Getting to our hidden island gem off the shores of Lake Victoria for a weekend away has been made so easy now for our guests. The newly rebranded EastAfrican.com (formerly known as Fly SAX) operates frequent scheduled flights out of Nairobi Wilson Airport direct to Homa Bay Airport. These flights depart Wilson at 06:30am and the flight time is exactly one hour. We can arrange transport to collect you from this small town airport and drive you the 40 minutes to Mbita dock where our Mfangano Island Camp boat will be waiting to take you across to the island.
The boat ride takes between 30 minutes and one hour depending whether you book one of our speed boats or the long traditional motorised canoe.
But watch this space, as the Kenya Airports Authority have recently taken over the management of the Mfangano Airstrip, and we are informed that plans are well underway to reopen this strip in the near future. This is something that we will be keenly interested in, as it may mean we can finally reopen our own flight service to the island; conveniently linking all of our Kenya properties through our in-house Governors’ Aviation.
If you choose to fly with EastAfrican to Homa Bay, then by 9:30am you’ll be enjoying a magnificent breakfast on our deck that juts out over the lake listening to the water lapping gently beneath your feet and watching the locals sailing silently past in their dhows. You can put your watch away once you’ve arrived as the regimented passage of time no longer matters while you’re here. You are free to just unwind and do as much or as little as you please.
Our lush gardens are shaded by giant figs and you’ll find the turquoise pool tucked away beneath one of these ancient trees, overlooking the infinite sapphire blue lake. The poolside hammock is the perfect place to read a book, completely undisturbed by the outside world.
An occasional Hammerkop or two might hop down from their gargantuan twig nests above you, to the poolside for a quick drink, as the resident nile monitor lizard wanders past, all seemingly oblivious to your presence amongst their lakeshore habitat.
A lovely morning or afternoon excursion is the boat trip to the Sacred Island, where you might be able to see spotted-necked otters, if you’re lucky. We chose to go in the early morning and were rewarded with around five or six different individuals clambering over boulders and along the pebbly shoreline or darting up from the waves beneath the overhanging trees.
We pride ourselves at Mfangano for our fresh, homegrown produce. Leafy salad greens picked from our permaculture garden are lunchtime favourites, while Moringa or mint leaf teas make lovely additions to the teatime offering. We have a flock of chickens at our second permaculture farm, which is just a few kilometers away in Sena Village – who provide us with huge yellow-yolked eggs for breakfast and baking.
Of course an island staple is fish. Most of Mfangano’s islanders rely heavily on the tiny Lake Victoria Sardine, which they sun-dry in order to preserve for future consumption. However, at the camp we love nothing more than freshly caught Nile Perch – which is grilled or baked to perfection by our chefs. A delicious accompaniment to the fish (or any meal really!) is chef Tom’s famous sweet chilli sauce; it’s addictive and luckily for our guests can be purchased from the little camp shop for only $5 per jar.
Speaking of the shop – this is undergoing a little facelift at present and will also be used to feature information boards highlighting some of the activities available from the camp as well as information about the local Mfangano tribes, cultures and customs. We have also re-thatched the roofs of our bar and dining room which has made a huge difference to the feel of these public areas.
The camp’s fishing season has got off to a good start with one of our own head-office staff members, Mike Kirungi, catching 5 nile perch, the heaviest weighing in at 6kg!
The team is looking forward to welcoming you to our special slice of paradise very soon!
Mfangano Island Camp news and photos by Alisa Bowen, Guest Experience Manager at Governors’ Camp Collection.