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Off the beaten track in Kenya- Africa
We are looking forward to visiting the light house at Lake Victoria Safari Village
at Mbita point. Spending a few days in it will be a new experience. The landscape from Kisumu to Luanda Kotieno on the shores of Asembo Bay, off the road to Bondo, is full of ancient features: age-old Cambrian rocks fill the Hills along the tarmac road and Kit Mikaye, the gigantic borders sitting atop each other. At Ndori we turn left onto the dusty murrum road to Luanda Kotieno to catch the 11oclock ferry to Mbita point. It runs like clock work so if you miss it you have to wait for the next three hours for the next trip.
The Lake is calm, with water birds here and there and in a distance a strange dust devil appears. It’s a whole cloud of the harmless minute flies that breed in the water and sometimes in the swamp places.
Forty-five minutes later, we clock at Mbita point and soon we are at the gate of Lake Victoria Safari Village. The sign on the entrance promises relation at the beach, bird watching and excursions on the Lake.
The light house stands stark white against the blue sky and the blue waters of Lake Victoria, making a perfect picture for a post card. The Islands of Rusinga, Mfa’ngano and the smaller twin’s one called Mbasa sit calmly on the Lake. The local fishermen ‘colorful boats sail on the roughening waves, there white sails at full mast. Finally we get to Lake Victoria Safari Village, a creation of odd Bredo, engineer of repute.
We are so excited about the white house that we waste no time climbing up the stairs and into the room with a view. Its Bredo dream house as he tells us about the building of the light house, which could be the only light house on the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria with justifiable pride.
“I build bridges,” says Bredo a Norwegian. He has worked in many countries in Africa and it was during one such project that he landed at Mbita point and met his wife Louise, and set up a new home on the shores of the Lake. That was in 1990 in between building bridges, Bredo’s busy working at Safari Village with the latest addition, the lighthouse.
The lighthouse is stunning. It reminds of calendar from Greece, with pictures of stark white houses surrounded by blue skies and waters.
We climb up the stairs and onto the patio eagerly waiting for Bredo to open the door to the light house. The white washed bedroom is spacious with windows opening to the Lake’s blue waters. It’s a beautiful roundavel with a four-poster bed facing the Lake, blue beaded Maasai necklaces on the walls and a small blue table and two chairs by the window. Blue is the traditional color of lighthouse decor. A platform with a collection of stones that once belonged to his mother forms an artistic showpiece of colors and shapes. There is nothing ostentatious or expressive in the room but it is a place you would, nevertheless, want to live in.
The platform conceals part of the staircase leading from the room to the bathroom below. If ever there was a bathtub with a view these has got to be it. Maya’s [my niece] audible expressions say it all. If the wall wasn’t there, the bath tub would blend in with the Lake. No wonder the lighthouse is the honeymooners dream hideaway.
After our guided trip around the lighthouse, and having unpacked and lounged on the bed overlooking the sea. I mean, I’m a water person so I’ am totally sold-we join Bredo in the garden for a cold beer. The bird life is just awesome. Within a few minutes at the lighthouse, I have seen a tiny malachite kingfisher flit past in resplendent hues of blue and orange, pled kingfishers and the regal African kingfishers out of the horizon from behind the lighthouse and sweep down to grab a fish from the Lake.
The garden is filled with yellow weaver birds busy building nests on the thorn trees and Maya is busy building sand castles on the beach.
“The lighthouse is a structure for guiding ships using sharp lights,” Bredo explains,” but they are going out of fashion because of the GPS [Global Positioning System].In the olden days light houses where marked on maps. In those old days people lived in lighthouses to take care of the lights and operate the fog horn to guide the ships.”
Growing up in Norway, Bredo spent many summer holidays in light house which his father rented. It became a boyhood dream to build his own one day.
“Now I have the time to build one,” says the jovial Scandinavian. With a team of local artisans, he built the lighthouse in a year and opened it in October 2005.
“A lighthouse needs a very solid foundation because it’s surrounded by water and sand and built on a rocky peninsula. The walls are reinforced with columns and slope inwards.”
The place is magical. Its sunset and Bredo has a table set on the beach from where he wants to show us a perfect sunset. The sky turns gold, orange and red, with the blue getting faint as it darkens. The sun, a ball of gold, begin to slid in the dark waters bang in the middle of the twin Islands of Mbasa.Its stunning, its surreal.
“The sun sets between Mbasa Islands from December 23. It then begins to move true west,” he explains, pointing at Mfangano Island” and you see the sun setting there on September 23.It keeps moving and sets on the pointed peak[facing us]on Rusinga Island on June 23,after which it shift back to true west by March 23 and back to the twin Island by December 23.”
The world is fascinated but it takes special people like the Bredons, the Fleur Ng’wenos and the Wangari Maathai’s to show that surrealism in nature. It comes with an appreciation of it.
It’s a beautiful lodge and very economical. Drive to Kisumu, take the road to Mbondo and turn off at Ndori, drive on the murram road to Luanda Kotieno.Its three hours from Kisumu. Alternatively drive via Kisii.Full direction can be got from landmark safaris.com. These are eight bandas and the lighthouse. Great for families or those who want to get off the beaten truck you can visit Ruma National Park.
About the Author: Robert is a tour consultant in Kenya and has planned business and vacation safaris for over 10,000 tourists in the East African region. He is a tour operation- major and involved in National tourism policy development in Kenya.
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