Written by Cate Kahiu.
Edited by Vik Chege.
This is about the time I went to Homa Bay and had to get up at 4:30 in the morning because somewhere in the adventurer handbook; it says that you have to get up before the giant ball of fire we orbit. So there’s me, 70 other people, no sunlight and ooh yaas, trucks. It was to be a truck party experience. Just before COVID 19 got serious, we got to have the best pre-quarantine adventures courtesy of Keitan Safaris.
The beginning of the plan seemed pretty simple, meet at Kencom, leave. It’s only simple if you’re on time which I was and don’t let anyone tell you anything else. Just trust me on this. Turns out the time was probably just a marketing thing because, like all great adventures, this one started with some truck trouble. When stuff like this happens, you can pick a seat and fall asleep on it or you could chat up your friends. Some of us even noticed that we have a common liking for Trevor Ombija, a news anchor, and his melodious voice (Hey Triza and Phoebe haha!). Our first stop was at the viewpoint for the obligatory photo sesh and that thing where you go like “wah this place is cold”. I always hear that sentence there. Sometimes it’s even me that’s saying it. Once we were done with breakfast and the photo session we embarked on our long journey ahead with stopovers at Narok, Kisii and finally at our home for the next two days; Rusinga Island Lodge.
Rusinga Island Lodge
The lodge is located at the shores of Lake Victoria. It features well-manicured lawns that stretch to the edge of the lake as well as palm trees which are a haven for different bird species. The climate is quite sunny but thanks to the lake it provides humidity for the air and in the afternoon a welcome on-shore breeze stirs up making it quite bearable. The views at Rusinga Island are just amazing. The sunrise and sunset views as well are to die for. Pictures are worth a thousand words right?
Rusinga by Sunset
If you are not spending the night at the lodge then you may choose the camping option, which was what we went with. We pitched our tents from scratch with the help of the truck crew and staff at the lodge. I don’t know if you’ve pitched a tent before but it’s like setting the water temp in the shower. Some people get it right on the first try and some people need help. Guess which one I am. Cynthia, who was to be tent mate, and I were sure to pitch our tent facing the beautiful Lake as we wanted to experience the amazing morning views and to sleep with the sounds of the waves of the lake if not in the mouth of the Hippopotamus. Later on, the chefs served us some sumptuous meals and we danced the night away by the bonfire.
Fun fact about the Trucks.
- Enough leg room and space for the truck party experience
- In case you are camping the trucks come with big and strong tents, mattresses, beddings and cutlery
- Cooler for the drinks
- Charging ports
Have you ever fallen in love, so bad and desperately? Actually the real question is have you ever fallen in love with a person who you have only heard off and probably seen through social media? If this man plans a date so that you can meet up for the first time, what mood will you have before the meetup? Excitement, chills, the anxiety I mean all moods right? You want everything to fit your imagination and thoughts. This was exactly my mood on the second day as we were set to visit one among the many islands located within lake Victoria; Takawiri island.
You can tell a good day from how the sunrises; shining its golden rays and the birds chirping as though to honor Mother Nature. Never have I ever heard of a sour day on an island; especially while on vacation unless it’s haunted. After breakfast, we did some warm-up led by Charlie, who had interesting games that had him, nicknamed Mr. Equals. It’s never worth it explaining jokes so kindly reach out to me in the comment section if you are curious as to why his nickname is Mr. Equals. I will explain it to you but it’s as simple as you are thinking. Ha!
Getting to Takawiri from Rusinga lodge was pretty simple. All we had to do was to get into a boat and row to the destination which is just one hour away from the lodge. We were divided into two groups because of the capacity of the boats and once we were ready we rowed away to the island. The boats are all rowed by hand. I like motorboats but the noise kind of ruins the mood when you’re inside them. But that’s just me. During the one hour ride, we spotted a few fishermen casting their nets as well as some few children and adults taking a bath at the Lake. This is what we called a bath with a view right? Some of us were intrigued by the fishing lifestyle of the people and Keitan decided that we should stop over and learn a thing or two about fishing. We stopped at Mbasa fishing village. We learned that this village is solely dependent on fishing as a source of income. The fishermen that we met were very friendly and engaging. They explained to us that as they fish they are always in search of Nile perch or Tilapia which are renowned to make delicious meals. They also fish small fish including fulu (Cichid) or Omen (Sardine in English) and Kapenga. We had our first time experience on real-time fishing and they even got us to help pull out the fishing net. It sounds easier than it actually is. As a source of motivation because we didn’t want to let go of what we had started, our choir mistress Phoebe led the choir in singing a song that had the “Chuma ya Doshi” words in it. I could see through their faces that they enjoyed our company. While at the village we spotted the water bus which is the most efficient and safest water transport mode on Lake Victoria.
We embarked on our journey to Takawiri Island. As we approached the island the whistling palm trees, the calm birds, the soothing gentle waves crashing on the shores and the white sand was all I could see. Remember my boyfriend’s theory? I had now been reunited with him and he was perfect just as I had imagined. Aaah Taniua!
Now let me paint you a word picture, the sky is blue, unobstructed view of the water, and seven times ten of your closest acquaintances. Did I mention the white sand and people in swimsuits? There are places with grass too. I’m really not doing it justice. It’s beautiful. 10/10 would recommend. Honestly, it’s a good place to both propose and gets dumped at. I feel like either could work. Frankly, the Island is truly the “Zanzibar ya Kenya” as most people would call it. Really the only difference in looks is that this site has the lake and Zanzibar has the ocean. The place offers picturesque landscape and views which create lasting memories in one’s mind. The sun is just as scorching as any other while on a beach, so sunscreen will come in handy. The resort offers accommodation options for anyone who wishes to stay there and for my fellow budget travelers, camping is one of the options. There is no swimming pool at the resort but who needs a swimming pool when you can swim in the clear waters of the lake? Surfboards are readily available at the lake for everyone who wishes to discover their skills or to just rest or meditate on the waters. The main activities on the Island are swimming, kayaking, sunbathing and sand bathing. There weren’t any waves big enough to surf because lakes aren’t exactly surf spots but it totally fits the mood of the place. For bird watchers, the lake attracts various species of wetland birds such as fish eagles and Egyptian geese. These activities were relaxing and most of us were able to meditate and rejuvenate before we came back to join in the fight against Corona. Takawiri is definitely a place to visit again and with the aim of camping at those beautiful white beaches.
- While en-route to Takawiri Island, carry enough snacks and booze to enjoy while on transit since the food at Takawiri resort is quite pricy plus you’re on an island so your choices are somewhat limited. You can’t just find a supermarket.
- Please note carry sunscreen for use; the sun (surprise, surprise) is hot and will burn the top layer of your epidermis to a flaky black unappetizing mess. Think of a snake when it’s shedding.
- The beach attracts a 500Ksh fee because it’s a private property
- It is advisable to go there during the morning hours because in the afternoon the tides are quite rough and it’s not advisable to swim at that time.
Also, I wasn’t kidding when I said the views at Rusinga Island were to die for. Someone did get proposed to at the place. Did she say yes? Who’s next? Read the next blog and find out. Cheers!
Escapade by Keitan Safaris
Photos by Brent Focus.