Lake Bunyonyi is a tiny lake in southwestern Uganda famed for its stunning views and mild waters, as well as being Africa’s second deepest lake.

The lake is around 130 meters deep on average, with a maximum depth of 213 meters. The lake is around 6,000 hectares in size, with a shoreline that stretches for nearly 100 kilometers. It is located on the border between Kabarole District and Kisoro, and is part of the Albertine Rift Valley system.

Lake Bunyonyi is a wonderful location. It features numerous attractions and activities that will keep you occupied for at least 24 hours. However, if you only have 24 hours, here’s how to spend them.

Start early if you want to go boating or canoeing

Canoeing or boating is one of the fun activities to do at Lake Bunyonyi. Consider sailing on the calm waters of Africa’s second-deepest lake.
This is an once-in-a-lifetime chance. Visitors can take a boat ride to any of Lake Bunyonyi’s 29 islands, which offer a unique experience.

Each island has a unique and fascinating story to tell about its history, making it worthwhile to visit. Visit the Punishment island, where unmarried Bakiga girls would be sent if they were pregnant out of wedlock and forced to die in isolation.

Paddling can be done by the traveler themselves or by hiring someone to do it for them. Canoeing can last a full day or a few hours, depending on the client’s preferences. Those who go boating have the chance to meet residents who are canoeing to their gardens and homes on the islands.

Visiting the punishment Island, one of the 29 at Lake Bunyonyi

What is the duration of a boat ride?

Boat rides might take all day or merely a few hours, depending on your preferences. If you have enough time, you can paddle for many hours to view all of the attractions that make Lake Bunyonyi so special.

Advice on canoeing

Travelers planning to go canoeing or boating should remember the following advice:
• Paddle on opposite sides of the boat.
• Keep the paddle shaft vertical.
• Maintain the boat’s equilibrium.
• Wear clothing that is appropriate for the water temperature.
• Your life jackets must be worn at all times.
• Paddle in time with your companion if there are two of you.
• Do you know how to swim?
• Avoid boozing and yelling on the water.
NOTE: Boating is highly recommended during the dry season. You may photograph the sun setting and rising by taking a boat ride early in the morning or late in the evening.

Swim in the hippo-crocodile-bilharzia-free Lake Bunyonyi in the middle of the morning.

Swimming in Lake Bunyonyi is a must-do while visiting Lake Bunyonyi. Swimming is an excellent way to unwind after a long morning of island hopping.
Lake Bunyonyi is known for being free of dangerous aquatic species like crocodiles and hippos, as well as bilharzia, making it the safest place to swim.
Despite being Uganda’s deepest and second-largest lake, Lake Bunyonyi is easy to swim in. In a few places, swimming has been made possible.

Swimming tips:

• Be effective and comfortable to prevent becoming tired rapidly.
• Keep your head up during the backstroke.
• Take a deep breath into the water and gently exhale.
• Reduce your drag resistance by lowering your body’s drag resistance – Feel free to balance yourself.
• Spread your fingers wider than they are right now.
• Keep your body as horizontal as possible to keep water away from you.

What is the best time of year to go swimming?

Swimming is a sport that may be done at any time of the year. The dry season, on the other hand, is the best time to cool off in Africa’s second deepest lake. Swimming is dangerous during the wet season, especially for beginners.
Swimming is, in general, a pleasurable sport to partake in.

Go zip-lining across one of the world’s deepest lakes before you stop for lunch.

Do you like to travel on the edge of your comfort zone? In Africa’s second deepest lake, Lake Bunyonyi, you may enjoy the best zip lining experience.
Swing on the calm waters of Lake Bunyonyi in south-western Uganda, Africa’s second-deepest lake.

break for lunch – Go zip-lining across one of the world’s deepest lakesTravelers swing from one point to the other over the waters using high ropes tied between trees on opposite borders of the lake. This activity provides passengers with a refreshing sense of chilly sea breezes as well as spectacular views of local settlements, islands, and rolling hills in the Kigezi region.
Travelers are reminded to remain mentally alert while taking part in this unforgettable adventure.

Lunch at Kansiime Backpackers, a lake view coffee restaurant

You can either return to your lodge/resort and order a meal or relax at Kansiime Backpackers for a lunch break.

