Background Surgical mentorship crosses both skilled training and the gamut of career choices and surgical decision making. The challenge also lies in the ideal mentorship balance that transcends the mere transfer of surgical skills and addresses other key components such as career development and research. Objective To explore the views and perceptions of surgical residents in Kenyan Institutions on mentorship and its importance in training. Method Sixty four surgical residents were surveyed. Thirty four (56%) were involved in a mentorship program. Twenty three percent of residents within an actual mentorship program reported satisfaction with their mentorship program. Mentors were perceived to be most critical in research and competency. Expectations were lower for their role in career development, handling stress and character building. About half of respondents felt that an ideal mentorship program would entail a structured mentoring program with regular monitoring. Conclusion Current uptake of mentorship roles is suboptimal. There is need to strengthen our mentorship links to enhance the support of new residents to balance professional and private personal needs.