Kisumu like any other locality has numerous shortcomings which hinter its economic performance. There are extreme disparities in wealth distribution and the gap between the poor and the rich continues to widen day after day. Among Kisumu’s challenges we have the following:
Kisumu has the highest poverty levels in Kenya when compared with other parts of Kenya. This has affected the ability of the locals to engage in meaningful business ventures. This is symbolized by emergence of informal settlements as most people can’t bear up with the high cost of living. Kisumu is not a major agricultural center and most of basic food stuffs come from other counties.
Unemployment rate is very in Kisumu and many people have been affected by this situation. The youths are the most affected and are fleeing the city in hope of getting greener pastures somewhere else. Others have resorted into vices such as stealing and robbery to earn a living. The county government of Kisumu is taking affirmative steps to solve this problem. These steps include wooing investors to invest in the region and establishment of various industries in the region .This will in return create employment to a large number of people and thus improve the living standards of the residents.
For some time now, Kisumu has been rocked by political violence which occurs mainly during elections .The post election violence which was witnessed in December 2007 affected Kisumu significantly with houses being burned down and property being destroyed. People perceived to be associated with other parties apart from ODM which was the dominant party in Kisumu by then were alienated, tortured and even others killed. This was a major blow to the young economy of Kisumu which was still growing. Most Investors pulled from this region in fear of losing their investments.Currently Kisumu is slowly recovering from this political wave and has started showing positive improvement on economic growth.
Kisumu is currently facing competition for investors with other cities and towns within the country .Such cities include Eldoret, Nakuru, Kakamega and Kisii. The county government of Kisumu should list down its comparative advantages over other cities and take up the responsibility of ensuring Kisumu remains at the top hence able to attract investors into the region. Failure to do this will eventually lead to investors withdrawing from the region causing loss of jobs.
This is another challenge which hampers economic development in Kisumu. Local leaders in most cases have poor judgment and lack planning skills which results into negative results. Poor planning is very evident in housing estates which have lead to development of many informal settlements .Drainage and sewerage systems are poorly fixed which may cause decease outbreaks such as cholera. Local leaders should take planning seriously and avoid approving projects which don’t meet the minimum requirements if they want to see Kisumu entering into the next phase of economic development as a cosmopolitan city.
In conclusion the county government of Kisumu should firstly take some measures to reduce these negative influences. It can use tax leverage as a means to help young people engage in small businesses thus creating self employment. This will boost economic development and also raise the standards of living.
Mombasa is a result of a series of invasions by many trading nations who sought to impose their dominance on it and has switched hands several times all through its history. This brought about a significant influence on its culture and religion but the Arab influence has been prominent in the town for a number of years. Its strategic location along the Indian Ocean made it a centre of long distance trade .Arab traders could sail around the Kenya coast as early as 13th century and this boosted the trade greatly along the coast. The city today is covered by markets that have been in existence for as many as hundred years back. These markets are very charming attractions sights and give travellers a true taste of Mombasa.
Tourism plays an important role in the economy of Mombasa. It is the main source of income and contributes more than half of the total gross income. The main tourist attraction features in Mombasa include pristine coasts which host several world class beaches, Marine national parks that are rich in aquatic life, historical sites like fort Jesus, Gedi ruins and the famous Vasco Da Gama pillar and lots of culture and history. These fascinating sceneries have vast qualities which make them highly attractive. They are easily accessible as a result of modern infrastructures which have been developed in the area. Tourism has long been viewed as an effective method of development and indeed is playing an important role in development and growth of Mombasa’s economy.
Mombasa climate is very splendid and pretty. It supplements Mombasa tourism sector well and is a major tourism attraction element on its own. Visitors can enjoy the warm sunny weather of the coastal region on sandy beaches as the regular winds which cut across the region bring about a cool breeze which is very exciting. No matter where you choose to go for a holiday trip, climate is a key factor to consider; and Mombasa having such a spectacular climate, should top your favourites list.
One of the elements that brought Busia town to prominence is fact it is a border crossing. It has one of the official points that people cross to Uganda from Kenya, and the vice versa. Plenty of trade and people ply this route. Both side of the divide the town shares the same name in both countries.
For a town of is nature it is a pretty laid back place. The general expectation is the towns would have some very serious vested investments, surprisingly not. The place has plenty prime potential in many aspects that has not been tapped. All is out there, basically waiting to happen. Neither government has seen the need to make the plunge; save for the immigrations and customs points that are being upgraded to more modern facilities to handle future crossings and trade.
