Ukerewe Island

Western Circuit

Ukerewe Island

Historical Sites, Islands 530 km² Western Circuit, Mwanza

Ukerewe is the largest island in Lake Victoria and the largest inland island in Africa, with an area of approximately 530 km². Ukerewe Island is situated in the Ukerewe District, nearly 50 km north of Mwanza to which it is linked by ferry, and it takes 3 to 4 hours to travel.

Ukerewe Island is situated 45 km (25 nautical miles) north of Mwanza to which it is linked by ferry, but a shorter vehicle ferry crossing of only 3.8 km also links the island across the Rugezi Channel to a dirt road on the eastern lake shore, which runs to Kibara and Musoma. The shoreline of Ukerewe Island is carved into numerous bays and it is surrounded by at least a dozen smaller islands.

The shoreline of Ukerewe Island is carved into numerous bays and it is surrounded by 27 small islands surrounding the neighbourhood with 3 of them not occupied by humans and the rest are occupied by fishermen with their families. Its largest community is Nansio. Its simple lifestyle and rocky terrain broken by lake vistas and tiny patches of forest, makes an intriguing, offbeat diversion.

The few proper sights include agricultural activities in which the residents farm maize, sweet potatoes, millet, cassava and rice, including the main activity here, fishing. Seen from Nansio are 27 small islands surrounding the neighbourhood with 3 of them not occupied by humans and the rest are occupied by fishermen with their families.

The are visits to Kagunguli, the oldest Roman church built in 1895 located near a hill with the same name; the old school and dispensary which were built between 1902 and 1913 and surviving to date with few repairs all are still in use. The Chief’s palace, Bukindo built from 1922 to 1923, the modest European-style palace of the island’s former king, which is still in use is a must see place if you are in the area and find out from the palace guide why one of its rooms has remained closed more half a century.

Others include, Irondo point where visitors see amazing views of Mwanza city, Entebbe in Uganda and Nairobi in Kenya; a chance to be part of a traditional dance group Buzegwe staff band that is sure to leave you fascinated; a visit to the historic sites, including graves in the area.

The dancing Stone in Ukara Island, a neighbouring island is also another attraction in the area, including crocodile tree and the knife of truth and learn how the people eke out a living.

There are many great places to been seen, but among the key sights are the following:


The district’s largest forest, Rubya Forest, can be found at Ukewere. The Rubya forest has a peaceful and fascinating atmosphere. There are also fishing areas and a natural beach on Lake Victoria within the forest’s boundaries. From Nansio, it’s about a half-hour drive away.


Rutare Hill, which overlooks the city of Ukerewe, can be climbed by visitors. By bicycle, the hill is around an hour away.


Participating in cultural activities such as seeing traditional dances or visiting traditional healers or local families, taking field trips to meet local farmers, or cooking and eating local food are all examples of activities that can be done at Ukewere. When you’re ready, I’d be delighted to share with you what life is like for the Kerewe people.


The “dancing stone” can be found on Ukara Island which is not far from Ukewere. It has a special place in the culture and traditions of the Kara people. The journey from Nansio to the island takes about three hours. Please Note: Due to the potential of missing the ferry back to Ukerewe, it is impossible to depart and return on the same day.


“This is the stone that dances after getting a traditional dance request from a special man from the family that looks for the stone. Beautiful and pleasing songs lead to the dancing. The original of this stone is a fight of two brothers from the same family who had a conflict. One ran and met a cave under the dancing stone.

He jumped onto another stone nearby the cave and entered the cave that available under the dancing stone, and he did not come back out. The second brother ran back home and informed the family members about their fight and about the loss of his brothers who has left his foot prints on the stone.

When the family members and their friends went to witness his cave entering they found only the footprints. They sang beautiful and pleasing songs to get him back but the response to the songs was the dancing of the stone. Since then, the stone has danced after receiving the beautiful and pleasing songs by the family members.”


Ukerewe is a great place to cycle, especially in the quieter parts of the island. You’ll be able to take in the natural splendor of the villages as a result.


To better understand Tanzania’s educational system, it's best to visit local schools. Local Ukewere children are ready to ask you questions about your country’s educational system when you’re there.


The chief's palace, formerly Ukewere Island’s most impressive tower, is located in Bukindo hamlet. Communication between the king and the ruled was done through drums. This trip by bicycle should take about 53 minutes.

The Ukewere Island Tours Costs

The tour price depends on the activities you participate in at Ukewere and the form of transportation you pick (from walking, cycling, motorbiking, or vehicular driving around). 


There are many nice hotels in Nansio, the town of Ukerewe. I, Tour Guide can make accommodation reservation for you if needed. I know the nice ones such as Monarch Beach Hotel, La Bima Hotel, Kondeni Hotel, and Holiday Motel. I will give you full information of the hotels when needed

Enquire: Ukerewe Island

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