Over the holidays, I got to go on a rock climbing expedition, but this was not your typical rock climbing experience. Kit – Mikayi is one of nature’s mysteries, a rock formation which stands tall at 120 metres high could be described as nature’s balancing act.
It’s a common miscalculation that Kisumu City, Kenya only has views of Lake Victoria to offer. Sure, from whichever angle you are in the city you are treated to a breathtaking view, but on the drive further towards Western Kenya lies hills sprinkled with boulders and rocks of different sizes, shapes and formations. Some look carefully placed to mimic different items, I personally spotted a television set, a ship or submarine, and a hippo. However, nothing came close to the rock formation that seemed to stand tall and proud around all the others.
Kit-Mikayi roughly translates to “the stone of the first woman” in Luo, one of the 42 languages of Kenya. Folklore suggests that a man named Ngeso was so in love with the rock he spent most of his time inside its caves and sat beside it. He would often spend his days and host his peers by the rock. He spent so much time by the rock that people came to believe he was in love with the rock, so far as to call it his first wife (Mikayi).
I was determined to get to the top of the rocks when I got there. Water bottle in hand, and slathered in sunscreen I approached the reception area. I paid approximately KES 200 (USD 1.97), met my guide and was off to the top. The sun was scorching, but Kit Mikayi has many coves and caves which offered shelter. Some of the caves are presently used as shrines by the local community and are decorated with candles, pictures and names of loved ones. The guide explained that the water found in the caves is thought to have healing properties, and is a popular destination for pilgrimages in times of hardship.
Climbing the rocks was challenging as some were slippery and fitting into some of the paths was challenging, but the views were worth it! Sadly, getting to the uppermost rock was not possible as it was dangerous and they were not equipped to have people climb that high.
At the foot of the rock formation, I was welcomed back by traditional dancers. They wrapped me in a sisal skirt and sang as we danced together to traditional Luo songs. Although the experience itself is only about USD 2, budget for tips for both your guide and the traditional dancers and parking fees. Additionally, if you do not have a private car, plan for transport to and from Kit Mikayi. Overall, the experience was great. I would suggest including it on a tour of popular destinations across Western Kenya and spending 3 days in Kisumu to visit the lake and other destinations.