For a border crossing and transport hub of its magnitude receiving all manner of traffic; human, trade and otherwise, Busia is a mellow place. Traffic comes from a variety of places; Kisumu, Nairobi, Eldorate and as far as Mombasa, naming a few, it is a quiet place.
The town goes to sleep fairly early and not even the 24 hour open boarders can tempt them to stay awake through the night. Other than up and close to the Immigration entry/exit clearing point are a few huddled businesses. A tea and food shack, and a kiosk or two attending to the crossing travelers where they can grab a bite.
The town is like a cold blooded creature that warms withe the sun. The town does not bustle with life well in to 9 am as the taxis are still waiting to fill up and make their first trip of the day to wherever. It feels like a timeless zone, where happen ate their own pace.
The people there are generally sociable and polite, as well as easy to talk to; quite accustomed to having and seeing strange persons, probably because of its trade route and crossing. There are cases though that you may get asked for a token towards any generosity offered for a service as simple as borrowing a pen.
Do not get offended, they are only being the capitalists they are, they also have mouths to feed and filling the gap for financial reward. This generally happens the closer you are to the crossing. At the immigrations outposts however, it is more often than not, act of kindness being extended is a business service you have to eventually pay for. This is the doing of some thrifty individuals making a living off your limitations by meeting you with custom solutions.
One of the ways I am able to appreciate a town’s worth is by looking at the footing of the banking industry’s services therein. Eco Bank, Barclays, KCB, namely some of Kenya’s banking giants with a strong presence in the town.
Further away from the crossing, the town is up and rising; like a giant coming out of deep slumber waking up to a new dawn.
photo courtesy of mkahawa.com Article written by Amailuk Joseph
photo courtesy of www.rotarymeru.com
Mount Kenya is one of the ideal places one should visit. In the next few posts I will take you through some of the communities and places to visit. I will start with the Meru community. Meru County is found in Mount Kenya region. It is one of the fertile areas in that region. When I say this I just don’t mean the land but also the culture and traditions.
Meru as a tribe is divided into 9 sub-tribes. These include the Imenti, Tigania, Tharaka, Igembe, Chuka, Igoji, Mwimbi, Muitini and Muthambi. Meru covers the North and North Eastern part of Mount Kenya. The Meru people are mainly farmers. In the past they used to farm most of the cash crops found in Kenya but as the days are passing some of the crops are no longer available. Some of these crops include tea, coffee, Miraa, Macadamia etc. However, most people associate the Merus with the Miraa. This crop is the main income source for most farmers especially those from the Northern section of Meru. Meru is also known as the home of bananas though the people used to farm it as food now it has become like a cash crop in some places. Mangoes and Strawberries are also available. For someone who is interested in Agriculture tourism this is the community to visit.
Meru community have their traditional leaders known as the Njuri Ncheke. Upto date the Njuri Ncheke is recognized by the state and they play a great part in influencing the political decisions in the area.
Article and photos by guest writer: Amailuk Joseph
Holidays are an excuse to break away from all the routine that has settled for our normal. Well, at least that is what some may argue. In that case, you may wish to try out the Oasis cosine. Meals are on order. It is a life away from the hullabaloo of modern lives. Inform them early and you can agree on what you desire.
However, they have a self-catering service. This is a fun-tastic setup, if you ask me. Knowing how long you will be there, purchase all you need upfront. They have gas. You do not have to pay separately for it, bless the Oasis setting. It might be a good idea to carry your own cutlery, assuming you are a sizable group. Otherwise, they have a few handy pans you can use. Disposable where possible would be supper. Just remember not to litter the place. Leave it as clean, better still, even cleaner than you found it.
This why you can have the fun of pouring your heart into your meals. You control what you wish to eat. You are not time bound as in keeping with others eating hours. You are practically a free bird. Is that not the reason you came or want to go to the Oasis in the first place? If you haven’t thought of it, you may want to give it a try. Remember it is rated family…
You could easily pull off hanging out in your cottage/tent the whole day and still feel no loss. Challenge is I am an advocate of “if you have it, then make use of it. Do it! If you find you don’t like it, then so be it. It shall not remain unfulfilled dream. At least this way you are sure you know what you are coming back for.
Now that brings us to the picnic grounds. Another of the wondrous delights that Oasis hosts. It is a wide spacious area that boarders a lake. Sorry, you cannot swim here. Not that kind of waters. The picnic place has some table you could make good off. You may choose to sit on the ground and make the most of change from normal. If you have enough firewood, you are welcome to setting up a bonfire; yeah … Do you still need further poking? Nah, I don’t think so.
