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Ssese Islands in Uganda (1)
On Lake Victoria's northeastern coast, there is 84 Ssese islands ideal for honeymoons and vacations.

Ssese islands are located on the northeastern coast of Lake Victoria, and they are perfect for a honeymoon or vacation.

There are 84 Ssese islands located on Lake Victoria’s northeastern coast, and they are ideal for a honeymoon or vacation. 

Bugala, the largest island, measures 40 kilometres in length. They include chimpanzee habitats, fishing islets, and private property. 

The administration of the Kalangala district, whose headquarters are on Bugala Island, oversees the majority of these islands, as well as a number of the Ssese Islands. 

The tsetse flies that once infested the area and spread sleeping sickness to humans and the animal disease Nagana gave the islands their name: Ssese.

Those who live in the Ssese islands are extremely kind, compassionate, and helpful. Lusese and Luganda are the primary languages spoken by the locals. 

Lusese, like Luganda and Lusoga, is a distinct language in its own right. Tsetse flies forced the island’s occupants to leave the island many years ago, and when they returned, they found the native Lusese language nearly extinct. 

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People who reside on the Ssese islands have a simpler lifestyle than those who live in the city. Fisherwomen and palm oil plantation workers make up the majority of island residents, although animal keepers who raise cattle, goats, pigs, and chickens also populate the islands.

Ssese’s main islands

Islands of Ssese can be broken down into two distinct categories. Bugala and koome are the names of the two. This is the largest and most diverse set of islands in Lake Victoria’s southern southwestern shoreline. 

Serinya, Bubeke, Bukasa, Bufumbira, Bugaba, and Bugaba, as well as the islands of Buyova and Funve, are all part of this group. 

Luwaji, Koome, and Damba are only a few of the islands that make up the koome archipelago.

Activities to Do in the Ssese Islands in Uganda

Kalangala or Ssese Islands offers a wide range of tourist activities, including birdwatching, swimming, and more as we shall see.

Birdwatching: a leisure activity

African fish Eagle Bugala islands (1)
A number of birds can be seen on the Bugala islands, including the African fish eagle, palm nut vulture, and paradise flycatcher.

Several species of birds have made these Ssese islands their home. The island’s rich forests and wetlands are home to these birds. 

Birds such as the African fish eagle, palm nut vulture, and paradise flycatcher, as well as robin cats, weaver birds, barbets, and brown-throated wattle eye and hornbills, can be seen in Bugala.

Fishing for fun

When on a safari in Uganda, sport fishing is one of the activities you should not miss at any cost. Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater lake, is one of the country’s natural treasures. 

In Ssese, sport fishing is always organised in several fishing communities to catch the largest fish possible, the Nile perch.

The tilapia is the primary capture here, although the primary purpose of the activity is to get the largest fish in Lake Victoria, the Nile perch. 

A fishing licence is required for those who wish to engage in sport fishing. Although you may rent fishing gear on the islands for a reasonable price, it is highly recommended that you bring your fishing gear.

Watching birds

Several species of birds have made these Ssese islands their home. The island’s woodlands and wetlands are home to these beautiful birds. 

It is possible to witness a variety of bird species such as the African Fish Eagle, Palm Nut Vultures, and the Paradise Flycatcher in Bugala as well as the Robin Cat, Weaver Bird, and Barbet.


While visiting any of the Ssese Islands, swimming is a popular pastime. Mutumbala is the most popular beach in Bugala, where the best swimming spots may be found. 

Crocodiles can be seen on some of the beaches, although this shouldn’t bother you much if you’re on a larger island. 

Getting bilharzia from swimming in Lake Victoria is the highest risk, but it is quite rare and can be treated within a few days.

See some animals

vervet monkeys at ssese islands (1)
The Ssese Islands are home to colobus and vervet monkeys. PHOTO/DestinationUganda

Colobus and vervet monkeys live on the Ssese Islands. Crocodiles as well live in the areas, however, they only visit on rare occasions. 

Hippos can also be found on Bugala Island’s southern coasts. It isn’t just small creatures and sitatungas that enjoy the marshes. 

Larger horned sitatungas have been spotted on the islands than everywhere else in Africa’s wetlands.

A stroll through the village

These islands are mostly covered with lush green vegetation. You can take a stroll in these woods and take in the stunning flowers and foliage that abounds. 

You can also visit any of the Ssese islands’ communities to learn more about the daily lives of the islanders. They are still poor and backward people in Ssese. 

These islands have a high HIV infection rate because of a large number of fishermen who go out to buy alcohol or women after selling their catch.

Play beach games

Aside from lounging on the sand and taking in the sights, you can also partake in a variety of beach games and even go cycling in the fresh air when you’ve had your fill of the sun and the sand.

Take a trip to Nanziri Falls

The Bukasa Islands are home to these waterfalls. In the vicinity of Wanema’s shrine and Nanziri cave, they can be discovered.

The locals regard these regions to be spooky, so you’ll need to remove your shoes and keep your voice down when you enter them. 

You’ll see the remains of several sacrifices to Nanziri and other deities at the Nanziri waterfalls.


Now that you know the things you can do at the Ssese Islands in Kalangala, what’s left is getting there. Getting to Ssese Island requires either a ferry or a fast boat. 

Currently, Bugala Island is served by three ferries

The first ferry leaves Entebbe for Kalangala at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., taking three hours to travel there from Nakiwogo. 

In the case of Ugandans, the ferry from Kalangala lifts cars for 20,000 UGX, while in the case of international tourists, 25000 UGX.