White sandy beaches,palm trees, cool breeze and turquoise waters are synonymous with the Kenyan coastline only…Well that is what I thought until recently when I visited one of the islands of Lake Victoria that is on the Kenyan side.
Lake Victoria(commonly known as Nam Lolwe in Dholuo) was named after Queen Victoria by John Hanning Speke in 1858 who was on a mission to find out the source of River Nile;the Longest River in Africa.
The characteristic feature of most of the small islands are narrow brown silt beaches where fishermen dock their boats during the day,narrow foot paths that go up the gentle slopes to the fishermen villages, women washing clothes and utensils on the shores,young girls fetching water for home use,children swimming at the shallow end of the waters and occasionally separate groups of men and women bathing.
With more than nineteen islands on Lake Victoria that have been well documented, very little information is available on Takawiri Island:the unique island with a white sandy beach and palm trees.
A boat ride from Rusinga island takes about an hour to get to Takawiri Island. During the hour long ride, we spot a few fishermen casting their nets and our guide advises us to greet them. Most of them gladly reciprocate, a few did not. They looked unhappy. It is easy to spot different species of birds as they lazily glide above us.
It was almost impossible to believe our guide who kept assuring us of the island with a white sandy beach ahead of us. Call me a doubting Thomas but with the islands and beaches I had seen in the area,there was no way I could believe a white sandy beach existed on these sides.
About forty minutes into the boat ride,the guide announced we were approaching Takawiri Island. The doubting Thomases stretched out their necks to catch a glimpse of the ‘promised land.’
At first, I thought my eyes were playing games on me. But as we approached the island all doubts were thrown out into the lake! I was speechless. Were those palm trees, white sand, and blue waters? Hold up, we must have used a different route to get to Indian ocean! but which one? This was too good to be true.
Was that sand as well, like white sand?
The Phelps in me wanted to dive into the lake and swim to the beach but I remembered the boat was faster and calmed down.
On getting to the beach, we all jumped out of the boat in excitement just to have a feel and touch of the beach before it ‘dissapperared’ in case it was just a dream.
The hot crystalline sand between our toes, the cool breeze on our faces, the whistling palm trees, the calm birds and the soothing sound of the gentle waves crashing on the shore. I think whoever said dreams come true had us and Takawiri in mind.
On the other side of the island the view was to die for again!
What we did not know was that there was also a resort at the island called Takawiri Island Resort. Please note that on getting to the beach, the hotel charges five hundred shillings per person because it is private property.
The resort has cottages, a restaurant and construction of camping grounds was underway at the time of visit. I will make a point of staying at the hotel the next time I visit Takawiri and share a review.
Everything in Takawiri is refreshing. The location, ambiance, nature and the people. For the first time ever, I felt as if my photos were doing the place injustice.
Takawiri is the master of all fine things. ‘Coastal’ feel at the lakeside, bird watching paradise, photography grounds, beach hotel, perfect place to catch the sunset, fishing grounds and generally a place to just chill, read a book, meditate and see life in its natural,pure form.
Finally as I always say, pack your bags already. Visit Takawiri before everyone finds out this hidden gem.
Till next time!
Love and light.