The Ssese Islands lie off the coast of the massive Lake Victoria and are accessible only by ferry, from either Entebbe (Kampala), or a small ferry port town called Bukakata, just outside of Masaka. These islands are famed for long white beaches and lakeside resorts, lighting bonfires at night.
It was with some sense of adventure that we travelled along the bumpy gravel track to Bukakata, to make our way over to these islands for some much-needed R&R.
The ferry is surprisingly organized and we were loaded onto the roll on roll off quickly and efficiently. What is even more surprising about this ferry service is that it is free of charge. Running every two hours from 6am – 6pm carrying people and goods between the mainland and island chain.
In just 40 minutes we had arrive into Luka, on the far western side of the island of Bugala,and began the 35km drive across the island.
The road was terribly bumpy but in an hour, we had arrived at the “resort” town of Kalangala. Unfortunately, it appears to be a “resort” town in name only. With only a small selection of relatively run down and ill-equipped choices to stay, it was with some disappointment that we realized we had travelled all this way, to sit by the shores of a lake that we could not swim in (the waters unfortunately are contaminated with Bilharzia), along short stretches of rubbish strewn beaches. It seems that these islands may be riding the tide of their history, established during more colonial times. Whilst it appears to be a popular destination for those locals living in Kampala, we would suggest that from an international travel perspective, it may not be quite worth the mission to get to.
Having said that, we parked directly on the water’s edge and watched the pied kingfishers hovering over the water, waiting for small fish to swim past, before diving in like darts to grab their dinner.
Overnight the gentle lapping of the water on the beach lulled us into a relaxed sleep, and we woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to retrace our steps back to the more exciting mainland of Uganda.