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Travel

Takawiri: a coastal feel by the lake

Takawiri island, Lake Victoria. Photo | Courtesy
Takawiri island, Lake Victoria. Photo | Courtesy 

With a pristine stretch of white sandy beach, tall palm trees and the clearest of blue water, all key characteristics of the Kenyan coast, one would be forgiven for thinking that Takawiri Island is located in the Lamu archipelago, Diani or even Zanzibar judging by pictures alone.

One of various islands on Lake Victoria, this unique, private and unspoilt property may well be the crowning jewel of Western Kenya.

Getting there

The drive from Nairobi to Mbita took us seven hours (with a stop for lunch in Narok), after which we arranged for a 45 minute minute boat ride with a local fisherman to the island. You could also fly in to Kabunde Airstrip in Homa Bay County then do some sightseeing first and have the resort arrange for pick up. To get to Takawiri by public transport, take a ferry or water bus from Mbita to Mfangano Island, which has four scheduled departures during the day.

Things to do

Lake Victoria, also referred to as Nam Lolwe, is home to about 19 islands, but Takawiri is adjacent to Mfangano. We sailed past the area where the locals live, and the homes spotted were largely similar in structure and size, made of sturdy iron sheet and located right by the water.

The side upon which the resort sits could however well be an idyllic location along the coast with a picture perfect white sandy beach, tall palm trees billowing in the wind and the clearest of fresh blue water.

This would be a great spot to just go off grid and idle in, but for action seekers, there is an array of activities available. Note that if you just want to take a day trip or pop in for lunch, you have to call beforehand to make a reservation since this is a private property, and you will likely pay a fee of about Sh500 just to dock there.

Swimming

There is no swimming pool but the lake water is so fresh you can swim with your eyes open under water. For birdwatchers, the lake attracts various species of wetland birds such as fish eagles, white egrets, Egyptian geese, marsh harriers and the long tailed cormorants.

Take a boat and head out with a knowledgeable guide (ask for Dan who comes highly recommended) for viewing, or simply laze along the beach for sundowners and watch them coming home to roost against the backdrop of a vibrant orange setting sun.

Sport fishing

For sport fishing enthusiasts keen on catching their dinner, fish for Nile Perch, catfish or tilapia you can bring your own lures and equipment (the latter are actually available but find out if they have what you need beforehand) and set off for the lake.

You can try water sports like windsurfing, paddle boarding and snorkelling, or perhaps make like you are in Lamu Island and head out on a sunset sail with a couple of drinks and snacks aboard.

Where to stay

Accommodation in the cottages costs Sh 12,000 per person on full board, and while the resort can sleep about 10, the number can go up to 18 if you don’t mind sharing. For a cheaper option, bring your own camping gear.

The menu is largely Kenyan, Indian and Continental, with the owner doubling as a chef.

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