A weekend in the serene Ssese Island

Sunday December 8 2019

 

By Gloria Haguma

Traveling to new destinations should be declared as therapy.

A few weeks back, I was craving for a getaway; anything to take me out of my home routine for a weekend.
Fortunately, I have friends in the tourism business and sometimes, they have many offers. This time, it was Josh Mwanjje of One Touch Safaris. He had a few get away offers that he gladly passed on to me.

Just like that, I was off to one of my favourite places in the country, Ssese Island.

Getting to the island
I have visited the islands a couple of times, but what is amazing is how refreshing every visit is. I set off with MV Kalagangala, at 2pm, the three and a half hours ride kicks off at the Nakiwogo port.

I was staying at the Ssese Island Beach Hotel. Established in 1992, it is one of the pioneer beach hotels on the island. The facility sits on more than 63 acres and has amenities such as the beach hotel, a nine hole golf course, a wild park centre and a forest, that is part of their conservation programme. Other activities include guided tours, campfires coupled with barbeque.

The beach hotel has three cottages that are strategically located by the beach and the sounds of the water waves make for the perfect melody as you drift away in slumber.

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Meals
Guests at the hotel have dinner options varying between chicken and fish. The latter was my choice, and I must say that I didn’t know trying to eat a whole tilapia would have turned out to be quite a struggle. But a delicious one, I must add. The food options were quite generous. I wasn’t quite hyped on their breakfast though, and I feel there could be a lot of improvement in that area.

Our activities during our stay included a one hour walk through the Kasese forest with our guide Edrine. The trek ended up at the top, with a stunning view of the lake and several other islands, which offered the perfect picture backdrop for my instagram feed.

We later hit the town of Ssese for a much needed lunch at one of the local restaurants. The lunch at the town is highly advised as the hotel we were staying at didn’t have any lunch options available during our stay.

Wildlife park
Our second activity of the day was the wildlife park that was a stonethrow from our accommodation facility.
Opened in 2017, the wildlife park is one of the islands best kept secrets, considering I hadn’t known about it, even after several visits.
The park that is run by a team of animal lovers and conservatives, led by Edrine Simon Sekabira.

The animals in the park include water bucks, Uganda kobs, impalas, sitatungas, zebras, tortoises, rabbits, and guinea pigs. For the bird lovers, the crested cranes, egyptian geese, emden geese and the grey parrots.

For our final night, we were treated to a barbeque dinner, served by Ssese Island Beach Hotel, set at a camp fire, with a backdrop of music and the magnificent water waves.

About Ssese
The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of 84 islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda. The islands are neighboring with the Kalangala District in southern Central Uganda, which does not have any territory on mainland Uganda.

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