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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