The Captivating Attractions of Kakamega
January 1, 1970
by Centfie Val Chunge
Kenya is a top destination for thousands who chose to travel to Africa because of the warm climate, interesting cultures, national parks and also since it is home to the Big Five. You can get a glimpse of the leopard, buffalo, lion, rhinoceros and the elephant in the same location. There are too many places to visit in Kenya that you might need a whole lifetime for you to see it all. Many tourists only think of the coast and parks as destinations in this beautiful country. This article will inform you of an exciting place to visit when you travel to Africa We will explore its simplicity and culture from the perspective of someone who has actual experience of visiting Kakamega and living there for a while.
An Overview of Kakamega
Kenya is classified under developing countries, and Kakamega is one of the major towns in the country. It serves as an administrative, business and agricultural center. Kakamega County is home to millions of people of the Abaluyha tribe. It is found in the western region of Kenya which receives ample rainfall throughout the year, therefore, keeping it green. Consequently, environmental enthusiasts will love the clean fresh air and the experience of breathing it. Furthermore, the town is located a few miles from the equator.
The Kakamega Forest
The first place you should travel to, on this part of western Kenya, is the Kakamega Forest. Varieties of plants and animals have found it to be a favorable habitat. If you are a nature lover, you will love the experience of walking beneath beautiful canopies formed by tall green trees and coming across interesting animals such as baboons and snakes.
Things to do in Kakamega Forest
Various spots have been specifically set aside for camping and other leisure activities, such as hiking, under the watchful eye of local guards. Fascinating safe areas within the forest are reserved for campers to enjoy spending time in the wild. You can set up tents and enjoy the aura of campsites during the day or at night.
Different species of colorful birds which like perching on trees, making beautiful sounds and flying by will keep you entertained especially if you are fond of bird watching.
If you are a traveling student or researcher of botanical, entomological, zoological or other nature-related sciences, you can find numerous species to watch. Probably, there are still some indigenous forms of living things existing in this forest and waiting to be discovered.
The Kakamega Forest provides awesome scenery for taking fantastic photos. You may take photographs of yourself or of the green environment including all the flora and fauna that live there.
How to Access the Forest
The forestry department in Kenya is the legitimate agency that gives permission for visitors to access the forest. The department can organize for a guide to take you round and for security purposes.
The Crying Stone
Myths and factual stories surround the origins of the never-ending tears that the crying stone sheds since time immemorial. The stone looks like a figure of a human being. If you look at it long enough and be creative about it, you could imagine that it has a face and a torso. It looks like there is a small head on top of a body.
Water flows continuously from the ‘neck’, down the middle of the ‘body’ into the ground, thus the name ‘crying stone.’ The rock has been associated with spiritual phenomenon by the locals no live around it. Hence, apart from the unique flow of water down the rock, there are many interesting stories that you are likely to hear about it when you visit the location.
Now you will require a nice place to stay. Unfortunately, the town has not yet hosted a 5star hotel but there are nice 3 or 4star hotels. If you must reside in an expensive and luxurious hotel, you can commute to the nearest city known as Kisumu City. It takes approximately one and a half hours to travel by road from Kakamega to Kisumu.
Given that you are reading this, it means you love adventure and you like experiencing life in different places, including remote areas like Kakamega town. So, the following suggestions will help in considering the choice of hotel to stay in.
The Rondo Retreat Centre
This is the favorite place for tourists from Western Countries because of its high standards and beautiful environment. It is a half-an-hour drive from the town center. Rondo Retreat is a fun place with swimming pools, nice rooms, and appetizing dishes.
The Savona Hotel is a few minutes from the town. It is found near the banks of a River, thus, visitors can enjoy the soothing sound of moving water as they relax in the cute gardens. They offer comfortable accommodation and affordable meals.
The Golf Hotel is the easiest hotel to access because it is in Kakamega town. It is probably the first hotel that visitors are advised to go to. The accommodation, meals and general appearance of the hotel are appealing adding to the golf course that is adjacent to it. Golf hotel also offers conference facilities.
This is a brief overview of the culture of natives of Kakamega. The major economic activity of the people of Kakamega is farming. This includes livestock keeping and planting crops. Therefore, if you are an investor or charity government, consider basing your organization in the agricultural sector in order to appeal to the people of Kakamega.
Open air markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On these days the town is crowded with buyers and sellers. Saturdays are also set aside for an important longstanding cultural practice of bull fighting. Some people train their bulls to engage their horns while crowds cheer on until there is a winner. The activity usually takes place on the outskirts of town. The major bullfighting ‘arena’ is at a place called Khayega. Do not leave Kakamega without enjoying the traditional meal of the residents in the area, which is Ugali, traditional vegetables, and stewed chicken. Any native of Kakamega would advise you to remember to ignore the fork or spoons, use your fingers to transport a piece of Ugali from the plate to your mouth in order to savor the real taste of Ugali. The unwritten rule of native tribes in Kakamega is that the enjoyment of food is not just about the taste and filling up but also about how and with whom you are eating. Some tales have it that tourists from Europe failed to get the proper pronunciation of the act of scooping a chunk of ugali with your fingers; hence they said ‘kakamega’ instead of ‘okhumeka’ as in the local language.
Shopping and Public Transport
Other places that may be of interest to a traveler include the major shopping malls in Kakamega town which are easily accessible from the highway. There are also the gold mines which are not amply explored due to lack of proper equipment although it provides short-term jobs for some daring locals so are willing to dig tunnels. Kakamega is one of the Kenyan towns that are notorious for Boda Boda and Tuk-tuks. Boda Boda’s are motorbike or bicycle riders who charge people to transport them. Tuk-tuks basically look like motorbikes with three tires and covered with canvas. Otherwise, the most common public means of transportation are the 14-seater vans known as ‘matatu.’
The world is indeed becoming a global village given that the words ‘ugali’ and ‘matatu’ have managed to make it to the Oxford English Dictionary. I would highly recommend visiting Kakamega in order to have fun and to get in touch with another interesting culture of the world. Start planning for that Safari to Kenya. Remember to get anti-malaria drugs so that you can be healthy throughout your stay when you travel to Africa.