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Lake Bunyonyi and Kabale

Uganda Travel / Lake Bunyonyi and Kabale

Kabale, with its population of some 500,000, is the chief town in deep western Uganda and just 49 miles from the capital city of Kigali in neighboring Rwanda. Kabale town rarely raises interest among travellers, as it is usually just a transport hub and gateway to both Lake Bunyonyi and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Hence, making this dusty town rather a unique and very local experience. You probably won’t be impressed but you will see the real Africa- see how this city moves, lives and breathes everyday. You will see it as it is, free from any adornments to merit the title “tourist attraction”. Visit the Kabale central market to buy and sample African produce. Here you will see local Ugandans getting about their daily routines. We also go to Bukora where blacksmiths/local Ugandans make hoes, panga, and knives and see how they make intricate designs. We then drive to Kabale hills and visit the famous Lake Bunyonyi, which is the highlight of the tour. This lake was created millions of years ago when lava blocked the River Kabaga creating 29 islands, some of which are settled. It is also home to the infamous Punishment Island where unmarried pregnant girls were marooned and left to die. You will have your lunch here and enjoy its serene ambiance and breathtaking views. After lunch, travel back to Kabale town and visit the hot springs in Rubanda called Kitagata, which is famous for its curative waters. Also called by the locals as ‘Mulago’ meaning hospital, this place receives several people on a daily basis who flock to the springs to bathe in the warm water. The water in the springs can warm up to 80 °C (176 °F). It is estimated that per week, about 800 people of all ages and from all corners of the country visit Kitagata springs.

Bunyonyi Rock Resort, a resort, is a property situated in Kabale. This resort offers a private beach area and free WiFi. The property provides mountain views and a barbecue.Lake Bunyonyi ought to be considered one of the natural wonders of the world and, now that I’ve seen it before my own eyes, it’s joined the ranks of my most beloved travel destinations.

Believed to be the second deepest lake in Africa, Lake Bunyonyi is a body of water in southwestern Uganda near the Rwandan border, and one of the country’s top natural treasures. And, at 1,962m above sea level, the lake enjoys moderate temperatures year round, cool in both the mornings and evenings. Most visitors make it an R&R stop after gorilla trekking in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. My friend Jill and I visited the mountain gorillas in neighbouring Rwanda instead but, after reading about Lake Bunyonyi, I was hellbent on making my way there, even from Kibale National Park on the other side of Uganda where we spent the day trekking chimpanzees.

The Scenery

Lake Bunyonyi is framed by lush, green-terraced hills that reach a height of 2,200-2,478m, but it’s the 29 islands of various shapes and sizes scattered across the water that make it most magical — we could’ve admired them all day. It’s a sight that reinvents itself every hour or two with the ever-changing climate and direction of the sun. In the early morning, the islands weave through cotton candy-like streams of mist and, in the afternoon, they’re bathed in the warm glow of the sun. Later, they’re silhouetted against a dim sky as evening approaches. One day the islands vanished from sight completely, hidden under a blanket of clouds, but it only took an hour to see them emerge once more.

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