Ssese Islands

Overview & Features

ituated in the northwest of Lake Victoria, the Ssese Islands form one of Uganda’s prime destinations for casual rambling and off-the-beaten-track exploration, as well as for game fishing, in particular Nile perch. For much of the 1990s, the islands were entrenched as perhaps the most popular backpackers’ chill-out destination in Uganda. Although their attractions have not diminished in recent years, their popularity evidently has, attributable perhaps to the suspension of ferries from Port Bell as well as the burgeoning tourist development at the more accessible Lake Bunyonyi in Kigezi.

The Ssese Archipelago consists of 84 separate Islands, some large and densely inhabited, others small and deserted, but lushly forested thanks to an annual average rainfall in excess of 20,000mm. Only two islands regularly receive tourists. The more established of these is Buggala, the largest, most accessible and most developed Island, which is privately owned and the site of a popular budget resort. Other Islands that can be visited with varying degrees of ease are Bubeke, Bukasa and Bufumira.

Not least amongst Ssese Islands’ attractions are their rustic character and the sense of being well away from established tourist circuit. But as in other out-of –the-way places, it is suggested that you dress conservatively except in resort and campsite grounds, and to swim with a t-shirt on.

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1 Reviews

  1. Paullan Lyons says:

    We stayed for a couple of nights at two of the beachfront hotels near the Entebbe Ferry landing. I’d advise staying near there if youre going to Entebbe because the only daily ferry leaves at 8am (it takes roughly three and a half hours, is very cheap and worth paying extra for first class – 14 shillings). Both hotels (Pearl and Sesse) were within walking distance. Both have nice beaches but do take advice/medication for bilharzia before going in the water. The island (Bugala) is really beautiful and especially good for bird watchers. We went on one of Thomson’s (you’ll see his hut near the Entebbe landing) boat trips, which lasted about 3 and a half hours and was very enjoyable, other than that there isn’t a lot to do but relax and enjoy the peace and sunsets, especially after Kampala. The ‘town’ of Kalingala has little other than a couple of bars, and not much much in the way of food other than a couple of pork joints, so if you arent feeling brave, eat at your hotel, or get a ‘rolex’ by the ferry. Of the two hotels I preferred the Pearl, because of the big fire and music at the bar down by the beach, plus its only a few metres from the ferry, but still quiet. Both hotels have great views of the sunset. There were only two other Western tourists when we visited the Island – if it was faster to get to and the water wasn’t a problem, you could imagine it being a much more popular destination.

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