more than 380 different plants and is home to 400 species of butterflies, some unique and only found in the forest. The forest teems with birdfe. There are gray parrots, blue turacos, hornbills and plenty of forest raptors. Reptiles also abound in this forest with 27 different species of snakes identified so far. Seven species of primates, including colobus and Sykes monkeysve in this forest. The forest is also home to Mama Mutere a tree scientifically known as Mysopsis Eminee. It is claimed to be the oldest tree in the forest and its seedlings have been exported to many countries. The tree has medicinal value - its bark is said to cure stomach pains and prostrate cancer. This tree type produces highly valued timber and is, sadly, an endangered species. Local guides explain the great ecological significance of the reserve. Kakamega is a remnant forest, oncenked to the great Equatorial forests of the Congo, and is home to a number of unique and endangered species. You will meet with representatives of KEEP (Kakamega Environmental Education Programme) a community group working with local children to ensure that the forest and its resources are protected and preserved for the future. They also provide guiding services to local guesthouses and have constructed accommodation facilities for backpackers within the grounds of the forest station. The Western Kenya Highlands sports Tourism Sports tourism is becoming increasingly popular around the world, and Kenya's Western Highlands are the home to some of the world's finest sportsmen. In the days preceding the Western Kenya launch, Kenyan runners had dominated the international athletic scene, taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th place for men and 1st and 2nd for women in the Boston Marathon. The secret of this successes in these hills. The average altitude in this area is well over 2000m, and these rarified conditions are ideal training conditions for runners. Two local schools, St. Patrick's at Iten and Sing'ore Girls near Eldoret have produced most of Kenya's Olympic Superstars. Altitude training can assist with development of both endurance levels and technique. Five separate highly specialized training camps for athletes have been established in the Iten and Kabarnet area, for both local and International athletes. These are ideal for athletes looking to gain a high altitude advantage. Kerio Valley Kerio Valley is a natural tourist attraction of its own kind. Viewing of the valley is amazing as to how nature has its own making. At the edge of the vast Kerio Valley, you take in some of Kenya's most incredible views, descending the valley wall to the floor of the rift valley; you pass beautiful Torok Falls, the deep chasm at Chebloch Gorge, and the plains ofttle explored Rimoi reserve, an important area for elephant migration. The tour ends high in the Tugen Hills at Kipsaraman, where one of Kenya's first community museums has been opened. The museum houses exhibits on biodiversity and conservation, as well as important local human fossil finds and a fascinating exhibit on the possible prehistoric origins of a local mythological creature, the Chemosit, or Nandi Bear. Even more impressive than the museum is its location. Perched on a the edge of a precipitous drop, the view from Kipsaraman is an incredible panoramic vista of the Rift valley and distant Lake Baringo that quiteterally takes the breath away. With this view as a backdrop, visitors to this area were welcomed with an impressive display of traditional dance and song by the local communities. Community Involvement In every single area that you visit, you will find local communities deeply involved and passionately committed to the promotion of their local attractions. This deep sense of community pride and the warmth of the welcome extended to visitors bode well for the future growth of tourism in this area. A safari to western Kenya is a guaranteed journey of discovery and experience of the wild, wonderful and welcoming Western Kenya. Western Kenya Luxury Tours, Kenya Lodge Safaris, Western Kenya Budget Tours , Western Kenya Luxury Safaris, Cultural Tours in Africa, Bird Watching Safaris in Western Kenya, West Kenya Tourism Circuit, Western Kenya Tours, Safaris in Lake Victoria, Rusinga Island, Mfangano Island