Bunyonyi lake tour in southern Uganda
August 26, 2010
With its 29 islands, some of which inhabited, the small Bunyonyi lake, located at 1950 meters above sea level and well 900 meters deep, offers a picturesque landscape that shouldn't be missed during any tour to Uganda. The lake is the home for many unique birds and is the ideal place if you are looking for a birding trip to Uganda. Overnight is possible on the mainland, but also on luxurious resorts built directly over the islands.
The journey to Lake Bunyonyi starts from Buhoma and takes several hours, mostly of them over a very bumpy road crossing a pass at 2500 meters of altitude, from where there is a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains covered by dense rainforest.
We see a Colobus monkey ( Colobus guereza
), having a very long tail.
Out from Bwindi national park, we reach the limit where cultivated fields take place of the rainforest.
In this valley, people live in difficult conditions, without roads connecting the homes and where everything is carried out using exclusively own legs and arms.
The fields follow just the mountain's side profile, there are no terraces or other technique making the life easier.
We reach the beautiful lake Bunyonyi, one of the most scenic wonders of Uganda. Unfortunately, today there is a little haze, but on a clear day, beyond the lake, you may see the extinct volcanoes, whose peaks are over 4000 meters of altitude.Within the lake, which is not very extensive, there are 29 islands whose surface varies from a few square meters to several kilometers.There are no reliable data on the depth of the lake, but there are rumors that it reaches an impressive 900 meters in some point. Should this finding be confirmed by precise measurements made with scientific methods, the lake Bunyonyi will fall within the top-five of the deepest lakes on Earth.The lake is located at 1950 meters above sea level.
We take a leisurely cruise in a small boat, navigating between the various islands of Lake Bunyonyi, often dominated by beautiful forests of eucalyptus. Some islands are inhabited by communities who count several hundred of inhabitants, while other smaller islands are used exclusively for tourist resorts. It seems that the waters of Lake Bunyonyi are free from bilharzias, so this place may prove interesting for those looking for relax and swim.
We see a couple of Grey Crowned Crane ( Balearica regulorum
), the Uganda's national animal and bird.
Punishment Island is the smallest island of the lake Bunyonyi, and is so named because in the past was used to abandon the girls who become pregnant before marriage, leaving them starving to death or drowning while trying to swim to another island. A man owning a sufficient number of cows to pay the pledge for the wedding, could go to the island and take the girl. This practice was abandoned by the mid-20th century.
The bigger islands are inhabited by communities living mainly on agriculture.
Student moving by canoe between the islands. Schools are located on one of the islands and are complete with dormitory, houses for teachers and other facilities.
There are no cars on these Bunyonyi lake's islands and transport between the islands is organized mainly by canoe.
A tree is the home for cormorants and pelicans.