List Of Best Places To Visit In Homa Bay County

Here is a list of the best places to visit in Homa Bay County. Homa Bay County is located in the now-defunct Nyanza Province. It borders Lake Victoria to the west and north, Kisumu and Kericho counties to the northeast, Nyamira and Kisii counties to the east, and Migori County to the south.

Homa Bay County is known for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and diverse attractions. Here are some of the best places to visit in Homa Bay County.

Best Places To Visit In Homa Bay County

1. Ruma National Park

Photo credit: @kwskenya I Twitter

This park offers a unique opportunity to spot various wildlife species, including the rare roan antelope and Rothschild’s giraffe. It’s a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. The bird life is exceptional. It is the only park in Kenya where the globally threatened blue swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, is regularly recorded.

Ruma’s wildlife includes Rothschild’s giraffe, serval cat, hyena, impala, vervet monkey, roan antelope, oribi, bohor reedbuck, leopard, buffalo, and Jackson’s hartebeest. The black rhino, white rhino, and Burchell’s zebra are recently introduced and re-introduced species with adaptable populations. The roan antelope, Oribi and Jackson’s hartebeest are more easily spotted in Ruma than anywhere else in Kenya.

2. Abundu (Homa Hills) Hotsprings 

Located in Homa Hills near Kendu Bay, it features pools of super-heated water connected to a hot underground source, with steam hissing and bubbling up constantly. You can see the bubbles of water and steam boiling up through the channel or spout hole naturally. The salty water that oozes from this area is hot enough to cook any kind of food. The site is a bit neglected. The county government of Homa Bay should consider upgrading and marketing the place as a tourist destination.

3. Lake Victoria

Sindo, a small town on the shores of Lake Victoria in Suba, Homa Bay County

Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa and offers various activities such as fishing, boat rides, and visits to the nearby Rusinga and Mfangano Islands. You can also explore lakeside communities and experience local culture. Hearing about the lake is one thing, but seeing it up close and experiencing it is entirely different, and the beauty found here is one to behold.

Enjoy endless boat rides at an affordable fee. They will cruise 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 the risk of waterborne diseases. Fishing is a top activity at the lake. It is even a source of food and livelihood for the locals, who sell fish to residents and visitors. Interested guests can be organised into fishing expeditions 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 and a stunning sunset view. The orange horizon reflecting on the waters is quite a sight you won’t want to miss. Be sure to bring along your camera and capture every beautiful moment.

4. Mfangano Rock Art

Mfangano Island, rising 300m out of the lake near the Kenyan shore, is home to some of the most prominent rock painting sites in the country, featuring abstract patterned paintings thought to have been created between 1,000 and 4,000 years ago by hunter-gatherers. The rock paintings on Mfangano Island are found at two principal sites: in a cave near the sea known as Mawanga, and at a rock shelter further inland called Kwitone

Mawanga is a roughly triangular limestone cavern, about 18m wide across the mouth and 12m deep. The roof slopes sharply to the back towards a raised platform against the rear of the left wall, on which 12 images of concentric circles and spirals in white and red have been painted.

Kwitone has similar paintings, situated at one end of a long overhang in a sandstone cliff, below the shoulder of a ridge. The rock art at Kwitone is at the far end of the shelter wall, several metres above a cleared floor section. The paintings here feature 11 distinct shapes, including concentric circles and oblongs. One of these is a prominent sunburst pattern in brown, with rays emanating from the outermost band. The images are larger than those at Mawanga, averaging around 40 cm in diameter, and less faded, exhibiting more brown pigment, although both sites reflect the same artistic tradition. These are finger paintings, with pigment probably made of haematite or white clay mixed with a natural binder such as egg white or urine. There is evidence that the surface may also have been prepared before painting by polishing and that some of the images may have been reapplied or retouched over time.

5. Tom Mboya Mausoleum

The Tom Mboya mausoleum is a historical facility located in Kasawanga village, a few kilometres from Mbita town. It was built to honour the works of Tom Mboya, who was a key figure in the fight for Kenya’s independence. Tom Mboya was one of the few literate people at the time and played a crucial role in negotiating with the British government on behalf of his people. He also helped form political groups and mobilised people to fight for independence.

