Lake Bunyonyi, literally translated as place of little birds is the most beautiful and an amazing place to relax. This is a fresh water lake thought to be the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. The lake covers an area of about 61 square kms at 1,962 meters above sea level. This fresh water lake is 25km long and 7 km wide with a varying depth between 44meters to 900meters however the water levels continue to rise and its maximum surface temperature reaches 25℃/77℉. It is one of the few lakes in the region that is free of bilharzia and safe for swimming, surrounded by beautiful terraced hills that are 2,200 to 2,478 meters high and intensely cultivated. Lake Bunyonyi is surrounded by beautiful terraced hills. These hills are terraced by the local Bakiga tribe living in this area as they carry out cultivation on subsistence level offering beautiful scenery. Lake Bunyonyi is loved by both local and international tourists and a recommended place to visit if you love water, culture, beautiful countryside scenery and relaxing moments. Lake Bunyonyi has about 29 Islands
History of the lake
Lake Bunyonyi is a young lake believed to be formed 10,000 years ago, its process of formation was described as a result of lava flow that emerged from one of the Virunga mountains and managed to occupy Ndego river and when it continued, blocked the river and when the river was dammed by a lava flow and the valley drowned. At the beginning of the 20th century fish was introduced in the lake but massively died in the 1960s, perhaps as a result of a volcanic gas emission, today there are cray fish, mud fish and mirror carp and their predators.
Lake Bunyonyi being a place of many little birds has over 200 different bird species recorded as habitats at the lake. Visitors who usually take time to visit, generally enjoy and experience of the breathtaking nature of Lake Bunyonyi given its many nature activities that are carried out including canoeing, boat riding, and local tour, swimming, hiking the highlands around the lake, pygmy village tour and birding.
Bird watching; This is a key activity because Lake Bunyonyi its self means place of many little birds and therefore majority of bird species can be noticed, there are more than 200 species of birds recorded. Using a boat ride to the neighboring Nyombi swamp one is able to see a selection of bird species over the trees and the sky. The variety of bird species which can be found here include both the Uganda species as well as the international species which usually migrate from the European continent during times of winter.
Nature walks; walking around the lake’s waters while tearing water, listening to bird songs and feeling the fresh breeze of Lake Bunyonyi and community around is so rewarding. This interesting walk can be done along the lake’s shores and involves tourists moving around Bunyonyi different Islands. Lake Bunyonyi has 29 island concentrated in the central park; there are few settlements and tourists facilities. These islands have historical attachments that attract tourists’ visit. Bunyonyi’s most interesting islands are Akampene (Punishment Island), Bwama (former leper island), Njuyeera (Dr Sharp’s Island) and Bucuranka (Upside Down Island).
Canoeing; This involves sailing on the lake while experiencing the quietness, calmness and the tranquility of Lake Bunyonyi. A canoe rides can also be done at night given the loud chorus of crickets, frogs, nocturnal birds singing plus the waving lake waters which all make the ride exceedingly exciting.
Swimming; The waters of Lake Bunyonyi are free from the hazards of bilharzia, dangers of crocodiles, hippos and other threatening animals, providing great experience of swimming on a deep lake. However being the deepest lake, visitors ought to be experienced or expert swimmers.
Community tours and the Batwe trial; There are attractive cultural and natural sights like the Bakora cave, the Batwa (pygmies) and the Abaheesi (traditional black smiths) communities that are accessible in close proximity. Also visiting islands around the lake like Habuharo, Akempene and Bucuraniko Island is a memory-catching experience. There are several Twa villages in the area, but Batwa are the most recommended, aiming to deliver a more authentic exchange. Trips heading to Echuya Forest, the former home of local Twa are provided. Take a boat trip to the local communities of the Batwa/pygmies who live in the islands near the lake and see their ways of life, activities and their charming cultural dance performances.
Biking; Family unit or group picnics and relaxation can also be enjoyed on the islands in the areas of Lake Bunyonyi.
Lake Bunyonyi is located in the south western part of Uganda between the 2 districts of Kisoro and Kabale close to Rwanda. It is an hour’s drive from Kabale town