Where to stay in Lake Bunyonyi Uganda

There are campsites and hotels in Lake Bunyonyi ranging from Budget,  luxury and moderate accommodation.

Lake Bunyonyi In Uganda

Lake Bunyonyi is located in south western Uganda near the border with Rwanda in the district of Kabale and it is one of the naturally elegant water bodies in Africa and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Uganda. The lake attracts travelers, tourists, honeymooners and Ugandans who want to get away from busy town life for relaxation and enjoy the cool weather and beautiful islands.  Lake Bunyonyi offers you a clear view of all sides and is the best place to go for meditation and relaxation. Lake Bunyonyi i n Uganda is a collection of water filling a valley and was form as a result of volcanic explosions many years ago. The name Bunyonyi according to the people of Kabale means “a place with little birds” because the lake and its islands are a habitat to a number of bird species. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest lake in Uganda with its area having a cool climate throughout the year with enough rainfall supporting lush green hills near the lake. Lake Bunyonyi is the best place for relaxation after visiting one of Uganda’s national parks such as Bwindi impenetrable national park, Queen Elizabeth national park or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

Lake Bunyonyi is composed of 29 islands and the main islands include Bushara, Kyahugye, Njuyeera, Bwama, famous Akempene, and Bucuranuka. According to Bakiga people if any young girl got pregnant before marriage, they were taken to Akampene Island and abandoned there to die of hunger or drowning while trying to escape because ladies were not taught how to swim. Getting pregnant by then when not married was a shame because no one would pay bride price for any girl who got pregnant before marriage. The intention of leaving girls on this island was a strong message to the rest of the girls that getting pregnant was an abomination and was not allowed in the society. There was nothing done to the man who had impregnated the girl and this was because the girls were fearing to point out the man who had impregnated them for the fear of being left to die. Lucky girls could be rescued by the men who had impregnated them and has a secret on them or those were poor and never had money to pay bride price. This was stopped in 1940’s by the British colonial government.

Bwama islands hides a dark past too. In 1921 when leopard sharp an English missionary came to Uganda, he noticed that this island was uninhabited and he turned the area into a center for treating leprosy patients but building houses and providing medical facilities. Leopard sharp lived in Njuyeera Island with his family. Bwama Island turned into a leprosy colony which attracted many patients who had faced isolation in their communities. Bushara island has an easier past but the original beautiful trees in the area were cleared away to create space for agriculture. Lake Bunyonyi Development Company has aided in planting eucalyptus trees as it runs several tourism related activities on the island. This company has constructed accommodation facilities and has turned the island into the most favorable holiday destination.

The major economic activities in Lake Bunyonyi are subsistence fishing and farming. Fishing has not been carried out successfully because of deep waters which do favor major species such as tilapia, Nile perch as these species always need shallow waters for bleeding. The fish species caught here include Cray fish which was introduced from United States and mud fish. There has been attempts to introduce fish species into the lake but this has not been successful as a result of chemical mixing caused by flood.

Things to do in Lake Bunyonyi Uganda

After reaching Lake Bunyonyi, there are a lot of interesting activities to take part in

Relaxing and chilling with loved ones: the beautiful scenery and cool weather are suitable for relaxation after tiresome activities such as gorilla trekking in Bwindi, mountain hiking as well as game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park or any other of Uganda’s national parks. The lake has Quiet Island favoring book readers with a serene environment. There is a lot of food consisting of local vegetables and fruits and also international dishes. The best moment is watching the sunset at Lake Bunyonyi which provides an opportunity to take beautiful photos of the sun rays while reflecting on the waters.

Swimming: lake bunyonyi is a clean water lake with waters free from pollution because of absence of fishing sites on the lake shores. Lake Bunyonyi waters don’t have crocodiles, hippos and other parasites which can cause bilharzia which is a common disease in some water bodies of east Africa. The lake has only one disadvantage and that’s the depth as it’s believed to be second deepest lake in Africa. People who are not good at swimming should not risk in these waters but should instead use hotel swimming pools.

Canoeing. Canoes are the only way of exploring the lake and islands. The local people make these canoes digging big trees to create a whole using axes. Canoes are moved using sticks are motor engines.  Canoes can be rented from local people at a fee of 60,000 shillings and ones with engines at 120,000 Ugandan shillings. Using these canoes is another unique experience that adds magic to the lake. Canoeing is best done in the morning when the lake is covered with mist. The lake is a best site for natural lovers and adventures. Night canoes is also done to experience the cool night breeze and sounds of frog and birds.

Island hopping: canoeing allows you to hop from one island to another as you earn about their history. Visiting the akempene islands where girls who got pregnant before marriage were taken to starve and dyeing way a must. You can visit Bwama Island and know about the history of hosting lepers. These lepers are no longer taken to Bwama Island because the permanent cure of leprosy was discovered. The leper now has been turned into a school for children.

Community and cultural visits: these are one of the done activities is taking a walk around local communities to see how local people got about their daily activities near the lake shoes. It’s great to mix with local people and try out tasks such as digging using hoes or visiting nearby schools to interact with students. The best drink for Bakiga is taking mwarwa or bushera which are made from banana or sorghum.