The mausoleum houses the personal belongings of Tom Mboya, such as pictures and status reminders from his political tours. The facility is open daily from 9.00 in the morning to 6.00 in the evening and is run by the keeper, who is also Tom Mboya’s nephew. He will provide visitors with a detailed history of Tom Mboya’s life, career, and death.

6. Mbasa & Birds Island 

These are two small twin islands, popularly known as Bird Island, that are not inhabited by people. Mbasa Island is right in the middle of the lake, between the Mbita mainland and Takawiri Island. Mbasa is home to a wide variety of wetland birds, including long-tailed cormorants (which have a breeding colony here), fish eagles, marsh harriers and little white egrets. Bird concentrations are thickest at sunset, when birds return to roost. To get here, you’ll need to arrange for a boat ride. The islands are accessible 20 minutes from Mbita Mainland by speed boat.

7. Kabunde Airstrip and Homa Bay Town

Photo credit: Renegadeair

Homa Bay Town, the county’s capital, serves as a central hub for exploring the region. Homa Bay Airport, also known as Kabunde Airstrip, is close by and serves as a base for safaris to Ruma National Park.

Kabunde Airstrip is an airport in Homa Bay County, Kenya, 6 kilometres from the town of Homa Bay. It was modernised in 2015, and commercial flights began in January 2016. The Kenya Airports Authority began upgrading the airstrip in May 2015, one of three in Kenya to be modernised, the others being Migwena Airstrip and Kisii Airport. The upgrade was carried out to improve air service in the area, as residents previously had to travel to the far-flung Kisumu International Airport, as well as to boost tourism and business in the area.

Renegade Air’s inaugural flight to Kabunde Airstrip in Homa Bay in June 2023 marked the official return of commercial air services to the Homa Bay airport. Renegade Air is a local airline that operates the 45-minute flight from Wilson Airport in Nairobi, becoming the first-ever flight connecting Homa Bay and Nairobi Counties. The airline stated that it will operate its Bombardier Dash 8-Q300 every Monday, Friday, and Saturday from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to the Homabay Kabunde airstrip and back.

8. Simbi Nyaima Lake

Simbi Nyaima is a volcanic crater lake that was formed after the eruption process. It is located a few kilometres from Kendu Bay Junction, right off Kanyadhian’g Bridge, next to Karachuonyo’s MP homestead, Mr. Adipo Okuome. The lake is ideal for sightseeing activities. Flamingoes constantly dominate the lake, forming a beautiful pink carpet that will leave you awed. Flamingos are migrating to Lake Simba Nyaima due to its alkalinity.

There is a great story behind this natural phenomenon, and the friendly local guides will share with you both the mythical and scientific facts and stories about this lake. Lake Simba offers a breathtaking scene for picnics, dates, or a gateway. Everything provided is free unless you decide to tip the local guides for their captivating storytelling (this is their primary source of livelihood, and they have no rate cards; ensure you pick a sober guide). There is a 3-star hotel in Kendu Bay town called Pikadili, which you will love. (swimming pool, jacuzzi, and a great view of the lake). The hotel charges 3500 BB, and you will love its excellent services

The locals also hold on to the superstition that the lake’s 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.

9. Mfangano Island Camp

Photo credit: www.governorscamp.com

This is the perfect getaway if you are looking for a romantic vibe with your loved one or simply a place to lose yourself in nature’s beauty. With stunning views of Lake Victoria, enjoy unlimited boat rides and bird watching. The rare bird species that inhabit the island will have you feeling therapeutic.

Take a walk along the shores of Lake Victoria to wind down and let your thoughts loosen a little. Fishing activities also take place on the island, and you can have the fish specially cooked to suit your taste. Nature trails within the island also make your experience complete. 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.

10. Mfangano, Ngodhe and Rusinga Islands

Rusinga, Mfangano and Ngodhe Islands.

Mfangano, Ngodhe, and Rusinga Islands are all located in Lake Victoria, which is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. These islands are situated within the Kenyan waters of Lake Victoria and hold cultural, historical, and ecological significance.

