Ssese Islands


The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of eighty-four (84) islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda. The islands occupy the northwestern corner of Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. The largest town in Ssesse is called Kalangala and carries the same name as the District. It’s located 51 kilometres across water, south west of Entebbe in Wakiso District mainland.

The islands lie in two main groups. The south west can be referred to as the Bugala Group group, after Bugala Island, the largest in the archipelago. The northeastern group can be referred to as the Koome Group, after Koome Island, the largest in that group. The two groups are separated by the Koome Channel. The Ssese Islands are inhabited by the Bantu speaking Bassese tribe, closely related to the Baganda and the Basoga, and speaking a similar, though distinct language.

The islands are also home to a variety of birds and animals including primates, which are not easily accessible on the mainland. This has led to the evolution of a nascent but growing tourism industry on the islands. Infrastructure is still elementary but is slowly improving. The most common monkey is the vervet monkey. Others include Bushbuck, black and white colbus. Island also has birds which include turacos, hornbills, turacos, barbets, Flycatchers, robin-chats etc. The islands also offer a number of beach activities.

Ngamba Island

Ngamba is found on Lake Victoria. It is 23km from Entebbe town and is popular because of the chimpanzees it offers sanctuary to. Nicknamed ‘Chimp Island’ because of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary, it is forested and the chimps freely stroll about. The chimps at Ngamba put up with human presence and do not scurry off. They therefore can be viewed at very close range especially during feeding times.

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