Any trip to South Western Uganda that does not have Lake Bunyonyi on its list of itineraries should reconsider their priorities, I mean who does that?
Lake Bunyonyi is situated 8 km south of Kablae town off the road to Kisoro. It is a fifteen minutes drive from Kabale town and for the brave and more adventurous, it is best you just take the trek since it’s a very walkable distance. The walking is only made fun as you conquer one hill after another. The uniqueness of this route comes as you ascend the hills. One thing that you won’t miss are the winding corners that disappear into canopied tall tress firmly standing on a rock as they swing from one side to the other singing in praise of their beauty. These are interspaced with a number of stone quarries where men and women go about the business of breaking stone in various sizes before heavy duty trucks come and slave them done the road. This is one the few economic activities done in the community by both men and women. In the distant neighbourhoods, plumes of smoke are seen escaping to the sky from the open chimneys of homesteads scattered on the slopes. It is in these quiet sockets of the green leafy hills that a dusty road shyly rises leading to the magnificent encounter that is Lake Bunyonyi.
Bunyony is named after the various small/ plenty (of) bird species, obunyonyi, that are inhabitants of the 19 islands that find their home on the lake. Little wonder, Lake Bunyonyi is one of the leading birding destinations in Uganda with particular species of the bird only found at the lake.
Lake Bunyonyi is cupped atop hills making one of the deepest fresh water lakes 6000 feet deep. Given the mountainous nature that Kabale is, the coldness around the lake is no exception. Compared with the rest of Uganda where temperature degrees range between 30 and 40, Kabale comes with freezing degrees at times as below as 15 degrees.
The better way to exploit your trip to the Bunyonyi is to take the route to Acardia Lodge which sits at the hilltop giving you 180 degrees view of the lake and most of the islands therein perched. A walk downhill the footpath through the thickness of trees as you make stopovers to see the lake silhouette the features of the islands and proceed to the foot where there is the basin that is Lake Bunyonyi. It’s from here that you can sail across the lake to the various islands.
The lake holds a historical event among the locals. One of the islands has since come to be known as the punishment island where girls that became pregnant before marriage were abandoned by their families as they were feared to bring shame. Much as this activity has since been wiped away, the history remains.
There are a number of accommodation facilities that have come up as a result of Lake Bunyonyi’s beauty. They offer a range of services from backpackers to executive hotels in the area. The area surrounding the lake has attracted a number of developments at the shorelines of the lake making it one of the very best scenic views of the green layering of the hills that every eye should see.
For a trip to Lake Bunyonyi, seek the services of Kigezi Biota Tours.
Photo by Henry Marvelous Matovu