Things To Do In Lake Victoria Islands

Things To Do In Lake Victoria Islands

Lake Victoria is considered one of Africa’s great lakes and for good reason. It covers three countries. I had a great opportunity to tour this beautiful gem on a day trip and here are some of the interesting things that I did.

Before I share with you the things to do on a day trip to the Islands I would like to share a brief of the places I saw. I set out from the mainland Mbita and headed towards Mbassa Island. On the way were beautiful views of Gembe Hills. I am still curious up to now if people go for hiking adventures here. This is on my bucket list to do later after I get on to some research about the area.

Mbasa Island

This is a small island, popularly known as Bird Island that is not inhabited by people. The island consists of three rocks standing next to each other in order of size. Mbasa Island is right in the middle of the lake in between Gembe Hills and Takawiri Island.

Lake Victoria Bird Island
Lake Victoria Bird Island

This is a great place to go bird watching as you will see several bird species.  It’s a place to view wildlife such as the monitor lizards. I struggled to see the monitor lizards as they were camouflaged within the rocks and the shrubs. The environment is serene as you will hear birds chirping. The island is quite small so you can go around and see what it has to offer in terms of flora and fauna.

To get to Mbasa Island take a boat from the mainland. The boat ride is about 30 minutes from the mainland. You will also see traditional fishing by the local fishermen on your way to the Island. You will see how they go about setting up their fishing nets in a very interesting manner.

Fishing In Lake Victoria
Fishermen at work

Takawiri Island

Next to Mbasa Island is Takawiri Island with a vibrant fishing community. The fishing banda here is very busy and fish as heavy as 15kg being caught by fishermen. A lady from here was kind enough to show the process of preparing the Nile Perch after it has just been caught by the lake.

Lake Victoria Takawiri Island
Takawiri Island

There is also a beautiful island resort tucked right at the corner of the Island. If you are coming to the lakeside and looking for a beach experience, then you will find it at Takawiri Island Resort. Takawiri Island Resort is high end and luxurious. It gives a personalized touch and the owners have made sure it remains so as it only has 7 rooms. Right across the property, there is also a camping site which is a great option for budget travellers who also want to experience some sun and sand.

Takawiri Island Resort
Takawiri Island Resort

At Takawiri Island Resort you can sunbathe, spend some time just relaxing on the beach seeing the spectacular views of Lake Victoria and the surrounding Island. There is little activity here, it is not crowded and from time to time there will be boats coming into the island dropping people who spend time at the beach.

Takawiri Island Resort
Relaxing by the shores of Lake Victoria at Takawiri Island Resort with Takawiri Island to the right

At Takawiri Island you will get the full beach experience. To get to Takawiri Island Resort is about a 5 minutes boat ride from Takawairi Island.

You can also do some bird watching, take a swim, camping and kayaking while here.

Lake Victoria Takawiri Islands Bird Watching
Bird Watching at Takawiri Islands
Lake Victoria Takawiri Island Kayaking
Residents Kayaking At Takawiri Island Resort

Mfangano Island

Next to Takawiri Island is Mfangano. This island is much larger than Takawiri and Mbasa and smaller than Rusinga Island. Although I did not get an opportunity to land here. You can see the hilly views from across the lake with settlements both formal and informal settlements.

Lake Victoria Mfangano Islands
Mfangano Islands located can be seen from a distance to the left

Rusinga Island

The largest of all the Islands that surround the lake in Mbita. The island is also remote with a lot of informal settlements in it. I arrived here two days before the popular Rusinga Island Festival. Another adventure that I have added on my bucket list.

Lake Victoria Rusinga Island
Rusinga Island can be seen from Mbita Hotel. The Islands are across the hotel

Important Information

Boat rides cost around Ksh. 6,000 or 60 dollars for a day’s hire. You can get information about boat hire at the shores of the Lake. We got a great guy who was also a guide and gave us lots of information about the Islands. To get of local boat riders’ contacts for hire, get in touch via email. The boat rides to and from the Islands go on intervals of 1hour after they pick and drop passengers along the Islands. Plan your tours around the boat and water bus timings.

Boat Rides Across Lake Victoria
Passengers alighting from a boat.

There is a water bus available which you can use to tour across the islands. It costs between Ksh. 200 and Ksh. 400 that is 2 and 4 dollars to get across the Islands. The cost also depends on which Island you are coming from and which Island you are going to.

Mbita Ferry
Mbita Ferry

You can spend time at Takwairi Beach resort at a cost of Ksh. 500 or 5 dollars even if you are not planning to be a resident at the resort. This is a daily fee. With this amount, you can also purchase drinks for this amount.

Takawiri Island Resort also has bandas where they offer camping accommodation at Ksh. 2,000 or 20 dollars per night.

There is a Ferry that connects Mbita in Homa Bay County and Kisumu. You can use this Ferry instead of going by road. The distance and time is shorter than driving. It takes about an hour between waiting time and going across the lake to Kisumu City. The Ferry costs Ksh. 150 or 1 dollar and 5o cents for passengers and Ksh. 900 or 9 dollars for vehicles.

Lake Victoria Ferry Crossing - Lwanda Kotieno
Waiting for the to Take off at Ferry Crossing – Lwanda Kotieno

Have you been to any of the Lake Victoria Islands? Share your experience in the comments below:

Traveling to Rusinga Island? Compare hotel rates below:

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Road Trip Guide To Rusinga Island

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  • Jan

    I learnt a lot reading through your blog! Tourists usually visit just African cities or go for African safaris. But they are missing out on this beautiful lake and the islands. This should be the destination for bird lovers. Also, I was impressed at the nice hotels in each place. Thanks for a very informative reading. 🙂

  • Wendy Lee

    I had never heard of the islands in Lake Victoria, but they look so interesting. Thank you for sharing all this great information!

  • Sarah Wilson

    Shows how much I know. Looking to visit Lake Victoria, had no idea there were so many islands. Bird island sounds fun, love birdwatching. But island hopping could be the answer!

    • Sharon Lumbasi

      Yes I agree, you will get the most out of island hopping. For bird island for example the most you can do is go around it and view the wildlife and birds from a close distance and not dock as no humans live here

  • Jenn | By Land and Sea

    I didn’t realize there were islands on Lake Victoria. Some of these look like great places to spend a day by the shore!

    • Sharon Lumbasi

      Yes a day by the shore is very relaxing, im glad I tried it.

      • Nicky

        Looks like a perfect place for some island hopping. Is it a freshwater lake? I was fascinated to read about the diversity of activities you can do there, sounds like a perfect destination.

        • Sharon Lumbasi

          Yes it is a fresh water lake, the great lakes in Africa and the second largest lake in the world after Lake Superior in North America. It is an amazing destination 🙂

  • Becki

    I honestly had no idea about the island hopping around lake Victoria. I’d love to go camping there, it would be so tranquil with the pretty lake view.

    • Sharon Lumbasi

      I agree, a camping adventure here would be a great experience.

  • Marilyn

    I had no idea there were a number of small island that can be visited on Lake Victoria. What an interesting place to wake up to…in the middle of a lake.

  • Sinjana Ghosh

    This makes me long for the sea yet again. Thanks for this wonderful guide to the Victoria Islands

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