Ssese islands are a collection of eighty four islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda and they have a common boundary with the Kalangala district in southern central Uganda which has no territory on the main land. The northwestern corner of Lake Victoria is occupied by these islands. Lake Victoria is the largest water lake in Africa. Among all these islands, the largest is Bugala Island with its largest town called Kalangala which serves as the headquarters of Kalangala district that carries its name. The Ssese islands are divided in two main groups with the Bugala group in the southwest with which Bugala island, the largest in the group is named after. The northeastern group can be referred to as the Koome group after Koome Island which is also the largest in the group. These two groups are separated by Koome channel. These islands are inhabited by the Bantu speaking Bassese tribe who are mainly rely on fishing and canoe making as source of employment and food.
The first inhabitants of these islands were once described as the principal canoe builders and the greater number of the sailors of Mutesa’s empire by Henry Morton Stanley. Fishing of the huge Nile perch is the main activity on these islands with much of the catch being exported. Other activities include agriculture, tourism and forestry. Livestock farming is widely practiced on these islands with about 250000 poultry like chicken, turkey and ducks, 7000pigs, 3000cattle and 1235 goats. On this island, 15000ha of palm oil plantations is owned by a private palm oil processor based in Jinja district called BIDCO. This plant began generating 1.5MW of electricity in 2014 through burning Bagasse and some of the oil. The power supplies the oil processing plant and the excess is sold to Kalangala , the islands largest town.
This is the 2nd largest island after Ukerewe Island on Lake Victoria and its 275sq.kms with its chief town being Kalangala. This island is the best developed for tourism and it’s connected to the main land by a regular motor ferry with many accommodation sites to suite all classes of people and comfort. Luku is one of the most important landmarks on this island. It’s a small village on the western extreme of the island where motor ferry from the main land docks and its connected to Kalangala with a good dirty road. Other islands that make up Bugala include Bugaba, Bukasa, Bubeke, Bufumira, Serinya, Funve and Buvova.
Kalangala is found at about 51km across water, southwest of Entebbe in Wakiso district on the Ugandan mainland. It’s one of the famous islands among the 58 and it has one of its best accommodation sites, Brovard sands lodge. Kalangala is accessed majorly by two ferries one in Masaka and the other from Entebbe at Nakiwogo landing site all heading to Ssese islands. This island can also be accessed by a speed boat that takes about one hour with the ferry taking about three hours.
In the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Mukono district, central Uganda we find the Koome island which is the largest in the northeastern group. Koome is about 63km by water northeast of Kalangala and 35km southeast of Entebbe by water. Bugombe is the largest urban area on this island and it’s found on the northwestern shore of the island with Koome health center III providing health services to the residents. The main economic activity on Koome Island is fishing and the Nile perch is the primary fish species commonly got. Most of the catch is exported to the mainland for sell. Other activities carried out by the residents include both crop and animal husbandry with animals like cows, goats, pigs and sheep being reared. Tourism is also a main activity on the island. Other islands that make up Koome Island include Luwaji, Damba, Kavaya, Ngamba-chimpanzee Island and Bulago Island among others.
Basically, these are some of the famous islands among the 58 islands that make up Ssese islands.
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