Kisumu

Kisumu

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Kisumu is a port city in western Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 at 1131 m (3,710.6 ft), with a population of 355,024 (1999 census). It is the third largest city in Kenya, the principal city of western Kenya, the immediate former capital of Nyanza Province
Nyanza Province
Nyanza Province of Kenya, is one of Kenya's eight administrative provinces. It is located in the southwest part of Kenya around Lake Victoria. Nyanza includes part of the eastern edge of Lake Victoria and is inhabited predominantly by the Luo. There are also Bantu-speaking tribes such as the...

 and the headquarters of Kisumu County. It has a municipal charter but no city charter. It is the largest city in Nyanza region and second most important city after Kampala
Kampala
Kampala is the largest city and capital of Uganda. The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning: Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division and Lubaga Division. The city is coterminous with Kampala District.-History: of Buganda, had chosen...

 in the greater Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake....

 basin.

The port was founded in 1901 as the main inland terminal of the Uganda Railway
Uganda Railway
The Uganda Railway is a railway system and former railway company linking the interiors of Uganda and Kenya with the Indian Ocean at Mombasa in Kenya.-Origins:...

 and named Port Florence. Although trade stagnated in the 1980s and 1990s, it is again growing around oil exports.

Kisumu literally means a place of barter trade "sumo". The city has "Friendship" status with Cheltenham
Cheltenham
Cheltenham , also known as Cheltenham Spa, is a large spa town and borough in Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswolds in the South-West region of England. It is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup, the main event of the Cheltenham Festival held...

, UK and "sister city" status with Roanoke, Virginia and Boulder, Colorado, USA.

History


Kisumu was identified by the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 explorers in early 1898 as an alternative railway terminus and port for the Uganda railway, then under construction. It was to replace Port Victoria
Port Victoria
Port Victoria may refer to several places:* Victoria, Seychelles* Port Victoria, South Australia* Port Victoria, Kenya, a town in Busia District* Port Victoria, Kent, England** Port Victoria railway station, a former railway station in Kent, England...

, then an important centre on the caravan trade route, near the delta of River Nzoia. Kisumu was ideally located on the shores of Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake....

 at the cusp of the Winam Gulf
Winam Gulf
Winam Gulf is a significant extension of northeastern Lake Victoria into western Kenya.Formerly known as Kavirondo Gulf, Nyanza Gulf, and Lake Nyanza Gulf, it is a shallow inlet and is connected to the main lake by Rusinga Channel , which is partly masked from the main body of the lake by islands...

, at the end of the caravan trail from Pemba
Pemba
-Places in Africa:* Pemba Island, in Tanzania* Pemba, Mozambique, the capital of Cabo Delgado Province* Pemba, Zambia, a small town-Individuals:* Pemba, George, a South African painter .* Pemba , a famous red panda...

, Mombasa
Mombasa
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya. Lying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry....

, Malindi
Malindi
Malindi is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The population of Malindi is 117,735 . It is the capital of the Malindi District.Tourism is the major industry in Malindi. The city is...

 and had the potential for connection to the whole of the Lake region by steamers. In July 1899, the first skeleton plan for Kisumu was prepared. This included landing places and wharves along the northern lake shore, near the present day Airport Road. Demarcations for Government buildings and retail shops were also included in the plan.

Another plan was later prepared in May, 1900, when plots were allocated to a few European firms as well as to Indian traders who had travelled to Kisumu on contracts to build the Uganda Railway and had decided to settle at the expanding terminus. The plan included a flying boat jetty (now used by the Fisheries Department). In October 1900, the 62-ton ship Sir William Mackinnon,1st Baronet, built and registered in Kisumu, made its maiden voyage to Entebbe
Entebbe
Entebbe is a major town in Central Uganda. Located on a Lake Victoria peninsula, the town was at one time, the seat of government for the Protectorate of Uganda, prior to Independence in 1962...

 , marking the beginning of the Lake Marine Services. The Winfred and the Sybil were later added to the fleet in 1902 and 1904, respectively. On Friday, December 20, 1901, the railway line reached the Kisumu pier, with the centre adopting a new name, Port Florence.

By February, the railway line had been opened for goods and passenger transportation. Kisumu was also privileged to host the first flight in East and Central Africa; the current police workshop was the first hangar in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 and entire East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

. Before the jet airline era, the city was a landing point on the British flying boat passenger and mail route from Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 to Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

. Kisumu also linked Port Bell
Port Bell
Port Bell is a small industrial centre in the greater metropolitan Kampala area, in Uganda. Port Bell has a rail link and a rail/road ferry wharf used for International traffic across Lake Victoria to Tanzania and Kenya.-Location:...

 to Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

.

