Ssese Islands – Ssese Islands Safari Tour
The Ssese islands are an extensive group of islands of eight-four islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria the second-largest freshwater lake in the world for great adventure on a Uganda tour.
These islands share a common boundary with the Kalangala District in southern central Uganda which does not have any territory on mainland and these islands lie in two main groups.
The Bugala group in southwest after Bugala Island with islands like Bubeke, Bubembe, Bufumira, Bugaba, Bukasa, Buyova, Funve and Serinya and Koome group in the northeast with islands like Damba, Koome and Luwaji. The two groups are separated by the channel called Koome channel.
Bugala Island happens to be the largest island with the largest town and headquarters Kalangala District located approximately 51km across water, southwest of Entebbe Wakiso district Uganda.
Ssese Islands History
Early 20th century, the place was hit by sleeping sickness and most the Bassese people had to flee the area and about a decade and a half after, people started to occupy the place again.
It was in 1980s when serious settlements took place again but since then the Bassese tribe, culture and language are all dying due to many tribes occupying these mighty islands.
Attractions and activities in Ssese islands
Ssese islands tourism is growing with the foreign and the local tourists. These islands offer visitors a wide range of activities and each island has a beautiful white sand beaches, rose flowers, palm trees, forests, plants and blue waters.
The beautiful breathtaking scenery offers an amazing stay to the Ssese islands. Good photograph experiences, relaxation in the beautiful relaxed atmosphere all provided by the mighty white sand beaches of Ssese Island, hospitality from the locals have made Ssese a top destination for tourists.
The Bantu speaking Bassese tribe who occupy these islands are too welcoming and friendly. These are closely related to the Baganda and the Basoga. The Bassese people only lived in this area but later the Baganda and the Basoga migrated to this land. These people live in harmony and they value friendship unlike other people in the urban cities of Uganda.
Fishing is the major economic activity and visitors also take park in fishing. Using their wooden boats and sometimes motor boats, fishermen together with visitors cast their nets in Lake Victoria waters and the most common caught fish is the Nile perch. After sport fishing which is one of the top things to do on a trip to the islands, visitors have a chance to prepare and eat what they have caught from the lake.
Unlike many people being fishermen, other residents engage in cattle rearing. The islands have large numbers of cattle, pigs, poultry and other people work in the large oil plantation.
Birding in Ssese islands is another dream for visitors spotting both migratory and rare resident birds. Birds mostly fishing birds have turned Ssese islands their home due to a variety of water for fishing provided by the lake.
Other birds live in the lush forests and swamps around these islands. Birds like African fish eagle, pied kingfisher, barbets, hornbills, palm nut vultures, robin chats, turacos, weavers among many others all leave in Ssese islands.
Chimpanzee tracking in Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary draws hundreds of tourists to Ngamba Island every year. Being a rain forest, it was turned into an orphaned chimpanzee sanctuary in 1998 due to rescues from trafficking and poaching where many young chimpanzees lose their mothers. Ngamba apart from chimpanzees, it’s a home of over 120 bird species and a paradise for crocodiles and hippopotamuses.
Nature and forest walks.
The islands have got a remarkable terrain and natural beauty. Taking a walk through forests gives you fresh life. Bulago Island is a perfect place for these nature walks.
This claims one of the hills and the hike to the top gives you a clear amazing view of Lake Victoria and other neighboring islands.
Bulago Island is also birders paradise with both migratory and non-migratory birds and getting there takes only 45 minutes from Munyonyo.
Islands are home to vervet and colobus monkeys, crocodiles, hippopotamus, sitatunga among others.
Swimming is another popular activity in Ssese Islands. Beaches like Mutumbala in Bugala Island and many hotel swimming pools around the islands gives the good relaxation time to visitors.
Other activities include canoe riding, village walks, quad biking, banana boat rides, camping, boat trips, beach games, cycling, agricultural tours, visiting the Nanziri waterfalls, horseback riding.
- Getting to Ssese islands
The islands can be accessed through the most popular route at Nakiwogo near Entebbe. The journey from Nakiwogo and Bugala Island is usually three and a half hours.
Then from western part of Uganda a free car ferry links Bukakata mainland located 36km east of masaka with luku on Bugala islands and it is 50minutes sailing.
And also from Kasenyi landing site which is done by small wooden boats to Banda Island.
- Accommodation around Ssese islands
Many hotels and lodges within Ssese island offer favored budget to the mid-range services. Some of the hotels and lodges include, Brovad sands lodge, Hornbill camp, Mirembe Beach resort, Ssese Habitat Resort, Ssese island Beach Hotel, Banda island, panorama camp, island club among others all provides a peaceful stay to the Ssese islands.
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