Lake Bunyonyi is a very beautiful lake, actually paradisiacal, located in southwestern Uganda between Kabale and Kisoro surrounded by hills. The lake is a one-of-a-kind in Uganda and it annually attracts tourists in mammoth numbers. It is the deepest lake in Uganda and it derives its name from the many birds it resides as the word ‘Bunyonyi’ locally means ‘many birds’.
The scenic 25 kilometers long and 7 kilometers wide lake has a lot to discover and it is always advisable to visit it after trekking the endangered mountain gorillas in either Bwindi Impenetrable or Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks.
Most tourists go to Lake Bunyonyi to chill after the challenging gorilla treks in Uganda’s two gorilla national parks. Lake Bunyonyi is within a close proximity to the two Uganda’s national parks which inhabit the endangered mountain gorillas, thus it’s very easy to access it from the two Parks. The Lake has 29 islands but the most sought after include the Akampene or Punishment Island and Sharps Island (doctor’s place). Bwama is the biggest island on Lake Bunyonyi.
The Akampene/Punishment Island is known for the savage acts it used to host. Lake Bunyonyi is situated in Kisoro and Kabale towns where the Bakiga tribe call home and it is believed that back in days the Bakiga used to leave girls who conceived before official marriage on this small island, and were left there to die of hunger or while trying to swim to the mainland (swimming skills were rare).
This was to intimidate the rest, to show them not to do the same. A man without cows to pay the bride price, as the Bakiga tribe mandates, could go to the island and pick up a girl. The practice got abandoned in the first half of the 20th century and the island was left as a tourist attraction on the lake, though it’s about to capsize now. The island really has an interesting and ear-catching history and you will probably be impressed to hear it from the experienced guides on Lake Bunyonyi.
There are very many breathtaking activities to take pleasure of on this beautiful lake, among them which include; boat cruise, canoeing, zip lining, sport fishing, photographing, and swimming. Lake Bunyonyi is free from water borne diseases like bilharzias and it is definitely a safe lake to swim in as there are also no water predators like Crocodiles and hippos. There are very many accommodations on Lake Bunyonyi such as the Arcadia Cottages, which also offer a very beautiful view to this picturesque lake in southwestern Uganda.