Lake Bunyonyi safaris Uganda : Lake Bunyonyi safaris take place in the south western part of Uganda between the beautiful district of Kisoro and Kabale. The lake is second deepest lake in Africa and Lake Bunyonyi has about 29 islands and is surrounded by terraced hills. The name of Lake Bunyonyi is from the various bird species found around the lake and in the Kigezi region.
Lake Bunyonyi is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and is the ideal destination in Uganda for tourists to just relax and unwind by the water shores. Tourists can visit Lake Bunyonyi throughout the year and the best time to visit the lake is during the dry season around January, February, June, July, August, September, October and December.
Activities to do around Lake Bunyonyi
Activities which take place during Lake Bunyonyi safaris in Uganda include swimming, canoe rides, visiting the islands, bird watching, community visits among other experiences.
- Visiting the islands of Lake Bunyonyi
Some of the islands to visit around Lake Bunyonyi include the punishment island also known as the Akampene island. On this island, girls who got pregnant before marriage were left on the punishment island to die.
Other islands of Lake Bunyonyi include Bwana island, Njuyeera island, Kyahugye island, Bucaranuka island, Bushara island and these islands can be accessed by boat and each of the islands is unique.
Kyahugye island is the closest to the mainland and is also home to wildlife species such as impalas, waterbucks, zebras and Uganda kobs. Bwama island was an isolation island on Lake Bunyonyi where people with leprosy used to be live.
Another island to visit on the lake is the Bucaranuka island also known as the upside down island which according to a myth was an island where a woman passing through the island asked for local beer and the locals denied her a drink and she was taken to the mainland with help of a young man who upon returning to the island found that island turned upside down killing everyone .
Lake Bunyonyi is among the safest places in Uganda for swimming in the country and is free of Bilharzia as well as crocodiles and also hippos. However, the lake is about 900 meters deep so people who do not know how to swim are advised to take caution when visiting the lake.
There are few species of fish found in Lake Bunyonyi, mud fish, cat fish among others. Otters are also among the species which can also be seen in the lake.
- Canoe rides
Canoe rides take place on Lake Bunyonyi and these guided boat excursions can take tourists to the different islands on the lake.
The duration of the canoe rides on Lake Bunyonyi takes about 3 hours and can be done in the morning or in the afternoon. Different bird species can be seen during these boat rides as visitors learn about the islands.
- Community visits
Community visits around Lake Bunyonyi involve interactions with tribes such as the Batwa and the Bakiga who live in the neighboring villages.
The Bakiga engage in cultivation in the Kigezi hills around Lake Bunyonyi and visitors can engage in visiting these plantations and learning how the crops are cultivated and harvested during the year. Bakiga people also have a unique culture and tourists can enjoy trying out their local food and drinks such as Nturire and also enjoy traditional dance performances.
Another community tour around Lake Bunyonyi involves visiting the Batwa people who left the Bwindi forest and settled around the islands. Batwa people are known for their hunter gatherer way of life and their pygmy nature. They can teach visitors how they hunt, gather fruit and also traditional dance performances during the interactions with tourists that can also involve guided tours around the islands of Lake Bunyonyi.
Visitors can also interact with the locals and visit the craft shops, learn about medicine and also go to the local blacksmiths during the community tours around Lake Bunyonyi.
- Bird watching
Lake Bunyonyi is also re-known for its numerous bird species that can be seen during tours throughout the year.
There are over 200 bird species found around Lake Bunyonyi and these include Swamp Flycatcher, Grey Crowned cranes, Weavers, Pied Kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers, Cinnamon chested bee eater, African Harrier Hawk, Cardinal Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Grey Shrike, Hadada Ibis, Speckled Mouse bird, Black Heron, Great Cormorant among others.
- Guided walks
Tourists can relax by the water shores of Lake Bunyonyi and enjoy walks and views of the lake and its scenic surroundings.
Guided walks around Bunyonyi can also take tourists to the view points of the Bunyonyi peninsular as well as through the forests. Walking poles are provided for these guided walks which can take place around the hilly terraces.
Exploring Lake Bunyonyi on bike is another exciting way to explore the different attractions around the destination.
Different trails are followed on biking excursions around Lake Bunyonyi which takes about 4 hours. These biking excursions take tourists through the local communities, farms and villages.
- Zip lining
Another activity to do around Lake Bunyonyi is zip lining and is done at the Supreme adventure park and takes place over the lake.
The zip line is safe and takes visitors over two islands of Lake Bunyonyi.
Tours to Lake Bunyonyi can also be combined with gorilla trekking tours in Bwindi national park or Mgahinga national park.
Where to stay during Lake Bunyonyi safaris
There are different places to stay around Lake Bunyonyi include luxury, midrange and budget accommodations such as Lake Bunyonyi rock resort, Arcadia cottages, Bunyonyi safaris resort, Lake Bunyonyi eco resort, Bird nest resort, Bunyonyi overland resort, Hawks eye lodge, Crater Bay cottages, Byoona Amagara island retreat among others.
How to get to Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi can be accessed from Uganda and also from Kigali city Rwanda which is a few hours’ drive from the lake. From Kampala, Lake Bunyonyi is about 9 hours drive and from Kigali the lake is about 2 hours drive.
While on Lake Bunyonyi, getting from one island to another can be done by using a canoe operated by the locals.