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Road Trip Guide To Rusinga Island

Rusinga Island is one of the Islands in Lake Victoria. Rusinga is in Mbita in Nyanza. To get here from Nairobi, we travelled as a group and the guides used the Nairobi to Narok route via Kisii. The journey is about 11 hours with two stopovers. The first was breakfast a few minutes just before Narok town while the second stopover was at Kisii town.

How To Get There

It takes about 3 hours to travel from Nairobi to Narok by road. Here we took our breakfast at Kirubi’s lounge that is just next to the road on your way to Narok town. The restaurant is not a very busy one and the breakfast is made on order. This was reliving considering that we wanted fresh food. I avoid taking meats on the road.

Kirubi’s lounge menu is very simple and basic and I had a Spanish omelette, two sausages and tea. Kirubi’s lounge was neat and the staff are fast and we were not kept waiting for too long considering that our food was made on order.

Kirubi's Lounge Narok
Kirubi’s Lounge Narok

After breakfast, we set out at around 10 am after arriving at Kirubi’s lounge at 9.30 am. The drive through exposes you to beautiful sceneries around the Rift-Valley and Kisii highlands. I especially love how Kisii highlands is very green.

Along the road, you will come across vegetable and fruit vendors. Take note too there are speed limit signs along the way and if you do not heed them you are bound to be arrested by the policemen stationed along the road.

Most of them do not arrest people who break the speed limit and instead they take a lot of bribes along the way. This system is quite different from what we see in movies where traffic offenders are issued with tickets for their offences. Back here if a driver is caught with a traffic offence they normally get off the car and negotiate their way from being arrested.

We arrived in Kisii town at about lunchtime and we guided to Mwalimu International Hotel. A plain-Jane hotel situated just before you get to the hustle and bustle of the busy town. The interiors of this hotel are very basic. The owners have not gone out of their way to spruce it up.

Mwalimu Internationaal Hotel Kisii
Lunch At Mwalimu International Hotel Kisii

The food is fresh and delicious. I picked my meal as per the waitress’s advice of ordering a meal that readily available. We have the option of chapatti and fried chicken with veggies or a substitute of Ugali, fried chicken and vegetables.

After lunch, we set out to our destination Rusinga Island. This trip can be much shorter without stopovers. Were it not for the two stopovers we would have reached Rusinga at about 3 pm. Here are some simple tips while travelling this route include:

  • Take precaution on your speed limits if not you are likely to be stopped by the traffic cops
  • Avoid ordering meals with meat ingredients unless the meat is prepared on order and not prior.
  • Take bottled water instead of tap water. The source of many tapped water in towns where you are new can have negative effects.
  • Leave Nairobi early to beat the traffic so that you are on the other side in good time.
  • If you have to make a stopover make sure it’s at a presentable place especially hygienically
  • Choose a hotel that is close to the river where you get the chance to see breathtaking sunsets and activities within the lake.

Where To Stay

There are several budget hotels in the area. We settled on Mbita Tourist Hotel based on a local referral. The hotel is not too bad and here I give more details about Staying at Mbita Hotel

There are lots to admire along the way to Rusinga. I got the feeling that Bomet county took up most of the route white a lot of green and forest cover. Most of the residents here are farmers as you can see some of them come to the main road to sell their produce.

The first signs of Rusinga Island and its surrounding areas can be seen through the picturesque view of Lake Victoria.

How Far Is Rusinga Island From Kisumu?

From Rusinga Island by road to Kisumu is about a 3-hour drive. There is however a shorter route via Lake Victoria. You can boat the Mbita Ferry Services and go across. From here it’s about an hour and a half to Kisumu. This reduces your trip by half. It costs about 1 dollar or Ksh. 150 for passengers to go across while for vehicles it’s about 11 dollars or Ksh. 1100. The first ferry leaves at 7 am, 10 am, 2 pm and 5 pm.

How Do You Get To Takawiri Island?

Getting To Takawiri Island is about an hour by speed boat. This trip costs about Ksh. 200 from Mbita to Takawiri. There are speed boats and water buses that go across on intervals of an hour.

How Do You Get To Mfangano Island?

Getting to Mfangano Island will require a boat to take you across from the mainland. There are speed boats and water buses that go across the lake on intervals of one hour. They also do not stay too long. Once they arrive the leave after about 5 minutes therefore if you want to go across any of the islands be sure to wait for them a few minutes prior to departure.

Things To Do

There are lots of activities to do while here. First, you can hire a boat and take a ride to some of the islands surrounding Lake Victoria. On our part, we took the boat ride (which I was very jittery about since I am not a good swimmer) to Takawiri Island, Mfangano Island and Rusinga Island. Takawiri Island is about 20 minutes boat ride from the mainland and so is Mfangano Island as they are next to each other.

Takawiri Island is the smallest of the three Islands. Rusinga Island is the largest of the three and the closest one from the mainland. You can take some time to go and see traditional fishing. See how the locals go about their fishing business. There is rock art along the Mfangano Island and some wild animals you can get to witness in these Island.

There are ferry services along that take people across the lake. The first shuttle Ferry picks people up at 7 am and gets back at 9 am. The boat ride across to the other side of the town is about 45 minutes. You can board this ferry and get to see the beautiful scenery. It costs Ksh. 150 for residents to travel across and about Ksh.900 per vehicle.

The sunsets here are beautiful and certainly one of the things to look forward to when travelling to Rusinga Island. The air is also fresh and breathtaking. Thank you for stopping by and reading the guide to Rusinga Island.

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