Here’s to why you need to visit the 84 Ssese Islands archipelago

A perfect Islands destination with everything for everyone, the Ssese Islands archipelago boasts of being home to eighty-four islands, one of the most wonderful places to live in the world on the banks of Lake Victoria, Northwestern region of Uganda. These beautiful islets are conterminous with Kalangala district housing the main town centre and district Headquarters located on Bugala Island in Southern Central Uganda.

Having derived her name from the ‘’Tsetse fly’’, as the lake flies breed into colossal swarms close to the shores, providing impressive clouds of flies to watch occasionally which then dispersed after few hours. Ssese Islands serves a perfect gate away for weekend escapes off from the hustle and bustle of Kampala city with access routes via Bugala island, Nakiwogo and Bukakata.

The 84 islands archipelago are abundantly gifted with; chill out white sand-soaked beaches, stunning sunsets, amazing wildlife, vast birdlife species, cruises, alluring sceneries, palm trees, fancy luxurious accommodation facilities, tasty local cuisines, historical spiritual tales among others. Ssese islands are arguably Uganda’s stargazing and best - kept secret known to locals, adventure explores and fortunate backpackers thereby serving an ample destination that matches every travelers’ lifestyle and budget; whether you are traveling individually, family or on a romantic stroll, Ssese island commands an admirable vacation place that will enable you to clearly catch a glance of freshwater sundowners on Lake Victoria while you experience panoramic skies patterned with millions of stars in the night as well as provides a serene milieu for book reading.

Tourist activities therein include; Golf sports, Motorcycle Island tours, Island hopping, canoe rides, boat cruises, quad biking, sport fishing, village / cultural walks, bon fires, birding, camping, forest walks, participating in local prayer Etc. While attractions to see are; John Speke’s fort, Ssese islands aquatic and farm museum, and visiting Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary on L. Victoria.

A visit to Kalangala is incomplete without sampling mouthwatering local fruits; Jack fruit, papaya, mango, avocado. Traditional cuisines of; Luwombo, matooke, G.nut sauce, millet bread, katogo, Posho, silverfish, beans, peas among others not forgetting a taste of; delicious nile perch and tilapia prepared by locals.


Getting there

Ssese islands in Kalangala district can be accessed using a chartered flight or by water transport through boats, canoes and ferry. However, there are two main entry points to Ssese islands; Nakiwogo (Entebbe) and Bukakata in Masaka.

Daily departures from Nakiwogo landing site, south of Entebbe using MV Kalangala operated by Nation Oil Distributors Limited (NODL) are at 2pm with boarding at 1pm to Bugala Island (Lutoboka Bay), and return is 11am next day as it carries 200 people operating a 3 hours and 30 minutes trip. Luxurious travelers can also access the islands using; MV Vanessa and MV Nathalie operated by Nyanza Evergreen Waterways company vessels. Whereas, MV Ssese and MV Pearl operate a 30-minute trip on the Masaka – Kalangala route with set off at Bukakata and dock at Bugoma landing site operating multiple trips, carrying both passengers and cargo.

Ssese Islands

Geographically aligned on the Northwest of Lake Victoria, Ssese islands are an archipelago of 84 islands where 43 are inhabited. They measure a less than 10,000 sq. metres to a larger than 40 kms stretch Bugala island.

These beautiful islands are home to diversity of animals including primates rarely seen on the mainland. Luganda is the native language used by local and dwellers.

The major cash crop grown in Kalangala is Palm Oil, majorly by Kalangala oil Palm Growers Trust (KoPGT) since 2005.

Economic activities for local livelihood are palm oil growing, fishing and farming.

With the growing demand of international tourists thronging the island, ecotourism is another fast-rising activity on these isles given their profuse endowment of high tropical rainforests covering approximately 50% (220kms2) of the total land space estimated at 40,000 hectares of forest cover. Whereas 8,700 hectares are gazetted central forest reserves, 3,400 hectares are forests on public land and 27,900 hectares are on private land.


Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is a statutory organisation established in 1994 mandated to promote and market Uganda domestically, across the region and internationally, promote quality assurance in tourist facilities through training, grading and classification, promote tourism investment, support and act as liaison for the private sector in tourism development. The broader goals of the Board are to increase the contribution of tourism earnings and GDP; improve Uganda's competitiveness as an international tourism destination; and increase Uganda's share of Africa's and World tourism market. UTB aims to create inclusive opportunities for the tourism sector through market transformation. For more information, please visit; www.utb.go.ug


“Known as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is located in East Africa and offers some of the continent’s most diverse wildlife viewing, dramatic landscapes, and immersive cultural experiences and warm people and hospitality. Uganda is home to more than half the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas, and trekking to observe these gentle giants in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the world’s top bucket list travel activities. Safari opportunities abound in savanna, forest, and wetland settings throughout 10 national parks, where visitors can come face to face with “The Big Five + 2 ” – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, chimpanzee and mountain gorilla– as well as giraffe, zebra, hippopotamus, crocodile, and more than half of all bird species found in Africa. Among Uganda’s extraordinary natural attractions are the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains; expansive Lake Victoria, which forms the source of the Nile River; and Murchison Falls National Park. For more information, please visit; www.exploreuganda.com


For more information contact:

UTB public relations office

Email: publicrelations@utb.go.ug