Introduction

With its simple lifestyle and rocky terrain broken up by lake vistas and tiny patches of forest, Ukerewe Island, 50km north of Mwanza, makes an intriguing, offbeat diversion. Ikulu (‘White House’) is the modest 1928 European-style palace of the island’s former king, signposted just behind the market in Bukindo. The real attraction, however, is the deeply rural life of the island. Ukerewe is unusual in its highly successful farming techniques, centuries of stable population, and the fact that every patch of land and every tree is individually owned. There's a fascinating account of how this all works in John Reader's brilliant book Africa: A Biography of the Continent.

Nansio, the main town, has internet access (when the island’s electricity is working) and only one internationally linked ATM. Shared taxis and dalla-dallas connect Ukerewe’s few sizeable villages.