Lake Bunyonyi locally meaning place of many little birds is one of Uganda’s hidden gems. Tucked away in the southwest corner of the country, this idyllic lake is surrounded by lush green hills and is a popular spot for swimming, canoeing, and bird watching. With its clear waters and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder that Lake Bunyonyi is one of Uganda’s most popular tourist destinations. The scenery, fresh air, and bird calls make it the ideal location to unwind after a day of gorilla trekking in adjacent Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Lake Bunyonyi is a freshwater lake in southern Uganda, near the Rwandan border, between the districts of Kabale and Kisoro. It is located around 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) southeast of Kampala. The lake is roughly 1,900 meters (6,234 feet) above sea level, 25 kilometers long, 7 kilometers broad, and 44 meters (144 feet) deep, making it Africa’s second deepest lake. The lake is home to 29 small islands of different shapes and sizes, one of which was originally utilized as a leper isolation colony. The lake is also said to be free of bilharzia, making it one of the few lakes safe for swimming in the region.
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Top Tourist highlights at Lake Bunyonyi
Kyahugye Island Kyahugye Island is a lovely and serene spot in Lake Bunyonyi. This 35-acre island, run by Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort, is worth a visit if you want to observe species like as zebra, waterbuck, ipala, and kob up close. On the island, visitors may go swimming, fishing, and rest. Kyahugye is an excellent area to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend some time in nature.
Bwama and Njuyeera (Sharp’s) Islands Bwama and Njuyeera are two tiny islands in Uganda’s Lake Bunyonyi. Both are lovely spots to visit, with great views of the lake and surrounding hills. In 1921, British missionary Dr Leonard Sharp settled and established a leper colony on these islands. In the 1980s, the colony on Bwama was closed down (there are two schools on the island now). Bwama Island is currently home to a small community and a few modest lodgings for guests. On the island, there is also a modest health facility that offers minimal medical treatment to the locals. Njuyeera Island is a little more remote, with no permanent residents. Visitors can, however, stay at a few basic campgrounds and it is a popular spot for hiking and birdwatching.
Akampeine Island This little island, which translates as Punishment Island, was named after the spot where unmarried pregnant women were abandoned to die. Pregnancy was an obscenity back then because no one would pay a high bride price for a lady who had become pregnant before marriage. The idea behind leaving the girl to die on the island was to send a clear message to the other members of the group that becoming pregnant before marriage was unacceptable. The guys who had gotten them pregnant, those who had a secret crush on them, or poor bachelors who couldn’t afford bride price were the only ones who could save them from drowning or famine. By the late 1940s, the British colonial authority had abolished this primitive practice.
What to do at Lake Bunyonyi
Swimming and Chilling Out at Lake Bunyonyi The lake is so lovely that it’s difficult to believe it’s real. The water is very clean, and the setting is breathtaking. You could swim in the lake all day and never get bored. This lake is devoid of bilharzia and has no crocodiles or hippos. This implies that swimming is safe and enjoyable here.
Canoeing at Lake Bunyonyi Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi is quite calm, and the scenery is breathtaking. It feels so good to be out there paddling about. You may explore Uganda’s most beautiful lake in a dugout boat with a guide. This may either be a whole day or just a few hours, and you can choose to scull or be sculled across the lake; overnight alternatives are also available. You may also take a motorized cruise on the lake, and there are opportunities for sunset cruises and birding boat tours.
Nature walks and Hikes at Lake Bunyonyi There’s no better way to appreciate the natural beauty of Lake Bunyonyi than by taking a nature walk or hike around the lake. The scenery is simply stunning, and it’s the perfect way to get some fresh air and exercise. There are plenty of trails to choose from, so you can find one that’s just right for you. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife along the way.
Birding at Lake Bunyonyi Birding in Lake Bunyonyi is a great chance to view a variety of over 200 species in their natural environment. Water bird species such as herons, kingfishers, and cormorants may be seen in the lake. There are also a variety of trails that loop around the region, allowing you to explore at your own pace and observe as many birds as you like. A nice bird boat safari with your own birding guide may be had on some of the numerous Islands that round the lake’s shoreline.
Cultural Encounters at Lake Bunyonyi Cultural exchange and understanding are part of the Lake Bunyonyi cultural experience. These participatory cultural tours take place in communities, settlements on one of the islands, or in the enclosed countryside, and include the Batwa pygmy people, who were the original inhabitants of the forest and now battle for survival away from their beloved forest. You may learn about the local culture and how people live in the region. Tourists can also share their native culture with the people they encounter. It is an excellent chance to learn about various cultures and to form contacts with individuals from all around the world.
Best time to visit Lake Bunyonyi
The best time to visit Lake Bunyonyi is during the dry season, from June to September. During this time, the lake is calm and the weather is warm and sunny.
Accommodation at Lake Bunyonyi
There is a wide range of accommodation options available at Lake Bunyonyi, to suit all budgets. For those on a tight budget, there are a number of basic guesthouses and hostels available. Mid-range options include a number of comfortable hotels and lodges, while those looking for a more luxurious experience can stay at one of the upscale resorts. Accommodation options at Lake Bunyonyi include;
- Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
- Byoona Amagara
- Arcadia Cottages
- The Africa Explorer Eco village
- Lost Paradise Beach
- Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort
- Bugombe Island Gateway
- Upendo Guest Home
- Bunyonyi view resort
- Bushara Island Camp
- Amasiko Homestay
- Crater Bay Cottages and Camp
- Bird’s Nest