In the meantime, it was realised that the site originally chosen for the township north of the Nyanza
Nyanza
Nyanza may refer to:*Nyanza, Rwanda**Nyanza District, the district surrounding Nyanza, Rwanda*Nyanza Province, Kenya*Nyanza Lac, Burundi*Nyanza, the Bantu word for lake, in particular:**Lake Albert **Lake Edward...

 Gulf was unsuitable for the town's expansion, due to its flat topography and poor soils. An alternative site was therefore identified and the town's location moved to the ridge on the southern shore of the Gulf, where the town sits today. Consequently, another plan was prepared in 1902, which provided the basic layout of the new town on the southern ridge. This was followed by the construction of a number of Government buildings, notably the former Provincial Commissioner's Office (now State Lodge) and the Old Prison (now earmarked for the construction of an Anglican Cathedral).

In 1903, the township boundaries were gazetted and some 12,000 acres, including water, set aside for its development. The new township reverted to its original name, Kisumu, in substitution of Port Florence. At this time, there was an ‘Old Kisumu', that consisted of two rows of Stalls (Dukas) on Mumias Road, north of the Gulf. It was later demolished in the twenties when new plots became available on Odera and Ogada Streets in the present day Kisumu, hence the new area acquired the name ‘New Bazaar'.

By the 1930's and 40's, the city had become a leading East African
East African
East African may refer to:*Any person or object of, or pertaining to, East Africa*East African Airlines, an airline based in Kampala, Uganda*East African Safari Air, a now defunct airline based in Kenya*The EastAfrican, a weekly newspaper in East Africa...

 centre for Commerce, Administrative and Military installations. In the 1960’s the population of Asians in relation to Locals was significantly higher. The town was elevated to the status of a Municipal Board in 1940 and later to a Municipal Council in 1960. In the early sixties, very little development took place in Kisumu, with an acute shortage realized in dwelling houses, shops and offices. The situation was later made worse by the influx of locals into the town following the declaration of independence in 1963.

The city’s growth and prosperity slowed down temporarily in 1977, as a result of the collapse of the East African Community
East African Community
The East African Community is an intergovernmental organisation comprising the five east African countries Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Pierre Nkurunziza, the President of the Republic of Burundi, is the current Chairman of the East African Community. The EAC was originally...

. However, the city spurred with the reformation of the community in 1996 and with its designation as a "city." The port has been stimulated by the transformation of international business and trade, as well as the shipments of goods destined for Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Currently, Kisumu is one of the fastest growing cities in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

. It is thriving with rich sugar and rice irrigation industries, whose contribution to the National economy is immense due to its natural resources and as the epicentre for business in East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

.

Sights



Attractions in the city include Kibuye Market, the Kisumu Museum, an impala
Impala
An impala is a medium-sized African antelope. The name impala comes from the Zulu language meaning "gazelle"...

 sanctuary, a bird sanctuary, Hippo Point, and the nearby Kit Mikaye and Ndere Island National Park
Ndere Island
Ndere Island is a small island in Winam Gulf of Lake Victoria in Kenya. It was gazetted as the Ndere Island National Reserve in November 1986 and has since that time been uninhabited....

.

Kisumu Museum


Kisumu Museum, established in 1980, has a series of outdoor pavilion
Pavilion (structure)
In architecture a pavilion has two main meanings.-Free-standing structure:Pavilion may refer to a free-standing structure sited a short distance from a main residence, whose architecture makes it an object of pleasure. Large or small, there is usually a connection with relaxation and pleasure in...

s. Some of the pavilions contain live animals. For example, one pavilion contains numerous aquaria
Aquaria
Aquaria may refer to:*Aquarium, in the plural*Aquaria , a computer game*Aquaria , a Brazilian metal band*Aquaria, one of the Twelve Colonies in Battlestar Galactica...

 with a wide variety of fish from Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake....

, along with explanatory posters. Another pavilion contains terrarium containing mambas, spitting cobra
Spitting cobra
A spitting cobra is one of several species of cobras that have the ability to eject venom from their fangs when defending themselves against predators. The sprayed venom is harmless to intact skin...

s, puff adder
Bitis
Bitis is a genus of venomous vipers found in Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. It includes the largest and the smallest vipers in the world. Members are known for their characteristic threat displays that involves inflating and deflating their bodies while hissing and puffing loudly. The...

s and other venomous Kenyan snakes. Additionally, out of doors, the museum has a few additional exhibits, including a snake pit and a crocodile
Crocodile
A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae . The term can also be used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia: i.e...

 container.

