Kakamega town is, perhaps, known more for being the home of Kakamega Forest – few among the last remnants of indigenous rain forests in the world. The forest is home to rare plant and animal life including the red-tailed monkey and the blue turaco.
Believed to be a remnant of the expansive Congo forest, the Kakamega forest accommodates 400 birds, 400 butterflies, 200 bees, 27 snakes, 17 frogs and 7 primate species. The forest has more than 380 different types of plants, some of which are used as medicine by the surrounding communities.
But the forest is not the only feature that makes this town a famous tourist attraction. It is also well-known for its dog market – perhaps the only organised dog market of its kind in the region. Besides the high crime incidences in Kakamega, the origin and growth of this unique dog market at Lubao has been fueled by the demand for hunting dogs.
Yet your visit of Kakamega is never complete without a visit to the Khayega and Malinya grounds to behold the popular bullfighting spectacle practised among the Isukha and Idako tribes. Unlike the Spanish corrida de toros where man fights bull, the Kakamega bull-fighting involves bulls fighting each other. This cultural sport has become so popular that special stadia are now under construction to host the monthly event.
It is said that the bulls used in the fights are specifically bred for battle. Their diet is special and consists of grass fortified with molasses.
The bulls are isolated from heifers at an early age to prevent them from mating and hence supposedly losing their ‘fighting’ vigour. But apparently, that is not the only thing that makes them aggressive at the battle arena. Apparently, on the eve of a fight, they are fed on a local brew and other secret concoctions to increase their urge to fight. Some say the secret concoction includes bhang.
The putting up of the first stadium at Malinya and the proposed tarmacking of the road that leads to the stadium just goes to show how serious the people of Kakamega are about positioning this activity as a major tourist attraction. There are even plans to increase the frequency of the fights to accommodate for increased tourist traffic.
Your trip should, of course, end at the weeping stone of Kit Mikayi. These are massive columns of stone rising about 8 M high found at a place called Seme. From the top of this rock ‘tears’ flow down the length of the column from a reservoir at the top of the stone that fills with water when it rains.
This water then flows through cracks, giving the impression of tears. Numerous stories have been told of the origin of the rock and why it ‘cries’ but that is a story for another day which you can as well find out for yourself by paying Kakamega town a visit. It will be worth your while.