27/05/18. Hippo point
Great nights sleep and into the pool for 06:45, special dispensation, strictly not open until 09:00. Wonderful, cool and refreshing plus a delightful young man had placed a cup and flask of hot water at the table for when I was finished. Obviously a church nearby as each time I turned the sound of gospel singing was ringing out. Dried off I sat with my water just enjoying the music and the tranquility of the situation. Changed and into breakfast for 08:30. Same chafing dishes, but this time loaded with breakfast goodies, there was even a toaster on the side table which Barbara and Elaine took delight in making use of.
Limo was returning this morning to accompany us to Hippo Point, he took Les, Adam and Tim in his car. Barbara, Elaine and I followed in a taxi, just around the corner and our taxi pulls into a petrol station and puts in K$480 (less than £4) why does no one fill a tank over here? Back on the road and we cruise slowly through the back streets of Kisumu. We are then in a much more affluent area, high walls barber wire and ornate gates. Returning back to shanty town living before we turn into Kiboko Bay Resort.
Kiboko, it is explained to us is the Swahili for hippo. We are welcomed to the resort and shown around whilst negotiations are underway for a local boat to take us out on the lake for an hour. We sit and have a soda beside the pool while we wait (I’ve drunk more sugary drinks during this trip than I have in a lifetime) our timber boat arrives and walking down to the jetty we scramble aboard. The guide explains that Lake Victoria shoreline is shared by 3 nations, Kenya 6%, Uganda 44% and Tanzania 50%. We cruise slowly around the lake edge, observing the wildlife, fishermen sat on rocks seemingly way from shore and families bathing, the girls and women washing kitchen utensils and clothing, the boys and men swimming in the lake, no crocodiles this far up the lake apparently. There are a lot of problems with water lilies on the lake clogging up the shore line, places like the hotel are constantly removing them to keep their jetty clear. There is always an upside if you look, the dried tubers are used for weaving the seating in some very smart looking furniture.
Various landmarks are pointed out to us including the Radio Kisumu mast, at this point I’m looking at the water and notice a ‘log’ in the distance that appears to be moving up and down in the water. Mentioning it to the others, there are now two similar boats closer than us that are converging on the ‘log’, neither getting too close, about 5m away. As we get closer it is easy to make out two hippo with a baby, the other boats having taken their pictures are moving off allowing us to move in. There is something so incredible about seeing animals in their natural habitat, a very special moment. After 10 minutes or so of being entertained by these huge animals we pulled away and continued our drift around the coastline. Some indiscriminate development appears to be taking place apparently without planning consents, hopefully the regional authorities will take action or the natural beauty of the lake edge and its wetlands will be lost forever.
One last pass of the hippo as we make our way back to Tiboko point where , more sodas and light lunches are enjoyed. Then it’s back to the hotel, Les and Adam are due to leave with Limo and will fly home in a weeks time. Les is due to deliver a lecture at the university tomorrow and has a meeting with the deputy minister for the environment later in the week. Farewells made and it’s now gone 15:00, a drink in the cabana by the pool and then I’m up to the room. I was going to get changed for a swim when I heard raucous noise from the pool, half a dozen young Americans are enjoying themselves down there. Discretion being the better part of valour I put my feet up for a while, finally waking up at 18:20, we’d arranged to meet for dinner at 18:30.
No buffet on tonight, choosing from the a la carte, between us pasta, lamb chops and a t bone, steak was mine, poor choice. I’d hoped that being in Kenya’s 3rd largest city the meat quality may have improved. Never mind Tim and I had another great bottle of red whilst the others doubled up on G&T’s. Following dinner back out into the cabana, cooler here now and another couple of rounds of drinks. Enough for me, I’ll attempt a little blogging before sleeping.