Things to do and see at Lake Bunyonyi – a Magical Lake in Uganda
Incredibly Beautiful Lake Bunyonyi “A Scene from Lord of the Rings”
Things to Do and See along Lake Bunyonyi (Place of little birds) which is a Magical, Stunningly Beautiful Lake in Uganda. Unknown to many visitors, since it is tucked away in the Gorilla Highlands. A lake that should be on your list of things to see while in Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi, with its 29 emerald islands, framed by terraced hillsides is it a scenically refreshing place that you should consider and put on your must-visit places in Uganda.
At the end of your, Safari Lake Bunyonyi is the perfect place relax and chill out, for swimming, canoeing in a dugout canoe, boating, island hopping, hiking, biking, birding, nature walks, village visits and interactive cultural visits after Trekking Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Best of all – unlike many lakes in East Africa – Lake Bunyoni is bilharzia, croc, and hippo free, and so its crystal-clear waters are all yours to swim in.
Don’t miss Lake Bunyonyi – The Perfect Gorilla Trekking Safari Add-On where you can relax and Chill out for a few days after a long Gorilla Trek or Volcano Climb.
One can say all kinds of things about Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda – how large it is, how deep it is(2nd deepest Lake in Africa), how it was formed, – but when you visit Lake Bunyonyi – all those things dissipate into thin air.
What you see is one of the most beautiful lakes in Africa, visitors from near and far are simply awed by its mystical, magical beauty as you see it snaking along the Ugandan landscape, dotted by 29 islands of various shapes and sizes, surrounded by a ring of terraced farms, their greenery accenting this mystical lake like a lovely frame and is no wonder that Lonely Planet called it “A scene from Lord of the Rings.”
Bunyonyi – means the “place of little birds,” not only is it a place for birds but a restorative place, a place of solace, of rest, of quietness, of reflection and tranquility. After days of being on safari, traversing the hills and valleys of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search of the Mountain Gorillas. Lake Bunyonyi is the perfect place to put it all into perspective, to take in the beauty of Lake, to relax and chill out and partake in one of the fun-filled things to do and see such swimming, boating, canoeing, nature walks, biking, hiking, market place, and village visits.
The Top Things to do and see at and around Lake Bunyonyi
1. Relax and Chill Out:
Lake Bunyonyi – is one of the best places in Uganda to relax and chill out after a safari, gorilla tracking, volcano climbing, hiking and other activities that call for at relaxation, chilling out on an island or along the shores of Lake Bunyonyi.
Lake Bunyonyi was one of the Top Choices by Lonely Planet as to where to relax and chill out in Uganda. It also one of the Top-Gorilla Tracking Add-Ons for our Clients.
The Lake attracts many Ugandans, visitors, even residents of other countries such as Rwanda, to come and relax and chill out a bit.
Lake Bunyonyi is also close to Kigali Rwanda (3-Hours Drive- Time) and perfect for those on one of our Fly into Rwanda and Trek Gorillas Safaris.
2. Swimming -Lake Bunyonyi is Hippo-Crocodile-Bilharzia Free:
Lake Bunyonyi is bilharzia free, and there are no hippos nor crocodiles found here, it is safe to swim here and enjoy.
It is a deep lake – the second deepest in Africa, so you ought to be a good swimmer, but it is something to be enjoyed while staying here. Some lodges such as Birdnest Resort also have a choice swimming pool or the lake for their guests.
Take a swim in one of Africa’s most beautiful lakes. There are also places along the lake where they have enclosed a section of the lake like a swimming pool where one can swim.
Please be mindful that it is a very deep lake and if you swim out into the lake, use some safety precautions such as a nearby canoe, or buddy system.
There are 29 Islands to explore on Lake Bunyonyi. You can explore the quaint Villages, forest. Nature walks are all possibilities while here.
Take a dugout canoe with a guide and discover the world of Uganda’s magical Lake crossing it in an ancient like dugout Canoe.
This can be an all-day event or just a few hours. You can choose to paddle or to be paddled across the lake. Overnight options are also available.
You can also choose a motorized cruise of the lake. There are opportunities for sunset cruises and birding boat safaris.
Dugout Canoeing is quite popular, and you can even take overnight trips on the Lake and stay on an Island
4. Nature Walks and Hikes:
You can hike, take nature walks both on the Islands and around the Lake – your backdrop, for the most part, will the scenic Lake Bunyonyi.
The walks are not strenuous and can be taken at your pace, and guides go with you that you do not get lost and do not miss one of the highlights of your walk.
Your hike will mostly be scenic. Some will lead you through small villages where you will meet Ugandans up close and personal, while others might be on an island that you came to with a dugout canoe.
Your hike can also include some of the idyllic hamlets and villages with their terraced gardens that surround the lake. Keep your camera handy and enjoy Lake Bunyonyi.
Hiking with that scenic Backdrop of Lake Bunyonyi
5. Mountain Biking:
You can ride around the lake on a mountain bike and enjoy the scenery, the people, villages, hamlets, the people and get a feel for authentic Africa in Uganda as you ride along Lake Bunyonyi with its idyllic villages and hamlets.
