Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is a lava-dammed lake found in south western region of Uganda in Kigezi, Kabale district. Its believed to have formed when River Ndego was blocked by lava flowing from an eruption on the Virunga Mountain thus filling the valley leading to a pool of stagnant water with many islands, which is the current day

Lake Bunyonyi. Its name natively translates to 'a place of many small birds; thus, birding can be well experienced here. This not big but very deep lake is the second deepest lake in Africa, coming after Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania.

It however has varying lengths from 45 metres to 900 metres, with the deepest point being at punishment Island. This Island is a historical Island in Bakiga culture, as it was a punishment ground for girls who became pregnant before marriage, thus its name.

These girls were abandoned on the island and left to starve to death, whereas others died while trying to swim back to the mainland. Another historical Island on this lake is Bwama island, also known as "Leprosy Island", where Dr. Sharp, a missionary in 1920 established the first leprosy treatment hospital, following a leprosy outbreak on the island.

The lake has 29 islands in total and some of these are habituated while others are used for agriculture. Lake Bunyonyi is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The scenic views of the lake unfold with many islands visible from its shores, variety of beautiful birds flying over misty hills at times and beautiful terraced landscapes embedding the lake are seen rising over the shores of the lake, all giving it a magnificent appearance.

There are several accommodation sites with many exquisite cabins which offer the most comfortable and rejuvenating accommodation experience.

A visit to L. Bunyonyi will offer one a relaxing and refreshing experience, interacting with nature. Visitors can catch beautiful sunsets and sunrises over the hills while at this lake. Most people get to visit the Bunyonyi area to rejuvenate while on their way from gorilla trekking in the neighboring Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable national parks.

Lake Bunyonyi offers many activities, including site seeing, hiking, nature walks, biking, zip lining, bird-watching, canoeing as well as community visits to the Batwa people, to learn more about their way of life which includes hunting and food gathering.

One can also visit the Ngarama cave while visiting the Batwa. The lake has crystal clear waters which are favourable for swimming, adding that the lake is hippo, crocodile and bilharzia free, owing to its depth. The lake is also non salty and has many inlets and outlets. Tourists also get to interact with the hospitable and kind people of Kabale and learn more about their cultures and traditional dance

 Views of the lake is scenically refreshing and the best view of this can be caught at the Arcadia lodges found on the hills. Arcadia lodges is also famous for offering great Expresso in the area. Canoes are the major means of transport on the lake and these are also used for fishing, thus a visitor will certainly have a great canoe experience while moving across the lake to explore the different islands and surrounding hills. Boats are another means of transport on the lake and these are sometimes used for water sports.

 The guided tour and a hike on the hills will give one a satisfying experience of the region. Visitors will without doubt have a fulfilling birding experience while at this lake since many species of birds are seen flying over the lake, or resting on the islands and shores of the lake. 

A boat ride to Nombe swamp will also lead one to exploring many rare bird species like Pied king fisher and chested bee eaters. One could also visit the local markets around the area and the blacksmiths to learn more about their craft. The scenic view of the lake also offers a good photography venue.

 Lake Bunyonyi can be visited throughout the year but the best time is January to February and June to August when temperatures are warmer and favorable for several activities.

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