Lake Victoria

Ssese Island boat on Lake Victoria

Travel to Lake Victoria (Uganda) – Africa’s Largest Lake

The northwestern third of Lake Victoria, the world’s second-largest freshwater body, falls within Uganda’s boundaries, the city of Entebbe is on its shores. Lake Victoria lies at an altitude of 1133m and is widely accepted to be the main source of the Nile, as it receives more water as rainfall than all its combined tributaries provide.

Africa’s largest lake, with 68,000 sq. km is as large as Ireland. Rivers from large areas of Western Kenya, Northern Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda gather in this shallow (only 80m deep) lake and begin, as the Victoria Nile, their 6000 km journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Small fishing villages are dotted along the shore with Nile perches, Tilapia and Omena being the main catches.

The jewel in Lake Victoria’s crown is the Ssese Archipelago, whose 84 islands – some large and dotted with local fishing villages, others small and uninhabited – are all well-watered and lushly forested. Mainlanders traditionally revere Ssese as the Islands of the Gods, and one specific island called Bubembe is regarded to be home to Mukasa, the spirit presiding over Lake Victoria. Ngamba is another well-known island, famed for its Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Naturally, sport fishing is a popular activity on Lake Victoria. Cruising is growing in popularity and houseboats are now appearing in greater numbers.

For a great place to relax and unwind at the end of a Ugandan safari head for the beautiful Ssese Islands, a bird-watcher’s and botanist’s paradise. With a growing range of accommodation and facilities, and laid-back island atmosphere they are becoming increasingly popular so don’t wait too long to get there!

Port Bell is Uganda’s major gateway to Lake Victoria, and Entebbe has a small pier. Main departure point to the Ssese Islands is from Bukakata, 37 km from Masaka in southern Uganda.

  • Take a trip out to Ngamba Island and visit the Chimp Sanctuary
  • Spend a few days chilling out, fishing, birding and boating in the Ssese Islands
  • For a scenic lakeside setting and old colonial atmosphere visit Entebbe


Africa Travel Information