Tag Archives: Lake

Lakeside Living – Part 2

Lake Victoria is an amazing place. Even though you’d never want to swim in it, nonetheless it provides some stunning scenery.

We are lucky that within ten minutes by car we can be on the lakeside for an afternoon stroll or a sundowner.

Over the past few months we have been fortunate to see some hidden places on the lake in the company of a colleague we have hiked the back roads of Mwanza and seen some hitherto unvisisited beaches. We have also had a couple of recent boat trips and a follow up visit to a little area of parkland.

So here is part 2 of  a summary are some of the experiences of the past few months in Mwanza.

Part 1 is here.

Riding the Waves

A couple of times this holiday we have ventured out onto the waters of Lake Victoria. The first time was a boat trip organised by some friends. We took a speed boat out from Mwanza, passing by the many islands which dot the lake, including Senane Island – home to a small safari park, then returning for a glorious sunset. It got a bit wet too as the waves crashed over the speeding boat.

 

Ferry Cross the Strait

Our second boat trip took us across the Mwanza Strait to Kamanga, followed by a walk up a hill to watch the sunset. At 1000TzS (37p) each way, a bargain!

Lakeside Living – Part 1

Lake Victoria is an amazing place. Even though you’d never want to swim in it, nonetheless it provides some stunning scenery.

We are lucky that within ten minutes by car we can be on the lakeside for an afternoon stroll or a sundowner.

Over the past few months we have been fortunate to see some hidden places on the lake in the company of a colleague we have hiked the back roads of Mwanza and seen some hitherto unvisisited beaches. We have also had a couple of recent boat trips and a follow up visit to a little area of parkland.

So here is part 1 of  a summary are some of the experiences of the past few months in Mwanza. Part 2 to follow soon.

Hiking the Back Roads

We have been on a number of walks this Autumn – these have taken along lakeside tracks difficult to access by car and provided some stunning views.

Taken from three separate walks in September (Jembe Beach area), October (Mwanza Brewery area) and November (Fish Market and peninsular walk).

Familiar Haunts: Swanholme & Hartsholme

Our time in England has been a time of reminiscing, firstly back in MK and now in Lincoln. These two places where I lived for 38 years in total, so familiar. As well as visiting old friends it has been a chance to revisit places – familiar haunts.

Swanholme & Hartsholme Lakes

Right on our doorstep in Lincoln is an area of woodland and gravel pit reservoirs.

Familiar Haunts: Caldecotte Lake

Our time in England has been a time of reminiscing, firstly back in MK and now in Lincoln. These two places where I lived for 38 years in total, so familiar. As well as visiting old friends it has been a chance to revisit places – familiar haunts.

Caldecotte Lake

Probably the place I visited most often in my time in MK – place of countless runs and walks over the years. We walked it On one of the hottest days of the U.K. this year. A large lake on our old doorstep when we lived there.

 


Weekly Photo Challenge: Looking into the Future by Looking into the Past

These photos taken on Lake Kivu in Rwanda last week are a second submission to this week’s photo challenge: Future.

When we look at anything we are looking into the past as the light from the event, even an event like a lightning strike, takes time to reach our eyes. Yet we could also be observing our future – in this case the oncoming storm which hit just after we landed our boat.

A Boat Trip to the Hot Springs

One of the things we wanted to do whilst here in Gisenyi was to take a trip to the Hot Springs. A result geological conditions here in the Rift Valley and the location on the volcano ( Mt Nyiragongo) super heated water emerges from the rocks on the coast of Lake Kivu where it mixes with the lake waters.

Initially we intended to walk to the Springs (a 4 hour round trip) but whilst on the beach we encountered a man with a boat and negotiated a trip by water – much more relaxed. It also gave us a chance to view the coast from out in the lake, including the massive Nyiragongo Volcano across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – see previous post

Our trip took a circuitous route out past the gas drilling platform avoiding it’s pipeline before heading around the coast.