Mfangano Island: Mfangano Island is the largest of the three islands and is known for its archaeological sites, ancient rock art, and traditional Luo culture. The island has hilly terrain and is surrounded by the clear waters of Lake Victoria. The Suba people are the main inhabitants of Mfangano Island.

Ngodhe Island: Ngodhe Island, also known as Ngodhe Rock, is a small rocky island located in Lake Victoria. The island is notable for its unique geological formation and is often described as a rocky outcrop or a giant rock that rises from the waters of Lake Victoria. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike due to its picturesque views, especially during sunrise and sunset.

Rusinga Island: Rusinga Island is famous for its paleontological and archaeological discoveries. Fossils of prehistoric animals, including early human ancestors, have been found here. The island is also significant for the local Luo community and is known for its cultural traditions and festivals.

All three islands are accessible by boat and can be reached from various points along Lake Victoria’s shoreline. They offer opportunities for cultural experiences, outdoor activities, and exploring the natural beauty of the region. Visitors can enjoy activities such as bird watching, fishing, hiking, and learning about the local cultures and histories.

11. Takawiri Island

Photo credit: @magicalkenya and @Ochokitours I Twitter

The island is unique because it has a small stretch of pristine sandy beaches that will instantly lift your spirits. It is easily accessible from Mbita via a boat ride or water bus. Boat riding is the most popular activity on the island, with guests getting to cruise the waters of Lake Victoria for the ultimate experience. Swimming is also highly recommended, as you can lose yourself in the cool waters. After that, you can sunbathe on the beach while sipping your favourite sundowner and soaking up the rays. You could also try fishing expeditions, which are easily organised and teach you how to fish. The experience is thrilling, especially if you are a quick learner.

If you prefer something less strenuous, try bird watching, as the island is home to hundreds of different bird species. Within is Takawiri Island Resort, which is ready to put you up if you need a place to stay. Enjoy incredible meals prepared by the best chefs in both local and international cuisines. A stroll at dusk is the ideal way to end your day on the island. The epic sunset views will leave you feeling energised.

12. Kanjera Archaeological Site

The site of Kanjera occurs on the Homa Peninsula of western Kenya. It’s located in the beautiful rural countryside, surrounded by eroded volcanic edifices, on the southern shore of the Winam Gulf of Lake Victoria. Excavations by a Smithsonian-National Museums of Kenya team began in 1987 and have continued under the leadership of Dr. Tom Plummer, who is now chairman of the Anthropology Department at Queens College, City University of New York. Tom’s most recent excavations have focused on Kanjera South, where he, Rick Potts of the Smithsonian, and other members of the team have discovered the oldest archaeological evidence of early human activities in a grassland environment, dating to 2 million years ago.

13. Gwasi Hills

Apart from offering Ruma National Park a scenic backdrop, the chain of 24 hills that separate the park from Lake Victoria is also a worthwhile hiking destination. The Gwassi Hills are covered by rich volcanic soils and bear remnants of natural forest that are plentiful in plants of medicinal value, indigenous trees that are not found elsewhere in East Africa, wild fruits and vegetables, as well as abundant insect species.

Now whatever is remaining of the natural beauty cannot hide the fact that the unique ecosystem of the Gwassi Hills has gone through dramatic degradation by the uncoordinated felling of trees for building, charcoal burning, wood fuel and farming within the past sixty years. However, the magnificent view from the very peak of 2271 metres, overlooking Lambwe Valley on one side and Lake Victoria with its islands on the other, is breathtaking.

15. Abasuba Community Peace Museum

The Abasuba Community Peace Museum was established in 2000 by its founding curator, Mr. Jack Maurice Obonyo. The museum is one of the first community museums to be supported by the National Museum of Kenya and the Kenyan government through the Tourism Trust Fund. Through this process, the museum has constructed one of the most beautiful community centres, a museum gallery and a communal library. As a community museum, it was initiated to help with the preservation and conservation of the Abasuba community’s cultural and natural heritage.

The museum is also a research centre for students, doctors, professors and other related intellectuals wishing to study archaeological sites in the Lake Victoria region. The museum works to promote and protect the cultural and natural heritage of the endangered Abasuba community. The museum also works with the Trust for African Rock Art and the National Museums of Kenya to protect and manage the nearby rock art sites. In addition, the museum also caters to the marketing of various modes of peace and conflict resolution.

