TRAVEL: My experience while on Ssese Islands
In about 1.5 hours, you can take a boat cruise to Ssese Islands with the new MV Brovad and MV Vannessa.
The other boat ride to Bugala (MV Kalangala) which is the main administrative island at Ssese via Bukakata 3 hours drive from Kampala is very adventurous. You will board the ferry (together with your vehicle) and then drive to Kalangala where you will find a variety of accommodation facilities including budget bandas, mid-range lodge and then luxury facilities.
In my opinion, Ssese Islands is ideal for those on a holiday just like me who went to rest, read some books or relax by the beach. Actually I realised the main tourist activity there was taking peaceful walks. For those interested in birding, these islands host a great diversity of brightly colored birds among which the Paradise Flycatcher and Turacos are the commonest. I also learnt that one can swim in the lake although you stand a risk of contracting bilharzia. For utmost satisfaction on Ssese Island, I recommend a 3-day and 2-night tour.
Imagine a vacation on the island that many people call the most beautiful in Uganda. Victoria Forest Resort Beach Hotel combines great romantic ambiance, gracious lifestyle, in-comparable recreational facilities and superlative service to create a unique tropical island holiday experience. The hotel comprises of luxury rooms some suit on the water front with a breathtaking view of Lake Victoria. They offer discerning travelers with unique opportunity to experience an unforgettable stay at one of Uganda`s prime destinations.
My first day on Ssese Islands of Lake Victoria
At around 11.00 am I was ready to set off from Entebbe. The Ferry leaves the Entebbe pier at exactly 2:00 pm; as I waited for its departure you may choose to visit the beautiful Entebbe lunch booth situated in Entebbe town opposite Umeme Ltd offices known as (The Rolex Guy). After my fast lunch, I was then ready to set off on the ferry to explore this large peaceful lake and later arrive at Lutoboka bay found in Bugala Island.
My second day on the Island was for an ecological natural walk
After my early breakfast, I set out for my leisure ecological nature walk within the pristine forest on these islands, and our guide who was Likyadi Adventures detailed all the relevant information about the forest on this walk. I returned to my hotel for lunch. I went further and enjoyed an evening boat cruise and later dinedat my hotel for a later camp fire at the beach with fellow travellers at the hotel.
My day three at the Island – Kampala
Right After breakfast, I headed back to Entebbe using the ferry (MV Vannessa).
This ferry leaves Bugala next to Brovad Hotel at 11.00am and arrives at Entebbe by 02.00 pm, it docks at water front beach. Then I started remembering my pending assignments and problems.
Packing List for my tour of Ssese Islands
The Ssese Island is similar to many of the islands found in tropical countries. The weather is not too hot or too cold offering a pleasant sensation, especially after the cold winter. If you are thinking of what to pack while visiting the Ssese Islands, then you should consider bringing along the following:
Outfits and shoes
I packed shorts, so for a lady choose to pack skirts, sunglasses, sandals, swimming costumes and a hat. You may also need to move with Vaseline, toiletries, toothpaste/brush, washing/bathing soap and a sponge. It is also important to travel with an insect repellent, sunscreen and a mosquito net. The islands can get very cold and windy in the evenings – bring a sweater, rain jacket, an umbrella, a scarf and warm stockings.
A camera and other gadgets
Don’t forget to go with a camera, I actually carried a whole team with me. The islands have amazing scenery and you can’t afford not to capture the beautiful memories. To have the best experience, you might need to bring a binocular, a laptop and your favorite music. Don’t forget to bring along enough batteries and your chargers like how I did.
First aid kit and personal medication
It is wise to go along with any personal medications or prescriptions from your doctor for any allergies. You may also need to move with a painkiller. If you have any allergies or food preferences like me.
Other things to consider
I carried my identification documents and some ka money. You can access both MoneyGram and Western Union from Bugala Island. Alternatively, you can withdraw money with your card from the ATMS in Kalangala town while on the Island.
Located in Uganda, Ssese Islands are a collection of 84 islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria. They vary in size with some like Bugala reaching over forty kilometers in length. Only half of the islands are inhabited. The rest are composed of fishing islands and private property. Most of the Ssese Islands are under the administration of Kalangala District whose headquarters are in Buggala Island. Entebbe town also controls a few of the Ssese islands. The Islands were named Ssese because in the past some of them were heavily infested with Tsese flies.
Bugala is the largest, most developed and visited island. It has several banks and mushrooming buildings although the roads are still not well developed. Of the 66,000 people living in Kalangala District, about 26,000 live in Bugala Island. Other major islands include Bukasa, Bufumira and Bubeke.
All the Ssese islands have beautiful white sand beaches, palm trees, flowers, rare plants, lush forests and blue waters. Ssese Islands are amazing for photography and offer visitors the perfect atmospheres for relaxation away from the busy life in Kampala city. One could spend the whole day lying at the beach or playing different games with other island revelers. The Ssese Islands are a favorite for honeymooners who love the privacy and romantic atmosphere they offer. Fishing is the main economic activity in the Ssese Islands. Visitors can also pay a visit to one of the fishing villages and watch the fishermen throw their nets from their small canoes or motorboats. Birders will find the island perfect for spotting some rare resident and migratory birds. Everything moves slow in the islands which is a sharp contrast to Kampala and towns like Mpigi and Entebbe. There is no traffic jam to deal with and the nature is just so beautiful.