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Lake Bunyonyi: 11 Best Things To Do After Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi

11 Best Things To Do At Lake Bunyonyi – After Gorilla Trekking

Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Uganda. According to Lonely Planet, Lake Bunyonyi is one of top 5 chillout spots in Uganda.

This stunningly beautiful lake is approximately 7km wide, 25km long, and 900m at its deepest point.  It is the fourth deepest lake in the world and the second deepest lake in Africa.

Lake Bunyonyi is dotted with 29 islands and encircled by lush terraced Kigezi highlands that are punctuated with a plethora of over 200 bird species. Some of the lake’s islands are inhabited and have captivating dark stories.

You can take a ride in a traditional dugout canoe to learn about some of them, from the Punishment Island, where unmarried girls who became pregnant were dumped to die, to Leper’s Island, which used to be a leper colony run by a Scottish missionary doctor. You can also enjoy a boat cruise on the lake, Zipline across lake, do a village walk, or go for a swim in the lake.

Lake Bunyonyi is located in the south west of Uganda, approximately two hours’ drive from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the famous home of mountain gorillas. The lake is the perfect place to unwind after a length and tiring gorilla trekking adventure.

What follows is our pick of the best things to do at Lake Bunyonyi – After Gorilla trekking in Uganda:

  1. Canoe Ride 

Imagine sailing on the tranquil waters of Africa’s second deepest lake in a small traditional dugout canoe; it is a memorable adventure. This canoe ride gives you a chance to stop right in the middle of the lake for panoramic view and a little serenity.

You can also explore the lake’s 29 islands, including the tiny Akampene/Punishment Island where unmarried girls who became pregnant were left to die in isolation.

The only thing that could save them from starvation or drowning was if a man who was too poor to pay a bride-price came over to claim the banished girl as his wife.

You can also visit Kahungye Island where you will encounter some Uganda wildlife such as Zebras, Waterbucks, Impalas, and Uganda kobs.

Other islands you can tour include Bwama and Njuyeera, Bucuranuka/Upside down Island, and Bushara Island. You can opt to be paddled or even do the paddling yourself as long as you have a knowledgeable local guide with you.

  1. Boat Ride 

If you don’t feel like paddling a canoe, there is also motorboat cruises offered. With a local guide, you also get to learn a lot about the 29 islands (inhabited and uninhabited), as you enjoy a relaxing cruise and the beauty of the lake.

  1. Relaxation

After your Uganda gorilla trekking tour in Bwindi, you may need to relax and chill out for one or two days. Lake Bunyonyi is the ideal place to do it.

The lake is a lovely place to wake up in, especially with the early morning mist lingering on the lake. At this time you can see children paddling dugout canoes to school.

You can also see the farmers transporting their goods to the market place. If you have a good book and wish to read it in a cool and serene environment, then one of the quiet island resorts would be perfect.

  1. Birdwatching 

Bunyonyi means ‘place of many little birds’.

This gorgeous lake area is home to more than 200 bird species. If you are a bird watching enthusiast but also in need for a quiet bird watching spot, this is the perfect place.

One of the best bird watching sites around the Lake is Nyombi Swamp.

The grey-crowned crane (the national bird of Uganda), the red-chested sunbird, flycatchers, weavers, egrets, and herons can be seen here. The best way to watch the birds is by acquiring binoculars, a boat, and moving to the water with a local expert birding guide.

  1. Community Village Cultural Walks

Another of the highly recommend things to do at Lake Bunyonyi after gorilla trekking is the cultural walks in the area.

This is wonderful chance to learn about the legends, customs and traditions of the people who make a home on Lake Bunyonyi shores. On the cultural encounter, you can meet a traditional healer, a craft group; as well as enjoy breathtaking views from one of the area’s high points.

It is great to mingle with the local people and engage in activities such as digging the garden using a local hoes or visiting a local school to experience the Ugandan school system and interact with the school children.

You may also visit the Batwa People who were evicted from Echuya Forest and allocated land near Lake Bunyonyi. Like their relatives in other areas like Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Batwa have failed to adapt to life outside the forest.

Considering that they are former hunters and gatherers, they struggle to earn a living. They make a livelihood by performing for visitors and displaying their cultural heritage via dance, music, and storytelling.

  1. Scenic Hikes

If you’re not interested in the community village cultural walks, Lake Bunyonyi  area also has well-established trails for scenic nature hikes.

The area is an ideal place to just take a leisure walk, few photographs, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The landscape is fairly hilly, which provides magnificent views if you reach the summit.

  1. Swimming 

If a change from the swimming pools is just what you need on a Uganda holiday, Lake Bunyonyi is open for this all time of the day. The lake is also safe for swimming. It has no dangerous parasites like Bilharzia and the water is free of crocodiles and hippos.

  1. Ziplinning 

Ziplinning is the recent addition to thing to do at Lake Bunyonyi after gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Sturdy ropes link trees in the opposite sides of the Lake.

You can swing over the calm waters of the lake and even do half somersaults to touch the waters and feel the breeze on your face. Safety gear is provided for this thrilling adventure. The equipment is well tested to ensure the safety of all zip lining participants.

  1. Mountain Biking – Cycling Tour 

You can rent bike at a number of places around the lake and in the town of Kabale. The traffic is light, so cycling here is safe and enjoyable.

On the biking adventure, you can tour the local villages and the shore of Lake Bunyonyi in less time than hiking would take. There are several routes/roads around the Lake and uphill on the surrounding hills. .

