Lake Bunyonyi is also known as a “place of little birds” and it is situated in South-Western Uganda between two districts of Kisoro and Kabale just adjacent to the border with Rwanda. It lies between 1962 meters and 6437 feet above sea level, just 25 kilometers long and 7 kilometer wide. The lake’s depth keeps varying between 44 meter and 900 meters, which brands it as the second deepest in Africa. It is however rated among the few lakes that are said to be free from Bilhazia, crocodiles and safe for swimming.
Lake Bunyonyi is situated about seven kilometers West from Kabale district, South-western Uganda while along the shores, there are nearby towns like Kyevu and Muko. It is also bordered by several hills that rise from 2200 to 2478 meters high that are filled with lots of farm fields. Lake Bunyonyi is acknowledged for its 29 Islands that include among others; the Punishment Island, Bushara Island, Kyahugye Island, Bwama, Island, Njuyeera Island, Akampene Island and Bucuranuka Island. These Islands are all confined at the central point of the lake with few human settlements but mostly utilized for tourist facilities, secondary and primary study tours from near by and far schools. In terms of its temperatures, the surface of this lake rises about 25 degrees Celsius. Fish was then introduced into the lake afterwards and in the 1930s, fishing turned to be the most valuable activity in the area. However, in the 1960s, the fish died in large numbers due to violent shallow mixing which is predicted to have been brought by wind. The locals also practice subsistence fishing in this water body and they catch mostly Clarias species; due to the lake’s depth and stratification, breeding of the other fish species like the Nile Perch and Tilapia has been limited in this water body. Despite that, 300000 Nile Tilapias and Clarias fish were introduced in the lake in the year 2002. As well, there is also Mud fish, Cray fish and Mirrowcarp and lots of their predators and otters.
Lake Bunyonyi is one of the magical and beautiful lakes that you shouldn’t miss while on gorilla safari in Uganda. Although it is unfamiliar in minds of travelers, as you take your safari to or back from mountain gorilla highlands, endeavor to visit Uganda’s most stunning lake. Include it among the list of things that you would like to experience in your life time and honestly you won’t regret being in this fantastic lake. Lake Bunyonyi is the best place where you can freely relax and chill out, swim; take canoe rides, boating, hiking, biking, birding, nature walks, Island hopping, village visits where you get opportunity to have a face to face interaction during cultural visits while enjoy the atmosphere in one of comfortable lodges around the lake. The nearby village is called Bufuka with mainly the Bakiga and Batwa being the main occupants of the area. Truly, the lake is of the most magnificent hidden jewels in African continent and it a waits for your visit.
Just after your gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park come and explore the hidden treasures of Lake Bunyonyi and will be rewarded with awesome experiences of a life time. Tourism activities to participate in the lake include the following.
Relax and chill out:
There is no need to wonder where to go for chill out with your dear ones because Lake Bunyonyi offers the perfect atmosphere for you to relax on its shores or one of its 29 islands that are all condensed in the lake. Just after taking your gorilla trekking, volcano climbing, hiking experiences, there is need for relax and chill around and the only place of choice for you is Lake Bunyonyi! Once you are in this lake, you won’t miss to have a word to describe it! Most importantly, the lake offers one of delightful things like the Cray fish that are prepared in different ways and later serve at all times in the course of day, freshly caught, prepared in dishes from pizza to pasta. No wonder, thousands of Ugandans, tourists, Rwandese and many others have been and still attracted to come and relax and chill out around the lake.
Despite its depth, swimming isn’t a problem. Lake Bunyonyi is one of a few lakes in Uganda where you can not find bilhazia, hippos or even crocodiles which means swimming in the lake can be enjoyed without doubts. Be mindful that it is the second deepest lake in African continent and this means you must be a good swimmer nevertheless, it is an exciting moment being in this place. Other lodges like Bird Nest Resort as well, offer visitors a choice on swimming pool or the lake especially for their visitors. Come and swim in one of Africa’s most magnificent lakes; meanwhile there are other areas along the lake where you will get an enclose section like a swimming pool where one can swim. Make sure you have safety measures like canoe or buddy system based on the depth of the lake.
Lake Bunyonyi has about 29 isolated Islands that are unexploited and they are good for forest, nature and village walks. Take a dugout canoe and explore the world of Uganda’s magical lake. The canoe experience is a full day or just a few hour’s ride; you can either paddle or paddle across the lake. There is also motorized cruise for you to take up especially for sunset cruises and birding boat safaris. Dugout canoeing is one of the famous experiences and visitors can have overnight safaris on the lake and then stay on an Island.
Nature walks and hike:
Interestingly, both the hike and nature walks are done on the Islands and around the Lake where you will enjoy the scenic beauty of Lake Bunyonyi. The walk isn’t a breathtaking and you can take it at your own speed, there are guide to accompany you. The hike will enable you to view the scenic nature around the lake and then reach to some villages where you will interact with some Ugandans up close and personal while the rest can be met on the Islands.
Visitors also have opportunity to ride around the lake during the mountain bike where you will enjoy the beautiful sceneries, people, villages and hamlets. The temperatures and weather conditions are moderate based on the nature of altitude and a bike ride will be the most exciting experience in your life as you also enjoy the equatorial sun that won’t heat down during your ride. The bike rides can take a full day or few hours. Never miss to bike around one of Africa’s most scenic lakes in Uganda.
The word Bunyonyi denotes a “place of little birds” and Lake Bunyonyi is a true haven for birders. There are over 200 bird species that live in the lake. Take a boat safari with tour guide on the Islands. Lake Bunyonyi is an ideal birding destination that you shouldn’t miss visiting in Uganda.
Cultural interaction during the village visit:
Interactive cultural visits in nearby villages, hamlets on any of the Islands or around the Batwa community are other dramatic experiences that you must not miss out. The Batwa pygmies are renowned ancient forest inhabitants of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in southwestern Uganda. They are recognized to have stayed in the jungles for centuries, approximately 500000 purposely for shelter, medicine and food as well as other basic needs. Come and enrich yourself with dramatic lessons about the Batwa lifestyles and their traditions.
Where you can stay:
You can choose to stay in Arcadia Lodge or Nature’s Prime Island Lodge that offers the following accommodation facilities.
Accessibility of the lake
Lake Bunyonyi can easily be reached when you are in Kabale Town south-western Uganda. By road; it is just a 6 hour drive from Kampala to Kabale Town and 8 Kilometers on murram road from Kabale to Lake Bunyonyi as you head to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla refuge in Kisoro district.
In conclusion, Lake Bunyonyi is a true magical lake in Uganda that fills visitors with lots of exciting experiences. The lake offers the best experiences right from swimming, boating, hiking, birding to nature walks. There is no need to miss this fantastic experience of a life time.