travel guide Masai Mara

Roho Ya Chui, Swahili for "soul of leopard", your partner for innovative training solutions in combination with safari packages and wildlife photography.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 37

M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya l a K E V I c T o R I a M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya g E T T I N g T H E R E & a W a y M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya M F a N g a N o I s l a N D Elk Guesthouse HoTEl $ (Mbita; r Ksh400-700) Next to the matatu stand in the centre of Mbita town, this in- viting little place has bright and clean rooms set around a plant-stuffed courtyard. Cheap- er rooms share bathrooms. The restaurant out front fries up some great fish dishes (around KSh400). oWayando Beach Club Eco Lodge BaNDa, caMPgRoUND $$ (% 0723773571, 0708593513; www.wayando; Rusinga; camping Ksh950, camp- ing incl breakfast & using lodge tents Ksh1500, s/d banda incl breakfast Ksh3500/7000; p ) S Four kilometres from the causeway (turn right at the junction) is this large American-owned grassy compound with easy lake access, loads of birds in the gardens, campsites under the acacia trees and a couple of very comfortable and colourful stone bandas. There's also a cool bar-restaurant (dinner KSh850). It can sort out good guides and arrange boat hire. The owner is involved in all man- ner of eco-projects on the island. 8 Getting There & Away The best way of getting from Mbita to Kisumu is to take the ferry (foot passenger Ksh150, vehicle from Ksh800, one hour) to luanda Kotieno on the northern shore of the narrow Winam gulf and catch a connecting matatu (Ksh300, two hours). Boats leave Mbita at 7am, 10am, 2pm and 5pm. coming from the other direction, boats depart luanda Kotieno at 8am, 10am, noon, 3pm and 5.30pm. The road between Mbita and Homa Bay has been upgraded and is now surfaced for all but a small section. Matatus (Ksh250, 1½ hours) fre- quently pass between the two, or there are a few normal buses (Ksh200) as well as a daily bus to Kisumu (Ksh500). To get around the island, you might find a taxi in Mbita for a half-day loop, stopping at sites of interest for around Ksh1000, or a boda-boda (known as a piki-piki here) will do the same for about half that price. Mfangano Island P OP 17,000 If you want to fall totally off the radar then Mfangano Island, sitting out in the placid lake waters, is an idyllic place to get lost. Home to many a monitor lizard, inquisitive locals, intriguing rock paintings and the im- posing but assailable Mt Kwitutu (1694m), Mfangano Island is well worth a day or two. 1 Sights & Activities Rock Paintings aRcHEologIcal sITE (admission Ksh500) These rock paintings, of- ten featuring sun motifs, are both revered and feared by locals (which has hindered vandalism) and are thought to be the hand- iwork of the island's earliest inhabitants, Bantu Pygmies from Uganda. The entry fee is used to help fund some very needy children at the local orphanage. The orphanage and the rock paintings are found near the settle- ment of Kakiimba, a 3km (KSh150) boda- boda ride from Sena, the island's 'capital'. T Tours George Ooko Oyuko ToURs (% 0716537317; per day Ksh500) Local George Ooko Oyuko can act as a guide to the rock paintings and other sites, as well as help WHERE BOYS BECOME MEN The Bungoma/Trans-Nzoia di rict goes wild in Augu with the sights and sounds of the Bukusu Circumcision Fe ival, an annual jamboree dedicated to the initiation of local boys into manhood. The tradition was apparently passed to the Bukusu by the Sabaot tribe in the 19th century, when a young hunter cut the head off a troublesome serpent to earn the coveted operation. The evening before the ceremony is devoted to sub ance abuse and sex. In the morn- ing the young ers are trimmed with a traditional knife in front of their entire village. Unsurprisingly, this practice has attracted a certain amount of controversy in recent years. Health concerns are prevalent, as the same knife can be used for up to 10 boys, posing a risk of HIV/AIDS and other infections. The associated debauchery also brings a seasonal rush of underage pregnancies and family rifts that seriously affect local communities. Education and experience now mean that fewer boys undergo the old method, prefer- ring to take the safe option at local hospitals. However, those wielding the knife are less likely to let go of their heritage. To quote one prominent circumciser: 'Every year at this time it's like a fever grips me, and I can't re until I've cut a boy.' 1 3 1

Articles in this issue

view archives of rohoyachui - travel guide Masai Mara