Lake Bunyonyi – “Africa’s 2nd Deepest Lake”
Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa and the deepest in Uganda. One might be wondering why Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most hyped lakes in Africa. Think no more, here you will find out why it is one of the most talked-about lakes in Africa with its amazing background attractions and activities that can be carried out on the lake making it one of the top tourist destinations in Uganda.
Depth: The depth of Lake Bunyonyi is one of the key interesting factors that will push you to come and see the lake in Uganda. Located in Kisoro district the home of gorillas, the lake is one of the remote attractions that the district boasts of. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest among the water bodies in Uganda at a depth of 40metres/ 130ft but many guides/ locals and tourist guides claim that the lake is as deep as 900 metres which makes it the deepest lake in Uganda and the second deepest lake in Africa after Tanganyika. This has attracted many tourists to come to Uganda in order to have a look at the hidden gem and it should be noted that they are not disappointed with a lot of attractions they find their way and a number of activities that they can participate in.
Islands: You cannot visit Lake Bunyonyi and fail to have a tour around the different islands found on the lake. Lake Bunyonyi inhabits 29 Islands which are of different significance in the history of Uganda. Visiting the different islands will give you the chance to see a number of attractions including the most famous islands of Akampene Island also known as the punishment island, Bwama and Njuyeera Island also known as sharp’s island.
- Akampena Island/ Punishment Island: The island derives its name from its famous practice of punishing girls on it (which is ‘’okuhena’’ in Rukiga) thus the island’s name Akampena which means the island where they punish girls from. At the island many girls lost their lives because of their life choices of getting pregnant before marriage which was considered a as shame to the girl’s family and because the girl got pregnant before marriage it meant that all the potential bride price which was in form of livestock especially herds of cattle, was missed out on. And this infuriated the parents because it was a loss of wealth, and also a form of mockery to the family and in order to get rid of the shame, they just took them to the island which is grass thatched and leave them there to die. It should be noted that girls of that time didn’t know how to swim and for that reason, they either had to fall into the water and drown or die of hunger which is so heartbreaking. For the lucky ones, if a man liked you, he could rescue you and this meant that he would not pay for dowry. It should be noted that many girls lost their lives to the islands after they got pregnant and this led to a decrease in pregnancy cases in unmarried girls because of the harsh fate that awaited them if they got pregnant. But with modernity and strict government laws, the practice faded out and today no girl has ever fallen victim to the cruel fate at the island in Lake Bunyonyi.
- Bwama and Njuyeera (Sharp’s Island): Dr. Leonard Sharp was an English missionary who dedicated his life in Uganda to fight leprosy a disease that was becoming a threat to many people in western Uganda. In his efforts of fighting the disease, he brought his family into the country where they settled on the island constructed a white house that got the name Njuyeera which means white house in Rukiga. He was in charge of two leprosy hospitals in Kabale and Bwama leprosy hospital that he used to visit to treat the patients that were suffering from the disease. Leonardo sharp, together with his wife and kids, they dedicated their lives to making the most of out of their adventure in Africa by making Njuyeera a tourist destination where they planted a number of soft fruits like figs, lemons, mulberries, they planted trees and on the weekends they threw parties for the people of Kabale where they provided overnight stays with the provision of tents to their guests. Visiting the islands will make you get the history of the area which is quite interesting once told.
Bird species: The lake Bunyonyi means a place of small birds that can make sense once visited. Lake Bunyonyi is a birders paradise that will give you a chance to a number of bird species as you explore the different islands on the lake. As you enjoy breathtaking views of the lake and the beautiful lake breezes you will have a chance to see a number of the 200 recorded bird species at the lake which will delight you while on your tour around the lake.
The different bird species that can be seen include; flycatchers, sunbirds, Cardinal Woodpecker and weavers, White tailed blue Monard, African Harrier Hawk, grey crowned cranes, Herons, egrets, the cardinal woodpecker, the levillant cuckoo, slender-billed baglafetch, weavers, levillant cuckoo and a number of bird species that can be seen as they savor in the skies.
The Batwa community: On your lake Bunyonyi safari, you should not miss out on carrying out the community tours where you can visit the Batwa community one of the most authentic groups of people that will be seen while you visit Lake Bunyonyi. Interesting about the group of people is the fact that they are an indigenous group of people that dedicate their lives to the forest because they are mainly forest people. The Batwa/ the forest pygmies were evicted from Mgahinga Gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable national park after the introduction of Uganda gorilla tours.
But this has not affected the tourist access to the interesting group of people. While carrying out Lake Bunyonyi tours, you can go on the Batwa cultural trail to the Echuya forest where they are found. On meeting them, you are entertained by the group with cultural dances, songs and so many more. They can also include you in their daily activities of honey collection, hunting of small creatures which are an interesting encounter you should not miss out on while on the Lake Bunyonyi tour.
Landscape: Before you soak in the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi, don’t miss the opportunity of seeing the most beautiful landscape of the Kigezi region. On your way to the lake a number of features including the traffic-free roads that will make you cruise comfortably in your car. You will also have the opportunity to see the different attractions in the area before heading o the lake among which may include the beautiful hilly areas/ hills that help in the modifying of the environment most of the roads that lead to the lake are generally steep which will increase your adrenaline as you await the wonders the lake has to offers. The communities that are found along the way can also catch your eyes as they conduct their businesses like their fruit stands where you will have a chance to buy a number of fruits like bananas, sugarcanes which are all organic and straight from the farm making the experience a memorable one.
Mountain biking: You can also include mountain biking while on your Lake Bunyonyi where you can carry out biking around the lake as you experience the cool breezes as you go through the villages while seeing a number of attractions. Get ready to see exceptional views as you participate in the physical activity.
Nature walks and hikes: You can choose to carry out nature walks and hikes around the lake where you will be accompanied by a friendly guide that is able to speak the local language to make your lake Bunyonyi tour memorable. With nature walks, you can visit different villages, walk around the lake to experience cool breezes among others. After the hikes and nature walk, you can go canoeing on the lake for relaxation and an amazing adventure.
Accommodation in Lake Bunyonyi
While on your Lake Bunyonyi tour, you should worry about the accommodation facilities in the area because the hotels in the area are dedicated to giving you the best treatment to make your trip to the lake memorable. Among the accommodation facilities that can be booked around lake Bunyonyi include; hawk’s eye, Bushara island camp, Amasiko homestay, lake Bunyonyi view hotel, OM Bunyonyi cultural hostel and many other hotels and accommodation facilities that offer excellent customer care, top-notch services for the satisfaction of their clients.
‘’Visit Lake Bunyonyi to take you on a fun filled adventure that is worthy of repeated visits.’’