Early this year, the Ministry of Tourism tasked a couple of travel enthusiasts and destination marketers like me for a recce or in (travel parlance familiarization trip – fam trips) of Lake Victoria and Western Kenya under the brand #TembeaKenya to open up our minds of the need to promote the region to more domestic travelers, that is domestic tourism. Most of us do not know of the many beautiful attractions around us. We assume that travel or site-seeing are activities for international tourists or rather wazungu!
Through this trip, we were able to discover, enjoy, experience and fathom the immense tourism opportunities that the lake region has in Kenya. It is sad to note that nothing much has ever been done to portray the potential of the Western Tourism Circuit.
Rendezvous and Itinerary
Our journey commenced from Nairobi, since that is where most of the travel enthusiasts who organize travel packages/trips to their clients were coming from. We all converged at the Ministry’s office for a brief with the CEO Kenya Tourism Board – Dr. Betty Radier.
- Her instructions were very clear: Go ye into Western Kenya and showcase the best of it!
- CommunicationstTagline of the trip: #TwendeWestern – follow the conversations and experiences on Social Media to see what we found out.
And off we went. Our first stop was Hells Gate in Naivasha. A beautiful place that is like a desert land with gorges, and wild animals. We thereafter snaked our way through Nakuru and into Baringo County, passing the Equator at Mogotio, onwards through Lake Bogoria (another gem) and through the magnificent and picturesque winding Iten road to Eldoret (the land of champions) for an overnight stay at Sirikwa Hotel. The following day was to see us through the only remaining rainforest in Kenya that is Kakamega Forest and into Kisumu City.
The night in Kisumu introduced the team into some of the attractions in Kisumu County – viz: Impala Park and Sanctuary, Acacia Premier Hotel, Sovereign Hotel, Vittoria Suites, Jambo Impala Eco Lodge then on our way out: Kit Mikayi, Ndere Island National Park and finally a ferry ride from Luanda Kotieno onto Mbita and for an overnight stay at Rusinga Island Lodge.
The West Coast of Kenya
Here at Rusinga Lodge did it start to hit us that we have a very beautiful coastline with sandy beaches.
For the first time after very many years, I came face to face with shells from the lake. I come from Straight Outta Nyakach, by the lake! And my life back in the village many moons ago enabled me to experience the life by the lakeside. There were shells that the water currents used to blow out from the lake straight to our shores. This however disappeared at the advent of the water hyacinth that took control of the lake for close to two decades. And here in the clear waters around Rusinga and Takawiri Islands, I was able to collect these shells and smooth pebbles from the coastline. It was de javu!
Life is a Beach!
A brief chat with the proprietor of Rusinga’s Lake VIctoria Safari Village – Mr. Odd, even opened our eyes further and made us realize that we actually have The West Coast of Kenya right here at Lake Victoria’s edge.
A quick exploration of the Lake introduced us to magnificent activities and attractions in the lake: A purely birds Island – in Mbasa Birds Island (Paradise 🙂 ), boat rides in the lake, Rusinga Fishing Village known for Omena catches, Takawiri beach which has awesome white sandy beaches, which begs the question: Why do we have to go all the way to South Coast of Kenya – Mombasa, Kilifi et al. to experience a coast life while we have that right here at our nose – the West Coast of Kenya?
You should see for yourself the palm trees by the lake at Takawiri. Magnificent, Amazing, Breathtaking would all be understatements. Come experience on your own. They are not just in the south coast, but also in West Coast!
We also have awesome bush destinations like Ruma National Park and Ndere Island National Park that you should add in your bucket list of travel destinations in the west coast of Kenya itinerary.
We have attractive hospitality facilities developed around these destinations, so you don’t have to worry where you will spend the night. You can even do camping by the lake.
This holiday season, make a point to sample some of these West Coast of Kenya destinations.