Rounding the peninsular we approached a fishing village, this was also the location of the hot springs where we disembarked. Walking to the Spring we were shown to a bench and placed our feet on rocks in the hot waters of the lake, which had been cordoned off by sanbags. Two ladies then began a massage of arms and legs using the hot water which they rubbed onto the skin. The water in this pool was very warm – the temperature of a hot bath. There were other springs on land which were scaldingly hot as well as some in the lake which bubbled up into the lake water making the waters warm. After the massage we made our way to a second pool where I went for a dip in warm water – I will spare you the close up pictures!

The springs are sited opposite the local brewery which we passed upon our return. The boat sailed back past the peninsular and gas rig and on to the Congolese border before returning to the beach. Our return gave use excellent views of the Volcano plus a front row seat of a thunderstorm.

    
 

Lakeland

When many people think of Tanzania, they probably think of the Serengeti with it’s arid plains teaming with Wildebeest and Zebra.

… or possibly Kilimanjaro’s snow capped peak.

… or maybe Zanzibar and it’s white sands and azure waters.IMG_9951

All these are amazing places and we’ve been to all three  (though we’ve yet to see Kilimanjaro’s peak personally), but Tanzania is as much defined by it’s lakes as anything else – more so in that much of it’s Western Border is Lake and a portion of it’s Northern Border too.

There are three Great Lakes here : Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyassa (more commonly known as Lake Malawi in the outside world – but not in Tanzania or Mozambeque which share it).

We have been lucky enough to visit all three in the past 15 months – in fact we live next to the largest (Lake Victoria) so we visit that one all the time.

Lake Victoria

Shared Between: Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya

Area:68,800 square kilometers (26,600 sq miles)

Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area; only Lake Superior in North America is larger.

Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and is also the largest tropical lake in the world.

The lake is an average of 40m deep and its deepest point is 83m deep. It is therefore quite a shallow lake.

Named after Queen Victoria by it’s European discoverer John Speke it is known as Lake Nyaza in Bantu languages.

Sadly the lake’s ecosystem has been decimated by the introduction of Nile Perch and eutrophication. Thus hundreds of native cichlids have been driven to extinction in the past 50 years. The perch have no natural predator and have destroyed the natural food chains which existed. Increased algae have further choked the lake and the drop in fish population has severely damaged the fishing industry here.

The lake looks lovely but you wouldn’t swim in it’s toxic waters. Raw sewage is dumped into the lake by factories and settlements and increases the eutrophication further.

Bilharzia snails are present in high quantities and as a carrier of Shistosomiasis a potentially fatal disease if left untreated. Sadly locals do swim and wash in it, having no choice but to do so.

It’s sad that this massive body of water on our doorstep is so polluted.

Lake Tanganyika

Shared Between: Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia

Area:32,900 square kilometers (12,700 sq miles)

We visited this beautiful lake over half term, staying near Kigoma at Jacobsen’s Beach.

It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest.  It is 570m deep on average and at it’s deepest it is 1470m deep. Only Lake Baikal in Siberia is deeper and has greater volume.

It is also the world’s longest freshwater lake.

The name “Tanganyika” means “Great Lake spreading out like a plain”

Located in the Rift Valley the lake is relatively unpolluted. Over 250 species of cichlids live in the lake and 75 other species too.

Fishing is a major industry here and has impacted upon the fish.

No lake in Africa is free of Shistosomiasis but it seems to be low level/ risk  in Tanganyika unlike Victoria. We will take praziquantel to be certain but you have to wait a couple of months.

Lake Nyassa (Lake Malawi)

Shared Between: Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique

Area:29,600 square kilometers (11,400 sq miles)

We visited this lake in the summer travelling from Mbamba Bay in Tanzania to Likoma Islands on to Monkey Bay in Malawi.

It is the ninth largest lake in the world and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa.

It has a depth of 292m on average with a maximum of 706m.

It’s over 1000 species of cichlids makes it very bio diverse. It has in fact the most variety of species of any lake.

The lake is subject to a border dispute with slaw I claiming the entire lake up to the shore of Tanzania whilst Tanzania claims the border is in the middle of the lake.

It is probable that the lake contains Shistosomiasis and slthough we were assured otherwise and although we did swim in it’s clear waters at both Likoma and Monkey Bay we have taken medication to be safe.

