Holiday Hunt: Mfangano Island Lodge
I pant as I make my way to one of the rock outcrops on Mfangano Island, where the views of the sun setting are said to be phenomenal. I make it just in time to see the sky start to change hues.
It turns different shades of red as the sun finally disappears over the horizon.
Beautiful sunsets are a worship experience; they lay waste to any doubts one might have about the existence of a super deity, who is extremely big on showing off.
While the Mfangano Island Lodge could arrange for sundowners atop the rock, I am content to just sit back and watch the sunset, especially since I am a day-old teetotaller. This is just one of the numerous activities I take part in while at the lodge.
On one day, I unsuccessfully try to catch my lunch at the pier, with feet dangling down and a happy whistle on my tongue.
I do not catch even a fingerling, or even a frog, so I decide to abandon fishing altogether. My favourite activity has to be visiting the local community.
While someone could easily take a bicycle ride around the island, I opt to go for a walk instead, as my cycling skills are rudimentary at best.
I learn that Mfangano Island has about 26,000 inhabitants, most of whom are from the Suba tribe. Majority of them thrive off fishing from the Lake Victoria waters.
Everyone is friendly and willing to teach me the local language. After the walk round part of the island, I decide to spend the rest of my days in relative luxury at the lodge.
There are plenty of birds on the island. Weaverbirds have multiple nests in a nearby tree and one can hear them sing while taking breakfast. I come across the hamerkop bird, which gets its name from the shape of its head.
There is a little egret who always comes and sits on a rock in the lake whenever I am out on the hammock.
There are numerous birds that walk on the lodge’s jetty looking out for fish. My stay here is a study in ornithology.
While the management warns against swimming in the lake as the waves can be unpredictably strong, resilient swimmers can take the plunge.
There are numerous volcanic rocks on the beach that are reminiscent of Seychelles. The beach has black sand that is beautiful to behold and walk on.
The lodge also has a swimming pool where one can work out or take a leisurely dip. There is a lazy swing next to the pool that adds a little rocking action to even lazier days.
One can also take a turn at the hammocks, which overlook the lake. Watching the fishermen get to work as the sun sets with a beer in hand is more blissful than you would think.
Since the lodge is located on the northern bay of Mfangano Island, it is quiet and serene with unfettered vast views of the waters. With just nine large and spacious rooms on offer, one is guaranteed privacy and tranquillity.
I stayed in the honeymoon suite, which was an incredible experience despite the lack of a honey. The suite is roomy, with a soft sitting lounge built around a rock.
The bed is large, with views of the lake all around. The bathroom is located a floor below the main room, with the bathtub hanging over the lake that one can easily hear the waves crashing against its underbelly. One can also take an overhead shower if they like.
Food is plenty and delicious, with my favourite being fish rolls with steamed rice. Salads are fresh, as ingredients are picked from the lodge’s garden.
The bar is well stocked, with choices ranging from craft potent margaritas, to a selection of great beers. The staff are attentive, and are one of the whys I will definitely be travelling back to the lodge.
That they have an offer of paying for three nights but staying for four instead is one reason I am recruiting everyone I know to the Mfangano Island Lodge way of life. It is as ideal a Christmas getaway as the Coast is.
To get there, one can take a matatu or flight from Nairobi to Homa Bay, connect to Mbita then take a waterbus or speedboat ride to Mfangano Island.
One can also take a flight to Kisumu, then take a 10-minute taxi ride to Luanda K’Otieno, from where they can take a water bus ride to Mfangano Island.