  1. Local Market Tour

Every Monday and Friday, Rutindo local market attracts residents of Bunyonyi area. On these days, the market will be filled with people. It is a perfect place to observe how locals go about their everyday lives. You can also interact with them and purchase some fresh fruits of Uganda.

  1. Eating Crayfish 

Idi Amin, the infamous military dictator of Uganda, also had his positive sides. One of them is that he supported introducing Louisiana Crayfish to Lake Bunyonyi. Cray fish have been so successful that they have become the dominant specie in the lake and surrounding water bodies.

And all Ugandan safari lodges at Bunyonyi and restaurants offer crayfish. If you are not interested in Cray fish, you may alternatively get the local Tilapia, which is also very delicious.

Getting To Lake Bunyonyi

Bunyonyi can be reached by road.

The lake is situated approximately 439 kilometers southwest of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala and 199 kilometers west of Mbarara city by road.

The best route to take involves  following Kampala – Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale road. This route take around 7-8 hours of driving by car to reach t town of Kabale town from Kampala city.

It takes between 20 to 30 minutes at most to reach the lake from Kabale. If you are coming from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the drive to the lake takes approximately 2 hours

Those coming from a wildlife safari in either Queen Elizabeth National Park or chimpanzee trekking tours  in Kibale Fores National Park will need to drive for around 5 hours on road before reaching the lake.

Bunyonyi is closer to  Kigali city of Rwanda than Uganda’s Kampala City. To drive to the lake from Kigali, it take approximately 3 hours of driving by a 4×4 safari vehicle.

Therefore if you have time, Lake Bunyonyi is where you could take a detour into Rwanda and explore the “Land of a Thousand Hills”.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lake Bunyonyi

  1. Where to Stay At Lake Bunyonyi?

There are a variety of accommodation options at Lake Bunyonyi. Some of the safari lodges and resorts here are built in the islands while others on the lake shores or in the towns before the lake.

Uganda safari accommodation at Lake Bunyonyi ranges from budget, moderate to luxurious facilities as well as campsites.  Here is a list of the top best places where you can stay during your Lake Bunyonyi tour/holiday.

  • Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort
  • Bird Nest @ Lake Bunyonyi Resort
  • Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort
  • Arcadia Lodge Lake Bunyonyi
  • Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
  • Byoona Amagara
  • Bushara Island Camp
  • Crater Bay Cottages
  • Gorilla View Backpackers

Read More: Best Lodges At Lake Bunyonyi

  1. Where Is Lake Bunyonyi Located?

Uganda’s Lake Bunyonyi is located in south western region of the country. The lake is situated close to the town of Kabale and near the border with Rwanda. With its winding shores, Lake Bunyonyi is 25 kilometers long and 7 kilometers wide.

  1. How Deep Is Lake Bunyonyi?

Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda is the second deepest lake in Africa, after Lake Tanganyika, a rift valley lake in Tanzania. The lake is also the fourth deepest in the world.

The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Siberia is the deepest lake in the world with a depth of 1642 meters followed by Lake Tanganyika with a depth of 1470 meters.

  1. What Is Lake Bunyonyi Known For?

Lake Bunyonyi is known for its natural scenic beauty.

The lake is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Uganda. It is dotted with 29 islands of various sizes and shapes and encircled by green and lush terraced hills that are punctuated with a plethora of over 200 species of Uganda birds.

  1. Is Lake Bunyonyi A Man-Made Lake?

Lake Bunyonyi is natural lava dammed lake. It was formed about 10,000 years ago, as a result of lava flow that emerged from one of the volcanic Virunga Mountains and managed dam Ndego River.

  1. Can You Swim In Lake Bunyonyi?

Yes waters of Lake Bunyonyi are safe for swimming.  The lake is free of bilharzia and dangerous animals like crocodiles and hippos.

  1. What Animals Are In Lake Bunyonyi?

Bunyonyi’s Kahungye Island is home to some Uganda animals, such as Zebra, Waterbucks, Impalas, and Uganda Kobs. The island also features Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort. Also you can also watch birds on this little island too.

  1. Why Is Lake Bunyonyi Called So?

Bunyonyi means “a place with little bird”, a perfect reference to the fact that the lake and its islands are home to an amazing collection of over 200 bird species.

  1. How Many Islands Are In Lake Bunyonyi?

Lake Bunyonyi features 29 Islands and each of the Islands has a unique story. Lake Bunyonyi’s main Islands include Akampene, Bushara, Kahungye, Bwama, Njuyeera, and Bucuranuka.

  1. Why Visit Lake Bunyonyi?

Lake Bunyonyi offers beautiful scenery viewing, traditional dugout canoe rides, boat cruise, island hopping, zipping, village community walks, scenic hikes, cycling tours, etc. The lake is also a good base from which to meet the local Batwa pygmy communities or to relaxing after your gorilla trekking adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

  1. When Is The Best Time To Visit Lake Bunyonyi?

The best time to visit lake Bunyonyi is in dry season months of June, July, August, December, January and February. Read More: Best Time To Visit Lake Bunyonyi.

Final Thoughts On Things To Do AT Lake Bunyonyi – After Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi:

Many places on African continent are crowded and just a hassle to visit. This area is different. The lake is quiet, relaxing place. I strongly recommend you take the time to visit this stunningly beautiful lake to enjoy some peace and relaxation after a gorilla trekking adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.