Visit Batwa people. The Batwa were evicted out of Echuya Forest and are now living near the lake just like their relatives near Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Virunga national park. The Batwa people are still failing to adopt the life outside the forest but the struggle to make ends meet since they are former hunters and fruit gatherers. Batwa earn a living by entertaining tourists, demonstrating cultural heritage through dance, songs, storytelling and they also sell crops in the markets.

Nature walk: if visitors are not interested in nature walks, they can do hiking through well-established trails that are accompanied by a guide to tour the terraced hills which give clear views of the lake and towering landscape. Visitors can also tour the bamboo forest of Echuya and see small primates and zebras

Mountain hiking: one of the best ways of exploring the lake is by hiking a mountain bike or taking a ride to see the beautiful landscape as you pass through human settlements. The tour company can arrange for you a bike because most of the hotels don’t have bike rental services.

Visit the local market: the local market here is called Rutindo and it attracts residents of the island every Monday and Friday. On these days the market is full of people and it’s the best area to see how local people go about their daily life as you also buy any items you want.

Bird watching: lake Bunyonyi is a good place for birding for bird lovers in Uganda. The name Bunyonyi means a place for birds. There are over 205 bird species that can be seen on Lake Bunyonyi. This place acts as a breeding area for many water birds. The birds include residents and those that migrate from Europe in harsh winter times. Nyombi is one of the best spotting area in Lake Bunyonyi and the only best way to see a number of birds is by getting a boat and binoculars with a birding guide. Some of the bird species in Lake Bunyonyi include egrets, weaverbirds, slender baglafetch, herons, levillant cuckoo and grey crested crane among others,

How to travel to Lake Bunyonyi Uganda

Travelers using a bus need to board from Kampala city and it takes about 8 hours. And it takes 20 to 30 minutes to drive to Lake Bunyonyi from kabale town. And to reach one needs to get a taxi or motorcycle. Those coming from Queen Elizabeth or kibale national park will take 5 hours to reach the lake. And those coming from Kigali city in Rwanda will take 3 hours.

Where to stay in Lake Bunyonyi Uganda

There are campsites and hotels in Lake Bunyonyi ranging from Budget,  luxury and moderate accommodation. These include;

Lake Bunyonyi overland resort. This resort is owned by the local people and is built using materials got from surrounding villages. The resort has single and family cottages, safari and mobile tents which are mobile. The safari tents are built on a raised land offering great views of the lake and the surrounding area. The tents are self-contained rooms having chairs, twin beds, tables

Byoona Amagara: This is built on Itambira Island and is one of the famous hotel around Lake Bunyonyi. It’s a non-profitable hotel because all the money it gets goes back to the community in areas of farming and education. Being on Itambira Island creates a feeling of being outside the world. The hotel has balcony giving a stunning view of the lake and the terraced hills around the lake. The hotel has restaurant which prepares local and foreign dishes. The hotel has luxury rooms, budget rooms and hostels.

Arcadia cottages: This is found on the sides of the hills giving a great view of the lake and its islands. It has 12 rooms with great views of lake and they have water and electricity.

The Africa explorer eco village: This is another accommodation with perfect views of lake Bunyonyi, its highlands and Virunga mountain ranges. The lake is made up of huts that are self-contained with free Wi-Fi, solar power and hot waters. They have both local and international dishes served at their restaurants.

Lost paradise beach: This is run by a local family. The lodge is but to give an area for true relaxation with a fruit garden where it collects banana, sugar canes and passion fruits and it serves it to its customers. If you want to do canoeing its organized free of charge here. The lodge has a camping site and an area for parties. The lodge has a swimming pool.

Lake Bunyonyi eco resort. This is found in a forested area giving you fresh air and stunning views of the lake and islands. The place has 10 cottages ranging from mid-range to luxury facilities among which include hot shower, restaurant, bar and a swimming pool. The resort organizes canoeing, nature walks and camping activities.

Bugombe island gateway: This place is still new and it organizes great activities such as island hopping, canoeing and bird watching in bugombe birding sanctuary.

Upendo guest home: This offers modern lodging facilities such as self-contained rooms, restaurant accessed by any one, and the lodge has Upendo children’s home a home for orphanages.

Bunyonyi view resort: This is among the cheapest accommodation around Lake Bunyonyi. The lodge has private balconies that give you a great view of the beautiful lake Bunyonyi and the islands.

Bushara island camp: This sits on the private land of Bushara Island. To get to the camp you must either use a canoe or a speeding boat. The place is good for those in love or honey mooners and those who love to relax in quiet places having beautiful scenery. The place has cottages which are family, double and single rooms. The place has other services such as campfire, conference facilities and delicious meals. It organizes bird watching, swimming, canoeing and camp fires activities.

Amasiko homestay: This is built on a peninsular overlooking the lake. They have full board accommodation and small tents that can be used by 1 to 4 people. Each room has electricity, the hotel organizes activities such as canoeing using its own boats and visiting the nearby communities or Amasiko green school owned by the hotel.

Crater bay cottages: This is built in Bufuka village on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi. The camp has 12 private cottages with double, single and triple rooms. The hotel has a restaurant, library, craft shop, free Wi-Fi and laundry services done at a certain fee.

Bird’s nest: This lodge contains single and double rooms. This is one of the most expensive accommodations with best services and rooms laid out perfectly with a beautiful swimming pool outside.

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