The Ndere Islands are found on Lake Victoria, specifically on the Winam Gulf, formerly known as Kavirondo. Ndere Islands are gazetted as a national reserve since 1986. Interestingly, humans do not inhabit the Islands but they are slowly gaining popularity as a one-day destination for locals and guests of the larger Kisumu city. Here is all you need to know about these splendid lands.
Getting to the Ndere Islands is best from Kisumu City via speedboat. The boat owners charge these rides depending on their perception of you so be ready to have your negotiation cap on. The ride takes approximately 45 minutes. This would be a great time to enjoy the nice breeze of the lake and beautiful scenery. Always ask for life-saving jackets because the tides in the lake can get a bit high.
Getting to the Islands, you will definitely need a while to take in the serenity of the place. The islands appear to be some sort of untouched meadows with perfectly long grass covering the gentle hills and valleys. From Ndere, you can also get to sneak a peek to Kampala on the horizon and Rusinga Island. Although the islands do not have a beach, they have a shoreline which is jewelled by the various mammals and reptiles present.
Bird watching and game viewing
The national reserve does not hold as many animals as a standard game park. However, it does have an impressive collection of hippos, crocodiles, pythons, and puff adders. All these occur naturally to the Island and maybe the reason why the park remains uninhabited. Other animals later introduced include baboons and smaller antelopes. There are no carnivorous mammals in the 4.2 square kilometre space. There are almost 50+ bird species including the populous African Fish Eagle, the white egret and other wading fowl. Butterflies also occur largely due to the vast presence of grass.
The Ndere Islands are best explored on foot. Island guests use the existent trails to have full experience with a chance of close encounters with the animals. The Kenya Wildlife Service runs the Islands and national park at large. An armed KWS officer must accompany all trailers to avoid any accidents and unfortunate incidents.
Although most visits to the Ndere Islands, there are two campsites on the ground. Camping at Ndere may be a great chance to enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunset. It would also be an effective way of getting to see the hippos up close as they spend most of their days in water and only come out in the evenings when the temperatures cool off.
Ndere Islands are ideal for travellers who enjoy water and nature at large. It is also an excellent space for photography and wildlife appreciation.