Lake Bunyonyi which means “the place of many little birds” is one of the most beautiful lakes in Uganda.
29 islands adorn its waters and if you are a Marvel fan, you’ll most likely have heard the claim that Lake Bunyonyi is Wakanda from the movie, Black Panther. The Golden city of Wakanda is built on a series of islands and many have compared it to the islands of Lake Bunyonyi.
Lake Bunyonyi is close to the border of Rwanda and is a perfect spot to end your trip after mountain gorilla trekking in the impenetrable Bwindi forest. The drive from Bwindi forest to Lake Bunyonyi is very picturesque (about 3 hours) and you’ll be treated with stunning views of tea plantations and many other vegetables and fruits.
For those who collect currencies, you’ll spot Lake Bunyonyi on the 5,000/- Ugandan Shilling note.
Top 10 things to do at Lake Bunyonyi
So now you know Lake Bunyonyi is a must-see place on your visit to Uganda, you’ll be wondering how many days to spend there and what to do. Below, we have compiled a list of things to do at Lake Bunyonyi that may be of interest to you!
1) Relax and take in the views
From the moment you wake to the moment you sleep, you’ll be treated with wonderful views of the islands depending on where you stay.
One of our favourite places to stay is the Lake Bunyonyi Eco resort. Once you arrive at Lake Bunyonyi, a small boat will take you towards Kyahugye Island where 10 beautiful cottages are built. Opt for the cottages at the top of the island for the best panaromic views you could ask for.
In the early mornings, you’ll be mesmerised by the way mist encircles the islands and how the views change with every passing minute as the sun rises. In the evenings, you’ll be thrown aback by the beautiful sunsets. What we love about this island is that you’ll be able to spot zebra, waterbucks and antelopes as you walk around the island.
Lake Bunyonyi is one of the few lakes in Uganda that is hippo, crocodile and bilharzia free that makes it great for swimming. However, precaution must be taken because this lake is 44m deep, which makes it one of the deepest lakes in Africa.
For the good swimmers, Lake Bunyonyi is a haven for swimming. Just be sure to undertake some safety precautions such as having a canoe nearby.
3) Take a nature walk
As Lake Bunyonyi is comprised of 29 islands, you could just as well take a nature walk on any one of the islands.
Make sure to go with a guide who will take you to visit some of the more picturesque islands and even guide you towards some beautiful villages.
4) Visit the “punishment” island
Most who visit Lake Bunyonyi will hear tales about the “punishment island”.
It is told that the Bakiga people who inhabited these islands would canoe girls who became pregnant out of wedlock here. The girls would be deserted on this tiny island, where they would either starve to death or die while swimming back to shore. This would hopefully intimidate girls so that they would abstain from sex before marriage.
During the early days, men needed to pay for a bride with cows. Men who were poor and could not afford to make such a payment would be allowed to go to the island and pick up a girl.
Thankfully, this practice of abandoning girls on the island was discontinued in the first half of the 20th century.
As Lake Bunyonyi is known as the place of little birds, your trip would be incomplete without a bit of bird watching, wouldn’t it?
With over 200 species of birds, you’ll spot some beautiful species such as grey-crowned cranes, red-chested sunbirds and several fly-catchers.
You can take a boat ride to the Nyombi swamp, where you can spot several species. Best to take a guide so as to make the most of your bird-watching trip.
6) Visit Sharp’s island (Bwama and Njuyeera)
In 1931, a missionary called Leonard Sharp established a leprosy treatment centre on the then uninhabited Bwama island. A church, patient quarters and a medical facility were built, while Sharp settled on Njuyeera Island.
Those with Leprosy were brought to the island where they were treated by the doctor. It remained open until the 1950’s. Now, there are two schools located on the island and the students arrive by boat.
7) Cultural tours
Why not go on a historical and cultural tour to learn more about the people who live here?
You could take a tour and visit the local Batwa Pygmy people who were the original people of the forest. You could interact with locals, view dance performances and even stay in one of the villages to learn their way of life.
8) Mountain Biking
If you enjoy cycling, one of the more fun ways to explore the islands is with a mountain bike. You could find these mountain bikes at lodges, alternatively, it may be worth while organising these with a tour company.
Explore the various villages on the islands and learn about the people and their way of life as you do so.
9) Ride in a dug-out canoe
You could also opt to hire your own dug out canoe or rent one if you have no clue about canoeing.
This is a fun way to learn more about the way of the life of the local people and see Lake Bunyonyi through their eyes.
If you are a keen photographer, there are plenty of opportunities to practise your skills.
From birds to islands to animals to people, you’ll be in for a treat!
Visiting Lake Bunyonyi and things to do at Lake Bunyonyi
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog on what to do at Lake Bunyonyi and will definitely make it your mission to visit Lake Bunyonyi on your visit to Uganda.