Kisumu Impala Sanctuary holds a diverse number of trees, grass, herbs and wildlife both free-ranging and captive. It is this diversity which makes the sanctuary quite an enjoyable place to visit. It is not a wonder the sanctuary provides such good backdrops for wildlife research. At the turn of the last century, when the East African Railway reached Kisumu, Kisumu was teeming with plains game. As time went by, hunting for the pot, ecosystem loss through human settlement and agriculture, reduced numbers vastly. By the early 80s, what could be seen was a pitifully small herd of Impala that roamed the town and neighbouring areas. These 84 acres of marsh, grassland and forest, today provide a home for what remains of the herd of Impala.
The sanctuary later developed into a holding point for captured problem animals. In 1992 it officially became a sanctuary. In March 2010, it was branded ‘a lakeshore walk with impalas’. There have been plans to upgrade it to a full-fledged Wildlife Conservation Education Centre. Whenever you are in Kisumu city, make a point of visiting, if only to do these four things.
1. Photograph Birds
Kisumu Impala Sanctuary has over 115 species of birds that have been recorded in the sanctuary. Spot a few of these while you enjoy several nature trail circuits.
2. See the Big Five Less the Elephant
All the members of the Big Five except the elephant live at the sanctuary. Other free-ranging game you can see includes the hippo, monitor lizards, some snakes. The reclusive and acutely threatened Sitatunga antelope also live here. At the animal orphanage, you will see animals under special care such as the Maasai lion, cape buffalo, spotted hyena, African leopard, Tanzanian cheetah olive baboons and several vervet monkeys.
3. Compete in the Annual Boat Race
If you visit in November, you can catch the annual Kisumu Impala Conservation Boat Race. The race aims to raise awareness about the endangered sitatunga antelope. The sanctuary is also a key site for ecology and wildlife research and education.
4. Catch an African Sundowner
Catch beautiful sundowners at the Sundowner Tower. The tower overlooks the Railway Trail by the shores of Lake Victoria.
Kisumu Impala Sanctuary might not give you the thrill of the Big Five, but it certainly offers visitors fantastic photography opportunities. Located only 3 KM from Kisumu City, it is just by the shores of Lake Victoria near Hippo Point. Now there is a new gate, the Sunset Gate, which connects the sanctuary to the Sunset Hotel to give guests easy access. Check out the Kenya Wildlife Service website for up to date entry rates.