Ssese Islands Excursion

The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of eighty-four islands in the North western part of Lake Victoria in Uganda. These islands are adorned with stunning white sand beaches and a series of hotels where one can relax and enjoy a good book or just bask in the sun’s heat. The Island lies into two categories or groups i.e. Bulaga group in the southwest and the Koome group in the northeast and the two are separated by the Koome channel. The largest island in the Ssese group is Bugala and it comprises of the following islands; the Bugaba Island, Bufumira Island, Serinya Island, Buyova Island, Bubeke Island, Funye Island and on another hand Koome Island consists of Luwaji, Damba and Koome (the largest in the group). The Baganda traditionally revere Ssese as the Islands of the gods. In pre-colonial times it was customary for the kings of Buganda to visit the islands and pay tribute to the several balubaale whose main shrines are situated there. The archipelago supports a cover of mid-altitude rainforest, similar in composition to the forest that once swathed to the facing mainland, but far less affected by agriculture and other forms of encroachment. The most common large terrestrial mammal is the vervet monkey, bushbuck and black and white colobus. Water and forest birds are prolific and here expect to see different bird species like barbets, hornbills, robin-chats, turacos, and weavers. African fish eagles and palm nut vultures are often seen near the lake, while immense breeding colonies of little egret and great cormorant occur on Lutoboka and other bays. The main activity that exist in the area is fishing that is carried out on Lake Victoria and the major fish caught in the area is Nile perch and Tilapia accompanied by other tourism attractions. If you are not the type to sit back and relax then don’t leave, the island has got you different activities to enjoy.

Beach games

After relaxing your mind and your body without the bustle and hustle of the city, you can engage in beach games like volleyball, beach soccer and football among others.

Bicycle Riding

Yes, indeed you could hire a bike from your respective resort and ride through the island’s white sand beaches, rainforest and even visit the workers in the fishing village. The gorgeous scenery of the island will keep you captivated and pedaling for more.

Swimming

Swimming in the waters of Lake Victoria is a very exciting on Ssese Islands. Bulaga is the most noted swimming area of all Islands. Due to the outbreak of Bilharzia, many people enjoy their swimming activities in swimming pools and also due to the presence of crocodiles. Sun bathing at any of the Ssese Islands is interesting as you just sit and observe the fresh waters of the second largest Lake in the world.

Hiking and Nature walks

Though biking is thrilling, you may want to take it slow and have a nice stroll around with a guide taking you through the forest. You may roam as you watch the different birds and marvel at their colorful feathers and unique calls or the different primates you could spot and may even run into the sitatunga antelope. 

Bird watching

Ssese Island is a birders paradise for both water birds and those that live on land which thrive in the forests and swamps on the Island. While at the island you can spot various bird species like the paradise flycatcher, great blue Turaco, shoebill stock, African fish eagle, Palm nut vulture, marabou stock, horn bills, barbets, robin chats, crested crane, weaver birds, African green broadbill, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Doherty’s, pygmy kingfisher among others. Visit Ssese Islands to explore various bird species.

Golfing

You could also go golfing with your buddies, maybe you are a natural at it or have never even played before but that does not matter because the course is for all who are interested. So, bring out your clubs and play some golf!

Quad biking

Quad biking is the best way to explore the Ssese Islands. While on the bike you can visit fishing villages, forests, beaches as well as brightening your day. There is a simple training organized for the starters though the activity doesn’t require much experience. The activity is open for all years and it takes only one hour.

Island Hopping

Perhaps you are the adventurous type that just can’t help your curiosity; well, there is something for you too. A boat can be arranged to take you around island to island, the habited and inhabited until you have explored to your heart’s content. You can also hire a speed boat and watch the sunset over the lake. In general, the islands are a place to be. Enjoy the amenities of the different lodges, sit around a camp fire at night. They are a good place to relax and unwind for a weekend after a long week.

Upmarket

  • Brovad Sands Lodge

Moderate

  • Ssese Habitant Resort
  • Ssese Islands Beach Hotel

Budget

  • Victoria Forest Resort
  • Mirembe Resort Beach
  • Panorama Cottages

How to get there

By ferry from Entebbe

The MV Kalangala is a daily passenger/vehicle ferry service that connects Lutoboka Port on Buggala Island to Nakiwogo Port. The ferry leaves Nakiwogo at 14:00 daily and starts the return trip from Lutoboka at 08:00 the next morning, taking 4 hours in either direction. One way fares are US$3/5 while vehicles are charged US$23 for a one way crossing but can also be parked in a compound at Nakiwogo for a small fee.

By ferry via Bukataka

A free vehicle ferry service connects the mainland port of Bukakata 40km east of Masaka to Luko 30km west of Kalangala several times daily. Two different ferries cross back and forth regularly between 08:00 and 18:00, taking 30 minutes in either direction.