Photo of amphibious vehicle misrepresented as Lake Victoria water bus

In western Kenya, residents living around Lake Victoria use a network of water buses to shuttle from the shore to the lake’s islands. Recently, two images surfaced online alongside a claim that they showed these water buses. However, this claim is false: the photos, which date back to 2009, show an amphibious vehicle built in Malta. The Lake Victoria water buses only operate on the water. 

A post making the claim has been shared more than 650 times since it was published on Facebook on May 21, 2024.

Screenshot showing the false post, taken on May 29, 2024

“Water bus in Lake Victoria crossing from Homa-bay to Rusinga (KENYA),” reads the post's caption.

Homa Bay is a township located on the shores of Lake Victoria, approximately 300 kilometres from the capital city of Nairobi (archived here). 

Rusinga Island is a small island in Lake Victoria.

For more than a decade, InfraCo Africa water buses have provided transportation services on Lake Victoria, ferrying residents between the mainland and the different islands (archived here).

But, the images circulating on social media do not show these water buses.

Amphibious vehicle 

Through a reverse image search, we found the two images published by the UK tabloid Daily Mail in 2009 (archived here).

According to media reports published at the time (see here in English and here in Romanian), these images show an AmphiCoach – an amphibious bus designed to travel on both land and sea that was built in Malta.

An official from Kisumu County told AFP Fact Check that the images shared on social media do not show the water buses in use on Lake Victoria.

InfraCo Africa, a company based in Kisumu, makes the water buses used on Lake Victoria. The company told AFP Fact Check that their watercraft are not amphibious. 

“The images do not show the buses we manufactured which are solely used on water. Photos of our water buses can be found on our website,” said InfraCo Africa.

Screenshot from the InfraCo Africa website showing a water bus on Lake Victoria

Leading Kenyan news organisation Nation Media Group also published a clip on its YouTube channel featuring one of the water buses operating on Lake Victoria (archived here).

Apart from the water buses operated by InfraCo Africa, the lake also has ferries run by other companies (archived here).

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