I’d always wanted to visit Rusinga Island for a long time mainly because of the intriguing culture of the Suba people, and to attend Rusinga Cultural Festival. The other obvious reason was to explore the different islands of Lake Victoria that were on the Homabay side.
When I finally got the opportunity to visit, I did not waste a second. I had it all figured out,I knew I wanted to stay at Rusinga Island lodge,check out Mfangano Island and see the resting place of the Late Tom Mboya, explore Takawiri Island,eat fresh nile perch, enjoy breathtaking sunset and just enjoy some time by the lake.
What I did not know was that I could go for a short trip to a fishing village! I didn’t even know that fishing villages were a tourism thing, let alone the fact that fishermen had their own communities purely made of people in the fishing industry in secluded islands of the lake. The villages were like territories. Jealously guarded.
Most islands on Lake Victoria are breeding grounds for fish and since the islands are far off from the main land, fishermen move from island to island, season after season to fish and trade. The fishing community is mostly made up of men and women who leave their wives and husbands then return home home after making money.
However,some of the fish mongers end up marrying each other while at it.
Organized Excursion by Rusinga Island Lodge
As planned, I stayed at Rusinga Island Lodge; a luxurious, lake front private lodge in one of the Islands of Lake Victoria called Rusinga. I wrote about the lodge here.Rusinga Island Lodge is a luxurious, lake front private lodge in one of the Islands of Lake Victoria called Rusinga. Click To Tweet
On the second day of my stay, the Lodge organized a day’s excursion to a neighboring fishing village called Litare.
By 9:00 am in the morning, the speed boats that we were to be used to take us to Litare were already on location.
Traditional boats can also be used to get to the village but for that superstar feel and also because of time, speedboats are the best. They also navigate best when tides are high.
For a momen, I thought I was shooting a scene in a hollywood movie. Turquiose waters, speed boats, a squad, then probably looking for villages that were usually proxies and used for unsuspected dealings.
As you approach the village, you will spot many fishing boats docked because the fishermen mostly fish at night.As you approach the village, you will spot many fishing boats docked during the day because most fishermen mostly fish at night. Click To Tweet
Little egrets can also be seen in their numbers neatly perched on the boats. Our guide was quick to point out that they were the laziest birds on the island because all they do is patiently wait to eat the tiny fish brought in by the fishermen.
During the day, it was difficult to see the men of the village. We were told that they only get to catch their sleep at this time of the day, after a long night out in the cold fishing.
The women dry the fish in the sun as a method of preservation before vendors and buyers come for them after a day or two.
There are three types of fish caught by the fishermen. Nile perch, Dagaa(Omena) and Fulu (Similar to Dagaa but bigger in size)
Fishing is the main economic activity in this village.There are so many fishing villages in Homabay County alone.
The fishing boats used by the fishermen are made from Mahogany and Mvuli hardwoods. The wood is imported from Uganda. The approximate cost of wood for one fishing boat is approximately Ksh.30,000(USD 300).The fishing boats used by the fishermen are made from Mahogany and Mvuli hardwoods. The wood is imported from Uganda. The approximate cost of wood for one fishing boat is approximately Ksh.30,000(USD 300). Click To Tweet
Fishing is done at night using locally hand-made traps. The traps are anchored into the water with the upper side floating on water, then a lantern lamp is attached at the top and the other side is tied to the boat.Fishing is done at night using locally hand-made traps. The traps are anchored into the water with the upper side floating on water, then a lantern lamp is attached at the top and the other side is tied to the boat. Click To Tweet
The lantern lamp attracts insects such as lake flies at night. When the insects get in touch with the lantern lamp’s hot surface, they die and fall into the water then are used as bait to catch fish.
As we left the fishing village, the women were busy cooking for their hungry men to get them ready for the next fishing trip.As we left the fishing village, the women were busy cooking for their hungry men to get them ready for the next fishing trip. Click To Tweet
Did I mention how thrilled I was to ride in a speed boat?
Have you been to a fishing village before? Which one did you like most? Is it similar to Litare? I am curious, let me know!
To enjoy an experience like mine reach Rusinga Island Lodge via;
E-mail : info@Rusinga.com
Tel: +254 20 2531314 / 5
Cell: +254 716 055924 / +254 734 402932