Rusinga Island

Experience the beauty and culture of Rusinga Island with Saldoma Tours & Travel.

Looking for an unforgettable adventure in Kenya? Look no further than Saldoma Tours & Travel, the leading tour operator specializing in wildlife safaris and adventure tours.

History of Rusinga Island

Rusinga Island is located in the eastern part of Lake Victoria near the mouth of the Winam Gulf. It is an elongated island that is about 10 miles (16 km) from end to end and3 miles (5 km) at its widest point. The magnificent Rusinga-Mbita bridge, which replaced the ancient causeway, connects this island, which is a part of Kenya, to Mbita Point on the mainland.

Although the present residents of Rusinga Island speak Luo, their ancestors were Suba people who fled a dynastic battle in Uganda and came in boats several hundred years ago. Numerous place names on Rusinga, such as the island’s name and Lunene, its central peak, are derived from its Suba roots. It’s interesting to note that Singa, sometimes called Lusinga or Lisinga, was a language spoken only on Rusinga Island and is now extinct in Uganda. It belongs to the same family of Niger–Congo languages as Suba, even though it was spoken in Kenya.

The population estimates for Rusinga range from 20,000 to 30,000. The majority of the population subsists on fishing and subsistence agriculture (growing maize and millet). The native tilapia is still fished, however the arrival in 1954 of the voracious Nile perch has had a major impact on this species as well as others endemic to the lake. Because to the consistent onshore breezes, the island’s beaches are spotless and provide excellent conditions for boating and swimming. Unfortunately, trade and tourism are hampered by the bad roads that connect Rusinga to Homa Bay, the closest town. Eroding from the  lava pieces in the fossil beds, the beaches dazzling black sands are made of crystals of melanite garnet, barkevikite hornblende, and magnetite.

Notable also, Rusinga Island is the family home and final resting place of Tom Mboya, who, prior to his killing in 1969, was largely regarded as Jomo Kenyatta’s successor as President of the newly formed nation of Kenya.

Beyond its current relevance, Rusinga is known for extraordinarily rich fossil beds that span 18 million years and contain extinct Miocene mammals. The fossil treasures of the island were found during the Leakey expedition of 1947–1948 and have been thoroughly investigated ever since. Miocene apes, including Proconsul africanus, are among the outstanding discoveries. Proconsul’s first entire skull was even discovered by Mary Leakey; at the time, it was thought to be a “stem hominoid.” Thousands of specimens from five major sites comprise the fossil collection, which reveals a wide variety of hominoids, including Limnopithecus, Dendropithecus, Micropithecus, and Nyanza pithecus. These primates offer important insights into our evolutionary history and have arboreal adaptations.

Therefore, Rusinga Island’s old fossil history compels us to investigate the far-off echoes of life that once flourished there, even as its natural beauty and serene shoreline entice tourists.

Activities on Rusinga Island

Visitors may engage in a range of activities on Rusinga Island, which is situated in Kenya’s Lake Victoria:

  1. Fishing: At dusk, toss a line for tilapia from the jetty or troll for big Nile perch around the banks and in Lake Victoria’s shallow waters.
  2. Birding: With over 369 species of both native and migratory birds, Rusinga Island is a birdwatcher’s heaven. Additionally, you may go to the adjacent Bird Islands, which are among Lake Victoria’s most significant water bird nesting grounds.
  3. Bikes & Hikes: There are many of watersports, mountain biking, and hiking options available on the island. You may take a ferry to Mfangano Island to view prehistoric rock art, or you can ride a mountain bike around Rusinga Island.
  4. History & Paleontology: Rusinga Island is renowned for its extensive fossil record, especially in relation to primates. The archeological sites around Rusinga Island Lodge are open for visits.
  5. Cultural Visit: Take in Rusinga Island’s natural beauty and indigenous culture.
  6. Visit Ruma National Park: For a distinctive animal experience, you can also head to Ruma National Park.

Recall that every activity provides a different opportunity to engage with nature and discover the history and culture of the locale.


Rusinga Island Lodge:

  • Twin/Double Per Person Sharing (PPS): KES 10,900
  • Single Occupancy: KES 17,400
  • Child Sharing (3-12 years): KES 5500

Transport from Nairobi KES 4,000

Cost of Packages

Total cost of package 2days 1 night (double) = ksh17,135

Total cost of package 2days 1 night (single) = ksh24, 610

Total cost of package 3days 2 nights (single) = ksh29,670

Total cost of package 3days 2 nights(double) = ksh44,620

Rusinga Island Lodge Extras:

Return Road Transfer from Kisumu per Vehicle + Ferry charges included KES: 30,000/-
Vehicle Hire for Safari to Ruma National Park (Park Fees excluded): KES 30,000/-
1 Hour boats hire (06 seat capacity) with visit to Takawiri beach & Bird Island: KES 15,000/-
30 Minutes Jet skiing on the Lake: KES 8,000/- pp
Breakfast only: KES 1,500/- pp
Lunch only: KES 2,500/- pp

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Rusinga Island
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