The second edition of the annual Kisumu Impala Conservation Boat Race was successfully held at the weekend Kisumu Impala Sanctuary on Lake Victoria.The race with the theme ‘Let’s row to conserve the sitatunga’ 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.
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.
This year’s race had 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.
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.
Kenya Wildlife Service in conjunction with stakeholders launched the inaugural Kisumu Impala Conservation Boat Race in 2011.
The race seeks to raise funds to conserve the rare sitatunga antelope found in Kisumu Impala Sanctuary by the shores of the lake by constructing a 3-km perimeter wall fence at a cost of Sh28 million.
The race on the theme “Save the Sitatunga” gave the participating stakeholders a chance to showcase their products and activities as well as highlight the potential of Kisumu and Siaya counties as tourism investment and attraction destinations.
The aim of the event is to bring together members of the local communities and corporate organizations in the Lake Victoria region for sport, fun and fundraising.