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Musambwa Island in Uganda

The Musambwa Islands a place where women are not allowed but men live harmoniously with snakes and several birds, and have a population of about 100 people. They are 3 rocky-islands approximately 5km from the Kasensero Landing site on Lake Victoria.

Its name ‘Musambwa’ is a word in the local language meaning ‘spirit’ or ‘demon’. And this was because of the large number of different snakes that are assumed to be ‘spirits’. The Island is said to be having the best morals in the world since no one is allowed to have sex there else the spirits will embarrass them and the entire human population living there. This belief in fact has protected the residents of the island against sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDs which is a prevalent epidemic on most other islands in Lake Victoria.

Who Lives on Musambwa Island

This Island is only inhabited by men and women are not allowed to reach it since they may lead the men into sexual temptation. It’s a great place worth an adventure on your Safari in Uganda. The people living there believe that the true land owners are the ‘spirits’ in form of snakes while the people are simply visitors. Mzei Emmanuel Kaberenge who is among the first settlers on the island (who arrived in 1964) says that he found just four people living on the island who told him about the dos and don’ts of the island which he passed on to the those who came after him.

Spiritual Myths of Musambwa Island

The legends of this island reveal that two spirits; male and female once came on this lake however they separated, and each occupied its one of these islands. it is believed that The female spirit (musambwa) occupied the smaller unoccupied  twin island and is believed to hate women. On the other hand the male musambwa is said to have occupied the busier twin island, and it’s believed to also hate women. So in a bid to please these spirits women plus sex aren’t allowed on the islands.

Among the earlier tales, its said that once some people had sex on the island which angered the spirit that in turn reacted ruthlessly.

The lake became wild, with rough storms that washed away houses, trees and covered the island with a dusty cloud. It’s believed that the spirit possessed the woman who had done the act and she began speaking oddly and mentioning the man she had slept with. These two were chased away from this island following a meeting by the local elders.

Unique about the Musambwa Island

On this Island, man harmonious co-existence with different reptiles especially snakes and these normally share beds and houses with people. Among the common snakes are vipers, African rock pythons and cobras.

The Island is also a breeding ground to several bird species including the Grey Headed Gull (this is the biggest breeding colony on the African continent), Long-Tailed Cormorant, Little Egret and the Greater Cormorant. Other species include Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, White-winged Black Tern, Pied Kingfisher, Lesser Flamingo, Sacred Ibis, Black-headed Heron, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Egyptian Goose, Common Moorhen, African Marsh Harrier, Spur-winged Plover, Hamerkop, Black Crake, Green-backed Heron, Cattle Egret, African Fish Eagle, Herring Gull, Common Sandpiper, Water Thick-knee, Open-Billed Stork, Yellow-billed Duck and Pink-backed Pelican.

This indeed is an amazing place to visit while on Safari in Uganda. The place can be accessed by a boat ride from the mainland.

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Customer Reviews

Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Michael T 06/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Above & Beyond
Review of: 3-Day Gorillas trekking and Batwa Experience
Sedrick went above and beyond to accomodate our request for an itinerary alteration due to our compressed time in Uganda. He also compeltely took care of scheduling our covid 19 testing and drove us to the site on arrival.

Our driver/guide Ben was also outstanding!

**We highly recommend using a porter during gorilla trekking as their are some complex parts to the trail/terrain. This also benefits the local people by providing them work.**

David 24/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Seeing Lots of Animals and Uganda
The schedule suited my time in Uganda exactly and was a great opportunity to view some of the top wildlife and natural wonders of the country. Lodgings range from mid-range to near upscale and are in beautiful locations. Food is good and ample. My driver, Stanley, was expert at spotting wildlife and, very importantly on the Ugandan roads, a careful and skilled driver. You see various parts of the country on this tour, and due to distances, be aware you'll spend quite a few hours on the road. One thing they might add is an itinerary going into more detail ahead of time on each day's activity and suggested things to bring. I was concerned about the needed COVID test for return home, but they took care of arranging that, and it turned out successfully. Overall the tour was a real highlight and is highly recommended.

Justo Nov 18, 2019

Safaribookings
I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .