Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda)
Lake Bunyonyi was formed 10,000 years ago when a river was dammed by lava. This “place of many little birds” is one of the safest lakes in Africa and has a great number of islands: 29. Some of their histories:
- Akampene (Punishment Island): Until the 1940s, unmarried pregnant women were left here to starve to death or drown trying to swim to the shore; they were often saved by poor men or slaves who could not afford the regular bride price.
- Bwama: In 1914 it was an anti-colonial rebel base of a famous leader, Katuregye. In 1921, Dr. Leonard Sharp, a missionary, founded a leprosy hospital here. After anti- leprosy drugs were introduced in the 1980s, it became a boarding secondary school.
- Njuyeera (Sharp’s Island): Dr. Sharp’s family lived on this island when he was not on duty in Kabale Hospital and converted it into a gorgeous botanical garden with a tennis court, boat house, guest cottage and windmill.
• ACCOMMODATION AT LAKE BUNYONYI •
BirdNest Resort is a luxury boutique hotel designed to render a special kind of heaven. Known for spacious lakeshore rooms (from USD 140), it mouth-watering meals are the culinary pride of the area. There's a solution for budget travellers too: the beautiful cottages of Eco Overseas (USD 100).
+256 754 252 560
Bunyonyi Overland Resort
A place beyond comparison in terms of facilities, accessibility, accommodation options and size. The best base to explore the lake. It is ecologically built, with local materials, locally owned and provides important employment opportunities for the people around the lake.
Some of the services: free wifi, satellite TV, hot showers, flushing toilets, secure car park, fireplaces, picnic sites. Visa, MasterCard and American Express accepted. Camping from USD 12; dorm bed USD 25; furnished tents from USD 60 B&B; rooms from USD 60 B&B; cottages from USD 90 B&B; family cottage (2 bedrooms, lounge, kitchen) USD 180 B&B.
+256 793 930 006, +256 772 409 510
Come for a snack or a meal at prehaps the most unusual establishment of the lake shore! We have a firewood oven, do many Mexican-style dishes and are always ready with crayfish specialties. You can reach us by foot, car or boat — or let our team pick you up and bring you back with a dugout canoe for USD 20, your meal and drinks inclusive.
We have accommodation too: a colourful family house (USD 40 for twin/double or USD 70 for the whole building), a double cottage (USD 24) and a small dorm for four people (USD 8 pp). Camping in your own tent is USD 4, in ours USD 6. Free canoe usage for overnight guests.
+256 782 779 599 (WhatsApp too)
Itambira Island Seeds of Hope
Tranquil, characterful island retreat. Restaurant overlooking Lake Bunyonyi - local, international food, wood-fired pizza. Colourful en-suite treehouses or round- houses; cottage or budget accommoda- tion. Conference facilities available. Registered charity - profit supports our local community projects. Prices from USD15 pppn.
+256 778 785 624, +256 754 942 699
Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort
Professional tour guide Robert Basiima and his wife Jessica would like to invite you to their eco-resort on the banks of Lake Bunyonyi. Next to a noteworthy rock formation they have prepared beautiful accommodation for you, from spacious luxury cottages to a family bungalow (USD 80 per person). Away from the hustle and bustle of the busiest parts of Bunyonyi, Rock Resort will impress you with stunning views and quality cooking.
Robert’s Engagi Safaris can also take you to meet gorillas, see Uganda, or experience East Africa. He will find solutions compatible with any budget.
256 782 421 519, +256 702 421 519
• ACTIVITIES AT LAKE BUNYONYI •
Twin Lakes of Rwanda and Uganda
Rwanda's Lake Burera is separated from its twin Lake Ruhondo only by a narrow band of land crated by lava that erupted from the Virungas. There is a primary school on the biggest of Burera’s six islands, happily welcoming visitors.
Lake Kayumbu on the other side of the border also has a twin, Lake Chahafi. These lakes have swamps with many bird species recorded and sport fishing opportunities. During WWI the Germans fought the Anglo-Belgian coalition at Lake Chahafi; trenches can still be seen. Lake Kayumbu has one island, Lake Chahafi none.
• ACCOMMODATION AT TWIN LAKES •
Lake Chahafi Resort
We offer eight en-suite luxury cabins with both warm and cold showers; cabins are appointed on stilts with wooden floors giving outstanding views of Mt. Muhavura and Lake Chahafi. Comfy in your cabin you can slide the curtains and enjoy the vistas, or sit on the veranda and relax as you enjoy the sun setting over the Virungas.
There is a cosy bar and restaurant with a fireplace, serving drinks, local and continental dishes. The cabins come with free wifi. Rates from USD 70, including breakfast. Dinner USD 17 pp.
+256 777 391 511, +256 782 754 496
Lake Mutanda (Uganda)
Lake Mutanda north of Kisoro Town boasts six bigger islands; four of them have interesting stories:
- Mutanda Island is the biggest and the only island with a settlement; about 80 people live on it. They are the descendants of three brothers, the founders of the Mutanda community.
- Kyangushu Island used to be a burial site to avoid bringing bad luck to the mainland -– bones remain visible from the lake surface. The practice of stopped in the 1930s.
- Buhingiro, the only forested Island, belonged to a county chief who used it as a base for hunting hippos. While they are now gone, in the middle of the 20th century hippos were still very much present in Lake Mutanda. When locals developed a taste for them, their fate was sealed...
- Gahiza Island was the punishment island of Lake Mutanda.
• ACCOMMODATION ON LAKE MUTANDA •
Gahiza Island Retreat
What once was Mutanda’s Punishment Island has become an island of rewards instead. Spend your night on Gahiza and you will feel completely special; the island is small and far away from anything, the food is superb, the views of Virunga volcanoes are pretty spectacular.
Camping goes for USD 20, luxury cabins and stone houses USD 70 single and USD 140 (all BB). Free boat transport.
+256 775 235 579
In the very corner of the Gorilla Highlands region, extensive sandy beaches and tropical vegetation hint at a sea — only lack of salt in the water may attest to Kivu being a lake. Up to 480m/1,575 ft deep, Lake Kivu is unusual for its methane concentrations that are used for power generation. A major beneficiary of this energy is Bralirwa, the only Rwandan brewery.
Located east of Masaka, Lake Nabugabo is a lovely sleepover on the long way to/from Kampala that delights with its laid-back atmosphere. Merely 4km (2.5mi) of sand separates Nabugabo from Lake Victoria that it was once part of, enough to make it bilharzia-free.
• ACCOMMODATION AT LAKE NABUGABO •
Nabugabo Holiday Centre
Acres of unspoiled tropical vegetation frequented by vervet monkeys, best access to water for young swimmers, and multi-room cottages (from USD 14 per person) with TVs make Nabugabo Holiday Centre a top family destination. A campsite for up to 100 people and a conference hall are ideal for group retreats. Restaurant serves fish and a variety of other dishes.
+256 752 539 300, +256 772 433 332