Situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest freshwater lake after Lake Superior in the USA, Kisumu has one of the most breathtaking sunsets on the lake.
It has remnants of fine colonial architecture with a distinct smell of the lake as you drive into the district.
The town stands at 1,131 metres (3,711 ft), above sea level.
It is the district headquarters and harbor of the Lake Victoria docks.
Lake Victoria port was founded in 1901 as the main inland terminal for the Kenya-Uganda Railway. Its name was changed to Port Florence after the chief engineer’s wife hammered in the last nail in the sleeper.
Kisumu is derived from the Luo language Dholuo word, "sumo" meaning ‘a place to barter or trade’.
The city has a "Friendship" status with Cheltenham, UK and a "sister city" status with Roanoke, Virginia and Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Kisumu was identified by British explorers in early 1898 as a railway terminus and port for the Uganda railway, then under construction.
It was to replace Port Victoria, near the mouth of Nzoia River, which was an important centre on the caravan trade route.
Kisumu was ideally located on the shores of Lake Victoria in the cusp of the Winam Gulf, at the end of the caravan trail from Pemba and Mombasa.
Kisumu had the potential to connect the Lake region by steamer.
In July 1899, the first skeleton plan for Kisumu was prepared. This included landing places and wharves along the northern lakeshore, near the present day Airport Road.