Tucked at one of the easternmost points of Uganda, Sangalo Sand beach is perhaps the only beach destination in eastern Uganda. Sangalo Sand beach is an ‘island’ of serenity, amidst open wild bush along the Lake Victoria, located 22 kilometers south of the border town of Busia.
Sangalo, which among the native Samia people means ‘happiness’, is located in the village of Maduwa, a short distance away form the now decrepit lakeside town of Majanji whose glory days have passed. At Majanji, there used to be an active port that would receive ships from Kisumu and Bukoba especially when the regional railway system was still active.
Today Majanji is dominated by Igloo Fish Industry which processes Nile perch for export. Hence Sangalo is a rare break from this cycle of regression for the Samia people around it.
Sangalo gives you a spectacular view of the Lake and the hills beyond the lake that mark western Kenya. With the sand beneath your feet, this is a perfect destination for unwinding after a long tiring trip. In addition to this a fully stocked bar and restaurant to provide delicious meals served by hospitable staff. Its accommodation facilities include a series of deluxe cottages made to look like modern Africa, self contained but grass thatched.
Sangalo sits surrounded by a community of fishermen. Boats will regularly be spotted on the lake with the fishermen unfurling their fishing nets or collecting their catch, at night as spots of light and in the daytime as small black spots which become bigger and clearer as the boats approach land.
To reach Sangalo Sand beach from Kampala, Uganda’s capital one takes the Kampala-Nairobi highway to Busia border, a smooth three-hour drive on a new well-tarmacked road. On the way you get a free show of the massive Mabira Rain forest, rolling hills covered with Sugarcane plantations, the Owen Falls dam in Uganda’s old industrial town Jinja, and hordes of banana munching baboons at Busitema forests.
From Busia a thirty minutes drive on a well-maintained dirt road takes you to the silence of Sangalo, regularly interrupted by the chirruping of birds and the splashing of water on the shores as a result of the afternoon and early evening tides.
The crowds dwindle away from the holiday seasons of Christmas and Easter when folks make a pilgrimage to their places of origin and as a result flock to enjoy a home-grown jewel, but tourists can enjoy a quite uninterrupted time on the beach for much of the rest of the year.
And like on most beach areas, you can have a taste of fresh fish, tilapia or Nile perch, deep fried or steamed depending on your individual tastes.
You can savour the pleasure of catching the fish that will tempt your tastes a little later as well. The bar has a spacious dance floor and experienced DJ to keep you on your toes all night long.
For those with the fear of being isolated from their world, cable television will keep them abreast of happenings. To cap a long exciting day is a captivating sunset above the Lake Victoria waters. You couldn’t be any happier at Sangalo.