Islands on Lake Bunyonyi , literally translated as place of many little birds is a freshwater lake in south western Uganda.  It is home to over 200 bird species, hence the name bunyonyi. The lake is known for being deep and it is estimated to be about 900m deep and one of the deepest lake in Africa. The Lake isbelieved to have been formed as a result of lava flow from one of the Virunga mountains and managed to occupy Ndego River and when it continued blocked the river, so when the river was dammed by a lava flow and the river  drowned thus forming the lake.

The lake’s beauty is made of several things including the water, the birds the surrounding flora but most of the 29 islands on this lake. The lake is dotted with 29 islands. The most prominent of these include the Akampene Island also known as the punishment island, Bushara, Kyahugye, Bwama and Njuyeera, and Bucuranuka.

29 islands each one more fascinating from the other. With your preferred mode of transport, you get a chance to visit every island on the lake and explore it. The most popular and commonly visited islands are:-

Akampene (Punishment island): Regarded the smallest island on the lake and yet one that is most memorable. Akampene island holds a morbid history of a tradition that was upheld for quite a long time by the local people. Young girls who got pregnant before marriage were taken to this island and tied to the one tree that sits on the islands to atone for their transgressions. As times changed, this tradition was ignored and regarded as an outdated ancient tradition.

Islands on Lake Bunyonyi
Akampene island

Kyahugye Island: Considered one of the most exciting islands, here there are a number of animals you can see. The Island is home of Zebras, Waterbucks, Impalas and a lot more. For a mini version of a game drive, with a view of the glittering sun-kissed waters at a distance and fresh breezes, an hours’ ride will be a perfect addition. These animals were introduced to the area.

Bushara Island: For a closer look at the birds around this area, you have to check out Bushara Island. Carry your binoculars and long-lens cameras to be able to get the best of the experience, Islands on Lake Bunyonyi.

Bwama Island: This is the largest of the islands and happens to be inhabited by people. Dr Leonard Sharp was a Scottish missionary that came to Uganda in the 1920s and in 1931 started up a sanctuary for people suffering from Leprosy. He set up a Leprosy treatment Centre where people would come to be treated without feeling mistreated or neglected. This is strongly embedded in the island’s history. Currently, these hospital structures are being used as schools for the island inhibitors.

Islands on Lake Bunyonyi
Bwama Island

Bacuranuka Island:  The mythical story about this island is quite a tale. Long ago, 20 men were making local brew (obushera) when an old woman came upon them and requested for a sip of the drink. The men refused to offer her a sip of the drink in an ungentlemanly manner. The old lady requested them to offer her a ride to the mainland to which they accepted gladly for they wanted her out of the way. One of the men was sent with her to the mainland, out of frustration, the old lady cursed the island which turned upside down and swallowing the men brewing ‘bushera’ on the island.

With 29 small islands, you can be sure that each island has a special tale that ties to the local history and cultural beliefs but the ones listed above are the most popular tales.

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