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Lake Bunyonyi, The Deepest Lake in Uganda (Facts & Islands)

LakeBunyonyi, also known as the lake of little birds is located Southwest of Uganda, the lake is about 7 kilometers wide and 25 kilometers deep at an elevation of 1, 962 meters above sea level. The lake has got a total of 29 islands found concentrated in the central part.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is said to the deepest lake in Africa ranging from 40m to 900 meters deep, a lake is an ideal place for relaxation for many tourists who come to Uganda for gorillas trekking safaris. Fish was introduced to Lake Bunyonyi in the 1930s but unfortunately died out in 1960s due to shallow mixing as a result of wind. The present fish species in the lake now is Murrow carp, mudfish, and crayfish.

Akampene Island

Akampene island also known as punishment island located iLakeke Bunyonyi was an island that used to be a punishing ground for Bakiga girls who got pregnant before marriage, a girl would be taken to the island and left alone to die in the island or attempting to swim back, alternatively a man who didn’t have cows to marry would go to pick the girl up.

Boat Cruise & Canoeing

Boat cruises and canoeing can be one of the best ways to explore the panoramic lake Bunyonyi, boat cruises are conducted at any time even during night time. You can visit many islands on a dugout canoe and learn about each of them and watch several species of water birds.

Bwama and Njuyeera Sharp islands

The Bwana and Njuyera island also called sharp island was the place where missionary Leonard island came and first visited in 1921 and later established a leprosy center in 1931 on the island. The leprosy victims were isolated to live on the island and treated to avoid infecting others.

The Kyahugye island

The Kyahugye island is very close to the mainland and can be reached in less than. 10 minutes by boat, its endowed with four main vegetation types of natural vegetation, tree plantations, open fallows, and bush. The flat-topped island provides stunning views of several islands in the lake and the magnificent lake views, on a clear day tourists can see mount Muhabura which is one of the eight Virunga ranges. Kyahugye island is also the only island of the 29 where you can have a wildlife encounter with animals like Impalas, zebras, waterbucks, and the Ugandan Kobs.

The Bucaranuka (Upside Down) Island

The Bucaranuka island also known as upside down island is famously known for its legendary story of a woman who passed by one day as the locals were making local beer, it’s said that she begged for the local beer and the sellers refused to give her even just a sip. The old woman then asked if they could give her someone to help her to the main land and they chose a young man who took her there but on his return journey the island turned upside down killing all that was there.

The Cultural Encounters

The islands of Lake Bunyonyi are inhabited by two main tribes that are the Bakiga and the Pygmy people also known as Batwa, the Bakiga were the initial inhabitants of the lake well known for their hard work and cultivation skills as well as unique cultural values. On the other hand the Batwa migrated into the islands when they were evicted from Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga national park, they used to survive and live in the forest depending on it for shade, medicine and so much more, its said that the Batwa were hunter-gatherers who lived in this forests for over 500,000 years.

Swimming in Lake Bunyonyi

Swimming is one of the activities tourists can engage in while at Lake Bunyonyi, the lake is one of the few lakes that is safe to swim from as its Bilharzia free without being worried of predators like crocodiles and hippos. It should also be noted that the lake is one of the deepest lakes in the world so swimming should be done by experienced swimmers or under a skilled experienced guide.

Birding / Bird Watching

Lake Bunyonyi is a birders paradise with over 200 species of birds found in the lake that’s why its called lake of little birds the best place for bird watching in the area is, the Nyombi swamp, some of the birds tourists can enjoy watching at the mighty lake Bunyonyi are; swamp flycatcher, red  chested sunbirds, grey-crowned cranes and more species of birds.

Nature Walks & Biking

Nature walks at lake Bunyonyi can be down at the lake shores as you explore the lakes flora and fauna in the foot with great views of the scenic lake as well as come across several little birds and plantations. Biking can also be done at various trails exposing you to the unique African thrilling countryside.


Lake Bunyonyi has got several accommodation sectors you can sleep in depending on your choice and budget. Some of the hotels around the islands include; Lake Bunyonyi rock resort, Bunyonyi bird nest resort, and many others.

Getting There

Lake Bunyonyi is near Kabale town in Uganda bordering Rwanda, the lake can be reached from Kampala within 6 hours to Kabale town and then drive for less than an hour to Lake Bunyonyi. Lake Bunyonyi is open for tourists to visit all year round.

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