Activities One Expects While in Lake Bunyonyi – Confidence Africa Tours
One of the excursions around Lake Bunyonyi sold to tourists is a visit to a Batwa tribe of pygmies. Please make an informed decision when accepting such a Uganda tour as some feel they are exploitative. The Batwa in this region, one of the original inhabitants of the country, were dispossessed of their ancestral lands by the government to build the Echuya Forest Reserve with tragic consequences — today, their community suffers from rampant social problems.
To survive, they invite tourists to their community, where they perform songs and dance. One fellow we met joined one of these tours and explained how the tourist spectacle and the Batwa’s desperate situation left him utterly disturbed and heartbroken; other accounts I’ve read, however, express the opposite.
Hiking and Nature Walks
Hire a local guide to lead you along the best hiking trails on the islands or through the terraces of the Kigezi highlands to be rewarded with spectacular views of the landscapes and even some wildlife. Forest and tree plantations can be found on some of the islands, as well as monkeys and zebras. Otters can also be spotted in the waters.
Meaning “the place of little birds”, Lake Bunyonyi takes its name from the abundant birdlife that calls it home. Over 200 species are found here, including herons, weaver birds, and grey-crowned cranes.
How to Get to Lake Bunyonyi
To reach Lake Bunyonyi independently, you first have to make your way to the town of Kabale, about an eight-hour bus ride from Kampala. From Kabale, the lake is 20-25 minutes by taxi.
Given its proximity to Rwanda, you may want to consider accessing the lake from Kigali (or vice versa), which is only 1.5-2 hours by car. If you need to purchase your visa at the border, however, add another 30 minutes to one hour to your journey (weekdays are busier). We hired a taxi through Arcadia Lodge to drive us from the lake to Kigali for 120 USD.
Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most idyllic natural settings Africa — and, I would contend, the world — has to offer. I almost feel like I’m spoiling the serenity of this enchanting, underrated hideaway by publishing this post, but beauty is meant to be shared, isn’t it?