A stay at Rusinga Island Lodge Exposed us to the most beautiful Islands of Lake victoria..

 

IMG_9067As our journey continues from Luanda Kotieno we landed in Mbita where we proceeded to Rusinga Island The sunset was quite welcoming and so was the Rusinga island lodge team where we were going to spend a night. Rusinga Island is on the eastern part of Lake Victoria on Winam gulf.

 

In 1948 Rusinga Island came into the history books when Mary and Louis Leakey made their discovery of the last common ancestor of the great apes,  proconsul heleloni, which was purportedly an early genus primate that existed around 27 million years ago. Since the Island is at the crossroads where Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania meet, it has been influenced by the three countries’ traditional cultures. This is seen as many cross the Lake and live in other islands where traditional Ugandan or Tanzanian foods can be found in the local menu such as Matoke (rabolo-plantain) as well as all fish and vegetables dishes. Luos from the Northern and South Nyanza mainland also bring their rumba-style music, their round thatched house model of homes and their love of partying to add to the mix. We visited the litare fishing village got to learn and participate in fishing with the local community

 

Rusinga Island also hosts the mausoleum of the late Tom Mboya, who is one of the most prominent personalities in Kenyan history. He was born Thomas Joseph Mboya on 15th August 1930 and was assassinated at the tender age of 39 on 5th July 1969.

TJ mboya grave Rusinga.jpgIt is widely believed that his profile and illustrious career as a brilliant and charismatic leader, which was seen as a challenge to the then political establishment, led to his assassination.

Our two nights stay here were spent relaxing, bird watching, Island Hoping, swimming etc. This place was truely magical as the images below showcase that stay.

 

You can check more about Rusinga Island on this link >>>>>

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Birds island is a protect birds area full of birds and monitor lizards 

During our stay here we got to visit the magical Takawiri Island  This a haven for hippos and a vast array of bird-life and one of the most unspoilt islands on Lake Victoria. Takawiri Island also goes by the names, Takavire, Takawiri Island, Takivere Island, Takiwiri Island.

Takawiri Island
Takawiri Island

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Takawiri Island
Takawiri Island

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well Good luck to all of us and as the sun sets on Rusinga Island Lodge so does our journey get to a close. we can only Thank the team here for the warm hospitality, delicious food and a very spacious extr-comfortable Room I had.

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Kisumu County as I Experienced it and fell in love..

A journey that took us a few hours from Kakamega  landed us  in Kisumu city, Kenya’s third largest city and the main urban center in Western Kenya, Kisumu has a lot to offer the to business and leisure traveler. In recent years, Kisumu has transformed from a provincial town to an attractive investment destination.

 

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The green patch is the View of lake victoria from Acacia Premier Hotel in Kisumu

As the East-African member countries are working more and more closely together, Kisumu is ideally located to play a significant role in this collaboration. Its location on the shores of Lake Victoria and its proximity to tourist attractions such as Kakamega Forest, Ndere Island and Ruma National Park, make it an increasingly popular base from which to explore Western Kenya- The main reason we were here.

We arrived to Kisumu city by road if you were following us you must have already read our previous post  we were coming from Kakamega and I must say I was impressed by how much the city has modernized but then again Our Luo brothers are known to have a FIIINE taste.. they say Luo is not a tribe but a lifestyle, and our Hotel proved all this. The Sovereign suites was nothing but incredible the staff was friendly and the meals delicious. Our rooms were quite spacious and comfortable you would just leave here.

 

 

While in kisumu we also took the liberty to check other properties like, victoria suites, Acacia premiere and jambo Chester inside Impala animal orphanage.  . Big ups to the manager of Acacia Premier Kisunu for a wonderful hospitality. You have truely set the bar high for Bleisure in Kisumu city.

 

Well after an overnight in kisumu city we reluctantly woke up to continue with our journey of west coast. Too bad we couldn’t trace the magical sunset and sunrises with rays reflecting over Lake victoria as the Hycnth has really covered this part of the lake and it looked like one green lake. we started by visit The impala Animal Orphanage. Set on the shore of Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in Africa, the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary is a peaceful, relaxing place to enjoy the natural beauty that abounds here. The sanctuary hosts impalas, the rare Sitatunga antelope as well as big cats, buffalos, giraffes, cheetahs and several primate species. The sanctuary is also home to five campsites all with spectacular views of Lake Victoria. Bird watching, nature walks and glass bottomed boat rides compliment the activities availed at the sanctuary.

