Gorilla trekking while staying at lake Bunyonyi ?
Is it safe to stay at lake Bunyonyi and trek gorillas in Ruhija that is on the Eastern side of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? Lets explore the advantages and disadvantages involved
Lake Bunyonyi is located in south western in the district of Kabale popularly known as the Switzerland of Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi is been documented as the deepest lake in Uganda and others say that it is the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika of Tanzania. The lake derives its name “Bunyonyi” from a Rukiga word for small birds that are very common around the area.
It has been discovered that many tourists who trek gorillas in Ruhija located on the eastern side of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park prefer staying at Lake Bunyonyi instead of Ruhija or Buhoma which have alternative accommodation. This article is therefore concentrating on the advantages and disadvantages of staying at Lake Bunyonyi and trekking Bwindi Gorillas. Ruhija is popular because of its three gorilla groups: Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguriro on top of it being a bording haven for avid and keen birders.
By staying at Lake Bunyonyi and trekking Ruhija gorillas, it helps tourists and driver guides to break the long journey. It is believed that from Kampala to Ruhija, one may have to be contented with driving for about 10 hours which is not healthy for some one who will be trekking gorillas the next morning. By staying at Lake Bunyonyi, you then end up driving about seven hours only so that after relaxation, you can then drive about 2 hours to the tracking area even when you are very flesh and not tired.
The other advantage is that Lake Bunyonyi provides many options in as far as tourism activities are concerned compared to Ruhija. In Ruhija, there mainly two activities of birding as well as gorilla tracking but in lake Bunyonyi, one can take a boat ride on the lake to explore different islands including the many floating islands as well as the famous punishment islands where girls who could become pregnant outside marriage would be dropped and left to die. You can as well decide to go birding, hill hiking or visiting the Batwa community and the Bakiga for cultural performances. If time allows, you can as well go for Kabale town tour which involves visiting the regional museum and the house of Edirisa in Kabale town. All these activities can be done on the day you arrive or after gorilla tracking.
The disadvantage with staying at lake Bunyonyi and you trek gorillas in Ruhija is that, you should be prepared to wake up very early to start your two hour drive to Ruhija park head quarters. Many tourists who stay at Bunyonyi have to wake up at 5am and prepare to take off at 6pm so that they arrive before 8:30am which is the official time for gorilla tracking briefing. Kabale being hilly, fog tend so slow down the drive and the road tends to be slippery when it rains and mudslides can as well block the way causing panic in most cases.
The formation of this great lake is associated with lava damning that happened a million years ago. It is believed that during volcanicity, lava from nearby hills blocked a river valley hence stopping the follow of water resulting into the water going backwards to fill the valley. Lake Bunyonyi is also known to be peaceful and stable with few waves due to the fact that its showers are sheltered by hills. To confirm this fact, if you visit Lake Bunyonyi at any date, you will notice that women and children use simple canoes for transport and fishing which is not common on other lakes.
Because of its nature of formation and location, Lake Bunyonyi has become one of the attractions tourists like visiting while in south western Uganda. Many people go to Lake bunyonyi for swimming, sport fishing, birding, hill hiking, boat rides and many other activities in the area. Due to this many accommodation properties both budget and luxury have been constructed to provide services to all categories of tourists that flock to this lake. Among the popular accommodation properties in this area are Birds Nest which is so far the luxury one, Arcadia Cottages, Crater Bay Cottages, Lake bunyonyi Overland Camp. Bushara Island Camp, Bunyonyi Eco resort among others.