Lake Bunyonyi is one of those places you visit and never tire from the beautiful landscape and views of the lake and several Islands. Bunyonyi would be loosely translated as the as the ‘place of many little birds’ in English from the Rukiga language. I have visited Lake Bunyonyi several times over the years but every time I visit it is a new beautiful experience. I traveled with family, we were celebrating my mother’s birthday. We started with few nights in Kigali and ended the trip with a visit to Lake Bunyonyi for some excursions on the lake and in the community. We were excited about the boat trip visiting different islands and learning some interesting stories about the culture of the people.
We arrived in the evening and checked in at Bugombe gateway camp, a beautiful and affordable establishment along the lake shore. We then ordered our dinner and freshened up in the meantime after making our dinner orders. After this we sat by the camp fire with other clients staying at the lodge. Kabale which is in the south west of Uganda is home to the picturistique lake Bunyonyi dotted with 29 Islands with some inhabited by the local people, others for tourism and others for only agriculture while they live at a different island.
The next day after breakfast we prepared to take on a boat trip on the lake visiting different islands and learning about the area from the guide. Unfortunately, Mum could not join us on the boat ride because of her fear for small boats. Anyways the rest of us were excited and we quickly jumped in. The famous story while on the boat trip is always that of Akampene Island (punishment island) where young girls who conceived out of wedlock were brought by their fathers and brothers and left to die because of the ‘shame’ they caused to the family and subsequently as a way of preventing others from doing the same. Of course there was never a question of why the man who impregnated the lady was never punished – I have heard this story several times and it never makes sense to me. We learned about Sharps Island the missionary doctor who came to set up hospital for lepers and stayed with them on the Island.
For me the highlight was certainly the rope challenge on Natures prime Island. I was excited because of the zip line across a section of the lake. I have done the rope challenge before so I quickly skipped most of it and went straight to the last part which connects to the zip line. A lot of thoughts flooded my mind about the possibility of rope breaking in the middle o f the lake with knowledge of how Lake Bunyonyi is the 2nd deepest lake in Africa. However, the adventure spirit in me did not want to miss the experience so off I went. My dad was not that excited to watch but he knows that adventure and adrenaline rush a part of who I am. This is an experience I highly recommend for someone interested in enjoying the lake a different way. Soon I was on the other side very excited about the experience. The boat and its captain were waiting for me, they helped me off the hook and eventually into the boat. I would do this again and again but of course without the biggest part of the grueling rope challenge.
We then went back to the lodge for lunch before preparing to leave later in the afternoon. We briefly passed by Arcadia cottages for the perfect view of the different islands on lake Bunyonyi. This lake is magical and you want to visit it.