Said to have been inhabited for centuries, enigmatic Mfangano Island is out of range of the smallest fishing boats, and, aside from a handful of motorbikes, largely without vehicles. This may be about to change, though, since a twice-daily ferry service from Mbita and the newly completed ring road around the island have gone a long way toward opening up Mfangano to the outside world. The island is populated by a curious mixture of immigrants from all over Kenya, administered by a chief and three sub-chiefs with help from a trio of policemen. Monitor lizards swarm on the sandy shores and hippos are much in evidence out in the water.

Larger and more populous than Rusinga, with a similarly rugged landscape but better vegetation cover, Mfangano’s greatest economic resource is still the lake itself. As on Rusinga, the local fishing techniques are unusual: the islanders fish with floating kerosene lamps hauled shorewards, or towards a boat, to draw in the schools to be netted. Despite the new road, many local residents still rely on a network of temporary footpaths that are constantly changing course; you can use these paths to walk through the interior of Mfangano, though it’s always easier if you have a guide.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Kenya features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 reasons to stay in Nairobi before you head off on safari

6 reasons to stay in Nairobi before you head off on safari

Most people coming into Kenya will arrive in Nairobi, but head straight for the country’s vast national parks and beautiful coastline. Stay a little longer in…

23 Aug 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
7 amazing African journeys

7 amazing African journeys

Africa is a continent of wild open savannahs, terracotta sunsets, thousands of vibrant green hills and rugged coastlines. Here, you can be chugging along on …

06 Jul 2016 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
23 incredible pictures of Kenya

23 incredible pictures of Kenya

Beyond the wildlife, Rough Guides photographer Tim Draper took an intrepid trip through Kenya to visit remote tribes and see stunning landscapes. Here, he share…

04 Apr 2016 • Tim Draper insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month