Why a visit to Ssese Islands is worth every coin

Sunday June 30 2019

A cargo and passenger boat in Lake Victoria.

A cargo and passenger boat in Lake Victoria. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JONATHAN KAMOGA
By JONATHAN KAMOGA
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The Ssese islands in Lake Victoria, located in the northwestern part of Uganda’s waters fits the bill for calm, quiet, fresh air and stunning views.

The archipelago which is made of 84 islands, offers scenic views of the lake, and is home to over 200 bird species, has white sandy beaches and some of the most stunning sunsets.

You get there from the lakeside town of Entebbe via a three-and-a-half-hour boat ride on mv Kalangala ferry departing from the Nakiwogo landing site. The ferry, which offers both first class (Ush14,000) and second class (Ush10,000), is used for both passengers and vehicles. It is advised that you make arrangements for a hotel transfer with your hotel reservation.

Activities

These will depend on the resort you are staying at. But they include nature walks that take you through a thick forest to a hill on which explorer Henry Morton Stanley built a fort in the 1870s.

The Victoria Forest Resort and Brovad Sands Lodge organise island drives for their clients, which is the best way to see the island. There are also canoe rides to nearby islands where you can visit communities and learn their history, heavy on legends and superstition.

A highlight of the island drive is a visit to the famous Kalaya cave. Locals use the cave for prayers and believe that a snake and a leopard live here but only choose to appear to selected people. The cave's dark entrance deters many from venturing inside.

Virgin Islands

On a clear sky evening, a boat cruise to the Virgin Islands to watch breathtaking sunsets is recommended. The islands got their name from the fact that they lack human activity, but are big on conservation and eco-tourism.

A simple dinner of freshly caught grilled tilapia and Nile Perch and later a canoe ride around in search of crocodiles caps the evening.

Accommodation

The shortest trip you should make is two nights three days. There is affordable accommodation for budget travellers starting as low as $27 a night for a room. At high end hotels like the Victoria Forest Resort, rooms range from $45 to $130 a night.


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