Musambwa Island Uganda
Uganda’s cultural intrigues could best be told by Musambwa Island, the land where women were not allowed to step their feet into.
By definition, Musambwa in local Ugandan dialect translates to ‘demon’ and the cobras could be the demons of the islands.
It is understandable though, given that the island was and still is a rich breeding ground for forest cobras (Naja Subfulva).
Scientists say that Musambwa Island is Africa’s largest and most prolific breeding colony for these venoms that are as dangerous as they look from afar.
Nonetheless, for decades, men have co-existed with these dangerous serpents. About 100 fishermen ply their fishing trade in Musambwa’s rocky island off Lake Victoria.
While going about their business to feed Ugandans whose love for fish is on another level, the fishermen bump into these serpents but it is a taboo to kill them. Here, respect is mutual.
The cobras are dangerously calm and they go about their business without much worries of an intruder into their territory. They are already used to seeing human beings and they are sure no one will hurt them.
This is incredibly incomprehensible. For a moment, you question if you are in Africa because the fear of snakes in most African countries is rife. The first instinct that many get is coming up with a way to kill the snake for the safety of others.
In an idle walk around the island, you bump into black forest cobras going about their business, slithering from huts within the island village that is a fishing zone.
Locals say that over the years, no one has been reported dead from a bite by the forest cobras. It is just mind-boggling to try and comprehend this fact because the cobras are always at a distance where they can strike and leave you for the dead.