When touring fishing lakes and oceans, one rarely realizes that there might be more to the area other than boat rides and buying fish fresh from the waters. Almost all fishing areas have fishing villages. These are settlements made up of fishermen and their spouses sometimes, who depend solely on fishing for their survival. Litare Fishing Village is a great example of such an organization and here is everything you need to know about it as you plan for your visit.
Litare Fishing Village is located in Mbita, just off Rusinga Island, on Lake Victoria. The best way to get there is by boat from Rusinga. You can easily take a paddleboat or a speedboat. The latter option is the best because it saves time and works best in times of high tides. However, you should know that it might also be a bit expensive than normal boats.
From the waters, you will be able to see dozens of boats lined at the shore of the village. You will later be told that the fishermen sleep by day and work at night. You will be welcomed by an intriguing sight of women working on batches of fish laid out in the sun for drying. This helps keep the fish fresh longer during the period of transportation from the lake to the final consumer.
Tour in the village
Most houses in the village are made of mud and thatched roofs. There are other more permanent structures, however. The fishermen stay in these rental houses in seasons and frequently migrate between islands depending on the bounty of fish. Some fishermen have made this fishing their permanent home with their families and so will migrate solely, and eventually come back to their families. Others choose to move with their spouses so that they can share in responsibilities. While the fisherman works at night, his spouse works during the day to dry and sometimes sell the fish. Please note however that not all fishermen are male in this village.
It would be unfortunate to visit this beautiful village and not get to learn about the fishing process. The boats used are made of wood, usually imported from Uganda and Tanzania. Mahogany and Mvuli are the preferred types because of their toughness and longevity. There are different types of fishing methods used but the two major ones are normal fishing nets and the use of handmade traps.
The traps are set on the water with a floating light on each. The light attracts various water and land insects, which get burnt immediately they get close enough to the bulbs. The burnt insects, in turn, float on water and appear as easy food for the fish, which are then caught once they are close enough. The three main types of fish caught are Dagaa, Fulu and Nile perch.
The Island village also has a market where you can get various items and food including handmade crafts. You can also go on a photography excursion, with the permission of your subjects of course. If you are a bird lover, you will be happy to see the many egrets that casually wade through the shores waiting to snatch the drying fish.
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