Lake Bunyonyi is part of the Gorilla Highlands Region located 400kms southwest of Uganda and about 7 hours drive from Kampala. It was formed as a result of the lava flow from the craters blocked off the Ndego River. Lake Bunyonyi translates as ‘place of many little birds’ and is the 2nd deepest lake in Africa at 45m deep comprising of 29 islands. Windup your safari trip with a visit to this magical place, one of Uganda’s most scenic places.
Things to do around Lake Bunyonyi;
Canoeing and Boat ride around the Islands
Akampene (Punishment Island) where history unfolds itself way back in 1940’s of unmarried pregnant women left to starve to death or drown trying to swim back to the shore. Any man who didn’t have own sufficient cows for a bride was permitted to get a disgraced girl form the island as a wife.
Bwama Island, the largest on the lake and known as a former leper colony in the 1920’s by Dr Leonard Sharp a missionary who later founded a leprosy hospital that eradicated the disease in 1960. To date its known for its scenery, architecture, primary and secondary schools and handicraft shop.
Njuyeera (Sharp’s Island) – Known as Dr Sharp’s family home, today it is a beautiful botanical garden with a tennis court, boat house, guest house and a windmill. A drop by to this Island and relive history is worthwhile.
Bushara Island – Is a wonderful place to relax in comfort surrounded by nature. Bushara Island has a diversity of habitats that include eucalyptus papyrus swamp, shrublands and reedy shorelines. These habitats are home to an abundance of about 40 bird species. Some suggest it is here that Lake Bunyonyi gots its name ‘place of many little birds’.
Nature Walks and Hikes
For the active adventures, Lake Bunyonyi surroundings and the Islands are ideal for hikes and nature walks. Experience the magic of Lake Bunyonyi spectacular views of landscapes during the early morning hours and late evenings, get to see the terraced hill slopes mostly farmlands with their misty backdrop. Get the cameras charged and extra batteries will be worthwhile as the sights are amazing!
The ‘Place of Many Little Birds’ is a great birding destination with over 200 bird species and the presence of 29 islands also makes it a birders’ paradise. Whether you are on a guided tour, canoeing or self-guided nature walk around your accommodation stay, you can add to your checklist. At the northern tip of Lake Bunyonyi lies Ruvuma Swamp, a place to look out for the endemic papyrus bird species like papyrus gonolek, papyrus canary and papyrus yellow warbler.
Batwa of Today
Embrace cultural diversity with the Batwa Community that has been resettled out of Echuya Forest Reserve. Join in and experience cultural performances and get to learn more about the demonstration of their way of life before and after resettlement. The nature walk through Echuya Forest can take up to 2 hours with demonstrations of where Batwa used to slaughter the animals they hunted. The visit to the Batwa Community of Rwamahano involves guests introducing themselves to the Batwa in a relaxed group atmosphere and talking about themselves. You may Combine a nature walk in Echuya Forest Reserve with a visit to the Batwa community of Rwamahano.
Community Interaction at Mukoni Village and Rutinda Market
Paddle across the lake for 15 minutes and arrive at the shores of a traditional village. Get to experience the way of life on the farm with animal rearing and agriculture as a way of life. Take a hike along an elevated trail getting amazing and stunning views of Lake Bunyonyi, surrounding farms, villages, schools, and churches nestled on the steep slopes.
Visit the Rutinda Landing Site – a Market experience on Monday and Friday of local farmers going about their business from the time they hop off the canoes with their produce fresh to the colourful market display from their farms in the morning.
For the Foodie travellers, Lake Bunyonyi is known for its Cray Fish that is said to be introduced from Louisiana in the seventies. Don’t leave the island without tasting these tasty morsels served as curries, toasted or pizza!
Accommodation at Lake Bunyonyi
There are various places at the shores of Lake Bunyonyi and some at the Islands themselves. Most commonly used options are as below. Upmarket places are Birdnest lodge and Heritage Lodge. Midrange / Moderate options; Arcadia Cottages, Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort, Nature’s Prime Island. Standard / Budget options, Bunyonyi Over Lodge Camp and Bushara Island Camp.
Visit Lake Bunyonyi at the end of your safari trip to simply relax and chill out! There is plenty to do, lots of islands to explore, dugout canoe and boat ride experiences, community interaction, add on your checklist of birds, one more crayfish dish to try and spectacular sunsets. So get your bags packed, camera charged don’t forget the extra batteries! At the end of it all, it’s more than just an experience at this restful destination.
For more information on tours to Lake Bunyonyi – drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org