Migingo: The fishermen’s haven that attracts visitors in droves

Monday January 4 2016

A picture of Migingo Island in Lake Victoria. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Forget the boundary standoff that pitted Kenya and her neighbour Uganda over Migingo Island in recent years. A boat ride to Migingo Island offers adventure galore, part of which is the spectacular view of Lake Victoria; Africa’s largest fresh water lake.

Migingo Island, which is less than half-an-acre or about half the size of a football field is a one-hour-drive away using speed boat from Sori Karungu Town in Migori County.

The rocky island is home to about 150 people, who inhabit makeshift houses built with corrugated sheets and wood.

The island also boasts of five bars, a beauty salon, a pharmacy and several eateries.

One is bound to enjoy a meal of fresh Nile Perch or Tilapia fish at a relatively lower price compared to hotels located on the mainland.

An amazing phenomenon to most visitors is perhaps how the residents have managed to build shelters in the rocky island with unbelievable ease.

Every morning, Migingo is a beehive of activities as more than 100 boats bring in fishermen and their catch for weighing and sale to buyers.

The fishermen proudly display their massive catch in their fish stalls or banda as the buyers troop in.

Next to Migingo Island is the imposing Usingo Island which is about 200 metres to the East and is much larger than Migingo, although it is not inhabited.

A boat ride in the waters of the vast lake offers a magical view of Migingo and other islands of the lake.

Photographs of the island have gone on display at Visa pour l’Image, an international festival of photojournalism in Perpignan, France.

According to the islanders, two Kenyan fishermen, Dalmas Tembo and George Kibebe,  were first inhabitants on the island when they settled there in 1991. It is narrated that they found the island covered with weeds and infested with birds and snakes.

Other features of interest close to Migingo Island are Got Kachola granatic rocks balancing on top of another in Kadem Nyatike near Muhuru Bay  in the mainland and Thim Lich Ohinga heritage site where there is a  pre-historic wall built in the fashion of the great wall of Zimbabwe.