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A 3-days safari to explore Ssese Islands in Uganda offers a tranquil escape to these beautiful islands located on Lake Victoria. Ssese Islands are a group archipelago of 84 small islands that lie in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria, the Islands are part of the Kalangala district which lies in the southern central part of the country. The largest island in the archipelago is called Bugala Island and is where Kalangala town is located. Bugala is the most developed and populated and is home to the Kalangala district administrative offices. The other islands like Ngamba, Serinya, Bugaba, Bubeke, Bukasa and Bufumira have fewer settlers or have been bought as private property. Ngamba is also one of the famous islands that make up the Ssese archipelago. Half of it is covered by forest and has been turned into a chimpanzee sanctuary. Ngamba is also home to red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, geckos, lizards, snakes and birds. It receives hippos and crocodiles occasionally.
The key attraction is the Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The sanctuary rehabilitates orphaned or rescued chimps and provides them with a new home of plenty. Other than Bugala and Ngamba, there is also Banda Island and Bulago Island. Banda Island has been turned into a resort for tourists interested in a private retreat where they can go for nature walks, birding, primates a reptile viewing. The waters in Banda Island are excellent for swimming and boat riding. Bulago Island meanwhile is located east of Entebbe international airport. It is one of the most famous and biggest islands within the Ssese Archipelago with a surface area of about 510 acres. The Island looks like a human neck when viewed from above hence the name Bulago (meaning neck in Luganda). Bulago is a very beautiful island and is excellent for photography, nature walks and adventure. Many lodges and resorts have been built on the island to allow tourists to enjoy its natural beauty and privacy time while on their stay at the Islands. There are many exciting adventure activities that include:
Adventure And Activities to Do at Ssese Islands
Is it one of the best places for bird watching in Uganda? The Ssese Islands are naturally suited to host birds because of the rainforest, water, fish and secluded swamps. Almost all types of birds can be found on the islands. There are also migratory and resident species that are unique to the islands. Those interested in bird watching should not forget to carry good binoculars when visiting the islands. Birders have a chance of spotting the African green broadbill, egrets, sparrows, marabou stocks, crested cranes, shoebill storks, the great blue turaco and much more.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary Chimpanzees
Is one of the most interesting and enthralling animals to watch in the wild. They have very unique social behaviors that leave visitors awestruck and engaged. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the best places to see chimps in Uganda. The chimpanzees at Ngamba Islands are all orphans rescued from poachers, pet traders or after losing their parents. Once brought to the Centre, the orphaned chimpanzees are given a new home and given proper care. The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Project was started in 1998 by Jane Goodall Institute and the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Visitors pay a certain amount to be a caretaker for a day, volunteer or watch the chimp’s feed.
Sport Fishing Lake
Victoria is home to over 270 species of fish. These fish species are some of the most delicious in world. It is believed that before the introduction of the Nile Perch, the lake had over 1,000 species. Sport fishing is very popular, and the huge Nile Perch is often the target. The great thing about fishing in Lake Victoria and its islands is that one is allowed to eat the fish. The fish can be fried to be taken with chips and a cold beer.
Ssese Islands are covered with tropical rainforests and swamps. These forests and swamps are ideal habitats for different wildlife species including small primates, antelopes, sitatunga, hippos and crocodiles. The main primates found on the islands are the red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys and colobus monkeys. Sitatungas are mostly found in swampy areas. Boat Rides, Canoeing and Horse Riding Ssese Islands are surrounded by fresh waters that are excellent for boat riding, canoeing and horseback riding. The activities can be arranged.
Cycling And Beach Games
Bikes are excellent for touring new places. Most of the hotels in Bugala Island rent out bikes to guests at a cost. If you are a resident of Kampala, you can move on your own to avoid getting one you don’t like. With a bike, you can have a more comprehensive tour of the Island and get to place you wouldn’t reach by car. If biking isn’t your thing, you can simply go to the beach and join other revelers to play soccer or volleyball in the sand.
Different large-scale farming projects are being implemented in some of the Islands. Bugala island has been earmarked for large-scale palm tree, sunflower and pineapple plantations managed by BIDCO.
If you thought of using a bicycle was an exciting way of touring the Ssese islands, then you haven’t tried Quad bikes. You can use the bikes to reach all the different parts of the island including the landing sites, fishing villages, forests and beaches. If you are using it to tour the island of Bugala, ensure that you have a packed lunch so that you don’t get hungry.
Ssese Islands are one of the few places where people still believe in ancient traditional religions. If you are interested in knowing how the people of the Buganda kingdom communicated with their gods, then visiting the Kihumiro cave is highly recommended. This famous cave is where some of the local folks go to seek out help, prosperity and protection from their gods. The cave is a very mystical and strange place to find yourself in. You will find people smoking pipes and speaking in weird sounds as they call out spirits/gods. The shrine is considered sacred, and everyone is required to remain silent and remove their shoes.
These scintillating waterfalls were named Nanziri in honor of the god of the waterfall. They are nestled between Nanziri cave and Wanema’s shrine. It is also a sacred place for many of the local people who worship from the waterfall. The remains of sacrifices to the gods can be seen all over the place including pieces of meat, cowrie shells, bark cloths and coffee beans. The waterfall god is normally sought by fishermen for blessings, wealth and protection before going out fishing. If successful in their fishing expedition, they come back to the shrine to thank the gods. The waterfalls are also s source of medicine to cure common ailments.
Ssese Islands offer a peaceful and scenic retreat on Lake Victoria, making it an ideal destination for relaxation and a break from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. You can customise your activities and accommodations based on your preferences and budget, as there are options for various types of traveler’s, note that transportation to and from the Ssese Islands should be arranged in advance, and it’s essential to check ferry or boat schedules to plan your trip accordingly.
Please note that this is a general itinerary, and the actual duration, activities, and accommodations may vary depending on your preferences, available time, and the specific arrangements made with you. It is advisable to consult with us to customise your itinerary and make any necessary adjustments.
- Full time 4×4 safari vehicle with fuel
- Professional Local english speaking Guide/Driver
- Full Board Meals Plan
- All entry fees
- Safari Boat Cruise and Game Drives
- Activity fees
- Visa Fees
- Entry Air fares
- Meals where not provided
- Alcoholic drinks
- Porter fees while trekking
- Personal Insurance
- Personal shopping bills
- Items of personal nature