Three Great Lakes – all different in their own way and all part of Tanzania.

Rainy Days on the Beach

The rainy season has definitely begun and although we’ve had some good weather we’ve had our fair share of showers too! 

 Our hired tent is sheltered under a tin roof and fitted with proper beds, we have a covered porch / verandah and the weather has remained warm. The kids’ tents are standard but come with bedding and are dry enough although one has transferred to a second tent under a thatched roof following some heavier rain yesterday. 

   
We have been to adjacent beach every day and swam most days. Yesterday we had a new experience having gone down to the beach, when a thunderstorm hit with torrential rain. We stayed in throughout watching the water bubble as the droplets bounced on the lake’s surface. It was dramatic enough in the skies above but calm on the sheltered waters of the bay. We watched the many Cichlids darting about amongst the rocks and waited for the storm to pass – we were no wetter in the water as we would have been be on land. 

    
    
   
The weather cleared to give sunny evening and a sunset viewed from one of the terraces here at Jakobsen’s Beach, where we had a BBQ. 

    
    
   
Some mornings have been very lazy as the rain has lingered from the crack of dawn to  mid-morning. Today Friday has been one such day and I write this beneath a small Banda just as the rain has subsided. 

Other mornings I have been up with the lark (as I do when camping) exploring the site and listening to the exotic bird calls eminating from the thickets and trying to grab a photo or two. Down on the beach dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies (in many colours) have danced about on the sand in the sun.  

    
   
We have ventured into Kigoma a couple of times to get provisions, but mainly (unusually for us here in Africa) we have stayed in one place and relaxed. Tomorrow we return on the long drive back to Mwanza. Reflecting back on the whole experience has been peaceful calm and very relaxing. I would certainly recommend Jakobsen’s Beach, if you’re ever in the vicinity. 

  
    
   

Malaika Sundowner

One of the great things about living in Mwanza is that you’re never too far from the Lake and the spectacular views you get. 

If you follow me on FB apologies  but this blog also posts there too – repeat pics I’m afraid.

Even on a day like today where in truth it has been quite mundane and in a week when we’ve all been getting over coughs and colds we were still able to get out this evening to Malaika Beach Resort for a sundowner (a beer watching the sunset).

Although it’s 4000TzS entry you immediately get it back in the cost of a drink or a contribution towards it. The beach front gives a great view of the sun and tonight’s was awesome.  

    
  
      
    
    
 The sky was cloudless so the golden sun appeared to sink straight into the lake. As we watched a dow cut right across the setting orb and then the thin crescent moon appeared above the rainbow sky.   

   
    
    
   

   
    
   

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Caldecotte Muse

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Muse.” When we lived in Milton Keynes I would often visit our local lake. Caldecotte was much smaller than Lake Victoria but was the scene of many photos. The local pup/restaurant/hotel was built in the shape of a windmill and could be seen from across the lake in many places. It appeared in many photos.

Victoria’s  Sunsets

We get some amazing sunsets here in Mwanza. Here are just some of them. 

                            

                            

Every Day’s A Last! (Familiar Haunts and Steep Ascents)

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So with Friday here – it is now the case that every day will be the last in the UK for the time being. It is amazing to realise how time has flown in the  last 90 days – it hardly seemed that long ago I was recalling the half way point but now we are in the final week.

Today was spent doing a little sight-seeing in my home town of Lincoln, plus a little more last-minute shopping ( picking up things ordered on Wednesday.

It was great to wander through the town and to descend, then ascend Steep Hill in Lincoln, thus ticking off another bucket list item. When you live in a place, you can take it for granted and so it is with Lincoln. The Cathedral dominates the city and is an amazing piece of architecture – it was the tallest building in the world in the Middle Ages (until 1589 when the central spire collapsed). It is far too expensive to go into (unfortunately) but the views are good from the Castle (much cheaper) and the square below. Steep Hill is a fitting name – it’s a good climb up with plenty of little shops on route. At the top the Cathedral and Castle are sited on opposite sides of a square. The castle is currently undergoing refurbishment prior to the arrival of Magna Carta in Spring 2015. Even so part of the  wall is walkable with some fantastic views, when finished the wall will be navigable.

