Lake Bunyonyi is also known as the place of little birds. It is located in southwestern Uganda between the districts of Kisoro and Kabale close to the Rwanda Border covering a total area of 61 sq kilometers of the area and 1962 meters above sea level. Lake Bunyonyi has a depth of 900m, 25metres long, and 7 kilometers wide making it deeper with a great impression of sketching it on a 5000 thousand Uganda shillings Note under the little terrace. Lake Bunyonyi is Surrounded by the small towns of Muko and Kyevu and it attracts many people right from foreigners, domestic people, local people and many more who would like to have breath-taking moments and cool environment.
Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika with beautiful scenery of its surrounding. The Lake is surrounded with 29 Islands making it a perfect place to relax, meditate, and chill. The lake inhabits local people such as the Batwa cultural people and the Bakiga who are best known to be hunters and they survive along the lake. Engagement with these local people will enable tourists or visitors to participate in their local traditional dances, music, and learn more about their culture thus attracting both local and foreigners in Uganda while on Uganda Safaris Tours. The lake can be combined and visited after Uganda safaris to near by National Parks of Bwindi National Park for Gorilla trekking tours, Queen Elizabeth National Park for Uganda wildlife Safaris, Kibale National Park which is the Primate capital mainly home to the Chimpanzees and many more.
Lake Bunyonyi is believed to have been formed 10,000 years ago. According to a report, the process of its formation was influenced by the eruption of lava flows from one of the Virunga mountains and the subsequent occupation of the Ndego river which eventually blocked the river and finally, damming the river with lava flow, which drowned the valley.
Fish were introduced in the lake in the early 20th century but they died out in the 1960s as a result of volcanic gas emissions from the volcano. Nowadays there are cray fish, mud fish, mirror carp, and their predation which live in the lake.
In addition to the beautiful landscapes of Bunyonyi there are also a number of other great attractions. These includes, but not limited to the following:
Scenery around the lake
Birds Life: Bunyonyi has more than 200 birds
Islands of Lake Bunyonyi: The Lake is home to 29 Islands
Batwa People: The Batwa People and their culture
Bakiga People: The bakiga people with their culture
On the south side of the lake, you’ll come across 29 amazing and diverse islands that are scattered around the area. There are a variety of different shapes and sizes of islands that are scattered around the lake, but Bunyonyi is home to six prominent islands that are most often visited. These are the following:
This is one of the smallest islands in Bunyonyi but memorable. If a girl becomes pregnant before marriage, she will be taken by Akampene Island and left there to die of hunger or drown. Being pregnant was an abomination in those days because no one would pay a bride price for a girl who became pregnant before marriage, so getting pregnant was an abomination in those days.
It was intended for the girl to die in the island in order to send a strong message to the rest of the group that getting pregnant before marriage was a serious matter that should not be undertaken. Some of the girls were saved, but the rescued girls were later abandoned by the British.
This is regarded as the sharp island on Bunyonyi
Kahugye island is one of the most stunning and thrilling islands on Bunyonyi. The island is a habitat to a variety of wildlife. Some of the animals to spot on this island include Zebras, Waterbucks, Antelopes , Impalas and Many more. Kahugye island is the most popular island on the lake for game viewing.
Bwana island is the largest island on lake Bunyonyi and it is beat known for the treatment of Leprosy. The missionaries of the scotish people set a leprosy treatment facility on this Island to treat people with Leprosy but of now, the facility is not there. The facility is now being used as schools.
Bushara island on Bunyonyi is best known to be a birder’s paradise being a home to the many birds which have been recorded on the island. On your move to visit this island, one should carry a pair of Binoculars best see the birds. This is also where the headquarter of Bunyonyi Development are located.
As the name suggests, Bucuranuka island means Upside Down in Rukiga Language. It is believed that the island has been upside down since a curse was placed on it by an old lady in the old days, so it is believed that the old lady came to the island and discovered men preparing local brew on the island. Despite the fact that the men refused to give some of the local brew to her, she accepted their offer to give it aside for the mainland, which was accepted by the old lady. Afterwards, they took her to the mainland, and since she had to suffer so much in that journey, once she had reached the mainland she cursed the island, and it turned upside down and burned the men who would never leave.
Bunyonyi is regarded as the place of little birds. The area is a birder’s paradise with over 200 different bird species and is one of the best birding spots in Uganda for bird-watching safaris. A number of species can be found here, including egrets, slender-billed baglafetch, weaverbirds, herons, gray-crowned cranes, and the levillant cuckoo, among many others. In order to see the birds, you will need to obtain a boat, binoculars and a birding guide in order to move into the water and watch the birds.