There is such grand space the kids would love the place. You can play all sorts of ball games or any other that may call for some space. If that ain’t enough, well, back at the main grounds there is still some extra space. Like I told you, the Oasis, was built a gateway. You are free from the pollution.
Some of us still can’t truly be free of civilizations. Always want to keep a link with the outside world. Hmm. They did think about you. In the dining hall, cum common room, is a television. You can get all the news you need. Its furnishings are all timber furnishings, in line with keeping with nature.
Talking of nature lovers, at the Oasis (of life), you get to live in the wild. You have the benefits of the wild free from its creatures. Who says it is only the game parks the wild is experienced. The only wild animals you shall come across (if you are lucky) are the Velvet monkeys! Frankly, these creatures keep their distance. They prefer to watch the creeps from planet Zee from the safety of their tree hangings.
There is a hot water spring in the neighbourhood. Should you wish to go view it, remember to hire a guide? A hike to the springs is more like the deal. It is a challenge to find if you are unfamiliar with the territory. Chances are high you may come back disappointed. At least you have been warned. And like I said, see all there is to see. Experience all you can while you are there.
The entire place was set up on an eco-tourist model. Tourism integrated with nature to avoid destabilizing the place with modernity. There are well laid walkways. These were so well developed to allow for orderly people traffic. It is so in tandem with nature you would in a short while imagine them as natural setting of the environments.
You can take a walk in the woods. If you like you may enjoy a jog. If you plan to, don’t forget your running shoes. It is a place where you go to have your privacy and leave with it intact. The staffs are very helpful. All you need to do is ask. If they can help they definitely will. There are a couple of swings, and a slide, to spice up your stay.
- Bike rides are fun. You could talk to management about hiring bikes, or carry your own bicycles.
- Bird watching
- Hiking (to hot water springs or elsewhere)
- Nyama choma (roast meat) venture to the main road
- Try the self-catering
About the author
Amailuk Joseph (aka AJ), is a Life-Coach and freelance writer and happens to be an avid fun loving tourist and travel writer. Never weary of an excuse to travel and go see the world. Seeing is believing, and sharing is the half the fun.You’re presently invited to share in the fun.
Eco Oasis Pictures by Amailuk J and are courtesyof Laetitia, Irene, and Simon-Templar.
Article and photos provided by a guest blogger: Amailuk Joseph
There is a modest parking space. Good enough to host 10 plus cars. If well parked you could easily pull off more cars in the same space. Probably twice as many if you wish. The security of the place is comforting. There is hardly any life within quite a radius. It is just you and nature. And this is assuming you come with a car that shall be there with you all through the visit. Truth is, you are unlikely to need the car, other than you plan to travel back the same day. That would be such a waste of such a special visit. Get dropped, and ask them to pick you the day you travel back
The ideal place for a serene, quiet and peaceful natural environment, conducive for friends, church and family retreats, birding enthusiasts, bush and nature lovers, ecologists, bikers and hikers. It’s also suited for small corporate departmental strategy and team building sessions.
Staff, is there to welcome you on arrival, in a truly African fashion. Please note that it is wise to book first before you actually do travel there. Chances are you may find the place booked up. Ouch, that would not be a cool experience. Worse, still if you have kids in tow. Yeah, I am serious. All family members are welcome.
Depending on what you have booked, a cottage, or a tent, you shall be shown to your quarters. If you feel you would wish to have the full camping experience then the tents definitely are the better option. However, the cottages are must experience in this case. They are built of stone. Which I thought was a disappointment. I had hoped for mud and wattle. Seriously.Nevertheless, I honestly was in for the surprise of my life. The architects of the place knew what they were doing. It is Ecological-Tourism for reals.
The cottages are self-contained. A kitchenette, lounge, showers and wash rooms all inside, and if you so choose, you can stay indoors for the duration and miss nothing from the outside world. (It would be such a loss if you did). They are powered by solar during the day and battery at night. Therefore, if you carry a phone you can get to charge it.
Curtains close out nature if you wish to be totally alone.
Really, what’s to miss in such an arrangement?
You can hire the entire
Stone allows for longevity of the structures. That is compensated for with the furnishings of the place. Everything from the coffee table, to beds, is made of unfurnished wood. They did as much as possible to keep the environment in tandem with nature. Doors and window frames, roof beams, are all wood and poles in places where ideal. The kind of thing you need to see to experience. It carries you back to nature after the noisy experiences of town and accompanying solution, this place is a haven.
