Rusinga Island is a small rural Island at the shores of Lake Victoria and offers great relaxation and tranquility away from the busy life on the mainland of Kenya. With great views of the Lake you cannot miss an incredible sunset or sunrise as you listen to the birds sing out their melody.
This is the best place to wind up your rigorous safari, experiencing the other side of Kenya that is less talked about or advertised. The Island can be accessed through Mbita causeway ferry that takes about 45 minutes. To get to Mbita from Nairobi, you can travel to Kisumu through road (8 hours drive) or take a 45 minutes flight from Nairobi.
Rusinga Island Lodge, Kenya is one of the best places to stay if you want to enjoy this quite Island to the maximum. Though there are other budget friendly places in Mbita on the shores of Lake Victoria, it is all worth saving for these particular lodge.
Overview of the Lodge
The lodge located in this remote Island has very green manicured lawns with exotic trees providing a haven for many bird species. Located at the shores of Lake Victoria, it offers great views at it’s terrace where one can spend most of the time just gazing and inhaling all the beauty.
Accommodation is provided in thatched hut cottages overlooking the lake. They are furnished with locally available materials, well air-conditioned with an en suite bathroom. Each cottage has a sitting area, dinning and a terrace/veranda for great views.
The lodge also has a Spa offering massage treatment for guests on request. It is also children friendly with a swimming pool and large lawns where the children can play while searching for small animals like squirrel and mongoose found in the Island.
Some of the Activities while at the Island include:
The Island and it’s environment has over 350 local and migratory bird species not found in other parts of the Kenya. Right from the terrace of your room, you get to observe different birds singing away.
The bird island, accessible through a short boat ride from Rusinga is a breeding site for most of the water birds on the Lake. Some of the magnificent birds include: Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, double-toothed barbets, sunbirds, cormorants etc. The fish eagle can be seen soaring overhead and swooping low on the Lake while trying to catch fish and offers great photography moments.
Lake Victoria’s main activity is fishing and there is a large volume of Nile Perch and tilapia that are found here. Hence, fish is the main food consumed by communities around the Lake.
The lodge has fishing boats and offers a chance for their guest to go catch their own food. The adventure of it is trying to catch a Nile Perch for dinner which grow to a large size of put to 300lbs. Such an adventure, catching your own dinner or lunch.
Hiking and Bike Riding
Mountain bikes are available for the adventure lovers to take a stroll in the small Island and interact with the local community. Learn more about the tribe that inhabit this Island, their history and every day life.
The nearby Mfangano Island is home to ancient rock art that remains untouched for many years. This is a great place for any hiker to explore the caves and ancient curved art with the help to an experienced guide.
Excursion at the Paleontology Site
Primate fossils were discovered by two Palaontologist Louis and Mark Leakey in 1948. This led to the recent reopen of the fossil sites by The American Museum of Natural History who visit the site every year and continue to work on discovering more fossils.
An excursion with a well knowledgeable guide will give you a brief history of the paleontologists work and their findings so far. When the American team is on the ground, they are more than willing to answer all the questions one may have.
A brief Safari At Ruma National Park
Ruma National park is the remotest park in Kenya and has a unique and striking beauty making it standout from the rest. This is home to the last remaining Roan Antelope found in Kenya that is easily visible to visiting guests. Other animals to see in the park include; Jackson’s Hartebeest, Rothschild Giraffe, oribi, bohor reedbuck, impala, topi, waterbuck, buffalo and with luck the leopard can be sighted.
Some more activities can be done while still at the lodge which include swimming by the pool, spa treatments which include massage, manicure and pedicure. There are also various game boards you can enjoy as a family. A treasure hunt can be arranged for the children upon request.
One can also choose to walk by the lake shores and interact with the ever friendly local community as they engage with their everyday activities, visit their villages and get involved in community based projects.
There is also the Rusinga Island Festivals that happen the last weekend before Christmas that is normally organised to celebrate the great traditions of the community living in this area.
(Video courtesy of Wendy Wata Vlog)
Things to consider when visiting the Island
- This is a malaria prone area so make sure you have the anti-malaria tabs.
- Carry an insect repellent as there are so many harmless insects that will want to rest on your body.
- Carry sunscreen, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun is always blazing in this region.
- You can include a light to medium jacket for the windy evenings.
- Remember to carry a swimming costume or hiking shoes if you intend to do either.
- Get a good camera as some moments in this Island are worth keeping.