Lake Bunyonyi is a stunning natural attraction in south-western Uganda, near the border with Rwanda. Believed to be the second deepest lake in Africa, Lake Bunyonyi has a depth of 44m-90m and is surrounded by lush green hills that offer breathtaking views.

The name Bunyonyi means “place of many little birds,” and indeed, the lake is home to a variety of bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. The lake also has 29 islands, each with its own history and charm. People live on some of the islands, and others have eco-lodges, wildlife sanctuaries, or cultural sites to visit.

One of the most intriguing islands is Akampene or Punishment Island, where in the past unmarried pregnant girls were abandoned to die or rescued by poor men who could not afford the bride price. Another island worth visiting is Bwama, or Sharp’s Island, where an English missionary established a leprosy treatment center in 1931 and helped many patients recover.

Lake Bunyonyi is not only a scenic destination, but also a place for adventure and relaxation. There’s plenty of fun to be had at the lake with options like boating, canoeing, swimming, hiking, biking, or fishing. They can also interact with the local people and learn about their culture and traditions, such as the Batwa pygmies who live in isolation and poverty.

Lake Bunyonyi is one of the must-visit destinations for tourists who wish to visit Uganda and experience its natural beauty and cultural diversity. It is also a perfect place to unwind after a gorilla trekking adventure in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

How to get there

Lake Bunyonyi is located between the towns of Kisoro and Kabale, about 7 km west of Kabale town.  One way to get there  from Kampala is by road which takes about 8 hours. It takes about 4 hours if you travelled from Kigali Rwanda.  You can also take a domestic flight from Entebbe to Kisoro or Kabale and then drive to the lake.

Tour and adventure activities:

Lake Bunyonyi offers a variety of activities to suit different tastes and budgets.  Here are some of the most popular and exciting things to do around lake Bunyonyi:

Boat tours: You have a chance to explore the lake and its islands by hiring a motorboat, a canoe or a kayak. You can also join a guided boat tour that will take you to some of the most interesting islands, such as Punishment Island, where unmarried pregnant girls were abandoned by their families in the past, or Sharp’s Island, where a leprosy treatment center was established by an English missionary in the 1930s.

Wildlife viewing: There are  various bird species  around the lake, like kingfishers, weavers, herons, cranes, and eagles which can fun to see if you are into birding. You can also spot otters, monkeys and other animals along the shores or on the islands. With a stroke of luck, you may catch a glimpse of hippos or crocodiles gracefully navigating the water.

Hiking: The hills around the lake offer scenic views and hiking trails for all levels of fitness. You can hike to the top of Kyahugye Island, where you can see zebras, antelopes and waterbucks. You can also hike to the Tombs of Bakiga Kings on Bucuranuka Island or to the Batwa pygmies’ village on Akampene Island.

Cultural experiences: Lake Bunyonyi is rich in culture and history. You can learn about the traditions and customs of the local people, such as the Bakiga and the Batwa, by visiting their villages, schools, markets and churches. You can also enjoy their music, dance and cuisine at cultural shows or festivals.

Budget and luxury accommodations

Lake Bunyonyi has a wide range of options for staying overnight in or near the lake, ranging from camping to lodges. Some of the options are:


This is the cheapest and most adventurous option for staying near the lake. This offers you a chance  to bring your own tent or rent one from the campsite. You can also use the shared facilities such as bathrooms, kitchens and fireplaces. Some of the campsites near the lake are:

Byoona Amagara at Lake Bunyonyi: This is a social enterprise that offers camping on a beautiful island in the lake. This camp site offer you an opportunity to  rent a tent for $10 per night or bring your own for $5 per night. You can also enjoy their restaurant, bar, library and games.

Bushara Island Camp: This is a camp on an island that supports community development and environmental conservation.  Renting a tent at this camp costs $15 per night.   Bringing your own tent would cost $10 per night. You can also use their restaurant, bar, craft shop and boat rental.


This is another affordable option for staying near the lake. You are offered different choices from which you can choose your stay, from dormitories or private rooms with basic amenities such as beds, mosquito nets and electricity. You can also use the common areas such as lounges, bars and gardens. Some of the hostels near the lake are:

Bunyonyi Overland Resort: This is a popular hostel that offers dormitories for $15 per person per night or private rooms for $60 per night. You can also enjoy their restaurant, bar, games room and garden.

Amasiko Homestay Lake Bunyonyi: This is a homestay that offers private rooms for $15 per person per night or dormitories for $10 per person per night. You can also enjoy their restaurant, lounge, terrace and playground.


This is a more comfortable and private option for staying near the lake. You can enjoy cozy rooms with en-suite bathrooms, hot water and Wi-Fi. You can also have access to services such as laundry, room service and airport transfers. Some of the guesthouses near the lake are:

Villa Bunyonyi: This is a spacious villa that offers four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and a balcony. Renting the whole villa would cost you $146 per night. Opting for a single room would cost you $40 per night.

Hawk’s Eye Lodge Bunyonyi: This is a lodge that offers six rooms with en-suite bathrooms, fireplaces and balconies. Renting a room per night goes for $60, and a family room costs $120 per night. You can also enjoy their restaurant, bar, garden and terrace.


This is the most luxurious and convenient option for staying near the lake. You can indulge in spacious rooms with balconies, fireplaces and bathtubs. You can also enjoy facilities such as swimming pools, spas, restaurants and bars. Some of the lodges near the lake are:

Bird Nest Resort Lake Bunyonyi: This is a resort that offers deluxe rooms for $200 per night or cottages for $300 per night. You can also enjoy their swimming pool, spa, restaurant, bar and private beach.

Paradise Eco-Hub: This is an eco-friendly lodge that offers cottages for $35 per night or tree houses for $50 per night. You can also enjoy their organic garden, restaurant, bar and terrace


Lake Bunyonyi has plenty of places where visitors can enjoy local cuisine and beverages, such as restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. Some of the places are:

Safari Diners Choma Restaurant and Cafe: This is a popular restaurant in Kabale town that serves American, African, barbecue kitchen,ner food.  There are a variety of dishes offered to guests who visit this restaurant. These include; burgers, pizzas, salads, soups and grilled. You also have a chance to relax at the cafe with a cup of coffee or tea and a pastry.

Steamy Cafe and Restaurant: This is a cozy cafe and restaurant that offers African, pizza, fast food and international food. You can try some of the local specialties such as matooke, beans, posho and chicken stew. You can also have a delicious pizza, sandwich or burger.

The Entuhe Project: This is a social enterprise that aims to empower the local community through sustainable tourism and education. You can visit their restaurant on the eastern shore of Lake Bunyonyi and enjoy healthy and organic food made from fresh ingredients. You can also learn about their projects and activities that support the environment and the people.

BSR Garden Bar and Grill: This is a bar and grill located at the Bunyonyi Safaris Resort on the lake. They offer a variety of drinks and snacks for their guests while they spend time enjoying the view of the lake and the islands.