Lake Bunyonyi Uganda
“Place of Many Birds”
If you are looking for a safari holiday in Africa for leisure, honeymoon and relaxation, then Lake Bunyonyi is your perfect destination. Lake Bunyonyi is a fresh water lake literally translated as ‘a place of many little birds’ located in south-western Uganda near the Uganda -Rwanda boarder. The good news is that Lake Bunyonyi is one of the few Bilharzia-free lakes in Africa and it is the second deepest lake after Lake Tanganyika on the African continent.
The beauties of Lake Bunyonyi is unmatched with its 29 islands some of which are inhabited by the local communities are tourism facilities, the charming scenery that surrounds Lake Bunyonyi with clear views of terraced hills make by the local people (Bakiga tribe) for cultivation compliment on the beauty and the reasons to include lake Bunyonyi visit on your Africa safari holiday in Uganda.
Among the 29 Islands of Lake Bunyonyi, there are some of those islands that are rich in history such as; Akampene (the punishment) Island, Bucuranuka (upside) Island and Sharps Island.
What to see at Lake Bunyonyi
Akampene (Punishment) Island
Long ago, unmarried pregnancies were a taboo and punishable in most of the African tribes. It was so shameful for and unmarried girl to become pregnant and her family would feel so ashamed. In Kabale, the girls who would become pregnant while unmarried would be abandoned by their fathers/brothers and bring them onto this isolated island to live a lonely life and sometimes die while trying to swim across or starve to death. This would be a lesson to other girls not to do the same mistake of getting pregnant before the wedlock.
If the boy loved the girl, he would rush and pay bride price to the girl’s family and take her for marriage before the girl’s family and the entire community gets to know. Fortunately, this practice of abandoning expecting mothers was later prohibited and those that were still alive on this island were rescued and brought back in the community. There are still some survivors in the neighbouring village to Lake Bunyonyi.
Bwama and Njuyeera (Sharp’s Island)
In 1921, an English missionary Dr. Leonard Sharp came to Uganda and established a treatment centre for leprosy on Bwama Island which was then an uninhabited island. He also built a church, patient quarters and a hospital.
This wise man built a leprosy hospital on a vacant island to attract those suffering from leprosy to leave their communities and hoping that this would help to reduce infections. Dr. Leonard Sharp then built his home on Njuyeera Island.
The hospital buildings are currently used by the boarding schools and up to now, no there are no further developments on this island.
Bucuranuka (Upside Down)
There is a folktale attached to this island that a group of people were brewing local sorghum beer on this Island and an old woman came to them, she asked for a drink and they refused to give her. She was mistaken to be a well-known beggar and they chased her rudely. They offended her and gave her a youthful boy to ride her on the canoe to the mainland.
On reaching the mainland, the boy was shocked, she could not see her old woman on the boat, only was she saw was the island overturning and everyone on it died. The only thing that survived on the island was a chicken which managed to fly over to the main land.
Bushara Island and Kahungye Island
These islands are mainly developed for tourism purposes, with various accommodation facilities, restaurants and bars. Some of the tourism activities on this Island include; fishing and canoeing, nature walks and bird watching.
Common safari activities that most visitors do when they visit Lake Bunyonyi on their Africa safari holiday include; canoeing, bird watching, visit to school, hiking up the hill, swimming, nature walks and a visit to the local home and interact with locals.