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Second Kisumu Impala Boat Race held in Lake Victoria
Date Published: 26 Nov, 2012
The second edition of the annual Kisumu Impala Conservation Boat Race was successfully held at the weekend Kisumu Impala Sanctuary on Lake Victoria.
Men paddlers from Lwanda K’Otieno beach were awarded Sh100,000 after emerging winners followed by Lwanda Kamin Oningo who were awarded Sh60,000. In the third category were Usenge who won Sh40,000.
In the female category, women paddlers from Lwanda Kamin Oningo were awarded Sh100,000 after emerging winners followed by another team from Ndere who were awarded Sh60,000. In the third category were Usenge women paddlers who won Sh40,000.
The race with the theme ‘Let’s row to conserve the sitatunga’ was marred by the heavy presence of hyacinth on the lake.
The event was presided over by the Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Hon Dr Noah Wekesa who was accompanied by KWS Director, Mr William Kiprono. They were hosted by the area MP Hon Shakeel Shabir.
The boat race marked the peak of a three-day cultural event in Kisumu City. The three-day event included, cultural exhibition, dance troupes, tero buru procession and bull fighting, the climax being the boat racing.
The race aims to raise funds for the conservation of the endangered sitatunga antelope found in the wetland on the shores of Lake Victoria. The occasion was also used to create public awareness about investment opportunities in tourism, human wildlife conflict and display of tourism attractions in the region.
This year’s race has attracted 180 paddlers from Mbita, Usenge, Luanda K’Otieno, Ndere and Kisumu. This comprised 10 teams for men and women with each team having seven paddlers and two reserves. This brought to a total of 20 teams.
Although tourism is one of the key pillars in Vision 2030 national development blueprint, Western Kenya is yet to achieve its potential as important tourism circuit. A lot remains to be tapped in its rich tourism attractions, diverse culture, sports, hospitable and welcoming people, among other attributes. Vision 2030 envisages the opening up of the Western Tourism Circuit, especially the less visited national reserves and parks like Ruma, Ndere Island, Kakamega Forest, Mt Elgon and Saiwa Samp.
Under Vision 2030, improvement of air transport is a key focus. The Government invested upwards of Sh3 billion in the expansion of the Kisumu International Airport. The airport can now handle four Boeings and up to seven small planes at once. The Kisumu International Airport provides a great opportunity for the growth of the tourism sector in this region. With direct international flights, this region has been opened to the entire world.
Apart from the airport, other key infrastructure that has improved remarkably is the development of major roads, especially the Kisumu-Kakamega road; Mau Summit-Kericho-Kisumu Road; Kendu bay-Homabay road; and the Ndori-Kogelo-Siaya road. The construction and rehabilitation of these roads is intended to spur the growth and development of different sectors of the economy in this region as well as improve access to tourist attraction sites and services. This event is, therefore, a crucial addition in the abundant tourist attractions, products and services that abound in this region.
KWS and local councils have also developed various feeder airstrips within the Western circuit. These include Ruma, Kitale, Lodwar, Kakamega and Busia airstrips, which are expected to greatly open up the region’s airspace.
The sponsors of this year’s event included Kenya Wildlife Service, Safaricom, Brookside Dairies, Equator Bottlers, Eco Bank, Bondo University, Homalime, Patek, Equity Bank, Chester House, Parkview Hotel, Kenya Tourism Board, Brand Kenya, Ministry of Tourism and the City Council of Kisumu.
The organizing committee included Kenya Wildlife Service, Lake Victoria Tourism Association, Kenya Investment Authority, Integritours, Lake Basin Development Authority, City Council of Kisumu and the Ministry of Tourism.