Lake Bunyonyi mostly referred to as the place of many little birds is a freshwater basin lake located in the southwestern region of Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale district adjacent to the Uganda Rwanda border. Lake Bunyonyi is believed to be the second deepest lake in East Africa after Lake Tanganyika at a deep varying from 44 meters to 900 meters at different points.
Lake Bunyonyi lies at an altitude of 6437 ft. covering the width of 7 kilometers with a length of 25 kilometers experiencing temperatures of 25°C. Lake Bunyonyi is a magical place surrounded by 29 islands and terraced slopes with mist covering the lake waters especially in the morning.
Lake Bunyonyi as portrayed on a 5,000 note of Uganda shillings offers magnificent scenic view and good for relaxing due to its cool weather, Lake Bunyonyi is 474 kilometers from Kampala city the capital city of Uganda a 8 hour 15 minutes drives while using Kampala via mbarara kabale route and 8 kilometers from kabale town using a marram road with bufuka village is the main center and kyevu and muko as the nearby towns.
Lake Bunyonyi also known as lake of a thousand hills is very famous for water sports like boating and fishing activities as it harbors many fish types for example mud fish, Nile tilapias and clarias. Lake Bunyonyi is also a good spot for swimming since harbors no hippos, crocodiles and free from bilharzia.
Some islands of Lake Bunyonyi have a rich historical attachment to the bakiga and batwa people these islands include
Punishment Island: The punishment island is very significate to Bakiga community. The island was used as an exile a place to girls who got pregnant before marriage. In bakiga community getting pregnant before marriage was against laws which governed the community. The exiled girls died of hunger and also while trying to swim. This practice was to scare young community from getting involved in practices which can lead to pregnancy. This practice was abandoned in the early 20th century.
Njuyeera Island: Njuyeera Island is where an English missionary Leonard sharp resided. Leonard sharp pioneered the treatment of leprosy in the region.
Bwama Island: The Bwama islands was a treatment center for the treatment of leprosy, the health center was built by Leonard sharp an English missionary in 1931to offer medical attention to the affected local people. Also, a church and patient quarters were built on this same island.
Bucuranuka Island: This island was used as a burial site where people were buried alive for refusal to offer local brew to a passing old woman.it is said that when the locals brewing local alcohol failed to give some to the old woman the island turned upside down killing everyone except a guy who had gone with the old woman.
Lake Bunyonyi as a destination offers fun-filled many activities which include:
Swimming: Lake Bunyonyi is a freshwater lake which free from bilharzia and hippos making it suitable for swimming and other water games at a reasonable depth. With no worry about wild animals like crocodiles, swimming is very fun in Lake Bunyonyi.
Boat riding: Boat ride in Lake Bunyonyi is very prominent as it is done using different vessels as a way to explore the islands, boat riding is done using dugout, motorboats at any time even at night. Boat riding is very fun and rewarding as you get to see different water birds.
Culture encounters: Lake Bunyonyi islands are home for bakiga and Batwa who are known for their unique lifestyle which includes ways of cultivation, hunting, and cultural values. These islands became home to the Batwa after they got evicted from Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National Park. Tour in these islands you will get to learn more about the life of these people.
Bird watching: Lake Bunyonyi is a home to various birds of about approximately 200 species. The name Bunyonyi itself means too many birds as you sail across Lake Bunyonyi you get to watch many birds include water birds. Birds like grey-crowned cranes, red-chested sunbirds and many flycatchers can be viewed.
Hiking and nature walk: Hiking as an activity can be done at Lake Bunyonyi and so is nature walks, these activities are done with the help of a trained guide who is well knowledgeable about, hiking takes places on the islands and also on kigezi terraces are offer beautiful scenery of landscapes and vegetation. While hiking you get to pass through ancient Echuya Forest which is full of history.
Sunset viewing: Evening time of sunset is an amazing time, sunset viewing is a popular activity in Lake Bunyonyi where a lot of tourists wait for the sunset while sitting on the terraces of their hotels or islands
Visiting local healers: Many tourists are also interested in visiting the traditional healers and knowing the techniques they use and in this case, Sam Mulisa is a well-known traditional healer. He takes tourists on a visit in his hut (a traditional clinic) where he showcases traditional medicine practices and methods of healing various diseases using herbs.
Anytime is a good time to visit Lake Bunyonyi.