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Lake Bunyonyi is situated in South western Uganda between Kabale and Kisoro district. It’s close to Uganda- Rwanda boarder and it’s the deepest Lake in Uganda and the second deepest in Africa. Lake Bunyonyi is among the top tourist attractions in western Uganda and the best place for relaxation after Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP). Lake Bunyonyi is a lake with five islands and each has unmissable great history.

An island is a piece of and surrounded by water. Continents are also surrounded by water bodies but because they are so big, they can’t be called islands. Most of the islands are formed by Vulcanicity process. The erupted magma can build a hill and when it stands above the surrounding water, it forms an island.

  1. Akampene Island or punishment Island – It’s one of the small islands on Lake Bunyonyi. Historically, this island was a punishment ground for unmarried pregnant girls. They were taken and left at the islands to die from hunger however, men who could not afford to pay dowry used to rescue those girls from the island and marry them. The intention was to educate other girls in the society not to act adulterous before marriage.
  2. Kyahugye Island – its near to the main land, one of the most exciting islands with many tree species including Eucalyptus, pinus species and so on. Kyahugye is the only islands with animals like Kobs, Impala, waterbucks and so on. For a mini version of a game drive, with a view of the glittering sun-kissed waters at a distance and fresh breezes, an hours’ ride will be a perfect addition.
  3. Bushara Island – This Island is gifted with many bird species. If you are a serious birder please move with your camera and binocular to capture great moments of birds.
  4. Bwama Island or Njuyeera (sharp’s island) – It’s the largest island on Lake Bunyonyi and heavily inhabited by people. Dr Leonard Sharp was a Scottish missionary that came to Uganda in the 1920s and in 1931 started up a sanctuary for people suffering from Leprosy. He set up a Leprosy treatment Centre where people would come to be treated without feeling mistreated or neglected. This is strongly embedded in the island’s history. Currently, these hospital structures are being used as schools for the island inhibitors.
  5. Bacuranuka Island: It’s also called upside down island from a myth of a beggar who was not given local brew- here it goes- the mythical story about this island is quite a tale. Long ago, 20 men were making local brew (obushera) when an old woman came upon them and requested for a sip of the drink. The men refused to offer her a sip of the drink in an ungentlemanly manner. The old lady requested them to offer her a ride to the mainland to which they accepted gladly for they wanted her out of the way. One of the men was sent with her to the mainland, out of frustration, the old lady cursed the island which turned upside down and swallowing the men brewing ‘bushera’ on the island.

After your gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, take a sip while relaxing at the shores of Lake Bunyonyi or Visit any of the islands to see more attractions.

What To See And Do Around Lake Bunyonyi

Stretching to the extreme south of kabale district, lake Bunyonyi is a hidden unsploit treasure, a place to chill and relax with its breathtaking sceneries. The lake is a place of restoration; quietness, tranquility and rest best for all travelers especially after a strenuous gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national park or else hiking the Virunga volcanoes.

Lake Bunyonyi of Uganda

The lake derived its name “Bunyonyi” from the many little birds, which inhabit the lakeshores, the surrounding swamps and the forests and is also known as a scene from lord of rings and the second deepest lake in Africa. Regarding its history, lake Bunyonyi is interesting by its mystical formation, the size and depth all that make it one of the most beautiful lakes after which Uganda was named the pearl of Africa.  Lake Bunyonyi comprise of 29 islands both in different shapes and sizes enclosed by terraced farm which make it worth visiting.  Among the things to see and do in lake Bunyonyi include among others:

Canoeing/boat riding

A boat ride takes you to each of the 29 islands, as well as local villages and forests in different corners of the lake Bunyonyi. On reaching the islands, experienced guides explain in details information about each specific island for example the punishment island where un married pregnant girls would be taken and left to die alone among others.  Travelers can choose for a self or else hire someone to paddle you all around.  A boat ride rewards you with a fresh feeling of clean air, as well as spectacular views of the neighboring community villages and plantations surrounding the lake.

Bird watching

Just like its name, lake Bunyonyi is a home to over 200 bird species which make birding a not miss.  Birds are clearly seen on a boat ride to the islands, during the nature walks and sun bathing in the morning hours. While walking though forests on any island, travelers enjoy the sweet sound of birds singing up in the trees, which melodies. Among the commonly spotted birds include woodpecker, white tailed Monard, yellow-backed wavers, Rufous-breasted wryneck, harrier Hawk, slender-billed, Levillant cuckoo and Baglafetch and some of these birds are migratory. Experienced guides help to explain the unique characters of each spotted bird specie.

Nature walks

Take a nature walk on the islands as you follow various foot trails, which have been put by local people. Here you will meet and interact with local people as they go to gardens, grazing or even in their homes relaxing.  Interestingly, these hikes are not strenuous and experienced guides lead you. Nature walks are a not miss since they reward you with scenic views of the entire lake, plantations, islands and the neighboring communities.  Some lodges on the islands such as the Bunyonyi eco lodge has wildlife such as zebras and camels and impalas, which make it surely interesting.

Community walks

Go for a fantastic hike through villages on either mountain, which surround lake Bunyonyi. This is a pleasant experience, which brings you in close interaction with the local people in their homes, gardens and businesses, which make a safari surely wonderful. Visit Batwa community villages who introduce you to their traditional forest life as well as visiting good Samaritan preparatory schools around the lake to interact with the school going children. While visiting the local families, travelers are introduced to local life in terms of their traditions, norms and cultures. Travelers take part in local activities such as preparing local foods, making local beers as well as digging, which make them feel as part of the local communities. You can also visit community projects such as schools as well as markets to buy local made products and agricultural produce and meet many local people buying and selling different commodities at a cheap price. 


For the swimmers, lake Bunyonyi is best for swimming with clean waters and safe from bilharzia, hippos and crocodiles. Various sections have been enclosed for swimming and travelers are reminded to keep in the shallow water to avoid drowning.  Only travelers with experience can swim in Lake Bunyonyi it being very deep. Swimmers are also reminded to keep in the enclosed areas.

Where to sleep

Lake Bunyonyi is served with various lodges and resorts providing excellent /first class food and sleeping services to travelers at a fair price. The services offered are both luxury and budget depending on a travelers’ interest. These include Bunyonyi eco resort, Bunyonyi island camp, Bunyonyi rock resort, Bushara island camp and Amagara Island among other.  By staying at any of these paces, travelers are assured of a memorable experience being in a home outside home.

When to visit

Lake Bunyonyi can be visited all year round and all activities done at any time of the year. However dry season is the best time for canoeing and village walks.

Conclusively therefore, visit lake Bunyonyi, chill, relax, visit local communities and take part on a fantastic boat ride to the islands for a memorable experience.