Twende Likizo: The Wild-West in 5 Days

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Masai Mara has long been the landmark of Kenya’s Western Region. However, there’s a great variety of things to do to satisfy the wanderlust of any traveler. Whether you’re a seasoned or an amateur tourist, a solo-backpacker or with a group of friends, a family or a couple, the wild-west’s photogenic scenery and ever-changing landscapes is the much-needed escape for Labour Day weekend.

Since Labour Day 2018 falls on a Tuesday, take 2 days off from work and set off on a road trip across the 5 counties. The region is easily accessible with a network of tarmacked roads the deeper you venture.

Day 1: Nairobi to Kericho

The tea capital of Kenya was once a virgin rainforest until the 1st world war. Chagaik Botanical Garden along the Kericho – Nakuru Highway is a beautiful jungle of indigenous trees with lush green grass surrounded by orderly tea plantations.

Kericho Tea Plantation

Kericho is a land of rolling hills green with tea dotted by white colonial houses which have withstood the test of time. The air itself is filled of the tea aroma from the thousands of acres where it’s farmed.

Getting There: Route A104 across Nakuru County is the most scenic but the most popular with lots of pit-stops at Naivasha, Nakuru and Molo

Best Reviewed Hotels: Tea Hotel and Sunshine Hotels

Fun thing to do in Kericho: Nature walking at Chebulu Conservancy where the last of the indigenous forest remains.

Day 2: Kericho to Kisumu

Brace yourself as you cross from the cold highlands to the hot & humid lake capital of Kenya. Besides the weather, Kisumu constantly smells of fish due to its nearness to Lake Victoria.

Fishermen Before Dawn on Lake Victoria

Kisumu is a laid back city with smaller national parks but no less interesting. If eating fish and ugali on the shores of Lake Victoria and lazing all day is not your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy visits to Ruma, Rusinga Island, and Impala National Parks.

Getting There: Highway B1 is the most straightforward to Kisumu County. The landscape might be a bit monotonous so get a good playlist or a chatterbox for a travel companion.

Best Reviewed Hotels: Wigot Gardens and Imperial Hotels

Fun thing to do in Kisumu: Swim among the fishermen as they clean their nets or hire one of their boats to take off further inshore where the hippos can be seen.

Day 3: Kisumu to Kakamega

A breath of crispy clean air from Kakamega Forest is what awaits you in the nature capital of Kenya. The 230sq.km. forest’s canopy once stretched to Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest.

Liranda Hill, Kakamega Rain Forest

Kakamega is famous among botanists, zoologists, and conservationists due to the endangered wild life such as the leopard that was last spotted in 1992. If you enjoy nature, Kakamega is worth the distance travelling to visit.

Getting There: Highway A1 is the easiest route to Kakamega County. The most scenic route is however through the Nandi Hills albeit 20km longer, the road is still tarmacked.

Best Reviewed Hotels: Kakamega Gueshouse and Westgate Hotel

Fun thing to do in  Kakamega: Take a guided walk among the ancient trees as you learn of the various bird species. If you’re the adventurous group, camping in Kakamega Forest can be quite the adrenaline rush!

Recommended Read:

Kenya Tourism, More Than a Safari Destination

Day 4: Kakamega to Nandi Hills

Nandi County is the epitome of undisturbed countryside with hilly scrubland and bushy canyons. Nandi is a series of contradictions; rocky and barren areas contrast to the fertile, highlands where tea flourishes.

Nandi_Hills

The Nandi community was known for the warriors and spearmen that would make any community shake in their sandals pre-colonial era.

Getting There: C39 happens to be the easiest route to Nandi County. Nonetheless, expect to have a bumpy ride as half the road is yet to be tarmacked.

Best Reviewed Hotels: Starlink Guesthouse

Fun thing to do in Nandi: Hike up to the Nandi Rock which is a 90-minute drive from the town. You can also enjoy golfing at Nandi Bears Golf Club guided walk among the ancient trees as you learn of the various bird species. If you’re the adventurous group, camping in Kakamega Forest can be quite the adrenaline rush!

Day 5: Nandi Hills to Nairobi

The journey back to the capital can be as short or as windy as you choose it to be. You can cross over the Kano Plains into Eldoret. The route zigzags into beautiful scenery each time you take a new bend.

From Eldoret, why not go through the Kerio Valley to Marigat where the lakes Bogoria and Baringo are located?

However, if you’re tired of being on the road, the most upfront route is joins highway A104 at Timboroa.

Tips for a Successful Road Trip

For this road trip across the west of Kenya to be a success, ensure to pack:

  1. Warm clothing or light ones that you can easily layer up
  2. Cashless payment methods for the National Parks such as mobile money
  3. Drinking water, no less than 2l per person per day.
  4. Powerbank or multiple batteries
  5. Picnic items such as mats, folding seats, plastic cutlery, pen knife
  6. Camping gear should you decide to camp in Kakamega Forest
  7. Binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses will come in handy while at Kisumu
  8. Mosquito repellent creams
  9. Sense of humour

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