Lake Mutanda and Bunyonyi
Reasons to go to Lake Mutanda and Bunyonyi.
An area of incredible natural beauty may be found in Uganda’s deep southwest, adjacent to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
The Switzerland of Africa is centered around the lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi. The lakes provide an ever-changing aquatic landscape accented by tiny, forested islands and are formed by river valleys that have been long-dammed by volcanic eruptions.
The seashore climbs up onto the slopes of the seven volcanoes, past terraced agriculture, into forested foothills.
On a calm day, the water’s surface reflects the light of an ebbing day in almost perfect detail. After a gorilla trek or a longer Ugandan safari, the lakes are the ideal place for some R&R.
There are many activities to participate in in addition to the breathtaking vistas. Community treks and cycling trips can be combined with traditional dugout canoe or motorboat exploration of the waterways.
The forests and lakes are sufficiently close to one another to serve as a single base for hikes to see gorillas and golden monkeys. When the road is in good condition, it takes less than two hours to reach Nkuringo and Rushaga in southern Bwindi.
Places to Stay.
Of the two lakes, Bunyonyi has the most lodging choices, with Birdnest and Arcadia Cottages being the most well-liked.
A traveler favorite since its establishment in the middle of the 1960s, Birdnest. It has distinctive architecture, a fantastic dining room that opens to a decking area with lovely views of the lake, and it is now a four-story hotel.
Though distant from the water, Arcadia Cottages are situated on a breathtaking ridgetop. The impact of the view, which is enjoyed by everyone of its 25 guest cottages, cannot be overstated.
Chameleon Hill Lodge is a cute, colorful, little lodge on Lake Mutanda that consists of 10 bungalows and a cozy common space. The lodge, which is situated high above the lake, offers stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes. When the weather drops, the shared living area’s wood fire really creates a cozy evening. The food is superb.
Mutanda Lake Resort is a top-notch resort that is nearer the water. With a combination of single, double, and family chalets as well as a dining area and bar, it is more traditionally styled than Chameleon Hill Lodge.
Things to do on these lakes.
At the conclusion of a safari circuit in Uganda or when switching from west to further explorations in the east, Bunyonyi and Mutanda are popular destinations for leisure and light adventure.
The lakes are an excellent site to learn more about local life, and boat trips (by canoe or motorboat), community walks, market visits, craft making, hiking, and trekking are all possible here.
Geography and Geology.
River valleys that have been flooded have generated Lakes Bunyonyi and Mutanda. Bunyonyi is 25 km long and never wider than 5 km in the north.
Located at an altitude of 1,950 meters, estimates of its depth range widely (including some ludicrous claims), although it is most likely no deeper than 45 meters.
Bunyonyi is surrounded by steep, terraced hills that reach a height of 2,500 meters, whereas Mutanda, despite being smaller than Bunyonyi, benefits from the striking Virunga Mountains as a backdrop.
Flora and Fauna.
The name Bunyonyi, which means “place of the small birds,” refers to the lake’s more than 200 different bird species. It’s an excellent place to watch weaver colonies, and the nearby marshlands are home to a wide range of aquatic animals as well.
The crowned crane, herons, and egrets are bigger favorites. Numerous birds, frogs, snakes, and chameleons can all be seen on hikes.
The easiest way to go to the lakes is to take the regularly scheduled small aircraft service from Entebbe to Kisoro. The lakes are then just a short drive away—about an hour.
For those who are feeling very daring, there is also the option of hiking from the airfield to the lake for a canoe journey, then making another hike up into the Nkuringo sector of southern Bwindi to see the gorillas. This is a terrific way to start or end a vacation, and it may also be done in reverse.
Alternatively, a 5 to 6-hour trip from Buhoma in northern Bwindi or a 1.5-hour drive from southern Bwindi can get you to the lakes (depending on the condition of the roads).
When to Visit.
Here, the typical but ever more erratic weather patterns of Uganda apply. The rainiest months are late March, April, and early May, with late October to early November seeing another high.
While June, July, August, and September are cooler and typically dry, late December, January, and February tend to be generally hot and dry.