Zuula: Kalangala District on the Victoria Islands

Kalangala District, also known as Ssesse is a district in Central Uganda. The district is coterminous with the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria and does not have territory on mainland Uganda. Like other Ugandan districts, it is named after its ‘chief town’, Kalangala which is located on Bugala Island, the largest of the Ssese Islands.

Location of Kalangala District

Kalangala District is bordered by Mpigi District and Wakiso District to the north, Mukono District to the northeast and east, the Republic of Tanzania to the south, Rakai District to the southwest, Masaka District to the west and Kalungu District to the northwest. The Kalangala district headquarters are located approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi), across water, southwest of Entebbe, in Wakiso District. The coordinates of the district are: 00 26S, 32 15E.

Overview of Kalangala District

Kalangala District covers an area of 9,103 square kilometres (3,515 sq mi), of which only 468.3 square kilometres (180.8 sq mi) (5.1%) is land and the rest is open water. The district is made up of eighty four widely scattered islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria of which only forty three are inhabited. The biggest island is Bugala Island which covers 296 square kilometres (114 sq mi) or 63.2% of the district land mass.

Population of Kalangala District

The 1991 national population census estimated the district population at about 16,400. Eleven years later, the 2002 national census estimated the population of the district at approximately 34,800, with an annual population growth rate of 6.8%. In 2012, it was estimated that the population of Kalangala District was about 66,300.

The table below illustrates the growth trajectory of the district population during the first decade of the 21st century. All numbers are estimates.

Economic activities of Kalangala District

The three pillars of the district economy are:

(a) fishing (b)

tourism

(c) agriculture.

The majority of the islanders depend a lot on fishing. The fishermen migrate following the seasonal movements of fish. Over fishing remains a concern.

Due to its location, its climate and its relative isolation, the district is a tourist magnet. Tourist facilities are rudimentary in most areas, although improvements in infrastructure (accommodations, road networks, communications, electricity supply, piped water etc.) are slowly improving.

Bidco Uganda, a private palm oil processor based in Jinja, maintains a controversial 15,000 acres (6,100 ha) palm oil plantation in the district. In addition, out grower farmers grow palm oil on contract with Bidco and sell their produce to the processor.

Livestock farming and logging are other economic activities practiced in the district. As of May 2014, it was estimated that the livestock count in the district stood as follows

  • 2,999 cattle, 250,000 poultry(chicken and ducks), 1,235 goats,and 7,000 pigs.
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