Western Kenya a.k.a Luhya Land is the Kenyan region that holds majority of the aforementioned ethnic group. Although the country was recently divided into counties as opposed to provinces, Luhya land is still referred to as Western Kenya. Some of the towns found within this social construct include Bungoma, Kimilili, Kakamega, Webuye, Kitale, and Busia among others. When planning to visit the Western Kenya region, the following pointers will help you adequately prepare for and enjoy your trip.
The Luhya community is one of the most welcoming groups in the Kenyan tribes. Of course, the first few days of your stay will be full of stares, giggles and hidden points (assuming you will be staying in rural parts), but once the locals get used to you, you will feel right at home. You might need to pick up some Luhya words such as hello, thank you and please. Otherwise, with a Swahili translator, you are going to get by just fine. In fact, if you will be within larger towns such as Kitale and Bungoma, then English will suffice.
Luhya way of life
There are three things that are most important to the Luhya people: food, tea and community. Do not be surprised if you are served with a plate of rice or githeri in the morning. This is considered as normal breakfast food together with sweet potatoes, arrowroots and cassava. While the rest of Kenya sticks to a 3 meal a day rule, in Western Kenya, any time is eating time. The Luhya believe that of all things, food is not a commodity to limit or deny someone. So you will often find food being prepared at most times of the day. Tea is almost like water in a Luhya household and will be drunk hot whenever the thirst for it is present.
For the most part, Western Kenya has well-developed infrastructure with hubs of economic activities in major towns such as Kitale and Bungoma. However, there are vast lands of natural and planted vegetation since agriculture is one of the major commercial activities. You will find hotels and lodges, though not too luxurious in most towns. Electricity shortages are common but water is available and plenty. Public transportation is also available with bodabodas being the main form of transport. Taxis are also available but might be too expensive especially when your non-locality is realized.
Attractions and what to do
Western Kenya is a kernel of culture and physical sites alike. The crying stone and tropical forest in Kakamega, the paper factory in Webuye, the peculiar animal sanctuary in Kitale are just a few of what the area has in store. In addition, the famous bullfights and male rites of passage festivals in December happen nowhere else but Western Kenya.
The region has a lot to offer and at affordable prices. Although the levels of luxury are not similar to Nairobi, the experiences are worth the trouble. Visit western Kenya to have know more about the Luhya community and their way of life. Western Kenya is easily accessible by road with well-paved highways through Nakuru-Eldoret-Kitale-Bungoma route or Nakuru-Kapsabet-Muhoroni-Kakamega route. There are airstrips at Kitale and Bungoma for those that prefer flights.