Lake Bunyonyi is located in south-western Uganda near the border of Uganda and Rwanda in Kabale district. The lake is one of the deepest lakes in Africa second to Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. The Lake is one of the top tourist destinations for both local and international guests. The tranquil atmosphere on the Lake offer romantic and family getaways and honeymoons. The cool weather and stunning islands offer a relaxing time on the lake.
Lake Bunyonyi derives its name from “Bunyonyi” which means little birds. The lake supports plenty of bird life making it a haven for birders. The area receives enough rainfall that supports the lush green vegetation around the lake and islands. Bunyonyi offers a relaxing spot after the thrilling gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks.Lake Bunyonyi is comprised of 29 islands. These include; Bushara, Bwama, Njuyeera but the most famous is Akampene (Punishment Island). Girls who got pregnant were punished by sending them to the Island to die of hunger. Pregnancy before marriage was an abomination and punishable by death. A few survived and are still alive up to date. The practice was abandoned in the 1940’s. Bwama Island was turned into a leprosy center, providing medical and housing facilities to those stricken by leprosy. Bushara Island runs an eco-lodge that offers getaways on your Uganda Wildlife safari. The tall eucalyptus trees offer shelter to bird life and creates an exclusive stay on the island.
Things to do in Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi offers amazing activities that attract both local and international tourists. Below are a few of those activities that can be incorporated into your Uganda safari.
Lake Bunyonyi offers some of the best relaxing moments on your Uganda safari tour. After some safari activities like Uganda gorilla trekking, mountain climbing, game drives, you can choose to relax and enjoy the scenery around the lake. The cool weather makes it a perfect getaway. The sunsets around the lake are stunning.
The Lake’s clear waters are perfect for swimming. Free from pollution, crocodiles and bilharzia, the lake is perfect for swimming. Most of the lodges on the lake have direct access to the lake. However, being the second deepest lake in Africa, only good swimmers are advised to swim in the lake.
Canoes made by digging into tree trunks is the only way to get around the island. Other motor boats are available but the local way is always more adventurous. Canoe around the lake as you take in the different views of the Lake. Night canoeing can be arranged so that you can enjoy the cool breeze of the night.
You can visit the different islands of the lake and learn about their history. Get to interact with the local people who dwell on the different islands. Visit the punishment islands and Bwama Island and visit the children’s school that was converted from the leper hospital.
Community and Cultural Visits:
Visit the local communities and get to learn the way of life of the local population. Do some local chores like digging and carrying water. Visit the local school and interact with the local children. Try Obushera (local porridge)
On your Uganda safari tour, you can go for a nature walk through the trails. Explore the terraced hills surrounding the lake and enjoy the spectacular views of the Lake. You can visit the ancient bamboo forest of Echuya.
Mountain biking is one of the most interacting ways of exploring the areas around the Lake Bunyonyi. Cycle and have spectacular views of the hills and different terrain around the lake. Hire a bike and cycle around the surrounding areas including the amazing lake Mutanda. Let us know before the start of the Uganda safari so that we arrange it for you.
Visit the local market.
The local market of Rutindo is the most adventurous activities to do when you visit Lake Bunyonyi. Local and fresh produce is sold in these outdoor temporary markets. This local market attracts traders and buyers from the different islands of the Lake. Observe the locals interact with one another and buy yourself some fresh fruit.
The island is a paradise for bird lovers. The area is home to over 250 bird species and one of the prime destination for birding. The lush green vegetation is sanctuary and breeding grounds for these birds. Nyombi is one of the best birding spots on the Lake. Local and migratory birds from Europe can be found here. Weaver birds, grey crowned cranes, slender-billed baglafetch, egrets and herons are some of the bird that can been around Lake Bunyonyi.
How to get to Lake Bunyonyi
By private means, you drive up to Kabale town. From Kampala, this will take up to 8 hours. On arrival in Kabale town, drive 1km on Kisoro road take a left. Its 8kms from the town to Lake Bunyonyi. By public means, take a bus to Kabale and then a taxi to Lake Bunyonyi.
Where to stay in Lake Bunyonyi – Accommodation in Lake Bunyonyi
The lake has a wide range of accommodation options ranging from modern furnished rooms to rustic safari tents, from luxury to budget safari accommodation. Below are a few of the accommodation options
Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort:
This resort is a locally owned lodge that is built by the shores of Lake Bunyonyi. The lodge is built with material locally sourced from the surrounding. The lodge offers family and single cottages, safari and camping tents. The safari tents are hoisted on wooden platforms offering spectacular views of the Lake and the islands. The safari tents are en-suite with comfortable furniture. Activities like village visits, badminton and birding safaris can arranged at the lodge.
Located on Itambira Island, Byoona Amagara is a locally owned lodge. All its proceeds go to the developing the local communities around the island. One half of the island is occupied by the locals while the rest is occupied by the lodge. The rooms at the lodge offer amazing views of the terraced hills and the lake. Other islands can be seen from the balcony of the rooms. The lodge offers luxury, moderate and budget accommodation options. In case you are traveling with your family, the cottages at the lodge will cater for your every need.
Arcadia cottages are a safari lodge that is built on one of the sides of the hills. This offers breathtaking views of the Lake. The 12 rooms are en-suite with a bathroom and toilet and offer stunning views of Lake Bunyonyi
The Africa Explorer Eco village:
This lodge is a budget lodge that was beautifully designed to highlight the views of the Virunga Mountains, the lake and the terraced hills. The lodge offers self-contained huts with hot water. The lodge also offers dormitories and camping for those seeking adventure on budget. The restaurant offers mouth-watering meals at competitive prices.
Lost Paradise Beach:
Lost Paradise beach is a locally owned lodge that offers relaxing time on your Uganda Wildlife safari. The lodge offers bandas that are built near a well maintained beach. Residents at the lodge get a free canoe rides. Swim in the lake or the lodge’s swimming pool. Local produce like bananas and vegetables are sourced to prepare the mouth-watering dishes served at the lodge.
Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort:
The eco lodge is located right at the shores of the lake. The lodge offers stunning views of the lake and the terraced hills. With 10 cottages, the lodge has private accommodation on your Uganda safari. These cottages are en-suite, well-furnished for a luxury Uganda wildlife. The eco lodge has more rooms in the main lounge with stunning views of the Lake. A swimming pool allows you to take a swim if you aren’t comfortable with swimming in the lake. Uganda safari activities like nature walks, canoeing, cultural performances and birding safaris can be arranged by the resort.
Bunyonyi view resort:
Bunyonyi view resort is a budget safari accommodation. The lodge offers dormitory accommodations with private balconies overlooking the Lake. For those who want more privacy, family cottages and self-contained rooms will fulfill your desire.
Bushara Island Camp:
Bushara island camp is a budget lodge that is built on its own Island, Bushara Island. The only access to the lodge is by a speed boat or canoe. The lodge provides transport to and from the mainland for its guests. The Island camp offers self-contained tree houses, self-contained rooms and safari tents for your accommodation. The Island is perfect for honeymoons and family getaways. It is quiet and offers an intimate time on your Uganda Wildlife and gorilla safari.
Crater Bay Cottages and Camp:
With 12 private cottages, Crater bay offers single, double and triple rooms. The lodge is located in Bufuka village by the shores of Lake Bunyonyi. They are famous for their crayfish dishes that are well prepared by their experienced chefs.
Relax and enjoy your Uganda safari with a stay at Bird’s Nest. Set right on the edge of the lake, the lodge has amazing luxurious rooms that offer a relaxing time on your Uganda gorilla trekking safari.