Ssese Islands, Lake Victoria – Uganda

Ssese Islands, Lake Victoria – Uganda

The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of eighty-four (84) islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda.

The islands are coterminous with the Kalangala District in southern Central Uganda, which does not have any territory on mainland Uganda.

The islands occupy the northwestern corner of Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. The largest island in the archipelago is called Bugala Island.

Its largest town, called Kalangala serves as the headquarters of the district that carries the same name (Kalangala District). Kalangala is located approximately 51 kilometers (32 mi), across the water, southwest of Entebbe, in Wakiso District, on the Ugandan mainland. The islands lie in two main groups.

The southwest can be referred to as the Bugala Group, after Bugala Island, the largest in the archipelago. The northeastern group can be referred to as the Koome Group, after Koome Island, the largest in that group.

The two groups are separated by the Koome Channel. Bugala Island can be accessed most easily by ferry from Entebbe and near Masaka.

There is the Kalangala Ferry (which also carries vehicles) which was restored to service, and the MV Amani which was also restored to service.

For safety reasons, it is best to stay away from smaller, Ugandan-styled boats. The private Bulago Island is a 45-minute speed boat ride from Munyonyo.

The reality is that the Ssese Islands – Uganda’s Secret Tropical Islands are already a well-known destination for Ugandans for their beauty, affordability, and ease of access.

And on top of that amazing Sunrises and Sunset Holiday Weather all year long, at night you have the moon and a starlit sky along with the lightning over this vast lake which provides spectacular pyrotechnic displays at night.

See also: Best honeymoon destinations in Uganda

The Ssese Islands provide the perfect backdrop for many activities of which chilling out is foremost but there is so much more – these hidden and most secret islands are a paradise largely undiscovered yet treasured by those who visit here as one of the Pearls in the Pearl of Africa – Uganda.

Other islands in the Bugala Group include Bubeke, Bufumira, Bugaba, Bukasa, Buyova, Funve, and Serinya. The main islands in the Koome Group include Damba, Koome, and Luwaji.

Henry Morton Stanley described the inhabitants as “the principal canoe builders and the greater number of the sailors of Mutesa’s empire.” The principal industry in the Ssese Islands is fishing for the huge Nile Perch, with much of the catch being exported.

Overfishing is a huge concern on these and other islands in Lake Victoria. Other industries include agriculture, forestry, and tourism.

The islands are also home to a variety of animals including primates, which are not easily accessible on the mainland. This has led to the evolution of a nascent but growing tourism industry on the islands. Infrastructure is still rudimentary but is slowly improving.

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