Tembea Kisumu: Exploring Hearts, Palms and Memories
You don’t want to know how many times I postponed my plans to visit this place. Every time I saw Dr Neema Mbaruk post photos of a group of guests she hosted or her morning rides to Osiri Beach, I would quickly slide into her DM and make promises of visiting the place – but never quite really took the initiative. At least I was constantly in the DM of pretty chic though ;-).
One Sunday afternoon, when Kenya Power had done their thing I decided to call and let her know that I was driving down. The direction was not too difficult to follow. Took the Kisian – Bondo road, and turned just after the bridge past Ongalo Mixed Secondary School, driving towards Osiri Beach. It’s an approximately 10-minute drive on a smooth murram road after you leave the highway.
If you are thinking about a gateway for the weekend, hanging out with friends in a secluded environment, private parties, or even weekend camping with family and friends then this is quite the place for all that and more.
Hearts, Palms and Memories sits on what looks like a four-acre piece of land that is still under development. A camping area, complete with restaurant, kitchen and dining area is however already complete. When complete the facility will host cottages too.
What’s most remarkable about this place is the fact that they have as much as possible not tried to interfere with nature. Natural rocks, lush green vegetation and amazing views of the lake are just but some of what you enjoy while here. The fish you will dine on was probably caught by a fisherman at Osiri Beach just that morning. The vegetables on your plate are grown right inside the same facility – talk about “from the garden to your plate.” It’s quite not rare for Dr Neema, a celebrated orthopaedic surgeon to be your chef for the day or waitress.
On this particular day, Peter Oposh Jabunde, a fellow simba was accompanying me, driving ahead in his Peugeot 406, while I followed behind on my 1997 Peugeot 405 Hunter blaring some loud reggae vibes. The dust, the loud music and the simbas were a sight to behold in the quiet fishing village (okay, I just exaggerated a bit). We stayed for dinner and the good doctor was kind enough to serve us pan-fried tilapia, chips, and some amazing tamarind sauce which I carried a fair serving of home because I could not have enough of it. Other than the sights, and food, the facility also offers an assortment of soft and alcoholic beverages. A beer is as cheap as Sh 300.
Driving back home in the evening, trying to beat curfew, I told myself I would not have spent my day better. Wondered why it took me so long to visit this place, but I will surely make a trip every time I feel like clearing my mind. I think I might even just buy a bicycle and talk to Neema to keep it down there for me – for those days I just want to go enjoy lazy rides in a fishing village, or just to find a new reason to be in her DM.