Are you ready to be held hostage by Mother Earth and be captivated by her beauty?
Are you ready to embrace the serenity that will leave you utterly mesmerized?
We say, think no more, transport yourself to the magical realms of Africa and be dazed by the Lake Bunyonyi. Just go with the flow and get ready to dip yourself in fresh waters for a fresh perspective on pristinity and tranquility. Unbeknownst to many, this is nature’s treasure trove tucked to safety in South-west of Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi is a quaint place with ethereal beauty dotted with 29 islands in varied sizes and unique shapes amidst the plush green of the surrounding hills. While a lot can be done to in Lake Bunyonyi, let’s delve deep to get an insight about this place.
Located between the two districts of Kisoro and Kabare and close to the border of Rwanda, it is a freshwater lake with the reputation as the second deepest lake of Africa. With the depths varying between 144ft to 2952ft, swimming in this lake is truly an unmatched experience.
Getting to Lake Bunyonyi
Head to Lake Bunyonyi from Entebbe, a major town in Uganda either by driving or flying. While the most economical route to reach Lake Bunyonyi is by a bus that approximately takes about 7-8 hours, a faster alternative to reach would be by taking a flight either to Kigali or Goma and then drive or take a bus thus limiting the travel time to 5-6 hours.
Once you reach there, don’t be surprised by the sight of birds flying as Lake Bunyonyi is home to as many as 200 species of birds, thus garnering the name Bunyonyi which translates to “Place of many little birds.” Lake Bunyonyi is 16 miles long and 4.3 miles wide. It sprang to life as an aftermath of a volcanic eruption that occurred 8000 million years ago.
Wondering what to do once you reach there?
Although Lake Bunyonyi is probably one place where you can have fun even without doing anything, rest easy as we have a list of things that’ll keep your interest going!
SWIM IT OUT
Swim to your heart’s content as you are in one of Africa’s most beautiful lakes. Make the most as you are in one of the few lakes in Uganda which is bilharzia free, so take fun to a whole new level by taking the plunge, after testing waters, because mind you, it is extremely deep! With no intimidating natives of the water like hippos and crocodiles in the lake, swim tension free.
Feed your soul as you take a dugout canoe to unravel the brilliance of Uganda’s magical lake with the help of a guide and ponder in thoughts amidst the hues of blues. Paddle away in the waters or choose a motorized cruise in the lake to witness some of the most spectacular sunsets or decide to stay overnight and keep your happiness afloat!
Choose to pick mountain biking and you’ll find yourself always grateful for making that choice. With the temperature and weather playing in your favor, beat the Equatorial sun, drive around the lake on a mountain bike and feel the cool air hit your face. Driving in the backyard of the lake, gift yourself picturesque views and get a chance to meet and greet natives to get a dose of the real Africa.
Lake Bunyonyi is nature’s shout out to birdwatchers since it houses as many as 200 species. If you are a photography enthusiast, here’s your shot to fame! Capture them through lenses feeding on food or flying over the waters or even simply looking at nowhere until you get it right! You can find gray-crowned cranes, red-chested sunbirds and different types of flycatchers.
You can go on a boat ride to the Punishment Island or Akampene, which is a popular tourist island, although it is not big in size. It is a small island where the Bakiga people took unwed pregnant girls to leave them in the jaws of nature for having sex outside of marriage. With no boat to find their way back and no one to rescue, more often than not many girls starved to death. Visit this tiny island and be taken back in time.
Relish the authentic cuisine that feeds the ego of your taste buds and your stomach as well! Get your hands on the crayfish delicacies. From crayfish pizzas to eggs, these crayfishes find their way in most dishes. Other popular must-eats include Lake Bunyonyi Crawdads, referred to as “Poor Man’s Lobster” and Tilapia dishes.
TRIBAL VILLAGE VISIT
You could also meet, talk, play with the Pygmy, Bakiga and Batwa tribes when you spot them in their islands and get a chance to understand the culture and tradition they are big on.
With 29 islands at your disposal, wonder no more, just wander around the lake for some of the most breathtaking panoramic views as every direction presents Lake Bunyonyi in a different light. You can simply chill out on the shores and gaze at the calm waters of Lake Bunyonyi and rest assured you’ll be humbled to find all your pieces at peace.
Watch the lake enveloped in the mist in the mornings and see them slowly unveil themselves and witness the glorious sunsets to beat the blues and make every other experience go green with envy with a trip to Lake Bunyonyi! With a horde of activities to do, hoard memories that will last a lifetime!