Rock Art of Mfangano Island

The Rock Art of Mfangano Island, Lake Victoria

Mfangano Island is a large, mountainous island on Lake Victoria, south of Kisumu and Homa Bay. Most of the rock art on Mfangano island consists of geometric paintings believed to have been made by Twa hunter-gatherers roughly between 2000 and 4000 years ago. Today’s inhabitants are the Abasuba or Suba people who were using Mawanga site for rainmaking rituals until the 1980s.

The main rock art sites on Mfangano Island are Mawanga and Kwitone. Mawanga cave is situated only a short walk from Mawanga village, where the boat jetty is located. It looks out towards the lake and Nzenze Island, which is sacred to one of the Suba clans. Kwitone shelter is located near the top of a mountain above a sacred forest and can be reached from Mawanga after 40 minute hike through the forest.

Getting to know the rock site and more about the island, its history, people and other activities best way is to request/hire for a guide at the Abasuba Community Peace Museum.

Other attractions

There are several visitor activities to do on Mfangano; boating, fishing, bird watching and hiking amongst others. East of Mfangano Island is home to thousands of birds. You can also visit Nzenze Island and Sacred Forests and Peace Trees still used for ceremonies, and forests and national parks located on the mainland.

Where to stay?

On Mfangano affordable community run camping facilities and a holiday cottage are available at the Abasuba Community Peace Museum. Mfangano Island Camp offers luxurious en suite rooms with private verandas and sun beds. Other option is to stay on Rusinga Island or Mbita on mainland.

How to get there

Mfangano Island can be reached by road, boat or by air. Air charters are available directly to Mfangano from Nairobi, Kisumu and the Maasai Mara. Another option is to reach Mfangano by road and then boat:  From Nairobi a good road runs along the north shore of the Winam Gulf from Kisumu to Lwanda K’Otieno, where there is a ferry service to Mbita. From Mbita, there is a regular motorboat ferry service to Mfangano, and boats can also be easily hired.

Please find more information about the rock art in Mfangano Island from the Rock Art and Other Attractions of Suba District –booklet.