This large service town offers little to travellers apart from banks and a good night’s sleep. The post office and most banks are on the main drag (Uganda Rd). Safari Forex Bureau (KVDA Plaza, Oloo Rd) exchanges cash and travellers cheques with no commission and, does Western Union transfers. For internet, try Cyber Hawk Internet Café (Nandi Arcade, Nandi Rd; per hr KSh60)
Kericho is a haven of tranquillity. Its surrounds are blanketed by a thick patchwork of manicured tea plantations, each seemingly hemmed in by distant stands of evergreens, and even the town centre seems as orderly as the tea gardens. With a pleasant climate and a number of things to see and do, Kericho makes for a very calming couple of days.
Three hours west of Nairobi, this ramshackle provincial town – the capital of the Mara region – is the last proper centre before the vast savannahs of the Masai Mara. It’s a friendly and surprisingly hassle-free place, but few travellers have reason to stop. Most people roll on in, browse the curio shops while their driver refuels, then roll on out again.
If you want to fall totally off the radar then Mfangano Island, sitting out in the placid lake waters, is an idyllic place to get lost. Home to many a monitor lizard, inquisitive locals, intriguing rock paintings and the imposing but assailable Mt Kwitutu (1694m), Mfangano Island is well worth a day or two.
Mbita & Rusinga Island
Mbita and Rusinga Island (connected by a causeway) are delightful. Tiny, languid and rarely visited, they offer a glimpse of an older Africa – an Africa that moves to the gentle sway of the seasons rather than the ticking of a clock. This is the sort of place where schoolchildren abandon their classes to watch you pass by and old women burst into song at your arrival.
Homa Bay has a slow, tropical, almost central African vibe, and the near-total absence of other tourists means it’s extraordinarily and genuinely friendly. There is little to do other than trudge up and down the dusty, music-filled streets or wander down to the lake edge to watch the marabou storks pick through the trash as they wait for the fishermen and their morning catch.