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Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most beautiful lake found in Kabale and southwestern Uganda. The lake is ranked as the second largest and deepest in Africa, it’s one of Uganda’s iconic natural attractions and it is a place of very many small birds thus the origin of its name “Bunyonyi”.
Unlike other lakes, the loviest lake was formed as a result of lava flow that emerged from the Virunga mountains and it managed to occupy Indego river and as it continued it blocked river Marko and as a result it created a dam. the incorporates Ruvuma swamp and other permanent marshes.
Lake Bunyonyi is known as a place of five famous Islands, such as Kyahugye Island, Bwama and Njuyeera and Bucuranuka. However, about 29 islands are scattered across the lake. The lake is surrounded by terraced garden hills ranging from 2200m to 2478m above sea level.
Each of these Island has a legend history attached to it that you will learn and discover when you visit lake Bunyonyi. It is this history which has given the traditional certain attachment to the lake over all the past years.
The vegetation cover of the island adds beauty to across the lake and due to this beauty and scenery, lake Bunyonyi is known as the hidden African Jewel.
it’s a habitat for some wildlife species. It has a population of about 250 bird species and because of these very many bird species that name Bunyonyi originates, meaning a place for very many small birds. Some of the forest and tea plantation around lake Bunyonyi is home for monkeys.
Trees or forest have grown alongside the edges of the lake and on the islands but not on the hills that surround the lake Bunyonyi. There are trees on the hills because of the traditional people who massively cut down the trees to get farmlands and also for settlements.
Lake Bunyonyi is a3 hours’ drive to Rwanda however one can opt to fly to Rwanda
Activities to do while at lake Bunyonyi.
Swimming, lake Bunyonyi is a Hippo – Crocodile – Bilharzia free. This means that there are no Hippos nor crocodile neither Bilharzia found at lake Bunyonyi, thus it’s safe to swim and enjoy while on you stay.
However, it is a very deep lake as it has been ranked the second deepest in Africa, therefore one ought to be a very good swimmer but you can enjoy it while on your stay. Swimming can also be done at some lodges that have a swimming pool or a lake for their guests like the Birdnest resort lodge. On the other hand, there are places that have enclosed sections of the lake like a swimming pool where one can swim so that you can swim in one of Africa’s most beautiful lakes.
Dug-out canoeing boating, with an ancient like dugout canoe, you be given a drive with a guide to explore the 29 Islands on lake Bunyonyi, to explore also the quaint villages and forest. This can be a whole day event or for a few hours, one can also choose to be paddled across the lake or an overnight option is also available. There other boat options to choose such as motorized opportunity for the sunset cruises and birding safaris.
Nature walks and hikes, these are rewarding activities that will take you through the beautiful sceneries views, wildlife and bird species. The Islands have well developed trails through the trees plantation and forests.
The nature doesn’t need a lot of physical efforts, you can be taken at your pace, professional guides will escort you so that you don’t get lost and u don’t miss the historical background about the Islands.
Hiking gives you an insight to view the beautiful scenic of nature and also go through small villages where you will have an opportunity interact with local people. Hiking includes idyllic hamlets and villages with terraced gardens on the hills that surround the lake.
Mountain biking, the ride is taken using a mountain bike to enjoy the people and their villages, the scenery, hamlets and get the feel of authentic Africa.
Bird watching, lake Bunyonyi is a place for very many little birds, thus it’s a habitant for over 200 bird species making it one of the birding destinations.
You can choose to do birding on with the great bird-boat safari with your own birding guide on water explore the 29 islands and the birding sie which is a swampy area at the end of the lake.
Island experience, there are 29 Islands dotted around Bunyonyi , however these can be explore using boat rides or nature walks where the local guide will take you around the area . one of the interesting islands includes the punishment island where the traditional people known as the bakiga used to take unwedded girls that got pregnant before marriage. These girls were abandoned, some died others were picked up by the fishermen and married them. This was to act as an example to other girls in the village.
Accommodations in lake bunyonyi
The accommodation facilities ranges from budget lodges, mid-range lodges and luxury lodges.
The budget loges include Bunyonyi overland lodge, Bushara Island lodge in Kabale 8km to lake Bunyonyi, the mid-range accommodation include Bunyonyi rock rest, and luxury accommodation includes bird nest Bunyonyi, Acadia lodge among others accommodation facilities.