Considered to be one of the most beautiful islands on Lake Victoria’s waters, Rusinga Island is located in the north-eastern area of the continent’s second largest fresh water lake. The islanders have a rich history that associates their origin with the royal Kabakas (kings) in nearby Uganda. Legend has it that the Abasuba, the predominant community on Rusinga Island arrived in boats after a dynastic war erupted Uganda. Today, the island is a tourist site due to well-maintained Eco-lodges, proximity to Masai Mara and its bounteous bird life. Rusinga stretches for about 16 km along Lake Victoria’s shores and runs way tighter in width at only about 5 Km. Whether seeking century-old tales of the deep blue waters, or looking to experience the presence in luxury, Rusinga Island has it all.
1. Rusinga Island Lodge
Rusinga Island Lodge exudes an atmosphere of serenity and composure; with its well-manicured lawns infinitely flowing into the waters of Lake Victoria. Fishing expeditions, sundowner cruises and hippo spotting in the lake it is also very popular for destination weddings. You can also take a late evening to one of the fishing villages and watch the fishermen of Victoria as they put together their nets, baits and lanterns in readiness for the high waters. Whatever you do, be sure to make a meal of the popular Nile perch that is cooked and served in different ways; all delicious and inviting!
2. Mbasa Island
Mbasa Island consists of twin islands which have both been gazette as bird sanctuary due to their abundance aviary population with impressive numbers of endangered bird species and monitor lizards. Some of the bird species which thrive here include long-tailed cormorants, marsh harriers and white egrets. Bird enthusiasts are always advised to plan their trips during the sunset hours when the gatherings come home to their nests.
3. Tom Mboya’s Mausoleum
Tom Mboya’s mausoleum lies about 5Km across the island and has been declared a historical site. The mausoleum, which is located in the family land contains various mementos and gifts which were presented to the eloquent politician and trade unionist before his demise in August 15 1930. Tom Mboya is recognized and celebrated for his outstanding contribution to the country, he was assassinated in 1969
How to Get There
Assuming that you are in Nairobi, board day/night coach from downtown or take a 45 minute flight from either Jomo Kenyatta or Wilson airport. Rusinga is a 3 hour drive and ferry. There’s an airstrip adjacent to the road for private charters.
The Craft Market in Kisumu is a haven for souvenirs and mementos that will serve well to immortalize your memories from Rusinga. The island does not have major shopping malls and you are reminded to carry personal effects such as sunscreen, pest repellants etc.
Rusinga has various lodges and sleep outs, it is however wise to confirm availability before arrival.
Rusinga has been associated with some of the oldest fossils as discovered in a series of expedition led by Dr. L.S.S Leakey. The island is especially known for it’s extraordinarily rich and important findings of mammals dating back 18 million years.
Safety: Chances are, you will be staying within the confines of your hotel throughout the visit; save for organized outdoor group activities. However, always carry your caution like you would in any other foreign destination.
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