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Visit Ssese Islands in Uganda: Best time, Prices/Costs, & Activities

Turquoise waters and smooth white sandy beaches surrounded by palm trees as well as Tropical forests characterize the spectacular Ssese Islands in Uganda. They are found within the north-western corner of Lake Victoria-the largest Freshwater Lake in Africa and second largest in the World in addition to being the source of the Nile River. Ssese is an archipelago comprising of over 84 small and large Islands, with the largest being Bugala. The Islands are the ultimate and spectacularly secluded hideaway spot for unwinding and catching your breath during Uganda safaris.

Ssese Islands in UgandaThese breathtaking Islands are haven to numerous primate species that include the vervet monkeys, the black and white colobus monkeys as well as sitatunga, otters, bushbucks, giant forest hogs in addition to a plethora of exceptional bird species. The unoccupied Islands also have several special and extraordinary things to offer-ranging from the phenomenal landscapes to the riveting tourist activities, Ssese Islands are indeed beautiful and diverse.

Outstanding Islands of Ssese Archipelago

The most outstanding and popular islands in the Ssese Archipelago include;

Bugala Island

As earlier mentioned, Bugala is the largest Island of Ssese and interestingly the most developed for tourism. This Island is renowned for swimming, mainly undertaken at the pristine white sand beach at Mutambala. Visitors to this Island are also offered opportunities of hiring bicycles or Quad bikes for exploring the raw shores of the Island while identifying different bird species.

Ngamba Island

Ngamba Island is the perfect place for animal lovers (especially chimpanzee trekkers) because it is a haven to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, founded in 1998 by Jane Goodall Foundation. It was established to take care (provide second chance) to orphaned chimpanzees rescued from across the country.

Bulago Island

For travelers seeking to relish nature walks in secluded and diverse terrains of Rocky outcrops, Bulago Island is the perfect place with options of exploring a number of trails in the woodlands to see extraordinary birds and animal species.

Banda Island

Banda is a privately-owned island in the Ssese Archipelago and popular for its pristine and beautifully serene landscapes. For visitors interested in soaking up in the sun, riding a canoe on the Lake, fishing for Nile Perch and Tilapia, this is the perfect Island.

Things to do in Ssese Islands in Uganda


The Turquoise waters of Lake Victoria are amazingly good for swimming during hot afternoons and if you ever desire to experience what it feels to swim in Ssese islands, then take a trip to Bugala Island. Interestingly, there are no crocodiles and hippos although there are risks of Bilharzia.

Quad biking tours

Quad bikes are the most adventurously wonderful way to discover the Ssese Islands. The ATV all-terrain vehicles used here can maneuver through rocky landscapes, local fishing villages, sandy beaches and rough dirt roads for a chance to learn about the riveting local culture of the people.


Ssese Islands are one of the perfect places for fishing in Uganda with numerous magnificent fishing spots for Nile Perch and Tilapia. All you will require for this adventure is a licensed boat operator registered by Ministry of Agriculture, animal industry and fisheries in addition to hiring the required fishing equipment.

Day tours/trips to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a haven to over 49 rescued and orphaned chimpanzees from across East Africa and was founded by Jane Goodall Foundation. Most of the chimpanzees here were rescued from wire snares of poachers and when you visit them, you will learn so much about these Great Apes.

Guided nature walks at Ssese Island

Guided nature walks introduce visitors to the animals of Ssese Islands especially vervet monkeys, sitatunga, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, Hippos and crocodiles alongside interesting bird species hidden within the wetlands on the shores of the Lake.

Best time of the year to explore Ssese Islands

The Ssese Islands in Uganda can be explored at any time of the year, although the cooler dry months of late June to October are characterized by little rains hence limited chances of interrupting planned activities.

Places to stay in Ssese Islands

Places to stay in Ssese Islands in UgandaThe different places of stay in Ssese Islands in Uganda range from budget to midrange choices, with currently no upmarket accommodation facilities. Majority of these facilities reward guests with unmatched views and access to the spectacular Lake. There are a number of self-contained rooms, Bandas and cottages in midrange category while Campsites and dormitory at Banda Island are under the basic category. Notable places of stay in Ssese Islands include Ssese Habitat Resort, Brovad Sands Lodge, Victoria Forest Resort, Panorama Cottages, Mirembe Beach Resort, Philo Leisure Gardens, Ssese Island Beach Hotel and many others.

Getting to Ssese islands

The main way to get to Ssese Islands in Uganda is ferry crossing, accessed at Nakiwogo Dock (close to Entebbe, on its south) by two vessels-MV Kalangala and Nyanza Evergreen Waterways Company vessels (MV Nathalie and MV Vanessa).  It takes three and a half hours to get there. Visitors can connect to the different Islands by Lake Taxi and comfortable private boats.

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