The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of eighty-four (84) islands that occupy the northwestern corner of Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.
Bugala Island is the largest in the archipelago. The largest town in Ssese is called Kalangala which is also the headquarters of the district that carries the same name (Kalangala District). Kalangala is approximately 51 kilometers (32 miles), across water, southwest of Entebbe, in Wakiso District, on the Ugandan mainland.
The Ssese Islands lie in two main groups. The south west can be referred to as the Bugala group. The northeastern group can be referred to as the Koome Group, after Koome Island, the largest in that group. The two groups are separated by the Koome Channel.
The Bugala Group
Buggala Island is large enough to have diverse terrains and it is hilly. From the tops of the hills, though, the views are stunning. Most of the southern stem of the Lake is dominated by palm oil plantations, which dominate the landscape somewhat repetitively. Along the southern end near Mulabana, there is a swamp that contains hippos. Along the western end of the island, not far from Luku is the Mutumbula swimming beach.
Other islands in the Bugala Group include: Bubeke, Bufumira, Bugaba, Bukasa, Buyova, Funve and Serinya while the main islands in the Koome Group include: Damba, Koome and Luwaji. The islands are teeming with birds, and Velvet monkeys are common. Occasionally large snakes can be found here.
The islands get their names from the enormous swarms of lake flies that breed in giant clouds near the shores. Although this sounds irritating, the enormity of the swarms is quite a sight. If one is caught near a breeding swarm, it can be quite a nuisance, though it disperses after a couple of hours. Otherwise, the lake flies are little noticeable, and they do not bite.