Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is a picturesque and serene lake located in southwestern Uganda, near the border with Rwanda. It is often considered one of the most beautiful lakes in East Africa surrounded by steep hills and terraced fields, thus often referred to as the “Switzerland of Africa” due to its resemblance to the landscapes of the Swiss Alps.

The lake is dotted with numerous small islands, around 29 in total. Some of these islands are inhabited, and others are used for various purposes, including farming and tourism. The islands add to the charm of the lake, and visitors can explore them by boat. Lake Bunyonyi is ecologically rich, hosting a variety of bird species, including herons, weavers, and kingfishers. The surrounding hills are also covered with lush vegetation. The lake is free of hippos and crocodiles, making it safe for swimming and canoeing.

Car rental services to the lake

Planning a self-drive safari to Africa’s second deepest lake – Lake Bunyonyi, travel with 4×4 Africa that provides reliable 4×4 safari vehicles exposing the traveler to different attractions around the park. These attractions can be seen during some activities like swimming, nature walking, canoeing, boat riding, hiking, bird watching and many others.

Activities done in Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy its natural beauty, cultural richness, and recreational opportunities. Here are some detailed activities you can experience around Lake Bunyonyi:

Boat Trips

Explore the various islands on the lake, each with its own unique character. Some islands are inhabited, while others are used for agriculture and local activities.

As you are enjoying the boat trip on the lake, learn about the history of Punishment Island (Akampene), where unmarried pregnant girls were traditionally abandoned. While the practice has ceased, the island serves as a historical and cultural point of interest.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Rent a canoe or kayak to paddle around the lake at your own pace. This allows for a more intimate experience with the surroundings and the chance to explore smaller inlets and coves. Also, you can take an overnight canoeing and spend the night on the other island.

Bird Watching

Lake Bunyonyi is a haven for birdwatchers hosting over 200 bird species. Bring your binoculars and observe a variety of bird species, including herons, weavers, kingfishers, and the African Harrier Hawk during a boat cruise experience or even a nature walk.


Enjoy the clean and safe waters of Lake Bunyonyi for a refreshing swim. The lake is free of dangerous wildlife, making it a pleasant and safe swimming environment.


Embark on hiking trails around the hills surrounding Lake Bunyonyi. Some trails offer panoramic views of the lake and its islands. Hikes can vary in difficulty, catering to different fitness levels.

Cultural Experiences

Visit local communities and engage in cultural activities. This may include traditional dance performances, storytelling sessions, and interactions with the Bakiga people to learn about their customs and daily life.


Fishing is a popular activity on Lake Bunyonyi. You can try your hand at traditional Ugandan fishing techniques or go out on a boat with a local guide for a more modern fishing experience.


Capture the breathtaking landscapes, vibrant birdlife, and unique cultural experiences with your camera. Lake Bunyonyi offers numerous picturesque scenes for photography enthusiasts.


Take advantage of the tranquil setting by simply relaxing by the lakeside. Many accommodations offer comfortable lounging areas with stunning views, providing an ideal environment for unwinding.

Day Trips to Nearby Attractions

Use Lake Bunyonyi as a base to explore nearby attractions, such as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, where you can go gorilla trekking, or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, another renowned gorilla trekking destination.

How to access the lake

Lake Bunyonyi is in the regions of Kabale town with in western Uganda. Along the road, its 6 hours from Kampala which is also 410km to Kabale town and only 8km on marram road from Kabale town to Lake Bunyonyi on your way to Bwindi impenetrable Forest National park with in Kabale or Mgahinga National park in Kisoro district. This beautiful lake is also snarled between the hills of Kabale.

Best time to visit Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi can be visited anytime throughout the year but the best time is during the dry season which is in the months of June to September and December to February. This is because the hiking trails are always dry and passable compared to the rainy season.

Where to stay while at the lake

During the safari to Lake Bunyonyi, there are different accommodation facilities where to spend nights and these range from budget, midrange and luxury rates. Among these include; Byoona Amagara Island retreat, Bunyonyi overland resort, Lake Chahafi resort, Bird nest resort, and many others.