Other pavilions show weaponry, jewellery, farm tools and other artifacts made by the various peoples of the Nyanza Province. Additionally, there are exhibits of stuffed animals, birds and fish. One pavilion houses the prehistoric TARA rock art
Rock art
Rock art is a term used in archaeology for any human-made markings made on natural stone. They can be divided into:*Petroglyphs - carvings into stone surfaces*Pictographs - rock and cave paintings...

, which was removed for its own protection to the museum after it was defaced by graffiti in its original location.

The museum's most important and largest exhibition is the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

-sponsored Ber-gi-dala. This is a full-scale recreation of a traditional Luo
Luo (Kenya and Tanzania)
The Luo are an ethnic group in Kenya, eastern Uganda, and northern Tanzania. They are part of a larger group of ethnolinguistically related Luo peoples who inhabit an area including southern Sudan, northern and eastern Uganda, western Kenya, and northern Tanzania.The Luo are the third largest...

  homestead. Ber-gi-dala consists of the home, granaries and livestock corrals of an imaginary Luo man as well as the homes of each of his three wives, and his eldest son. Through signs and taped programs in both Luo and English, the exhibition also explains the origins of the Luo people, their migration to western Kenya, traditional healing plants, and the process of establishing a new home.

Kisumu Impala Sanctuary


Kisumu is location of the Kisumu Impala
Impala
An impala is a medium-sized African antelope. The name impala comes from the Zulu language meaning "gazelle"...

 Sanctuary. Measuring just 0.4 square miles (1 km²), the sanctuary is one of Kenya's smallest wildlife preserves. As its name suggests, it is home to a herd of impala. Some hippos, as well as many reptiles and birds are also present. Additionally, several caged baboons and leopard
Leopard
The leopard , Panthera pardus, is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its...

s who faced difficulties of one sort or the other in the wild are held in cages there. Over 115 different species of birds live there.

Hippo Point


Hippo Point is a 600 acre (242.8 ha) viewing area on Lake Victoria. Despite its name, it is better known as a viewing point for its unobstructed sunsets over the lake than for its occasional hippo
Hippopotamus
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

s.

Hippo point is near the village of Dunga
Dunga
Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri , commonly known as Dunga , is a former Brazilian football defensive midfielder and a World Champion for Brazil in the 1994 World Cup...

, a few kilometres SW of the town. The village also has a fishing port and a camping site.

Kit Mikayi


Kit Mikayi, a large rock with three rocks on top, and is located off Kisumu Bondo Road towards Bondo
Bondo, Kenya
Bondo is a town in Nyanza Province of Kenya. It the capital of Bondo District. Bondo is located 50 kilometres west of Kisumu, the provincial capital. Bondo forms a town council with a population of 29,165, of whom 7,797 are classified urban ....

. Kit-mikayi means “Stones of the first wife” or “First Wife Rocks” in Dholuo, the Luo language. It is a weeping rock; it is believed that Mikayi (literally, "the first wife") went up the hill to the stones when her husband took a second wife, and has been weeping ever since.

It has become a popular local pilgrimage site for adherents of the Legio Maria
Legio Maria
Legio Maria — also known as Legio Maria of African Church Mission, and Maria Legio — is an African Initiated Church or new religious movement initially among the Luo people of western Kenya which incorporates traditional Luo religious customs into a Catholic Christian framework...

 sect who come to the rock to pray and fast for several weeks at a time.

Imperial Hotel


Imperial Hotel is a 4 star Hotel in the heart of Kisumu.
Along Jomo Kenyatta Highway, this Landmark has been watching over Kisumu's CBD since 1985.

Transport



Before the jet
Jet aircraft
A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by jet engines. Jet aircraft generally fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes – as high as . At these altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency over long distances. The engines in propeller-powered aircraft...

 airline era, Kisumu was a landing point on the British flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

 passenger and mail route from Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 to Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

. Kisumu linked Port Bell
Port Bell
Port Bell is a small industrial centre in the greater metropolitan Kampala area, in Uganda. Port Bell has a rail link and a rail/road ferry wharf used for International traffic across Lake Victoria to Tanzania and Kenya.-Location:...

 and Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

.

Kisumu is served by Kisumu Airport
Kisumu Airport
Kisumu Airport is an airport in Kisumu, Kenya . It is the third busiest airport in Kenya.-Airlines and destinations:-Trivia:* U.S. President Barack Obama's father is from the village of Nyang'oma Kogelo, 37 miles or 60 km from Kisumu...