Carrying some warm clothing is very advisable. It can get pretty cold at night and early morning hours. Depending on the season, that finds you there. Beauty is they have a fire-place! No point in freezing when in the midst of such splendor now, is there? You could carry your own wood taxing, but a worthy fun experience to try out. The cottages are virtually in the middle of the woods. You might want to do that early. Even then, Oasis, does offer firewood, at a price, if you are not in the mood.
Photo courtesy of www.softkenya.com
Kakamega town majorly comprises of the luhya community with the majority being those from the sub tribe of luhya known as the Maragoli. Kakamega town population is rated second after that of Nairobi. Just as any other tribe in Kenya the Kakamega residence are guided and directed by their customs as dictated by their culture. This is observed alongside the constitution of the republic of Kenya. A greater number of the population resides in the urban centers of the town. These individuals venture into various sectors to ensure they make ends meet when it comes to their needs. The large population of people in the town provides the much-needed labor in various sectors of the economy. This means that their tourist sites are well staffed by the local residence to provide services to the visitors.
With the community that does well when it comes to handling visitors, Kakamega town has the opportunity to attract more investors and tourists. They too offer tourist attraction through their customary activities such as the bull fighting and circumcision practice among others. A section of their population are not from the region but they find the place friendly and safe to be in. this large population that cuts a cross various tribes makes the town more suitable for trade and exchange of ideas that enable the people to co-exist despite no blood bond between them.
The residents are always seen as hard workers as evident in their industrious nature in the farming of sugar cane. Putting food on the table is not a big issue for any luhya father or mother because of this quality. Many of the people from the luhya community are well-known for their good work more so when offering their services to the best of their ability so long as there is payment. Besides this, the community is also characterized by their soft-spoken nature which is a good gesture when dealing with others that we interact with.
In conclusion, the people of Kakamega town are in charge of their success, meaning that any progress that is to be made in any sector of the economy must come from them and be done by them. Their initiative towards achieving any goal must be an inclusive one. The leadership helps a lot in bringing the people of this town together for better posterity.
I cannot express my love for you by just shear words but also through actions. Kenya is my mother land; I have never lived any other country but Kenya. For those who do not know of Kenya, it is one of the African states. It is in East Africa.
Kenya is the business hub for countries on the East. Apart from that we have very beautiful landscape including the sandy beaches. The people in Kenya are very friendly and enterprising. The good part is in spite of the many tribes that are in the country we all live as brothers and sisters no tribalism. If you are looking for a country to visit this should be your next destination.
Photo courtesy of www.shutterstock.com
Kakamega forest photo courtesy of KWS
The major tourist attraction in Kakamega, is the Kakamega forest reserve in Shinyalu division in Kakamega county. This is a forest that is well known to be an equatorial rainforest. It is the home to many species of bird and insects; this makes the forest one of its kinds in Kenya. It is full of indigenous trees as well as different animal species. If you want to feel how the Amazon looks like then visit the Kakamega forest. The forest covers 240 kilometers. The climate here is wet and the annual recording of rainfall from about 200 to 700 milliliters. The famous Mysopsis Eminee that is well known for its medicinal qualities is also found in this place. The tree has become an endangered species in the recent times due to these reasons. The major attractions to the forest are the over 300 bird species, 400 butterflies, over 350 species of trees which most of the vegetation are indigenous. The forest is also the home to debrazza monkey and other primates. The otter, giant water shrew, tree pangolin, porcupine, mongoose, crawlers, bush pig, bush buck, duikers and squirrels forms the section of wide wildlife in Kakamega forest. The numerous activities that are undertaken in the forest include among others; safe guided nature walk, primate watching, forest walking, camping, hiking, birds and butterfly watching, game watching
The region has also invested in some residential places where the tourist can spend their nights and as they enjoy the natural endowment of the forest. This ranges from Golf hotel, various campsites located in the park, Isukuti Guest House, Kenya Wildlife Service self catering accommodation, Udo Bandas among others.
Another center of attraction is the cry stones of Ilesi located along the Kisumu-Kakamega road Highway. This weeping stone of Maragoli is connected to many legends and myths. One of these myths is that it is an indication of good harvest. It is a huge rock in which a stream of water flows from. The rock is attractive and unique in the sense that it is designed as per the body structure of a human being with water coming out of the eyes of the rock hence the name the weeping stone.
Bull fighting is also another tourist’s attraction. Bull fighting is part of the culture and customs of the luhya community which either takes place during specific seasons or during given markets days.
In conclusion, tourism in Kakamega town is supported by the natural endowment of the town as well as the people’s culture and custom. With the welcoming nature of the residence creates the atmosphere for tourism to thrive.