By: ANITA CHEPKOECH
Forget the floods, although that is what comes to mind first whenever Budalang’i is mentioned. Budalang’i Sub-County has many a sight to behold.
While travelling from Kisumu, the visitor will traverse Vihiga and Siaya to get to Bumala town where the road branches to the left and snakes its way through undulating landscapes covered by natural vegetation and healthy crops.
Over the Odiado hills, past the rolling plains of Funyula, Ganga, Nangina and the vast Bunyala rice fields, the road will lead the adventure seeker to the panoramic landscape of Bulemia.
Looking around randomly, three “layers” catch the eye.
The greenness of the land contrasts with the blue of Lake Victoria and the mist that crowns the mountains.
This spectacle is where area MP Ababu Namwamba escapes to when he is not making laws in Parliament.
His palatial home oversees a range of breath-taking hills including Njalago, Nabenya, Nabaduma and Port Victoria.
“Port Victoria is only 20 minutes away on a speed boat from Uganda. The first island in Ugandan waters is called Sigulu and has over 20,000 inhabitants,” says Mr Namwamba.
Hippopotamus families have colonised sections of the lake but in the evenings, they visit the nearest island to graze.
The bushes are home to various species of birds and snakes, which can be seen slithering about in their search for food. Listening to birds chirp is quite an experience.
The area is also home to the endangered Sitatunga, an animal in the antelope family, as well as a rare species of monkey that walks on two limbs.
The delta, where River Nzoia lets its water into Lake Victoria, is also a stunning sight.
Upstream, you see shirtless young men diving into the water, carrying plastic containers. No, they are not doing it for fun. In fact, they are sand harvesters.
Sand harvesting is a booming business in the region but for those with experience.
Budalang’i is probably the next best frontier for tourists after the Maasai Mara, the beaches of Mombasa, Lamu and Kilifi, Lake Nakuru and Kisumu’s Impala Park.
There are plans to build an airstrip so that visitors can fly there directly from Nairobi’s Wilson airport to Namaumbu fields, bordering the Yala swamp.
A high-end resort is being built around Muhondo Bay, a few kilometres from the airstrip to give tourists a home away from home.
The area already has smooth tarmack roads, which eases access to the villages.