, with regular daily flights to Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

 and elsewhere. Plans to expand the airport in anticipation of increased trade brought about by the recreated East African Community
East African Community
The East African Community is an intergovernmental organisation comprising the five east African countries Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Pierre Nkurunziza, the President of the Republic of Burundi, is the current Chairman of the East African Community. The EAC was originally...

 of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are already in high gear with works expected to be complete within the next decade.

Lake Victoria ferries
Lake Victoria ferries
Lake Victoria ferries are motor ships carrying freight and passengers between Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya on Lake Victoria...

 have operated from the port linking the railway to Mwanza
Mwanza
Mwanza is a mid-sized port city on the southern shores of Lake Victoria in northwestern Tanzania. With an urban population of 1.2 million and a metropolitan population of 2 million, it is Tanzania's second largest city, following Dar es Salaam and ahead of other major Tanzanian cities of Arusha,...

 and Bukoba
Bukoba
Bukoba is a town in northwest Tanzania on the western shore of Lake Victoria. It is the capital of the Kagera region. Population estimate: 100,000...

 in Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, and to Entebbe
Entebbe
Entebbe is a major town in Central Uganda. Located on a Lake Victoria peninsula, the town was at one time, the seat of government for the Protectorate of Uganda, prior to Independence in 1962...

, Port Bell
Port Bell
Port Bell is a small industrial centre in the greater metropolitan Kampala area, in Uganda. Port Bell has a rail link and a rail/road ferry wharf used for International traffic across Lake Victoria to Tanzania and Kenya.-Location:...

, and Jinja
Jinja, Uganda
Jinja is the largest town in Uganda, Africa. It is the second busiest commercial center in the country, after Kampala, Uganda's capital and only city. Jinja was established in 1907.-Location:...

 in Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

.

President Kibaki launched a Ksh. 6.8 billion road project for a major overhaul of Kisumu's road network on July 24, 2009.

Rail and air accidents


Douglas C-47 plane operated by South African Air Force
South African Air Force
The South African Air Force is the air force of South Africa, with headquarters in Pretoria. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra...

 crashed into Lake Victoria soon after taking off from Kisumu Airport on July 11, 1945. All 28 on board died.

Two serious railway accidents occurred near Kisumu in the 2000s.

The first took place outside Kisumu on August 15, 2000. The brakes on the train failed, causing it to roll. Thirteen people were killed and 37 received injuries. The second took place on the morning of October 16, 2005, when a matatu
Matatu
In Kenya and neighboring nations matatu are privately owned minibuses although pick-up trucks were in the past pressed into service as these East African share taxis. Often decorated, many matatu feature portraits of the famous or slogans and sayings, some religious.These minibuses ply set routes,...

(taxi minibus) was struck by a passenger train. Six people died and 23 more were injured.
After that there have been accidents in its major towns with notable black spots: Ojola/Kisian, Kisat bridge, Ahero, Sondu, Awasi just but to mention a few.

Notable natives and residents


The term used to refer to a resident of Kisumu is jakisumo (plural, jokisumo). Notable jokisumo include
  • Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
    Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
    Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga was a Luo Chief, who became a prominent figure in Kenya's struggle for independence. He later served as Kenya's first Vice-President, and thereafter as opposition leader...

    , politician, the first Vice-President of Kenya
    Vice-President of Kenya
    The Vice-President of Kenya is the second-highest executive official in the Kenyan government.-List of Vice-Presidents of Kenya:*Jaramogi Oginga Odinga *Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi *Daniel arap Moi...

  • Raila Amolo Odinga, politician, son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenya's prime minister
    Prime Minister of Kenya
    The Prime Minister of Kenya is a post in the Kenyan government. The first Prime Minister of Kenya was Jomo Kenyatta who became Prime Minister in 1963. In 1964, Kenya became a Republic and the post of Prime Minister was abolished and Jomo Kenyatta assumed the position of President...

  • Robert Ouko, politician and son of Kisumu Nyahera who was abducted from his Koru, Kenya
    Koru, Kenya
    Koru is a village in Nyando District, Nyanza Province, Kenya. It forms an electoral ward of Muhoroni Constituency and Muhoroni town council . Koru is also a location in the Muhoroni division of Nyando District . Elevation 1540m.- Transport :...

    home. His charred body was found later.
  • Vinodrai Joshi Of Kisumu Sweet Mart.

External links