This is the second part of our expedition to Homa Bay Country with a Kenyan Nomad.
Missed the first post on Takawiri and Mfangano Islands?
After chasing Takawiri and Mfangano Island, our next phase of the trip was staying at Lake Victoria Safari Village and what an upgrade of Bimoss Resort was this place. No offence Bimoss but hands down, Lake Victoria Safari Village has the best views of the Lake and Islands from Mbita.
Check out out this post if you are interested in staying at Lake Victoria Safari Village: Awesome Accommodation in Mbita for Travelers on a Budget
Tip: Lake Victoria safari village is only 15 minutes away from Mbita town and it’s your best bet if you are on a budget. I know it’s a good deal because shortly after my trip, at least three people I know visited this hotel and had nothing but good things to say about Lake Victoria safari village.
The hotel organises boat trips to explore the islands depending on the traveler’s needs. It’s why our host, took us to explore Mbasa Islands also known as Bird Islands on the 4th day of our stay in Mbita. If you are into birds, this island is bird haven. Some of the birds include cormorants, white egrets and others that I cannot name because like I said, I have zero interests in birds. As you can see, most trees are covered completely by these birds which survive on fish and insects.
Basically, if you have no interest in birds, you have no business checking out this islands unless you want to take in the scenic views that lead to the islands. You will most likely see fishermen and locals alike going about their day to day lives. You will also realize that not everyone that lives next to Lake Victoria Safari Village can afford a speed boat. Most operate their boats by rowing, with no life jacket.
Travel tip. Hiring a speedboat is too expensive? Catch the ferry or the water bus to some of these islands, which is way cheaper. Have the locals confirm the ferry schedules for you to catch them in time. The disadvantage is that you will have to keep time to ensure the ferries don’t leave you otherwise you may end up getting stuck in one of the Islands.
The last phase of our trip exploring was exploring Rusinga Island. Rusinga Island is connected to Mbita by Mbita-Rusinga bridge. The road is not tarmacked and if you choose to drive to Rusinga during the rainy season, you better have a 4WD. Otherwise be a good traveller and get a motorbike or a taxi. If you are driving from Kisumu, brace yourself for a 3-hour drive to Rusinga Island.
We were happily hosted by Rusinga Island lodge and it being a low season, we practically had the entire lodge to ourselves and a few Asians who asked to take photos of us. One day I will write about what to expect when travelling as a black person and what do you know, being asked for photos will be top of the list.
In my opinion, Rusinga Island Lodge is absolutely stunning. I am not sure if I should talk about their evergreen lawns, the luxurious rooms with views of the lake or the delicious fish that is plucked directly from Lake Victoria and prepared in exciting ways. Our meals, mostly breakfast and lunch would be set up facing lake Victoria. Honestly, the first time Gacheri and I saw our room, we legit said “this is a damn house” because it’s big enough to fit a family of seven.
The rooms are thatched, which is a thing common with Homa Bay county hotels. The rooms also come with large terraces and a dining area facing the lake. There is also a jetty that hovers over the lake and provides a romantic dinner setting. The best part is all the rooms overlook Lake Victoria and best believe you will experience the most spectacular sunrise and sunsets as long as you stay there.
Rusinga island lodge is for the bourgeoisie they even have an airstrip for clients that want to avoid the hustle of public transport to Rusinga island lodge.
Things to remember when visiting:
- The road is murram so if you are driving, you better show up with a 4WD
- Carry a sun hat and sunblock and don’t forget your swim suit
- Carry a coat as the evenings get chilly
- Carry insect repellant abundance
Here are some of the activities that we engaged in while staying at Rusinga Island Lodge:
- Jet Skiing
- Exploring the Islands
- A Visit the Tom Mboya Mausoleum to learn about the life and legacy of Tom Mboya.
Other activities include that you may choose to engage in
- A visit to Ruma national park
- Deep fishing
- ride the water bus
Travel tip: Rusinga Island Lodge is a luxury resort and the rates start from 220 USD for a single room. This is obviously pricey for some and therefore it’s important to know that you could still visit the lodge for lunch or dinner and if you want. You can take part in some of the activities like getting a massage, visit the spa, Jet Skiing or Kayaking.
After our stay in Rusinga, it was time to get back to reality. We took the water bus from Mbita to Luanda then a shuttle from Luanda to Kisumu just in time for our flight back to Nairobi. There’s still so much to explore in Homabay County and I only got to see a little part of its magic but guys if you haven’t, ditch the Kenyan coast for a minute. Will you?
I hope these two posts have sold Homa Bay County to you. Need any clarification during your planning? Reach out to me across any of my social media pages or drop me an email. I will be happy to help.