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The paradise archipelago of Uganda

Compared to the hectic capital of Kampala, the colonial city of Entebbe is a lot more laid back. For an even more relaxed get-away, board a ferry to the Ssese archipelago with 84 islands in the blue waters of Lake Victoria. Disembark in a paradise on earth, with beautiful white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, flapping fish, fun beach bars and small cabins.

Half of the islands are uninhabited and most are difficult to reach. However, even the relatively more popular islands are still nice and quiet. Swimming is not recommended due to the risk of the infectious bilharzia disease and the presence of hippos and crocodiles. Nevertheless, this is still a wonderful place to spend a few leisurely carefree days. Read on for an overview of 3 dream destinations on the Ssese Islands.

Ssese, the paradise archipelago of Uganda
Ssese, the paradise archipelago of Uganda


The islet of Buggala

The party beach of Buggala

Buggala is the only island accessible by ferry from the mainland, a 3-hour boat ride from Entebbe. This is also the largest and most popular island with the best tourist infrastructure. The main town of Kalangala features a picture-perfect bay: crescent-shaped and each side sheltered by a peninsula with a long stretch of beach and a string of beach bars and hotels. On weekends, Kampala residents come here to party, albeit in a laidback and relaxed fashion.

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Lutoboka Bay, Kalangala, Buggala Island, Uganda

On a desert island

Bulago, a small island that lies right on the equator, is 45 minutes by speedboat or 8 minutes by propeller plane from Entebbe. There is only one resort, Pineapple Bay, but it offers everything you need: accommodations in luxurious villas right on a paradise beach, an excellent restaurant and an infinity pool. Walking trails lead to a hilltop with breathtaking views of the 2500-metre-long island. There is little else to do here than relax on a lounge bed under an umbrella with a piña colada at your fingertips.

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Luxury resort on a desert island

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Pineapple Bay Resort, Bulago Island, Uganda,
On the way to the island of Banda

Expedition Robinson on Banda

Once the private island of an eccentric British colonist, Banda falls into a whole other category of price and luxury. This destination is much cheaper but just as secluded. There is a small village on the southwest tip. Roughly a thousand metres away at the eastern tip lies Banda Island Camp, a beautiful tropical beach. A simple cottage on the beach costs about 40 euros per night, including all meals. There is no electricity and the showers are outside - a true Robinson Crusoe experience.

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Banda Island Camp, Banda Island, Uganda,

Photo credits

  • The islet of Buggala: Flickr: USAID
  • Luxury resort on a desert island: Wildplaces Africa
  • On the way to the island of Banda: Flickr: Matthew Winterburn