Lake Bunyonyi is one of the must visit places while on a safari through the western part of Uganda. This beautiful countryside dubbed the “Switzerland of Africa” is one of the best places to relax after a thrilling gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Uganda.
In the local language, Lake Bunyonyi means, a ‘Place of many little birds’ and here, there are birds of all sizes that you can spot. It is found in South Western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale near the Rwanda boarder, 450 Km from Kampala. It is believed to be the second deepest lake in Africa and one of the country’s top natural treasures.
Lake Bunyonyi has 29 islands for you to explore and to enjoy as you discover them by the use of a dugout canoe or motorboat voyage. Lake Bunyonyi is a Holiday destination for travelers who are going for gorilla trekking in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga National Park for some other Uganda Safari activities.
However, Lonely Planet describes Lake Bunyonyi as “A Scene from Lord of the Rings” the lake for one or two days of rest and relaxation, one of the best places to chill out in Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi ought to be considered one of the natural wonders of the world among travel destinations.
At 1,962m above sea level, the lake enjoys moderate temperatures year round, cool in both the mornings and evenings. Most visitors make it an R&R stop after gorilla trekking in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The Lake is framed by lush, green-terraced hills that reach a height of 2,200-2,478m. It’s a sight that reinvents itself every hour or two with the ever-changing climate and direction of the sun.
In the early morning, the islands weave through cotton candy-like streams of mist and in the afternoon, they’re bathed in the warm glow of the sun. Later, they’re silhouetted against a dim sky as evening approaches. One day the islands vanished from sight completely, hidden under a blanket of clouds, but it only took an hour to see them emerge once more.
Lake Bunyonyi is known as one of the few lakes in Uganda free of bilharzia, making its waters safe for swimming. It’s also free from dangerous wildlife like hippos and crocodiles. The only warning to visitors is that it is very deep. In other words, swimmers should take this in mind as they are swimming into the water.
The most common mode of transportation on these waters is the dugout canoe, which offers a completely different perspective of the lake. You can rent a canoe on your own to explore the islands or select a guided tour.
Hire a local guide to lead you along the best hiking trails on the islands or through the terraces of the Kigezi highlands to be rewarded with spectacular views of the landscapes and even some wildlife. Forest and tree plantations can be found on some of the islands, as well as monkeys and zebras. Otters can also be spotted in the waters. Being “the place of little birds”, Lake Bunyonyi takes its name from the abundant birdlife that call it home.
Over 200 species are found here, including herons, weaver birds and grey-crowned cranes
Traveling by public means to reach Lake Bunyonyi, you first have to make your way to the town of Kabale, about an eight-hour bus ride from Kampala. From Kabale to the lake is 20-25 minutes by taxi. While on a private tour it takes five to six hours drive to the lake. With the great treasures lake Bunyonyi posses I believe it is an incredible place worthy a visit in Uganda.