Explore Ukerewe Island, The Largest Island In Lake Victoria : With a size of roughly 530 km2, Ukerewe is the largest island in Lake Victoria and the largest inland island in Africa. Ukerewe Island is located in the Ukerewe District, some 50 km north of Mwanza city- Tanzania second largest city after Dar es Salaam city, and it takes 3 to 4 hours to get there by ferry.

Ukerewe Island is located 45 kilometers (25 nautical miles) north of Mwanza, where a boat connects it. However, a car ferry that travels only 3.8 kilometers connects the island to a dirt road that runs to Kibara and Musoma on the eastern bank of the lake. Ukerewe Island is surrounded by at least a dozen smaller islands, and its shoreline is cut into multiple bays.

Ukerewe Island’s shoreline is divided into many bays, and there are 27 small islands in the area; only 3 of them are inhabited by people, while the rest are home to families of fisherman. Nansio is the area’s major community. Its uncomplicated way of life and rocky landscape, which are broken up by lake views and sparse patches of forest, make for an appealing, unusual distraction.

The major activity here is fishing, but there are also a few appropriate attractions, such as agricultural activities where the locals cultivate maize, sweet potatoes, millet, cassava, and rice. Three of the 27 little islands that surround Nansio cannot be seen from the city, while the rest are home to fishermen and their families.

Visits are made to Kagunguli, where the oldest Roman church was erected in 1895 and is situated close to a hill with the same name, as well as the old school and dispensary, all of which were constructed between 1902 and 1913 and are still in operation today despite needing only minor repairs. If you’re in the vicinity, you must visit the Chief’s Palace in Bukindo, erected between 1922 and 1923, the modest European-style residence of the island’s previous king, and learn from the palace guide why one of its chambers has been shuttered for more than 50 years.

Other attractions include Irondo Point, which offers breathtaking views of Mwanza City, Entebbe, Uganda, and Nairobi, Kenya; the opportunity to join the Buzegwe Staff Band, a traditional dancing ensemble that is sure to captivate you; and a trip to the nearby historical monuments, which include tombs.

 Another feature in the region is the dancing stone in Ukara, a neighboring island, where visitors can also see the crocodile tree and the knife of truth and discover how the locals make a living, Explore Ukerewe Island

Visitors are introduced to local fishing, canoeing, biking, village tours, and other activities as part of the activities offered here; while these activities are slightly intriguing, the genuinely rural life that exists between them is the main draw.

In Nansio, there are a few tiny hotels where guests can stay. Holiday Motel, Labima Hotel, Kondeni Hotel, Monarch Beach Resort, and Bwiru Cultural Thatched Simple Traditional Houses are on the list. Some villages have camping areas, and the Ukerewe cultural tourism program will be able to direct tourists accordingly.


On the Tanzanian shore of Lake Victoria, close to Mwanza, is Ukerewe Island. The entire island is a district (Ukerewe) and is near the mainland; it is separated from Kisoro by 3.8 kilometers of lake water and from Mwanza City by 45 kilometers.


Site-seeing and exploring the island’s varied locations and generally uncomplicated way of life are the main activities for visitors. On the island, there are some historic buildings, some of which are older than 1985, such as Kagunguli, the oldest Roman church. Others include the old school and hospital (1908), the palace of the Ukerewe people leader (1923), and the palace of the island’s former monarch, which features a room that hasn’t been used in over 50 years.

Additionally, the island features lovely beaches, some of which provide breathtaking views of the mainland, particularly at night, when it is also almost always completely silent. The majority of the population there leads a tranquil, modest island existence, and many of the goods for sale there, such as food and lodging, are incredibly cheaper than on the mainland. So feel free to stay the night; just keep in mind to make your reservations in advance and to have enough cash with you as there are no ATMs.

 Around Ukerewe, there are approximately 27 smaller islands, the most of which are populated by humans, primarily farmers and fishermen, with the exception of 3. The majority of these islands are accessible by boat or ferry from the shore.

Not to mention the incredible variety of creatures that can be found there, many of which stay away from the adjacent busy city. There are plenty of birds, some of which are as big as a 4-year-old child, that can be observed continuously feasting on the lake’s fish, but there are no major game animals. The fish themselves, turtles, and tortoises are examples of other species, Explore Ukerewe Island


Ukerewe Island can be visited any time of year, but if you’re looking for sunshine, May through October is when you should go. Also from May to July comes orange season! Although the rainy season should have been in full force when I visited Ukerewe in November, I only encountered one hour-long rainstorm. The rest of the days were sunny and warm.


Ferries departing from Mwanza are the quickest way to reach Ukerewe Island. From Dar es Salaam or Arusha, Mwanza can be reached by bus, train, or airplane. You have two ferry alternatives from Mwanza to get to Ukerewe Island.

Explore Ukerewe Island
Explore Ukerewe Island

There are two ways to get to Ukerewe Island. The first is by passenger ship from Mwanza City (south of the island), which takes about 4 hours to get there. However, there are typically only two passenger boats that go to and from the island each day, both of which leave at roughly the same time, which limits the amount of time that can be spent traveling. It is likely that if you choose this method of transportation, you will either have to spend the night on the island or spend very little time there. This is not the best mode of transportation if you truly want to get out and explore the island and its surroundings, Explore Ukerewe Island

The alternate route involves passing through Kisoria, a tiny settlement outside of Mwanza. Since this is an island, there is no bridge here; instead, there is a tiny ferry that runs every hour from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. It takes roughly 30 minutes to complete the crossing, and even better, you may bring your automobile.

The major drawback to this approach is the distance needed to get to Kisoria, much of which must be traveled on exceedingly dangerous, pothole-filled dirt roads. Although there is public transportation available to get you there, you would end up spending roughly half your day traveling. If you have a 4×4 car and are seeking adventure, the Kisoria route is ideal for you. It does provide some breathtaking views of Lake Victoria.


The ferry dock is only 15 minutes on foot from the Monarch Gallu Hotel in Nansio. The accommodations come with breakfast and are modest but tidy. Individual rooms cost 15,000 TSH, double rooms cost 20,000 TSH, twin rooms cost 25,000 TSH, the executive room costs 30,000 TSH, and suites cost 50,000 TSH, Explore Ukerewe Island

Across from the road on the beach and with a view of the lake, the hotel also features a restaurant. Although the costs are high by Tanzanian standards, the beauty and lakefront breeze make up for it. You can eat Tanzanian food at neighborhood canteens in the city if you’d prefer a more authentic experience, or you can ask Paschal to set up a homestay.


You may visit Ukerewe Island for a weekend trip even if you pack minimally. For the bike trip or walking tour, you only actually need one pair of athletic attire, along with a change of clothes for that evening and the following day. Do not worry if you are unsure of what to pack, contact us at Focus East Africa Tours today as we are here to help you and make sure you have unforgettable safari experience.

book a safari