Lake Bunyonyi is a fresh deep water lake found in Rubanda district, Kabale town of Uganda that is found in the South Western part. It is close to the Rwanda border with Uganda, Bunyonyi in the local language spoken by the people living around the lake means birds and it was named after the many bird species of the lake as it was known as the place of many birds. The locals of this place are known as the Bakiga who are also assumed to be the strong people also with the Batwa community. It is a popular tourist spot and also a loved place for the excursionists because of its undeniable beauty. Lake Bunyonyi has been said to be the second deepest lake in Africa at an estimated depth of 900 meters according to the locals of the place and also backed by the tourist guides.
Lake Bunyonyi is a 7 kilometers wide lake with a surface area of about 46 kilometers but on it, there are 29 islands that you can visit on a boat trip from the shores. One of the islands is known as the punishment island locally known as the Akampene where the girls who got pregnant out of wedlock in the earlier years were taken and abandoned to starve as they were considered a disgrace to the society and also a way to scare the younger girls from making such a decision though the men without cows to pay for bride price would opt to go to the island and pick a girl. This was a horrific culture that eventually phased out in the early 20th century. There are other islands like the Bushara island, that is famous for its water sports and a variety of accommodations for the visitors of the island, Kahugye, Bucuranuka, blue monkey island where one blue monkey stays, the Bwama and Njuyeera island where one English missionary Leonard Sharp built a treatment centre for people suffering from leprosy with a patient’s wing and a church which is currently a hotel called the White house hotel. This was a safe haven for the lepers as they felt at home here without worry about affecting the others in their community. These islands have less settlement but are more popular for tourist activities also study purposes for school tours and researchers. These islands are majorly in the center of the lake far from the shores.
Lake Bunyonyi is a hub for many water birds, and aquatic animals like the frogs, spotted neck otters, caridina shrimp. There are also the fish like catfish, Nile tilapia, mudfish, mirow carp, red swamp crayfish that you can fish on your fishing boat trip that you may request for specifically if interested. The fishing on the lake is limited due to the past where the fish were almost extinct in the lake due to unregulated fishing and they had to reintroduce them in the early 2000s. The depth of this lake is however tricky for the indigenous species of Uganda to thrive like the Nile perch and Tilapia. There is also some aquatic vegetation on the lake like the papyrus, blue lotus and swamp saw grass.
The beauty of Lake Bunyonyi can only be described by those who have visited the place and it has featured in big movie scenes like the Black Panther 2018 movie and also has been honored to be on the 5000 Uganda shillings note. After a hectic gorilla trek, you could opt to visit the lake to cool off the sweat of the gorillas as it can be an icing to the cake. There are several accommodation options that you can choose like the Arcadia lodges, Bunyonyi Overland Resort, to mention but a few. Some of the activities you may engage in are swimming at the shores, boat trips, and canoeing, village visit of the pygmies.
You can get to Bunyonyi by road from Kampala for a 6-hour drive that is about 410 kilometers to Kabale town and 8 kilometers off the main road on to the marram to the lake Bunyonyi. There are two towns of lake Bunyonyi that is Kyevu and Muko with the main centre being Bufuka Village. Alternatively, you may connect from Kigali for a 4-hour drive to Kabale town. Get in touch with us to organize your trip to Bunyonyi with the activities you are interested in.