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Bugala Island | Chilling on the beach of Lake Victoria in Uganda

After an exciting and tiring tour of Uganda you might want to relax on a snow-white beach. At first glance Uganda does not seem a suitable destination for this, because the Indian Ocean is very far away. Yet Uganda certainly has a tropical beach surprise in store. You can find it on the islands in the Lake Victoria† Bugala is such an island. It is part of the Ssese archipelago (named after the tsetse fly that was common there). Ssese consists of a total of 84 islands in the largest lake in Africa: Lake Victoria.

Also read: Top 5 sights of Uganda, the pearl of Africa

Lake Victoria

Ssese is located in the Ugandan part of the lake, but there are hundreds of other islets and islands in Uganda as well as Kenya and Tanzania. To get an idea of ​​the size: the Netherlands fits into the lake one and a half times.

Lake Victoria in Google Maps
Lake Victoria in Google Maps

About Bugala Island

Bugala Island itself is the second largest island in the lake with an area of ​​275 square kilometers and a population of about 25.000. The vast majority of them live in kalangala.

The islands in Lake Victoria do not attract many foreign tourists. Most travel guides pay little or no attention to it. There is competition from the bounty beaches on the coast of Kenya en Tanzania too big. However, Bugala is very popular with weekend tourists from Kampala and for good reason. There is plenty to do for a few days of entertainment.

Activities on Bugala Island

Chilling on one of the beautiful tropical bounty beaches

Enjoy a delicious cocktail between the palm trees on a bounty beach? That is possible on one of the many beaches on the island. Most hotels have a swimming pool and you can relax with a sauna or a massage.

Relax by a pool at Kalangala . Beach
Relax by a pool at Kalangala . Beach

Activities on Lake Victoria

The largest lake of Africa is ideal for all kinds of boat excursions. Take a cruise during one of the beautiful sunsets. Or go out on your own in a kayak or pedal boat. For fishing enthusiasts, Lake Victoria is an ideal place to fish for Nile perch.

Rainforest walks

There is a lot to see on a guided hike in the tropical rainforest. Various monkey species can be found on Bugala. Also the Sitatunga antelope and many exotic bird species can be spotted during such a walk.

There are many bird species on Bugala Island
There are many bird species on Bugala Island
Monkeys on Bugala Island
Monkeys on Bugala Island

Camping on Lake Victoria

What could be more fun than pitching your tent on Lake Victoria. In the morning you wake up to the song of hundreds of birds. During the day you go hiking or take a dip in the pool. You end the day at the campfire with a delicious barbecue.

Camping at Lake Victoria, Bugala Island
Camping at Lake Victoria, Bugala Island

Important! Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) occurs in Lake Victoria

Bilharzia is found in Lake Victoria. According to the locals, this is not the case in Kalangala. Or is that so? A warned person counts for two. Any complaints only manifest themselves after two weeks. It makes sense to have a test done. Always tell them that you swam in Lake Victoria.

About Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia): Schistosomiasis or "bilharzia" is a parasitic worm disease contracted by swimming or paddling in tropical fresh surface water. Fever, diarrhea and skin abnormalities are the well-known symptoms in the first weeks or months. Then an inflammation develops in the bladder or intestines; a few months to years after infection, symptoms such as diarrhea with blood or blood in the urine can occur. The infection can also proceed without symptoms. (source)

How do you get to Bugala Island?

There are two ways to get to Bugala Island. 

Option 1: Bukakata – Bugoma/Luku (free ferry with daily departures)

Click here for a timetable of the ferry Bukakata – Luku (Bugoma) vv

This option is useful if, for example, you are on your way to or returning from Lake Mburo or Kabale. There are several exits from Masaka Road to the ferry in Bukakata. From these exits, the road to Bukakata is for the most part unpaved. This is fine to do with an off-road vehicle (a normal car will run into problems in heavy rain). The crossing is free.

The boat departs several times a day. The ferry docks in Luku (Bugoma). From Luku it is about thirty kilometers on a dirt road to Kalangala. By the way, all roads on Bugala Island are unpaved.

The dirt road from Kalangala to Mulabana, Bugala Island
The dirt road from Kalangala to Mulabana, Bugala Island

Option 2: Entebbe – Kalangala vv

Click here for more information about the ferry Entebbe – Kalangala

This ferry departs from Entebbe at 14.00pm daily and arrives in Kalangala at 17.30:8.00pm. The ferry moors at a jetty near the popular Kalangala Beach. From Kalangala, the boat departs daily at 11.30:XNUMX AM and arrives in Entebbe at XNUMX:XNUMX AM.

The ferry at Kalangala, Bugala Island
The ferry at Kalangala, Bugala Island

Accommodation on Bugala Island

There is no shortage of good resorts on the island. Most hotels are located on the beach in Kalangala.

Click here for an overview of the accommodation.

Victoria Forest Hotel, Bugala Island
Victoria Forest Hotel, Bugala Island

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What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

– Likes to travel on scooters
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

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