Lunch break - Lake view coffee house (Cafe in Lake Bunyonyi) aka Kansiime BackpackersThis open-air cafe, also known as Kansiime Backpackers, serves delicious local coffee and refreshing beer, and it’s hard to miss.
There’s little competition for atmosphere because it has a great wooden deck with sweeping views across the lake. There is also a crafts shop where you may pick up a souvenir or two.

Visiting the Batwa pygmies in the late afternoon

The Batwa pygmies are a small group of people who live on the border of Kabale and Kisoro in the ‘Echuya Forest Reserve.’ They are thought to have originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It is a hunter tribe that used to live in the DRC rain woods before industrialization forced them to migrate to Western Uganda. There are almost 4,000 Batwa people in this area.
The Batwa have a complicated history, with their own origin story and a strong connection to the forest, and they have been marginalized for a long time.

They are typically solitary and live in little grass and stick homes. The Batwa experience was created by the Kellerman Foundation, and being a part of it helps this endangered group of people greatly.

Hike up to Arcadia Cottages in the early evening for the best view of Lake Bunyonyi

Hiking around the nearby pathways from Arcadia Cottages for an evening will reward you with some spectacular views of the Lake.
Lake Bunyonyi is home to some of Uganda’s most beautiful scenery. It’s even thought to have influenced Wakanda, the fictional African nation depicted in Black Panther. So you can’t spend two days at Lake Bunyonyi without seeing the sights.

The Arcadia Cottages, a high-end resort on the mainland with the best views of the lake and islands, is located at the top of a hill.
However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good view. They also have a restaurant and an espresso bar where you may get a juice or cappuccino if you aren’t staying there.

You can take a boda (motorbike taxi) to Arcadia, but for more Lake Bunyonyi activities, walking is a better option.

Late in the evening, go to the neighborhood market

The African Market is a must-see destination. Markets abound around Lake Bunyonyi, selling anything from African crafts to vegetables, shoes, apparel, and technology.
People move fast across the market as they haggle for lower pricing, while others wait for others to arrive with more goods to offer.
This local market is also a meeting place where people congregate to talk and catch up.

The views of Lake Bunyonyi

How to Get to Bunyonyi Lake (Distance and driving time to Lake Bunyonyi)

• Kabale Town is 20 minutes (15 kilometers) away, and (Ruhija) Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is 2 hours (65 kilometers).
• Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a 2-hour (52-kilometer) drive from Uganda’s capital, Kampala (Rushaga).
• It takes 3 hours (80 kilometers) to go to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kampala (Nkuringo).
• It takes 4 hours (120 kilometers) to go to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kampala (Buhoma).
• Mgahinga National Park is 2 hours 30 minutes (88 kilometers) away.
• Kisoro is 72 kilometers away and takes 2 hours to get there.
• Driving from Cyanika to Rwanda’s border takes 2 hours (75 kilometers).
• The journey from Katuna to Rwanda’s border takes 40 minutes (35 kilometers).
• Lake Mburo National Park is a four-hour drive away (170-kilometers).
• It’s a 3-hour (160-kilometer) drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
• It takes 2h 30m to drive from Kigali International Airport (115km).
• Driving time from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, is 7 hours and 7 minutes (418 kilometers).
• Kibale National Park is a 5-hour drive away (296 kilometers).
• Entebbe International Airport is 407 kilometers away and takes 7 hours 14 minutes.
• It takes 4h 16m to drive from Kihihi airstrip (133km).
• It takes 2 hours 54 minutes to drive from Mbarara (155 kilometers).

Please keep in mind that all driving hours are estimates to assist you in planning your trip; nonetheless, they may change due to weather, traffic, and other unforeseen circumstances. Allow additional time when traveling to scheduled activities to ensure punctuality.

Where can you stay and eat near Lake Bunyonyi?

When it comes to places to stay and eat around Lake Bunyonyi, you will be spoiled for choice; this location has something for everyone, from luxurious to mid-range to economical.

Final views on Uganda’s Lake Bunyonyi

Conclusion: Lake Bunyonyi is a fantastic location for the adventurous. Lake Bunyonyi has something for everyone, whether you wish to go fishing or swimming in its pristine waters, or hike along the lake or on one of the many approved trails.


Enock NsubugaEnock Nsubuga is a Journalist by profession, currently helping travelers save time and money on their dream vacation.
He is also a travel entrepreneur who founded Travel With Enock and Jaqi where he provides training to travel business owners on how to use digital channels to market themselves or their products online.
Visit his website at https://travelwithenockandjaqi.com/ 

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