Volcano Quest (2-Day Hike)

Descending towards Lake Kayumbu; photo by Henriette Faye-Schjøll

Trek from Lake Bunyonyi to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and let a Batwa “Pygmy” leader guide you through the wilderness of Echuya Forest. You will spend both nights on the way at lake campsites far away from any tourism, hosted by local families and sleeping in fully-equipped tents.


Highlights

• all cultures of southwestern Uganda (Bafumbira, Bakiga and Batwa “Pygmies”)
• spectacular views, volcano and island stories
• traditional healer visit
• session with a craftmaker
• Tom’s Homestay island experience
• Echuya Forest crossing led by a Batwa “Pygmy” leader
• night on the shore of Lake Kayumbu
• caldera picnic

Facts

duration: 3 days; difficulty: hard
starting point: Lake Bunyonyi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
area: Lake Bunyonyi – Echuya Forest – Lake Kayumbu – Cyanika – Mgahinga
departures: daily at 9am

Price: USD 310 per person (2 people minimum)
Includes everything during the trek (guiding, activities, tented accommodation, meals, snacks and water) and 1 night at Edirisa on Lake Bunyonyi. It does not include transport back from Mgahinga, accommodation there, or gorilla tracking.

In the middle of Echuya; photo by Philippe Vandorpe

Lake Bunyonyi – Mgahinga Itinerary (can be reversed)

DAY 1

If you have taken up our offer of a free night before the trek, you will wake up at Edirisa on Lake Bunyonyi and be treated to a substantial breakfast at 9am. If you have opted for a less basic accommodation elsewhere, we will collect you by a dugout canoe and bring you to Edirisa in time for breakfast (if you wish to take it with us).

The paddling will begin at 10 in the morning after a detailed briefing session. The first program item on the Kyabahinga peninsula will be a dancing and singing presentation by the pupils of Edirisa Nursery School. At a trading centre above the school you will be invited to a cup of the local brew, obushera. The prize for your next activity, a relatively intense climb of about 30 minutes, will be pretty lake vistas and our guide’s stories about culture and nature.

On the ridge of the peninsula you will meet Mr Barara, a traditional healer, and Mrs Annah, a craftmaker. By 1pm Annah will have prepared lunch for her family — and you. Beans, sweet and Irish potatoes, ground nuts and dodo (local spinach) will make for a filling meal.

Kyabahinga is uniquely located to give you an outlook over most of Lake Bunyonyi, its 29 islands and the distant Muhavura volcano where you are heading. You will hear some of the colourful tales, legends and historical facts related to the islands.

In the afternoon you will descend to the water and enter the dugouts. Our canoe boys will paddle you to Habukomi, the island of pelicans, where you will enjoy Tom’s Homestay.

Campsite at Lake Kayumbu; photo by Henriette Faye-Schjøll

DAY 2

By 8am you will be on the way to the other side of the lake and ascend towards the Echuya Forest Reserve, reaching it at midday. In Echuya you will be part of something unique: a Batwa “Pygmy” guided nature trail. Our experienced partners will tell you how Echuya used to be their home and is now a source of all kinds of natural materials. You will be shown different herbs, plants that make rain, gold digging sites and more.

There is a swamp in the middle of Echuya that calls for rubber boots. Do not worry, our team will pack some for you.

The crossing of the forest will take about two hours. Your picnic lunch will happen above Lakes Kayumbu and Chahafi. The latter was once a colonial military outpost. In 1914 the English used 100 porters to carry a giant canoe from Chahafi to Lake Bunyonyi to attack the rebel leader Katuregye — probably using the very trail you are taking! But your destination will be the closer lake, Kayumbu, where we always camp on a church cliff overlooking the water surface.

Bafumbira lady; photo by Marcus Westberg

DAY 3

After your lakeshore breakfast you will walk towards Cyanika on the Rwanda border. Feel like some No Man’s Land experience?

Your picnic lunch location will be in the middle of calderas on the edge of Mgahinga. To reach the national park’s main gate, Ntebeko, you will then hike next to the park’s border through a spectacular and lovingly cultivated landscape.

Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp lies a couple of steps away from the park gate, and that is where your dinner will be served, completing the trek.

More info: tours@gorillahighlands.com+250 783 118 421+256 776 558 123