Ukerewe island is the fifth-largest lake island in the world. With an area of 530 km2 (200 sq mi), it is also the largest island in Lake Victoria and the largest lake island in Africa. Ukerewe Island is situated in the Ukerewe District of Tanzania, 45 km (28 mi) north of Mwanza to which it is linked by ferry. A ferry crossing of 3.8 km (2.4 mi) links the island to a dirt road on the eastern lakeshore, 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. Its largest community is Nansio.
Ukerewe is known for having a large population of Africans with albinism. Many of the first of them to live there were taken to and abandoned on the island by their families as children. Despite comprising an exceptionally high percentage of the island’s population, they are still, as throughout Tanzania, an oppressed minority on the island, though it appears to have avoided the killings of albinos, who are “harvested” for black magic rituals, that regularly occur in Tanzania.
They 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, 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.
As part of the activities here, visitors are introduced to local fishing, canoeing, biking, village tour and more, are mildly interesting, but the deeply rural life between them is the real attraction.
Accommodation is available in a few small hotels in Nansio. The list includes: Labima hotel, Kondeni hotel, Holiday Motel, Monarch beach resort and Bwiru cultural thatched simple traditional houses. Camping grounds are available in some villages; the Ukerewe cultural tourism program will be able to guide visitors accordingly.
WHAT TO SEE / DO IN UKEREWE
There are many great places to been seen, but among the key sights are the following:
1. RUBYA FOREST
Rubya Forest is the largest forest in the district. Is a very peaceful place with a fascinating environment. Also in the forest’s area are Fishing- activity area and natural Beach on Lake Victoria. It takes about 50 minutes on a car to reach the place from Nansio.
2. RUTARE HILL
We can climb Rutare Hill which is great for viewing the scenery of Ukerewe. It takes an hour by bicycle to reach the Hill.
3. SPECIAL CULTURAL TOURS.
These can include traditional dance shows, visit traditional Healer, visit local families, trip to meet Farmers on their Fields, and Preparation and eating local food. I will be very happy to tell you everything about the life of Kerewe people.
4. DANCING STONE OF UKARA ISLAND
Ukara Island is the home to ‘dancing stone. It has the cultural and traditional value to the Kara people. The island is also a good place to cycle in as no cars.
It takes about three hours to get on the island from Nansio.
Note: It is impossible to go and come back on the same day because you may be late for the ferry backs to Ukerewe.
Ukerewe Island is a good place to cycle in, especially in villages where no more traffic. When you do, you get a chance to view the natural beauty of the villages.
6. A VISIT TO LOCAL PRIMARY SCHOOL.
A visit to local schools is a great way to understand more about the education system of Tanzania. The local children are very keen to ask you some questions about the education system in your country.
7. CHIEF’S PALACE.
In Bukindo village is the chief’s Palace which used to be the most magnificent building on the island. In the palace are drums that were used as a means of communication between the ruled and the ruler. It takes about 53 minutes to reach the Palace by cycling.
The tour prices vary based on what you wish to do, and your preferred method of transport (walk, bicycle, motorbike or car). So you had better explain to me what you wish to do with me and how we do, and then I will tell you the real price.
There are many nice hotels in Nansio, the town of Ukerewe. Tour Guide can make accommodation reservation for you if needed they know nice ones such as Monarch Beach Hotel, La Bima Hotel, Kondeni Hotel, and Holiday Motel. we will give you full information about the hotels when needed
SERVICES DONE BY UKEREWE ISLAND
* Guiding Services in Ukerewe.
• Making an accommodation reservation for you if needed.
• To organize safaris for other attractions in Tanzania, such as Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Rubondo Island, Mount Meru, and so on.