Lake Bunyonyi (place of many little birds) is Uganda’s deepest lake and lies in the south western part between Kisoro and Kabale and a country’s top natural treasure. Its contorted shoreline encircles 29 islands, framed by lush green steep terraced hillsides that make it a magical place you can admire all day long.
It is a calm lake that soothes, offers scenery that is miles away from any place in Uganda and the world. The lake offers quiet, lush vegetation for anyone that would love to relax or refresh.
Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most idyllic natural settings in Africa; it enjoys moderate temperatures all year round with cool mornings and evenings. It offers a mystical sight that reinvents itself every hour or two with the ever- changing climate and direction of the sun.
Each island on this beautiful lake is associated with a legend. Punishment Island (Akampene) is the smallest and most notorious of these yet holds a dark reputation as where pregnant unmarried girls were exiled to starve or drown if they attempted to swim.
Other notable ones are Bwama Island that hosted lepers in the 1940s during the leprosy scourge, Sharp Island where “Njeyera” or the white house was glorified in its earlier days. It is where doctor Sharp stayed and an elaborate path leads to it cheered on by lanes of yellow, pink, purple, red and white vibrant blooms.
The upside- down island that is believed to have capsized following a curse from an angry and hungry woman who requested for food and the inhabitants of the Island then refused to help her. It is believed that the moment she left, the island flipped over hence its current name.
Activities that can be done while here
The lake is an ideal hideaway and there is quite a number of things you could possibly try out while here besides ogling at the magnificent landscapes; SunTrack Adventures compiled some of the things you could possibly do as you include this exquisiteness on your bucket list or Uganda safari.
Bird watching tops our list since the lake is an enormous assemblage of over 200 bird species that is why it is called the place of little birds. Nyombi swamp is the most suitable place for this activity though birds can be seen and heard the moment one gets sight of the lake.
Explore settlements along the shorelines and experience everyday life of the people here through community walks/ tours. One of the major excursions is a visit to the Batwa pygmies’ tribe who were the original inhabitants of the Bwindi Impenetrable forest before it was gazetted for conservation. These earn through making performances of songs and dances for their visitors.
Boat cruises are no exceptional when it comes to such waters. Much as it is the deepest in the country, to enjoy more means getting out of your comfort zone into a motorized or non- motorized canoe for a cruise. Guide and boat cruise charges depend on the length of the trips and the number of islands to be covered.
Much as most of the country’s waters are not advisable for swimming, the waters of this lake are exceptional. Enjoy swimming in these bilharzias and predator free waters that the pearl offers.
Hike through the best trails on the islands or on the terraces of Kigezi highlands for a rewarding sight of spectacular landscapes and some wildlife especially monkeys that are easily seen jumping from tree to tree.
Have a day filled with adventure such at the Adventure Park, the closest island to mainland. Take part in the adrenaline rush adventures such as Lake Skyway/ zip lining on Bunyonyi, first of its kind in the country as you see various birds, more of the lake as well as other islands.
Kabale is about 422 kilometers from Kampala and Lake Bunyonyi is about 8 kilometers from Kabale town. Adventure travelers can use a bus and then later a boda boda while those that love privacy can use private means.
Those heading to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for Gorilla trekking can stop by on their journey.
Along the shoreline and even some of the islands are hotels and lodges over looking the lake. One can also choose to stay in Kabale town depending on the traveler’s budget.