During the last weekend of February we visited Lake Bunyonyi in the extreme southwest of Uganda, near the borders with Rwanda and Congo. This lake is actually a flooded valley surrounded by steep hills and lies at an altitude of almost 2,000m. Because of this it can be quite chilly at nights, so we were quite happy our treehouse was equipped with some blankets! The road from Kampala to Lake Bunyonyi takes you past the equator and the cities of Masaka, Mbarara and Kabale. In all of these towns SolarNow has branches, and we spent Thursday night in Kabale so Marloes could meet with the local staff. We actually drove up there with Dennis, one of SolarNow’s drivers, so along the way we also delivered some solar systems at various branches and franchisees.
Before you reach Mbarara (the “dairy country” – a lot of Uganda’s milk comes from this region, but there is also a large Coca Cola plant just outside town), you also pass Lake Mburo National Park. If you are lucky you can spot some zebra’s alongside the road here (Marloes saw one the first time she drove here), but not this time unfortunately.
On Friday morning we left Kabale for a 10km ride on two Boda Boda’s (moped taxi’s) to the Lake, over a so-called ‘all-weather’ dirt road through a dense forest. The road actually was quite good, without many of the pot holes we have gotten used to. The excellent state of the road also meant our drivers thought it was perfectly fine to race each other, so we had to slow them down a bit. The last 2km’s there is a steep descent with some great views of the Lake, which also is the cue for the Boda Boda drivers to switch off their engines to save some fuel… We stayed in the Bunyonyi Overland Resort, which besides backpackers like us also hosts ‘overland cruises’, big (converted) 4×4 trucks (the type of trucks that race in the Dakar rally) that carry a group of people and their camping gear for a ‘cruise’ in Africa. These trucks can easily drive over dirt roads and even go off-road without much trouble, so for groups of friends that is a great way to travel, as you basically don’t need lodging. The Overland Resort has a special parking space and camping grounds for these kind of trips. The Lonely Planet warned it could get pretty noisy over here, but luckily enough there was just one such truck when we were there. The next day we took a seven (!) hour canoe trip on a dug-out canoe (basically a floating log, with corresponding agility…), which was pretty tough and took over an hour before we managed to get the thing going in the direction we wanted to. All-in-all still a very nice trip, as we managed to visit some of the lake islands, had lunch on top of a hill and spotted a grey crowned crane (Uganda’s national bird) in the bushes while floating past – too bad we were too busy to keep going in one direction that we couldn’t take a picture.
In this region you can also track mountain gorilla’s in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, something we very much would like to do one time, albeit that the tracking permits of 500 USD pp for one hour with the wild gorilla’s are a tad expensive, ahum. Hopefully we can get a good deal sometime in the future. For some people this is not really an obstacle it seems though: An Irish girl whom we met at the Overland Resort told us that a few days before an American couple bought all 64 available permits for a single day. They wanted to spend some time with the gorilla’s while absolutely not meeting any other tourists… Besides the money, this must have been quite a hassle to arrange, since the park the different gorilla groups live in is spread out accross Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, so they bought all tickets available in all three countries.
Instead of going on this trek now, we went back from Lake Bunyonyi to Kabale on Sunday morning and then on a 8-hour bus trip back to Kampala, which was not as bad as expected, although some of the fellow passengers would do good to learn about the magic workings of deodorant… The guy sitting in front of Marloes apparently also had a bit too much to drink the evening before, while he was trying to spice up the country side some of his filth actually landed on Marloes her lap, blegh! That, and the usual 2 hour traffic jam in Kampala were the only downsides on an otherwise great weekend!
Google Maps Location
Wondering where to find Lake Bunyonyi? See the map below, you can use the normal Google Maps controls such as zooming in and out, switching between terrain, road and satellite views and dragging the map to move around.
New Photo Gallery
Click on a picture in the gallery below to open up the slideshow (navigate through the pictures by clicking on the arrowheads or by using the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard).
We have also now added the option to like posts on Facebook and to post Facebook comments directly below our posts. More stories and pictures from our other recent trips & activities are coming soon!