Mfangano Island Camp

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Mfangano Island Camp, Lake Victoria, Kenya

The camp is perfect to include in your Kenya Safari either between safaris in Kenya’s Masai Mara and the Serengeti in Tanzania or following a safari in the Masai Mara. Lapped by the waters of Lake Victoria shaded by giant fig trees, and lost to the world, Mfangano Island Camp is an oasis of tranquility, an ideal retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Your first view is of beautiful tropical gardens set on a secluded bay. Lawns hug the waterline, flowerbeds and rock gardens surround the camp. Enormous boulders sit at the water’s edge, a perch for cormorants or giant monitor lizards to sun themselves. If all you desire is to laze in the sunshine, each room has it’s own private veranda with sun beds. Or there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied. The food’s as fresh as can be, fished from the lake (hopefully by you!) or picked fresh from the island’s vegetable gardens and orchards.

Mfangano Island Camp has nine double-bedded cottages, including a beautiful dedicated family cottage, situated right on the lakeshore. Each room has been built in the Luo tribal style, with banana thatch and natural clay.

All rooms offer spectacular vistas across the lake with picturesque dhows sailing by. The rooms are light and airy with four-poster beds. From the dining and lounge area, sit and enjoy the life of the lake as it goes by. There is also a “horizon” swimming pool located right on the lakeshore. Mfangano Island Camp has a stunning honeymoon suite if you are looking for something very special. From your bed you have almost a 360 degree view of Lake Victoria. The meals at Mfangano Island Camp are superb. Fresh salads and the daily catch of Nile Perch are served overlooking the lake with freshly made crusty bread and chilled wine. Birds sing all day on Mfangano Island. The Cormorants dive for fish nearby or spread their wings to dry in the sun. Sunbirds flit from flower to flower in the lush tropical gardens and weaver birds busy themselves building nests in the trees.

Culture Walks

Villages dot the shores of Lake Victoria, and the main activities are fishing and trading in Nile Perch and Tilapia. We would be delighted to arrange a trip to see our local village accompanied by a guide. The walk to the village takes half an hour, along the picturesque lakeshore. The residents here are very friendly and will happily show you around their village. It is also possible to visit the local school, which has been re-built with the help of Mfangano Island Camp and our generous guests. If guests feel like exploring on a nearby island and deep into the interior, are hidden caves decorated with prehistoric rock art.

Bird Watching

Guests can join our resident ornithologist on bird watching trips both on foot and by boat around the island. It is possible to see the majestic Fish Eagles nesting in the giant fig trees along the lakeshore. Colourful Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters, Weavers and Swallows are also resident around the Camp. Bird watching around the Lake is exciting for both keen ornithologists and beginners as there is such a wide variety of different birds to see. Guests at all Governors’ Camp properties are provided with our own comprehensive bird list which will help you to keep a record of all of the wonderful birds that you have seen.

Rock Art

These rock art paintings are located in Mawanga Cave on Mfangano Island! There is another set of cave paintings at the top of the mountain on Mfangano Island at a site called Kwitone these ones are larger and more impressive. The interesting thing about the geometric paintings at Mawanga is that although they were originally painted by the Twa (Batwa) possibly more than a thousand years ago, they were actually used by the local Suba people for rain making ceremonies right up until the 1980s when the missionaries told them to stop. When the Suba arrived from Uganda as refugees around 200 years ago they found the Twa there who were hunter gatherers like the Bushmen. The Suba (Abasuba) gradually appear to have absorbed them along with some of their belief systems. Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) have recorded similar rock art (paintings and engavings) in northern Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi and know that it exists in Zambia, Congo, Gabon and Senegal.

The Mawanga cave is especially interesting because it looks out towards Nsenze Island which is the sacred island of the Wasabi clan. They say that whenever there was a severe drought in the land there was always food to be had on this island, where a large python also lived, needless to say! It was almost as if the rain-making vibes were beamed out from the cave onto the island so that it would always provide food! TARA have recorded similar oral legends about the rain making power of the circles and spirals in eastern Uganda and they know one site there that was used for rain-making rituals until very recently and another one where people hold fertility rituals to this day. Interesting that in places like Utah in the USA similar spirals and circles are associated with fertility!


The Nile Perch is the king of the lake’s fish. It can grow to 1.8 metres (6 feet) long, and weigh 140 kilograms (300 pounds). Fish of 5 to 15 kilos are regularly caught, and are delicious eating.

We have all of the necessary fishing tackle that you require, and our well-trained boatman will give you all the help that you need.

In the shallows there are Tilapia, which can be caught either amongst the reeds from one of our boats, or off the jetty.

Casting for Tilapia at sunset, with a glass of chilled white wine, is a pleasant way to spend an evening. Whilst you are fishing you can enjoy the bird-life resident along the lake shore, the families of otters amongst the rocks and colourful Luo fishing villages along the shore. You can then savour your freshly caught fish for lunch or dinner, prepared by our expert local chefs.

Governors’ Camps, set in some of the most beautiful parts of Africa, provide the old-fashioned pace of life accompanied by the best of 21st century support in the heart of some of East Africa’s Prime Wildlife Areas. Air services bring you to your camp effortlessly, and ingredients for gourmet meals are flown in daily. Accommodation is in huge tents in the Masai Mara, in traditionally designed luxury rooms constructed in the local Luo style at Mfangano, in the old settler farmhouse at Loldia, and cottages on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Service is personal, attentive and friendly. Security and safety are ensured with constant communications and medical back up.

Governors’ Camp Collection is proud to have consistently been recognized with many travel awards and accolades. A Governors’ Safari will introduce you to the thrilling pleasures of some of the world’s most magnificent wildlife spectacles, pampered in luxury, but in tune with the simple rhythms of life.

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