Lake Bunyonyi is found in South Western
Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale near
the Rwandan border and it is positioned
450 Km from Kampala. It is a drive
of 7 hours from Kampala and a drive
of 100 km (2 hours) from Kigali, the
capital city of Rwanda. Located at
1,962 metres above the sea level,
the 25 km long and 7 km wide lake
covering an area of 61 square kilometres
is believed to be the deepest lake
in Africa with varying length of between
44 m to 900 metres. The lake surface
is a fresh with 25 degrees celicious
thus bilhazia free and safe for swimming.
The lake has 29 islands that include
Punishment Island and Bushara Island
which are all concentrated in the
central part. This water body is known
for the surrounding terraced hillsides
and is a visitation darling of many
foreign and domestic tourists with
a number of accommodations. Located
seven kilometres west from Kabale
Town, southwestern Uganda, Bunyonyi
is surrounded by hills that are 2,200
to 2,478 metres high and intensely
In the beginning of the 20th century,
fish were introduced to the lake and
in the 1930s fishing became profitable.
Unfortunately in the 1960s the fish
died massively as a result of a violent
shallow mixing, likely caused by wind.
Subsistence fishing prevailed in the
lake, people mostly caught clarias
species - the lake's depth and stratification
makes it difficult for the breeding
of the common Ugandan species Nile
Perch and Tilapia. Nevertheless, 300,000
Nile Tilapias and Clarias fish were
released in the lake at the end of
2002. Also present in the lake are
Mud fish, Cray fish and Mirrowcarp
plus a plenty of their predators,
About 200 bird species have been recorded
at the lake area since "Bunyonyi"
also means "the place of many
little birds". The bird species
inlcude the White tailed Blue Monard,
grey crowned cranes, the African Harrier
Hawk, Herons and egrets, the Levillant
cuckoo, the Cardinal Woodpecker and
the Rufous-breasted wryneck. Weavers
nesting on the Island, include the
large golden, slender-billed Baglafetch,
as well as the yellow-backed and spectacled
weavers. The lake's main centre is
Bufuka Village. The area's inhabitants
are from the Bakiga and the Batwa
Lake Bunyonyi Main islands
This island is also
a place for Lake Bunyonyi Development
Company, an organization with strong
links to Church of Uganda. Tourism
is the main source of funds for various
developments around Bunyonyi areas.
This island has many luxury tents,
chalets, and also campsites for tourists
to stay on. You can also hire canoes
and sailboats to sail around the lake
and its other islands. The island
is forested with mainly eucalyptus
trees that grow fast.
2. Akampene Punishment Island
The Bakiga used to
leave unmarried pregnant girls on
this small island with a tree to die
of hunger or die while trying to swim
to the mainland as swimming skills
were rare. This was to educate the
rest, to show them not to do the same.
A man without cows to pay the bride
wealth could go to the island and
get a girl. In the first half of the
20th century, the practice got abandoned
but is still possible to find women
who were picked up from Punishment
3. Bwama and Njuyeera (Sharp's
Around 1921, an English
missionary, Dr. Leonard Sharp visited
this place and established a leprosy
treatment centre on the then uninhabited
Bwama island in 1931. A church, patient
quarters and a medical facility were
built, while Sharp settled on Njuyeera
Island meaning 'white cottage', after
the similarity of the doctor's small
white house to Sharp's father's house
in Shanklin, now The White House Hotel.
The rationale of the leprosy colony
was that of 'voluntary segregation',
where the provision of a happy community
to live in would attract leprosy sufferers,
so removing them from the communities
where they might infect others. The
hospital buildings are used by a boarding
secondary school which attracts students
from the entire region and there is
a primary school but no village on
4. Bucuranuka Island
This island, according
to legendary stories killed many people.
About twenty were once brewing local
sorghum beer there. An old woman was
passing by and she said: "Can
you give me some local beer?"
They wrongly though that she was a
beggar they knew. They refused her:
"Get lost, beggar! Get lost!
The old woman asked: "So you
will not even give me a sip? Can I
at least get somebody to take me to
the mainland?" They answered:
"Yes, because we are fed up with
you!" They chose a young guy
to take her over. When they reached
the shore and the guy was just beginning
to return, the island turned upside
down and they all perished but only
a chicken flew away and survived.
LAKE BUNYONYI UGANDA TOUR
Safari activities at Bunyonyi include
canoeing, boat riding, local tour,
swimming, hiking the highlands around
the lake, pygmy village tour and birding.
AAB Tours and Travel will take you
to Lake Bunyonyi Safaris to enjoy
and experience the unique gifts of
Walking around the lake Bunyonyi’s
waters while listening to bird songs
and the tearing water and consequently
the feeling of the fresh breeze of
Lake Bunyonyi and community around.
This is a key activity and a majority
of bird species can be noticed, there
are more than 200 species of birds
recorded. Using a boat ride to the
neighboring Nyombi swamp one is able
to see a selection of bird species
over the trees and the sky.
The waters of Lake Bunyonyi are free
from the hazards of bilhazia, dangers
of crocodiles, hippos and other threatening
animals thus do not miss swimming
opportunity. There are swimming spots
with swimming docks on some islands
of the lake.
Boat cruise and canoeing can also
be enjoyed around the lake. This will
help you experience the quietness,
calmness and the tranquility of Lake
Bunyonyi. A canoe ride at night is
thrilling given the loud chorus of
crickets, frogs, nocturnal birds singing
plus the waving lake waters which
all make the ride exceedingly exciting.
Historic and cultural tours;
there are attractive cultural and
natural sights like the Bakora cave,
the Batwa [pygmies] and the Abaheesi
[traditional black smiths] communities
that are accessible in close proximity.
Also visiting islands around the lake
like Habuharo, Akempene and Bucuraniko
Island is a memory-catching experience.
Take a boat trip to the local communities
of the Batwa/pygmies who live in the
islands near the lake and see their
ways of life, activities and their
charming cultural dance performances.
Family unit or group picnics and relaxation
can also be enjoyed on the islands
in the areas of Lake Bunyonyi.
ACCESS TO LAKE BUNYONYI
Lake Bunyonyi is in the neighborhoods
of Kabale town in South Western Uganda.
On the road, it is 6 hours from Kampala
(410 km) to Kabale town and 8 km marrum
road from Kabale town to Lake Bunyonyi
on your way to Bwindi Forest in Kabale
or Mgahinga Gorilla home Kisoro district.
Lake Bunyonyi is tangled between the
hills of Kabale.