Lake Victoria is the source of the Nile and the largest body of fresh water in Africa (and second largest in the world after Lake Superior). Only 5% of the lake belongs to Kenya, with its neighbours Uganda and Tanzania owning the rest. Trade is plied and people are ferried up and down the lake, often in rather unseaworthy looking boats and traditional dhows. The Kenyan section of the lake in the far north-eastern corner, contains a few islands with simple fishing villages along the shores of the larger ones, and the odd exotic lodge mainly for guests flying in on light aircraft from the Masai Mara.
Whether fishing, bird watching, boating or resting, these islands induce extreme relaxation and the light breeze keeps most mosquitoes away.
Ruma National Park is rarely visited by visitors other than those staying on Lake Victoria’s island lodges. This means that you have the rare privilege of being guided by a knowledgeable local and seeing the only roan antelope in Kenya. Your game drive is through beautiful untouched woodland and grasslands with the seasonal Lambwe River running through and all backed by a magnificent escarpment and cliffs.
ANIMALS, BIRDS AND FISH
Lake Victoria’s birdlife is staggering. Tiny islets contain huge nesting colonies of egrets, cormorants and gannets and territorial fish eagles patrol every 100 yards. Some of the fish eagles have become habituated to being thrown fish from the boat and swoop down to claim an easy prey, just feet away from you and your camera lens. There are of course hippos and crocodiles in Lake Victoria and the locals will tell you if they frequent the area where you are staying.
Fishing is good too with Giant Nile perch weighing over 100 pounds (kilos,) with a record catch at an unbelievable 520 pounds (kilos)! Evenings are the best time to cast for Tilapia from the shoreline.
At night the local fishermen chug out with their gas lamps lit to catch tiny silver Kapenta sardines, which they then lay out all day to dry. This provides the basis of many people’s diets along this lake.
Ruma has the only roan antelopes in Kenya and rare Rothschild’s giraffe, Jackson’s hartebeest and tiny oribi antelopes.
A cooling breeze off the water keeps the temperature bearable.
Rainy Season: The long rains are from March to the May and the short rains occur mainly during November. Sometimes they are longer or shorter or absent altogether.
Dry Season: June to September is usually dry
Hottest time: December to March.
Coldest Time: June and July.
LAKE VICTORIA SPECIALITIES
· Fish Eagles
· Nesting bird colonies
· Giant Nile perch
· Kapenta sardines
· Roan antelopes
This is a malarial area
Ruma National Park was established in 1966
It covers an area of approximately miles² (120km²)