16. Kendu Bay

This town is known for its scenic beauty and is located on the shores of Lake Victoria. It’s also an excellent starting point for exploring the county’s other attractions. It is said that a town with two sections—old and new—such as Kendu Bay in Homa Bay County has an exciting feature.

As one approaches the isolated and defaced buildings of Kendu Bay’s old town, he or she is greeted by a spectacle of magnificent edifices dating back to the 17th century. The rich history of Mombasa and other coastal towns that attract visitors is almost identical to that of Kendu Bay. A story is told of how Arabs, the first settlers, found their hosts kind and welcoming. Roughly translated to Dholuo, the English word “kind” means “between.”. Locals pronounced the word “Kindu,” and it became the name of the town. It means a place found in the middle.

Kendu Bay, located in the semi-arid plain of Karachuonyo, dates back to 1912, when Arab traders set up camp there. In addition to business, they spread their religion. The old town has crumbling buildings that bring back memories of Arab traders who once owned 100 or more shops.

The new town is located on the busy Kisumu-Homa Bay road. The old town has a small network of tarmac roads that lead to the lake. It also has an old pier where steamships docked until the late 1990s. One cannot help but notice the stalls set up by fishmongers. ‘Mgongo wazi’ is the local term for dried Nile perch.

Local and international tourists can visit the many eateries near Lake Victoria for a mouthwatering dish of fresh tilapia (ngege) or Nile perch (mbuta). Visitors to Kendu Bay will almost certainly stay at the town’s Roman Green Restaurant, Maryland Hotel, or Big Five Hotel. Several fascinating sites in and around Kendu Bay Town are worth seeing. Ondago Swamp, known for its flamingo migration from Lake Nakuru, the mythical Simbi Nyaima Lake, and the Kanjera archaeological site, where Oldowan tools were discovered, are among them.

17. Kanyaboli Conservation Area

This area is known for its wetlands, which provide a habitat for various bird species. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise and an excellent place for eco-tourism.

18. Mbita Point 

Photo credit: Victoria Sands Lodge

Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Mbita Point is a serene spot where you can enjoy boat rides, fishing, and breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding islands. Mbita Point is the entry point to different islands like Rusinga, Takawiri, Mfangano, Ngodhe, Kibuogi, Mbasa Remba and Ringiti.

19. Wagwe Beach

This tranquil beach offers a peaceful escape with golden sands and clear waters. It’s an ideal place for relaxation and picnicking.

20. Victoria Sands Lodge

Photo credit: Victoria Sands Lodge

Victoria Sands Lodge is a premier accommodation facility conveniently situated on the white sandy beaches of Mbita, overlooking the beautiful Lake Victoria, stuck in between the mountains of Mbita and Sindo, with a breathtaking view of Rusinga Island. The lodge boasts world-class amenities, including both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a dining experience that offers delectable dishes prepared by their in-house chef.

The lodge offers exciting activities such as speed boat rides, tours and excursions to Ruma National Park, Tom Mboya Mausoleum, Abasuba Cultural Museum, Birds Island, and mountain climbing. The guests can also enjoy outdoor games, amazing sunrises and sunsets, and a serene environment that guarantees absolute relaxation.

Photo credit: Victoria Sands Lodge

Victoria Sands Lodge’s ample grounds are perfect for hosting any type of event, including team-building activities and conferences. They also offer camping facilities for guests with their own camping gear, sports fishing, and access to the Lake Victoria beachline.

21. Takawiri Victoria Sands

Takawiri Victoria Sands is a beautiful hotel located on Takawiri Island, accessible via Mbita town via a waterbus or speedboat. When you arrive at Takawiri Island, you will find the hotel right next to the Waterbus landing bay. The hotel offers accommodations, a bar, a restaurant, camping grounds and gear, and kayaking, and the lake is clean and swimmable. Takawiri Victoria Sands allows walk-ins for lunch and drinks; however, every visitor has to buy something. Idle sitting is not permitted. There is also a kids’ play park.

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