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Mystery of Devils’ Island in Lake Baringo, where no one dares to inhabit

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A section of the Devils Island in Lake Baringo where no one has ever lived for years.

Photo credit: Florah Koech| Nation Media Goup 

Sitting between Kokwa and Samatian islands in Lake Baringo is a beautiful scenery to behold on an islet that remains a mystery to many.

Scattered trees punctuated with rocks of various sizes and shapes create a beautiful landscape that completes the breathtaking view of the ‘Devils' Island’ amidst the lake waters.

It is one of the eight major islands in Lake Baringo, the others being Kokwa, Samatian, Lekorosi, Rongena, Parmalok, Lesukut, and Longcharo.

Even so, save for the sounds of chirping birds and the rustle of wind from the lake’s strong waves, the island, initially called Lasakut, is desolate and silent.

'Devils' den'

According to locals, no one has ever lived there because it is believed to be inhabited by devils, hence its name.

Mr Gideon Lekombe from Kokwa Island claims his family owned the Devils' Island decades ago. In the past, he says fishermen used to go there to fish, but that there were noisy wild whirlwinds at the rocky island that hampered their venture. The men eventually stopped fishing there.

“The fishermen concluded that the strange sounds were made by devils who inhabited it, and named it the Devils' Island,” said Mr Lekombe.

He claims the 11.8-acre Island is owned by the Lekombe family from the minority Ilchamus community that lives at the shores of the lake, and some members at Kokwa Island who hold the title deed of the dreaded islet.

A section of the Devils Island in Lake Baringo where no one has ever lived for years.

Photo credit: Florah Koech| Nation Media Goup 

Lake Baringo Senior Warden Jackson Komen confirmed that the main reason people don’t live on the island is they believe that it’s inhabited by devils.

“I have been to the island severally and I think the topography is the major impediment for people residing there as it cannot accommodate more than three families. It has a sharp rocky cliff with little vegetation. The winds there are also very strong, especially when there are strong tides at the lake,” he told Nation.Africa.

Failed businesses

The warden said more than three foreign investors have tried to start businesses on the island but all flopped for unknown reasons.

“Recently, one of them tried to set up some structures and even went ahead and planted trees before she left without giving any reason. The rocks have also made the area to be infested by snakes,” added the warden.

He was seconded by Mr Lekombe who said: “There was a white investor who tried to set up a hotel on the Island in the early 1970s and erected tents with the help of his two workers. However, due to the winds and the superstitions that it is inhabited by devils, he left in a huff and sought an alternative island at the Lake."

In 2012, Mr Lekombe said, another investor also approached the family intending to set up a hotel. He had planted trees to beautify the bare rocky isle in readiness to put up structures.

“The island is very rocky, with few trees that sometimes fall off due to the topography, and that is why the investor planted trees. He requested us for the title deed but left before starting the said business,” said Mr Lekombe.

Nation.Africa learned that another investor also tried his luck in 2021, erecting portable houses and constructing a toilet on the Island. But he too, like the two others, left without giving reasons.

“The Island has remained desolate and no one has ever inhabited it since time immemorial. We have designated it to serve as a grazing field for our family during the dry seasons until we get another investor,” Mr Lekombe said.

“People dread living there because of the belief that it is inhabited by devils. As a family, we did not settle there because it is far (two kilometres away) from Kokwa Island which has social amenities like schools and hospitals. One needs to own a boat for transport."

Strong winds

“The winds on the island are very strong and the waves at the lake intense, and it is not so good for habitation. That is why we fear living there. The winds on the island are more intense than the other islands because it has little vegetation and trees. I do not concur with the locals that there are devils on the island, it is just a belief."

Whenever there are strong waves, boat riders keep off the island because they cannot land there safely.

“The Island has not benefited us because we do not live there and no investor has successfully set up a base there. We still believe that we will get one, but all the same, it is an asset to us. Someday, something good will come out of it, despite the strange name,” said Mr Lekombe.

A tour guide, Bashir Mohamed, who is also the proprietor of the Baringo tours and boat excursions also claimed the Devils Island has not been inhabited since ancient days, due to the belief that anyone who set foot there would be haunted by devils.

“The Island is believed to be associated with the devil. Elders claim that during the night they could hear sounds of people talking and cows, and also saw fires on the island. They also claimed that during those days, some fishermen would go fishing in that area would disappear and their bodies could not be found,” said Mr Mohammed. 

“Swimming and diving are prohibited in that place because of the strong winds. Though the claims of the presence of devils is still a mystery, the family that lays claim to the Island doesn’t live there, let alone the locals. Recently, a white investor started construction and left. Nobody knows why, maybe she met the devil herself."