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Likened to a giant armor-plated turtle because the tin roofs are so tightly packed together, Migingo Island is considered one of the most crowded outcrops in the world. 

The stone-capped island, which is barely half the size of a football pitch at 0.49 acres, is located on the north eastern side of Lake Victoria and sits on the the border between Uganda and Kenya.

In a bid to find out what this crowded isle is like, Dubai-based filmmaker Joe Hattab made the perilous journey there and spent a night with locals. 

In a short film about his time on Migingo, Hattab explains that there are more than 1,000 people living there and ‘it’s very small.’

I visited the most crowded island on Earth – where more than 1,000 people live on a cramped 0.49-acre outcrop

Likened to a giant armor-plated turtle because the tin roofs are so tightly packed together, Migingo Island is considered one of the most crowded outcrops in the world

The stone-capped island, which is barely half the size of a football pitch at 0.49 acres, is located on the north eastern side of Lake Victoria and sits on the the border between Uganda and Kenya

The stone-capped island, which is barely half the size of a football pitch at 0.49 acres, is located on the north eastern side of Lake Victoria and sits on the the border between Uganda and Kenya

In a bid to find out what this crowded isle is like, Dubai-based filmmaker Joe Hattab journeyed there and spent a night with locals

In a bid to find out what this crowded isle is like, Dubai-based filmmaker Joe Hattab journeyed there and spent a night with locals

In a short film about his time there, Hattab explains that there are more than 1,000 people living there and 'it's very small'

In a short film about his time there, Hattab explains that there are more than 1,000 people living there and ‘it’s very small’

One of the filmmaker's ports of call on the Migingo is the fishing docks, where he sees the fishermen in action

One of the filmmaker’s ports of call on the Migingo is the fishing docks, where he sees the fishermen in action 

To get to Migingo, Hattab took a flight to Nairobi in Kenya. From there, he journeyed by car for around six hours to a small town called Kisumu, which sits on the shores of Lake Victoria. The final leg of the journey, saw Hattab hop in a boat to Migingo

To get to Migingo, Hattab took a flight to Nairobi in Kenya. From there, he journeyed by car for around six hours to a small town called Kisumu, which sits on the shores of Lake Victoria. The final leg of the journey, saw Hattab hop in a boat to Migingo

To get to Migingo, Hattab had to start by catching a flight to Nairobi in Kenya. 

From there, he journeyed by car for around six hours to a small town called Kisumu, which sits on the shores of Lake Victoria.

The final leg of the trek then saw Hattab hop in a local motorboat to Migingo, with the bumpy trip taking some two hours. 

He said the island ‘looked like a mirage’ as he neared it, and he was unsure if the boat would ‘hold up’ due to the ‘huge waves.’

When he finally arrives at Migingo in the dark, Hattab has to visit security guards on a neighboring island and pay a $250 access fee. This measure has been put in place due to piracy in the area.

After getting the necessary permit, the filmmaker ventures around the crowded island by night and he describes a party atmosphere with music playing, people playing pool and the smell of fried food scenting the air.

While Migingo has been a source of contention between Kenya and Uganda for decades as the waters around are rich in Nile perch, Hattab witnesses no friction on the island with both nationalities ‘hanging out together.’ 

In one small supermarket, where alcohol and soft drinks are for sale, he finds the vendor playing music and using a makeshift DJ deck. 

In one small supermarket, where alcohol and soft drinks are for sale, he finds the vendor playing music and using a makeshift DJ deck

In one small supermarket, where alcohol and soft drinks are for sale, he finds the vendor playing music and using a makeshift DJ deck

With it getting late, Hattab follows his guide to a fisherman's house, where he is given a bed for the night. He reveals that the tin shack is hanging over the ocean and the sound of the water lapping is very loud

With it getting late, Hattab follows his guide to a fisherman’s house, where he is given a bed for the night. He reveals that the tin shack is hanging over the ocean and the sound of the water lapping is very loud

In another scene, Hattab explains that everyone appears to be cooking food together in the backstreets.

One woman tells the camera crew that she is eating fish and chips, and this is a staple meal on Migingo.

With it getting late, Hattab follows his guide to a fisherman’s house, where he is given a bed for the night.

He reveals that the tin shack is hanging over the ocean and the sound of the water lapping is very loud.

In the morning, the YouTube content creator goes for a wash at the shore and he discovers that one side is used by men to bathe and the other by women.

After having a wash, Hattab has to go to the local police station with his guides and file a report after their boat went missing overnight.

The filmmaker’s last port of call on the Migingo is the fishing docks, where he sees the fishermen in action.

He explains that many people flock to the island for the Nile perch, which is ‘exported for millions of dollars.’

The filmmaker explains that many people flock to the crowded island for the Nile perch, which is 'exported for millions of dollars'

The filmmaker explains that many people flock to the crowded island for the Nile perch, which is ‘exported for millions of dollars’

Migingo has become an increasingly popular place to fish as it is so remote, with the population swelling from around 130 in 2009 to more than 1,000 today

Migingo has become an increasingly popular place to fish as it is so remote, with the population swelling from around 130 in 2009 to more than 1,000 today

Hattab notes that the price of Nile perch has 'increased by 50 per cent in recent years and is estimated at $300 per kilogram in international markets'

Hattab notes that the price of Nile perch has ‘increased by 50 per cent in recent years and is estimated at $300 per kilogram in international markets’

While there is no word on what happened to Hattab's boat, he manages to get a ride off Migingo and he thanks the locals for his time there

While there is no word on what happened to Hattab’s boat, he manages to get a ride off Migingo and he thanks the locals for his time there

Lake Victoria is the largest in Africa, and the loss of its once abundant fish life has raised the stakes for millions living along its shores in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

In the past four decades up to 80 per cent of indigenous fish species have been lost, according to the conservation group WWF. 

Because of this, Migingo has become an increasingly popular place to fish as it is so remote, and the population has swelled from around 130 residents in 2009 to more than 1,000 today. 

Hattab notes that the price of Nile perch has also ‘increased by 50 per cent in recent years and is estimated at $300 per kilogram in international markets.’

While there is no word on what happened to Hattab’s boat, he manages to get a ride off Migingo and he thanks the locals for his time there.  



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