The temperature and weather are pleasant here due to the elevation, and a bike ride will be most enjoyable, and the Equatorial sun will not beat you down.
Bike rides can be all day long or just a few hours, you will have a guide with you, or our safari vehicle will be near to help you if necessary.
Note; Some lodges do not have Bike Rentals, but we can make arrangements for you.
You are biking around one of Africa’s most scenic lakes, a time that you will long remember after leaving the Pearl of Africa.
6. Bird Watching:
The word Bunyonyi – means place of little birds and Lake Bunyonyi is home to over 200 species of birds – one can do a magnificent bird – boat safari with your birding guide from the water, on some of the various islands the surrounding shores of the lake.
You can go birding on one of the 29 islands on Lake Bunyonyi and combine it with a dugout canoe or motorized boat adventure.
You can also explore the excellent birding Site, which is a swampy area at the end of the lake. This is best reached by boat.
The Place of Little Birds – Lake Bunyonyi is an excellent birding destination in Uganda where you will see some gray-crowned cranes, red-chested sunbirds, and many flycatchers.
Lake Bunyonyi-The Place of Little Birds
7. Cultural Interactive Village Visits:
Interactive cultural visits in villages, hamlets on one of the islands or in the surrounding countryside including the Batwa Pygmy People who were the original people of the forest and today struggle in their quest of survival away from their beloved forest.
We can also arrange for a homestay in a village for you, along with a visit to a school, local market. Learn how to cook traditional and tend to the garden where things are grown and harvested.
This can be the most enriching time. If it is market day in Rutinda, that is something to see and gives you an insight into life along and on the Lake.
Don’t Miss the Colorful Rutinda Market Day on Mondays and Fridays – the Place to be on Lake Bunyonyi
8. Crayfish – A Foodie Adventurer’s Delight:
Crayfish in Africa, in Uganda? Yes, the crayfish of Lake Bunyonyi are off-springs of Louisiana Crayfish that were brought into Kenya, and Idi Amin had some delivered to Lake Bunyonyi. They have thrived here. Some say overtaken the lake and surrounding bodies of water.
Restaurants and Lodges on the lake serve crayfish in every imaginable and beyond, from pizza to eggs with crayfish. Lake Bunyonyi means Crayfish anyway that you want it. For those that do not like the tasty morsels, there are plenty of other options such as the whole Tilapia raised in the fish pond of many lodges since the lake does not support a fish population besides lung-fish and that to most lacks culinary appeal and only flavor.
Try some Lake Bunyonyi Crawdads – also called “The Poor Man’s Lobster.”
9. Boat Ride to Akampene or Punishment Island
The Bakiga People would take unwed pregnant girls to Punishment Island and abandon them there to nature. This would be a big event meant to frighten other girls into abstaining from sex outside of marriage and causing the loss of the Bride’s Price for the family.,
Many boats would come, people, shouting, calling names, shaming the frightful girl even more. Some tried to swim back to the mainland but often died. The only way to escape was if a poor man that not afford the bride’s price would come to the Island and rescue a girl.
Today Nature seems to destroy Punishment Island slowly. It is good to have us arrange a boat ride here with a guide who knows the story and history of the Island.
10. Island Explorations:
There are 29 Islands to discover. Below are just two examples of what you can find.
Dr. Leonard Sharp was a Medical Missionary who established a leprosarium center in 1931 on Bwama Island. He, in turn, lived with his family on Njubeera Island which as a barren place when they arrived but turned into a small Tropical paradise. Those with Leprosy were brought to the island where they lived and were treated by Dr. Sharp and his associates. It remained open until into the 1950’s Today there are two schools on the island and the students arrive by boat since there is no village on the actual island,
One is a secondary Boarding School, the other a primary school. We can arrange a visit to the Islands if you would like, Even Dr. Sharp’s great Granddaughter visited the Island while on a Honeymoon safari with us a few years ago.
11. The Perfect Book to read while visiting Lake Bunyonyi:
I found I had accidentally ordered a masterpiece.’
Andrew Croft’s review on Amazon.com said it best.
Zachye, tending cattle in the grasslands of East Africa, and Michael, son of missionaries, are happy in their childhood idyll. But the world is changing, propelling them towards tragedy. Haunted by guilt and grief, they grow up severed from their heritage. When they both fall in love with the same beautiful woman, they must each face their past and hear their ancestors, if they are to be the one to win her…
In lyrical prose, Andrew JH Sharp immerses the reader in a world where ancient ways of life and belief are being overwhelmed by the new. Neither a bandit-soldier in the remnants of Idi Amin’s army nor a restless and detached surgeon can escape the memory of innocent boyhood. An intriguing cast of nomads, missionaries, expatriates and Indian traders share a landscape haunted by ancestral ghosts. The reader is drawn to a moving denouement where love and mortality are confronted.
The Ghosts of Eden by Andrew Sharp
Things to do and see around Lake Bunyonyi while on a Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda – the Perfect Relax and Chillout Add-on for Gorilla Trekkers before returning to Kigali, Rwanda or Entebbe, Uganda for your flight out.