Lake Bunyonyi (‘place of many little birds’) is undoubtedly the loveliest lake in Uganda. Its contorted shore encircles 29 islands, surrounded by steep terraced hillsides reminiscent of parts of Nepal.
A magical place, especially with a morning mist rising off the placid waters, it has supplanted the Ssese Islands as the place for travelers to chill out on their way through Uganda, and has a selection of gorgeously remote and bucolic places to stay on distant islands, where you’ve only the birds for company. Best of all – unlike many lakes in East Africa – Bunyoni is bilharzia, croc and hippo free, and so its crystal-clear waters are all yours to swim in. Bliss.
What to do
Camping, the bamboo walks are guided trails which have been established and are highly recommended for anybody who may be looking for a serious leg stretch.
Many boat drivers will take you to Bwama & Njuyeera islands (Sharp’s Islands), where British missionary Dr Leonard Sharp founded a leper colony and settled in 1921 (there are two schools on the island now) and nearly all Njuyeera’s history was stripped when it was converted into a (not recommended) hotel.
There is also Kyahugye Island which is managed by Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort, this 35-acre island is worth a visit if you want to see to wildlife such as zebra, water buck, impala and kob up close. All were brought here from Lake Mburo National Park.
And yet another weird story, out of the dotted 29 Islands, is Akampeine Island. Translating as Punishment Island, this tiny island was so named because it was once the place where unmarried pregnant women were dumped to die. Their only rescue from drowning or starvation was if a man who was too poor to pay a bride-price came over to claim the banished woman as his wife. There’s nothing to see here, with just one spindly tree in its center.