Lake Bunyonyi is one of Uganda’s most scenic landscapes. Green terraced rolling Kigezi highlands (nicknamed Switzerland of Africa); surround the deep Lake with 19 islands and a back drop of Virunga volcanoes. It is the 2nd deepest lake in Africa with a depth of 900 meters and home to 200 little birds, otters and Cray fish.
It is a place for recreation and there are lodges and camps on the shores for those who want to stay for a day or two. Its waters are actually free from crocodile, hippos or bilharzia infection making it great for swimming. It is located in southwestern Uganda about 1 hour drive from Bwindi famous for gorilla trekking safari, the most unique adventure out of all things to do in Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi offers fun adventure tours like canoe riding, fishing, boat cruise to visit islands, bird watching, hiking, nature walk and culture tours.
Exploring Lake Bunyonyi by traditional wooden canoe gives you a completely different perspective of how the locals including children navigate the waters as they connect from one island to another. Canoeing is easy to learn for any who has never tried. It involves sitting in a wooden canoe and using a wood paddle to make it move on the waters. It can be done early morning to spot birds and otters on the shores or at sunset.
Boat tour of the 19 islands on the lake
A boat tour on Lake Bunyonyi is ideal for great landscape photo opportunity and relaxing. It takes you out exploring some of the islands including historic ones. Your guide will give you a brief history concerning the Punishment Island where girls who got pregnant before marriage would be dumped and starve to death or drawn in the waters. Though the practice ended long time ago, the history is still resonates in those who lost survived the death. Other islands include Governors Island where you can see zebra and antelopes.
Swimming is a favorite activity while staying on Lake Bunyonyi because there are no hippos, crocodiles or risk of bilharzias found in the waters. you can take a dive from a high tree or by the wooden platforms. The lake is very deep so your swimming skills had better be right. If you are stating at a lodge like bird nest resort, you can enjoy swimming in the pool.
Bunyonyi means a place of little birds in local Rukiga language and the lake is home to 200 species of birds. Some of the beautiful birds you can spot include kingfisher, African fish eagle, hammer kop, finches, and the national bird, the grey crowned crane. Birding can be done by canoe riding, nature walk and hiking.
Visit the BaTwa pygmies in the local villages
BaTwa pygmies are minority descendants of the forest hunter gathers. Their lifestyle was quite different having lived in the forest. though they have adopted normal and modern lifestyle following their eviction from the forest in 1994, BaTwa still demonstrate how they used to live including fire making, hunting with bow and arrows and the traditional dances is interesting.
Visiting a school
Schools on the remote islands of Lake Bunyonyi offer access to education for children. If you are empathetic, visiting a school can give you much insight into the daily challenges they face. If you would like to offer any support, you are welcome.
Nature walk and hiking
You can hike around Lake Bunyonyi for some beautiful views. Walks can be done on some of the islandsYou take a local guide in order to learn more about the birds and the local lifestyles as you walk through the villages and hilly terraced crop farms. Such a hike takes in beautiful scenery of the islands, the kigezi surrounding highland and backdrop of Virunga volcanoes. The trails are easy and can be done by children at their own pace.