Musambwa Island, a superstitious island in the interior of Lake Victoria
These 3 rocky-islands are found nearly 5 km from Kasensero landing site on Lake Victoria in Rakai district. The island derives her name from a local direct ‘Musambwa’, literally referring to a place of gods / spirits.
Musambwa Island is not only a precious legendary wonder, but also a destination where wildlife, bird life, history and nature calls home. The island is a recognized Ramsar site and it’s classified as one of the 6 IBAs (Important Birding Area) in Uganda. It harbors the largest breeding colony of the grey headed gull in Africa. The island has over 2000 snakes and reptiles of all sizes as well as very large bird species. This place is a breeding site for long-tailed Cormorant, Greater Cormous and Little Egret, all of which breed internationally marked numbers. It gives opportunities to watch the grey headed gull breeding as well as a chance to watch several bird species including Sacred ibis, White-winged black tern, Egyptian goose, Black crake, Spur-winged plover, Cattle egret, Grey heron, Yellow-billed duck, African fish eagle, Common moorhen, Open-billed stork, Pink-backed pelican, Water thick-knee, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, African marsh harrier, Common sandpiper, Blacked-headed heron, Lesser flamingo, Green-backed heron, Squacco heron and Pied kingfisher, and many others. These can be viewed with ease unlike other birding sites where one has to use binoculars. Local people in this place say; 2 spirits; a male and a female came to the lake and separated now one occupies one of the Islands. The female Musambwa (spirit) is believed by the inhabitants to occupy the smaller part, uninhabited twin island is said to hate women. The male (spirit) went to the busier twin island, it also hates women. As a result, to satisfy the spirits women and sex on this island are prohibited. Amazing, tourism is regaining with visitors arriving on the island for bird watching tours, nature walks, boat rides, fishing safaris and cultural safaris in Uganda; this island is also known as the pareptiles such as rock pythons, cobras, vipers and monitor lizards plus how they live together with man pleasantly.
The initial funding from UNDP/GEF SGP in Uganda for a 2-year project in 2000 enabled formulation of by-laws while support from ECOTRUST enabled the construction of an ECOSAN facility to improve sanitation on the Island