Mountain biking around the lake can be done all day round when you are accompanied by an experienced guide who knows how to maneuver around the area very well. During a ride around, you will enjoy beautiful sceneries and landscapes of the lake, villages, and people with authentic breath-taking moments.
Bunyonyi and the surrounding areas are inhabited by mainly two tribes that are; the Batwa people and the Bakiga. A cultural visit to these villages is one of the unforgettable moments of life since you will engage in different activities such as participating in traditional dances, learning about their hunting techniques, learning about their way of life, and many more
Canoe Rides on Lake Bunyonyi
The only way to sight the islands of the lake is by Canoeing around the Lake. These canoes are moved using ticks and motor engines. During your canoe ride, you will be able to spot different bird species mainly water birds, forests, beautiful scenery etc.
Hikes / Nature walks
You can hike, take nature walks around the lake and take a nature walk through the islands and around the lake when you stay in Bunyonyi. During these walks, you will not be required to do much activity and you can take it at your own pace. The guides always ensure that you do not get lost or miss one of the main highlights of the walk. There will be beautiful views along the way and some of these hikes will lead you through tiny villages.
For one to swim in the lake, one should be an experienced swimmer since the lake is the second deepest lake in the whole of Africa. The waters are bilharzia free, with no hippos, Crocodiles, and any threatening animals making it the best spot for swimming.
Restaurants and lodges in Bunyonyi serve Cray fish plus the poor man’s Lobster. Take a tour of Bunyonyi and enjoy these Foodies.
Relax and chill on the shores of Bunyonyi
Bunyonyi is one of the best places to chill and relax after any Uganda safari near Lake Bunyonyi such as after a visit to Queen Elizabeth national park, Bwindi Impenetrable national park, and many more parks around. You are able to enjoy the lake’s shoreline and the islands that surround it, or you can relax on an island.
Explore the islands of Lake Bunyonyi
There are 29 Islands that are scattered around the lake. These islands offer breathtaking moments and relaxation to tourists or travelers on Uganda wildlife Safaris. A few of these islands include the following Akampene island, Nyuyeera island, Kahugye Island , Bwana Island ,Nyuyeera island , Bushara Island , Bucuranuka Island and many more
The experience of canoeing takes you from island to island while learning about the history of those islands: Visit the island of punishment where girls who got pregnant before marriage were left to die is a must, visit the village of Bwama to learn about the history of the town hosting lepers. During this hoping experience on the islands of Lake Bunyonyi will give you a chance to also explore more about Bunyonyi.
Take a Boat Ride to Akampene Island
This is also known as the punishment island where girls who got pregnant before marriage were sent to die as punishment. But this custom is no longer existing.
Visit Local markets
Every Monday and Friday, the local market of Rutindo attracts local inhabitants of the island where the market is packed with people, making it a perfect place to observe how locals go about their daily lives, while also mingling with them and purchasing fresh fruit.
Best time to visit Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi can be visited all the year around. But the best time to visit lake Bunyonyi is described as below. Lake Bunyonyi experiences two main seasons ie the tropical season(wet) and the dry season.
During the dry season which is December to February is best for engaging in activities such as Boat cruise, Canoe rides, guide community walks and game viewing since the ways are passable mainly for game drives.
The wet season which consists of march to November is best for bird watching and a little bit of game viewing since its when the birds are colourful.
Getting to Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi is located in south western Uganda and can be reached by either road transport means or by air transport means
By road: Lake Bunyonyi by road transport means can be reached by taking a bus to Kabale for 6 and half hours and after reaching Kabale , you can hire or rent a car to reach the lake for 1 and a half hours.
By Air: Lake Bunyonyi can also be reached by booking a charter flight either by Aerolink or Bar Aviation which takes 1.5 hours to reach Kihihi airstrip form Kajansi airfield. After reaching Kihihi, you can rent a car or taxi to the lake which will take you about 3 hours.
Accommodation on Lake Bunyonyi
There are a number of Accommodations on Lake Bunyonyi and these range from mid-range accommodations, budget accommodations and luxury accommodations.
These include the following Bunyonyi Safaris Lodge, Bird’s Nest Resort, Arcadia Lodge , Bunyonyi Overland Resort, Byoona Amagara, Bushara Island Camp, crater bay cottages, Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort, Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort, Hawk’s Eye Lodge Bunyonyi, Paradise eco hub, Edirisa lodges , Crater Bay Cottages and Camp , Amasiko Homestay , Bushara Island Cam , Bunyonyi view resort, Upendo Guest Home , Bugombe Island Gateway , Lost Paradise Beach , The Africa Explorer Eco village ,Byoona Amagara and many more
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