Mfangano Island Camp
Lake Victoria, Kenya
If you’re heading to Lake Victoria, Mfangano Island Camp is arguably the best place from which to experience it. This is a true hideaway, with small cottages clustered around a picturesque and tranquil bay.
Starts from $163 pp (approx Ksh 16,000), sharing, full-board, including most activities, but excludes fishing and boating. Drinks are extra. Closed April, May.
A true escape from the crowds, Mfangano, with its own private bay, is an alternative to the busy Kenyan coast. The 45-minute boat ride to the island adds to the sense of getting away from it all.
The camp has been a little quiet in recent months, and so some elements of service are perhaps not as polished as they might be for this level of accommodation.
Style and character
Mfangano is a place for unwinding, and was designed with safari-goers in mind, who would typically end their stay here. While away the hours with a book in a swing over the lapping waters of the lake and dine al fresco facing the hundreds of fishing lights that dot the lake at nightfall.
The camp overlooks a charming little bay, where in a bit of a rarity for Lake Victoria, it’s safe to swim, being free of both crocodiles and the bilharzia that is so prevalent on the mainland shore.
Service & Facilities
Service is good, overseen by a camp manager. One gets the sense, however, that service was more polished when a higher number of visitors were passing through (before the drop-off in international tourism). Each group of guests is assigned a boat captain, who will be their guide for the duration of their stay.
- Wifi (in main lounge)
Accommodation is in spacious cottages, with open-plan bathrooms. Rooms are large and can easily fit in an extra bed when travelling with children, with a small veranda outside perfectly positioned to catch sunset on the lake. For honeymooners, there’s an outlying cottage perched on a cliff over the bay. Like the family suite at the other end of the bay, it is huge, with excellent views.
Food & Drinks
As you might expect on the lake, fish is a mainstay of the menu although the chef is happy to cook up an alternative dish on request. Food is good, and the staff will happily create a romantic dining setting in the main garden, or on the deck of your cottage, if staying in the honeymoon or family suites.
Children of all ages are welcomed, and the family suite affords the opportunity to pack the kids in if necessary. Apart from the pool, there are a number of activities that children might enjoy, namely fishing and boating, and it’s possible to take excursions to see rock art or the nearby Takawiri island.
Value for Money?
Mfangano is pretty good value for money. It is luxurious, exclusive and a haven, all of which justifiably command a higher price tag. It would be nice, however, to see a price that includes all boat-based activities, as these have the potential to push the cost up substantially. At certain times of year, the lodge offers discounted rates for events, such as cycling competitions, and these are well worth taking up.
Reviewed February 2018 by Catrina Stewart