Last weekend some friends and I took a cruise boat to the deeper waters of Lake Victoria to a getaway island destination – Maboko Island. The trip was fun, to say the least. It gives a whole new experience and you start concluding that there is so much more to the lake than just the local fishing that the lake is normally always associated with.
Lake Victoria is mainly known for its fish delicacies, viz the famous mbuta, ngege and omena. This lake too is the economic mainstay of the local communities surrounding it. The lake is also a huge attraction, one being that it is the biggest freshwater lake in Africa as well as the second largest freshwater lake in the world after Lake Superior in the US. Thus, its intrinsic economic value cannot be over-emphasized.
In the deep waters of the lake are also many islands, each with its own unique selling point. Mbasa Island famous for its many bird species, Ndere Island famous for the Roan antelope, Rusinga Island famous for the proconsul findings, Mfangano Island has the largest population of Olusuba or Suba people, among the other islands.
However, Maboko Island stands out. Situated South-West of Kisumu County, accessed via the Kisumu-Bondo Road, the Island provides a perfect escape for anyone who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The Maboko Islands Resort (Camp Tom) inside it provides you with such a destination. Being a new facility for travelers seeking an escape, the resort offers a perfect retreat conducive for team building, tranquility and or to rejuvenate the tired body and soul.
Story goes that long time ago, there were Tanzanians from Musoma who used to live on the island. And the island used to have a high population of hippos, and because of this, the Tanzanians therefore called the place “Maboko” meaning place of many hippos. Maboko is from the Swahili word “Kiboko” for hippo. The Tanzanians eventually moved to their motherland, Tanzania leaving the island to the current local inhabitants.
To get to Maboko Island Resort, there are three available options to use:
1. Use private or public transport from Kisumu through the Bondo road to Obambo, a distance of approximately 20 km. From Obambo, hitch a motorbike ride to Ogal Beach. This should take you to “Camp David” which is the boarding terminal to Camp Tom (Maboko Island Resort). Camp Tom has a secure parking space for guests. There are boats here that will take the passengers to the resort.
2. From Kisumu City, board a speed boat/yacht from Kisumu Yacht Club or Hippo Point (as may be advised by the Resort). This should take you straight to the resort. The journey is approximately 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on which boat is used.
3. Fly in straight in to the resort using a chopper. The resort has two helipads to cater for its flying guests.
Maboko Island Resort offers its guests three unique accommodation options:
1. Stay in the main house: provides the guests with the best scenic and uninterrupted view of Lake Victoria, Homa Hills, Ndere Island, Kisumu City and Sondu Miriu Hydro Power Project. The main house is a three bedroomed mansion with a kitchenette for a self-catering option. All rooms are ensuite. The house has two balconies in the upper floor.
2. Stay at the lakeshore chalets: located straight at Lake Victoria’s edge, these chalets gives the guests the freshest breeze from Lake Victoria. They come in five pairs of two-unit houses (conjoined to offer families with kids their privacy) and also 4 single unit lake houses.
3. Why not Camp under the full glare of the stars? Maboko Island Resort camping ground is one of the best in Kisumu. This is a unique offering to the backpackers/campers who would like to experience great outdoor experience in the lake.
The resort is a perfect destination for retreat and gives you the opportunity to reflect on life, reflect on business, plan and strategize or just hang out with family and friends. Within it, there are about six open spaces that one can use for daytime relaxation, apart from the watering hole (bar) also therein for quenching ones thirst.
FOOD & DRINKS
The resort has a large variety of delicious cuisine that will indulge your palate. They serve buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Special meals are made by prior arrangement. But also, one can also opt for self-catering if he/she stays in the main house.
It also offers a 24 hour cash bar with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Guests may come with their own drinks subject to a corkage fee charged at 50% of the cost of the drink.
POINT TO NOTE: Maboko Island Resort is the greenest resort destination in the Lake Victoria waters. Both in terms of the green flora (the four fig trees are always green all year round and provides the perfect shades from the hot Kisumu sun) and the fact that the chalets and the main house are all powered by the radiant Kisumu sun through the solar lighting systems.
THINGS TO DO
- Fishing: Catch your own dinner! The resort offers a range of fishing excursions to suit individual tastes and style, both line fishing by the shores and out on the great lake, either alone or with experts. Marine safety and security is permanently on standby.
2. Kayaks and jetski are available on request for the high adrenaline and more adventurous guests.
3. Lake excursions are also a huge attraction, visit the various islands or just go round and round the lake with your boats.utes away from Maboko Island, stroll amongst tropical vegetation to the marine reserve viewpoint to experience the benign mix of flora and fauna. Walking in an abundance of exotic shrubs, giant land tortoises and flying foxes in a perpetual natural habitat
4. Tour of Local Attraction Sites: Kenya Wildlife Impala Sanctuary, Dunga Beach, The Equator at Maseno, Kit Mikayi, Kisumu Museum, River Yala Falls, Luanda Magere Grave Site, Ruma National Park, Abindu Caves, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga & Tom Mboya Mausoleums, Kogello Village etc. are some of the surrounding attractions around Lake Victoria.
5. Dinner by the Shore: Your stay will not be complete without a romantic dinner by the shore under the stars with serenity and personalized service. Enjoy the sound of the splashing waves and the beauty of Lake Victoria over Maboko in the evening and at night. Dinner on the balcony of your room can be arranged on request.
6. Picnics and Barbecues: May be arranged on request.
7. Group deals and corporate events for teams. This can be arranged on request.
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