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This morning it was great to spend time with my brother and to have a walk around Swanholme Lakes a local nature reserve. The old gravel pits have become lakes and surrounded by woodland. Blackberries and Acorns adorned the bushes and trees – still ripening away. Funny to think we will not be here for Autumn this year. The reserve is a familiar haunt and a walk we do most times we come to Lincoln – it was a slice of the familiar before the unfamiliar which awaits.

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Clumber

T Minus 8 Today another thing to tick off on the Bucket List. Clumber Park is a National Trust Property in a North Nottinghamshire; part of Sherwood Forest. It’s a place we went very much in our childhood and youth. A large open space for walking, picnicking, ball games. Today a place to wander as we circumnavigated the lake. Memories of years gone by and a chance to talk.

 

Lake Run

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I woke up early. So did something I haven’t done for a while (in the morning at least!) and went on a run. I really should do this more often. Caldecotte Lake is a very pleasant lake to run around. The adrenaline buzz is great. Note to self to do this more often.

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Do Nothing Days!

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Today is a “Do Nothing Day”, or more strictly a “Do Nothing on the House Day. Time to relax and do other stuff. It’s been pretty intense these past few weeks so it’s nice to have a break.
So what are we doing?

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East Africa Bucket List

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In just 20 weeks we leave for Africa and whilst there is still a lot to do here I have started to look at what awaits. Today is the start of the Easter Holidays in the UK. The school days at Isamilo will be long but the holiday periods will be longer than in the UK. Whilst I know that  I will devote some of that time to the usual marking, planning and preparation that makes up the teaching life there will be time and hopefully money to travel.

Many years ago I said to Anita that for my 50th Birthday, I’d like to take a balloon flight over the Serengeti – the proximity of the wildlife park and the date of my birthday ( I will be 50 whilst in Tanzania) makes this a definite reality.

Here is a ‘bucket list’ of things I’d like to do.

Continue reading

Foggy Road Ahead!

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Today’s journey to work was interesting. The familiar journey was shrouded in thick impenetrable fog – like much of the Southern England. This was probably the thickest fog I’ve travelled through for a few years. Luckily I was prepared (a tweet from the met office at 6:15am helped) and left earlier than usual. Even so it was tight timing!

Travelling across  Buckinghamshire along country roads it was often hard to see more than a few metres ahead. Amazingly some drivers didn’t have their lights on which was a surprise but I think this has something to do with having automatic lights.  One of the problems with automatic lights is that they respond to light levels – which means they don’t switch on in daylight even if fog is really thick. I’ve been caught out myself before now. To use the fog lights you obviously need to have the main beams on too. In my car I do this by switching the beams from automatic to manual.

I doubt there’s much fog in Mwanza – though living by a lake you never know. However, as I travelled this morning I  thought about the metaphorical  foggy road ahead for us in the next few years. Continue reading

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Mwanza, Tanzania’s almost undiscovered city on Lake Victoria

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Some interesting Mwanza insights ATC News by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome MWANZA THE (ALMOST) UNDISCOVERED CITY ON LAKE VICTORIA (Mwanza, Tanzanias Lake Victoria lake side city / source: ExoticExpeditionsTanzania.com) Even for East Africans, Mwanza has an exotic ring to … Continue reading

Caldecotte vs Victoria

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One of the attractions locally is living close to Caldecotte Lake where I have had many a good run or walk over the years.

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On an entirely different scale will be Lake Victoria – the second largest lake in the world. Mwanza sits on the lake’s southern shores, just 2 degrees south of the equator in the North West of Tanzania. The lake and the altitude (at over 1000m on a par with the top of Snowdon) means it’s slightly cooler than the plains below at a relatively cool 28-30 degrees C. Unfortunately the presence of diseases such as Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) mean there’s no swimming but there are some spectacular sunsets apparently. For now I shall have to settle for the sunsets over Caldecotte.

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