Situated in the northwest of Lake Victoria, the Ssese Islands form one of Uganda’s prime destinations for casual rambling and off-the-beaten-track exploration, as well as for game fishing, in particular Nile perch. For much of the 1990s, the islands were entrenched as perhaps the most popular backpacker’chill-out destination in Uganda. Although their attractions have not diminished in recent years, their popularity evidently has, attributable perhaps to the suspension of ferries from Port Bell as well as the burgeoning tourist development at the more accessible Lake Bunyonyi in Kigezi. The Ssese Archipelago consists of 84 separate Islands, some large and densely inhabited, others small and deserted, but lushly forested thanks to an annual average rainfall in excess of 20,000mm. Only two islands regularly receive tourists. The more established of these is Buggala, the largest, most accessible and most developed Island, which is privately owned and the site of a popular budget resort. Other Islands that can be visited with varying degrees of ease are Bubeke, Bukasa and Bufumira. The Ssese Island came into existence about 12000 years ago when a tectonic shift caused an elevated basin situated between two main arms of the great rift valley to flood, forming Lake Victoria as we know it today. Little is known about the earliest inhabitants of Ssese, but some oral traditions associated with the creation of Buganda claim that its founder Kintu hailed from the islands of the Gods. In pre-colonial times it was customary for the kings of Buganda to visit the Islands and pay tribute to the several balubaale whose main shrines to Mukasa, spirit of the lake, on Bubembe. Some Buganda historical sources romanticize this relationship, claiming that in pre-colonial times Ssese due to its exalted status was never attacked by Buganda, nor was it formally incorporated into the mainland kingdom.