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A Shot on the movie LOST lol.. anyway on the old railway line at Impala Sanctuary Kisumu.

 

There after we headed to Ndere Island and on the way we stopped at Kiti mikayi  According to the Luo folklore, Kit Mikayi, mother of the tribe, rested up near Ndere Island, The smallest game reserve in Kenya after her long journey south down the Nile valley.,She found the shore lines so pleasing that she and her people stayed.

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Forklore time with an elder at Kiti Mikayi Shrine

Folklore also exists about the cause of the rock weeping. It’s believed that Mikayi, “the first wife” went up the hill to the stones when her husband took a second wife, and has been weeping ever since. imagesAnother legend about the weeping rock exists of a man who was in love with the stone. He could wake up in the morning and walk into the cave inside the stone and stay there the whole day forcing his wife to bring him breakfast and lunch every day. The old man become passionately in love with this stone to the extent that if somebody asked his wife the of his whereabouts , the wife would answer that he has gone to visit his first wife-Mikayi hence the stone of the first wife is Kit Mikayi.

 

After Kiti Mikayi we headed to Ndere Island. The rocky features full of kopjes as we descended to board our boat was kind of interesting to the eyes and photographers alike. Located on Lake Victoria, this island is a haven for birds.

Covered mostly in grassland, Ndere Island provides beautiful scenic views of the Homa hills to the south, Mageta Island to the east and the glimpses of Kampala in Uganda beyond the south west horizon. The lake shore supports a wide variety of animals including hippos, monitor lizards, Nile crocodiles, several fish species, snakes, baboons, impalas, the rare sitatunga antelopes, water bucks, zebras and warthogs. Over 100 different species of birds can be seen here including African fish eagles, black headed gonoleks and grey headed kingfishers.

 

The community around Ndere island were very hospitable and we learnt quite of interesting things at-least I learnt how to mend fishing nets lol..

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learning how to mend fishing nets.

Our journey to Luanda Lotieno for our ferry to Mbita was filled with fertile farmlands and interesting landscapes and fewer Matatus lol…

We got at the boarding port quite early and trust Kenyan Travelers the first thing they look for in a new place… Nyamchom but in this particular area FishChom lol too bad…but they Got something else.. hehe!

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The CEO of Lake Victoria tourism Mr.Antony Ochieng acting as a translator to a local Dholuo elder during preaching.  Apparently they do this before boarding the ferry  to calm the sea.

That is a story for another Because someone started calling all travelers for a spiritual session. Apparently Before boarding the ferry all passenger must gather prayer and read the bible together to ward bad spirits away…. and the preaching were in Dholuo wee! But Antony our fellow Tourism Ambassador were there to safe the day and do the interpretations hehe…. It was kind of interesting. One thing travel has taught me is to mingle and fit in with the locals as much as possible you will learn a lot of things not on any map or book.

 

The ferry was still taking sometime and some of us decided to put on a show and dance on the shows of lake Victoria. Tip; while on a long journey; sometimes just looking through the window can be exhausting carry a book, Great company or some music with you. It will break the monotony. But I must say Kisumu county is quite Gorgeous… and the residents quite fun to be around.

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At Luanda Kotieno waiting for our ferry

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Our “Vifarus” also waiting to board the Ferry.
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All Boarded to Mbita.
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The magical sunset that welcomed us to Mbita.
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Karibu Rusinga Island..

We got to Rusinga Island quite late and my #TwendeWestern Tale continues…….

If you have attractions and interesting things to do in Kisumu and its environs kindly share with us…

 

 

 

 

 

Why we think a visit to East Africa Rock city is not complete without a stay at Waghill lodge and spa.

One of those moments your fingers ache to type… Unlike many other times, I am on a roof top restaurant in Mwanza town the R00ck city as the locals like to call it.

Rock city is Tanzania’s second largest town. The geographical features around this town are quite interesting and breathtaking at the same time. For a moment I almost forgot my immigration woes earlier after a journey of 650km from Nairobi to Mwanza, the border Immigration officer in Isebania Border made me feel like I was in an interrogation room and to some point I just told Him to give me back my papers and go back to Nairobi; talk of catching feelings hehe! The most annoying thing is, he had already stamped them…and it took the intervention of modern coast management for him to let me go, But now I am brighter, no matter what you are going to do in Tanzania just say you are visiting life will be easier that way….

