Lake Victoria, is the largest of the Great African Lakes and the second largest freshwater lake in the world. Named after Queen Victoria, it is located on the western edge of Kenya. Dotted along the shoreline are busy towns and small Luo fishing villages.
This time round I had the pleasure of not only viewing the lake from a distance, but actually boating on it. I can definitely assure you that I had the time of my life; viewing the fishermen on their boats, seeing such beautiful natural sites, watching birds fly by, looking for hippos and just having some time to take in the scenery and breathe in the beauty of this stunning lake.
Lakeside Adventure tours, was the name of the boat I chose to ride in, and my guide for the day was Dalmas Otieno who made my experience on Lake Victoria all the more exhilarating. Dalmas, has been guiding and exploring the lake for over 15 years and in my opinion you would be hard pressed to find a better guide of this beautiful lake. He was also a sport, posing for pictures from time to time when I asked him, and patiently stopping the boat and allowing me to take as many pictures.
Considered, as one of the finest birding destinations in the world, Lake Victoria offers more than 350 resident and migratory birds’ species that will excite even the ardent birding enthusiasts. During the boat ride I was able to spot at least 20 different bird species, which was a treat seeing as I had never indulged in bird watching prior to this experience. My guide Dalmas, was quite helpful when it came to the birdwatching, as he noticed I was a novice, so he took his time to spot and name the birds that we saw. The vegetation surrounding the lake was certainly breathtaking with some papyrus and mangrove trees lining the shores of the lake. You could even spot a fisherman or two in between them trying to catch some fish.
Visitors are also able to arrange visits to the surrounding Luo villages and enjoy the authentic food and immerse themselves in the culture of the friendly Luo people. The visits to the villages also yield an experience not to be forgotten, as you get to witness firsthand the day to day life of the villagers. The Luo people, especially love their fish, hence I would recommend anyone to try the grilled or deep fried tilapia, as this is a food treat like no other!
If you are hooked on fishing, then Lake Victoria is also the place for you. The local fishermen are only too eager to take you along with them on their fishing trips and show you the most prized and sought-after fishing spots, where you will be able to catch fishing game like the gigantic Nile perch. The Nile perch, together with the tilapia make Lake Victoria one of the best fishing spots in Kenya. Although, I did not partake on any fishing expedition this time round, I was able to see the fishing game that had been freshly caught by some local fishermen. It truly did take my breath away, as I had no idea how colossal a Nile perch could be.
To sum it up, my visit to Lake Victoria turned out to uncover one of nature’s hidden gems. Not only was I delighted by the birding, fishing and cultural aspect of my experience, but also the tranquil and serene spots that seem to be untainted by development. Lake Victoria is definitely a spot I intend to revisit and explore exhaustively in the coming future.