By the time we left the border it was already morning and our journey to Mwanza was wonderful great views of rocky hilly landscapes, traditional homes, farmlands, wildlife, and by the time we were getting into Mwanza there was no warning –Town features- only traffic grew but the housing wasn’t as modern as Nairobi is.

Our host Mr.George, picked me and my friend upon arrival at 11:00hrs from the bus station and he gave us a brief history of Mwanza. Our first stop was at Wag Hill rooftop restaurant on Nyerere avenue. The restaurant Gives you a 360degree of Mwanza town. And you could Cleary see houses impressively built on rocks, -wish they would paint them colorfully- a good view of lake Victoria from a distance, the hustles and bustles of Mwanza Town……just like downtown Nairobi they got venders selling their wares

 

After our brief rest and a snack we departed for Wag hill lodge with a city center tour, I could see lots of similarity with other towns in east Africa, things beyond the Swahili language.

There are quite a number of historical sites and monuments to visit in Mwanza e.g The Bujora museum which showcases the culture of the biggest tribe in Tanzania the Sukuma People, Kageye Historical site ETC But I enjoyed the view of Bismarck Rock on the shores of Lake Victoria massive granite rock right in the city. It attracts lots of interests from those new here and a lot of myths surround this rock. For a moment you might think that this naturally arranged rocks can fall off by merely pushing them with your fingers but they are solid and they have been soo for centuries.

Bismarck rock, Mwanza
Bismarck-rocks, named after the most famous German Chancellor in the days prior to the World Wars, who served his Kaiser at a time when the notorious Berlin Conference, which divided Africa and Africans into colonial possessions, created boundaries over which modern African countries today still are in dispute.

 

When in Mwanza you may also want to explore more and head to Ukerewe Island and Rubondo home of a national park with diverse natural attractions, rich in birds and a wonderful beach, Historical museums of Halwego Handebezyo in Ukerewe.

Our Journey from the city to Waghill Lodge, which was going to be our home took approximately 30mins. A cinnamon collection lodge. The lodge lies on southern Peninsula Of lake Victoria amidst lots of kopjes. Lake Victoria is nearly 69,000sqKM, it borders Kenya, Uganda and more than half of it is in Tanzania. It looks quite massive… yet well controlled by this massive landscape of kopjes all around.

On arrival at Waghill we were warmly welcomed and escorted to our rooms to freshen up before going for a late lunch. But the beauty and uniqueness of this property re-energized us such that you just wanted to be out there, its built in a way it doesn’t interfere with the natural surroundings yet at the same time giving you the maximum and the most breath taking views of the lake and lands and islands beyond.

The sunrise and sunsets are wonderfully captured…you can’t afford to miss this and if possible take the nature trails from the lodge to the hill top for a bird’s eye view. The lodge has two natural Harbors which have become breeding grounds for some of the largest tilapia one can find anywhere in the world, The scenary in this part of the lake has breathtaking granite rock structures that appear to defy Gravity. The lodge in itself is a full package as everything is well thought of. The tented rooms and The cottages are constructed in a way you enjoy total privacy and serenity of the place without interfering with the breathtaking views of this location. All rooms are self contained and elegantly furnished. The foot paths also done in a way they mix and blend in with nature. There are quite a number of activities one can enjoy while there like Swimming, Nature walks, Paint Balling, Horse riding, boat rides, fishing, kayacking etc Even if you stay here for a week you still won’t get bored and you can still enjoy sometime at their spa or swing your troubles away while enjoying the lake-views.

The lodge also Has a four bedroomed self-catering Villa, fully equipped, luxuriously furnished and with an exclusive swimming pool. Great for private functions or family getaways

My time here felt soo short… would have loved to extend but like they say every good thing must come to an end. It was lovely to re-connect with the general manager Mr.Stanley Morley having interacted with him during hospitality forums in Kenya and with a worldclass experience, I have confidence in Him that Waghill as a brand will continue to raise. The meals at waghill were mouthwatering complements to the chef, and to all the staff at Waghill, Thank you for your hospitality and great service. This is one lodge will keep watch and continue to recommend.

For those who would wish to travel to Mwanza its easily accessible either by road or By air through Mwanza Airport. The lodge is perfect for family getaway, a honey moon package, solo trips and for anyone who likes luxury and exclusivity. Its perfectly located in away you can end a safari from serengeti or even a day trip before departing Tanzania.

#ThumbsUpWagHill.

Christmas Package to Mwanza.

WAGHILL lodge and Spa.