Lake Bunyonyi is a destination bewilderingly absent on most traveler’s “Places to visit” list.
On your Uganda safari, you must visit Lake Bunyonyi for a chance to relax in this peaceful environment and learn about the intriguing mythical truths or myths about this lake.
With legendary undulating hills that seem to go on forever and the abundance of green tiny islands, Lake Bunyonyi offers some of the most unique scenes in Africa.
At 1,962 meters above sea level, the lake enjoys moderate temperatures year-round, cool in both the mornings and evenings.
It was created by a volcanic eruption that blocked a river exit some 10,000 years ago. Lake Bunyonyi is believed to be among the 5 deepest lakes in Africa after Lake Tanganyika, going down as far as 900m.
The lake has 29 islands among these include the most popular called the Punishment Island (Akampene), Bushara Island, Kyahugye Island, Bucuranuka (Upside Down) island, and Sharp’s Island (Bwama and Njuyeera).
The Punishment Island (Akampene Island)
Akampene Island is better known as a Punishment Island is a very deserted island and only has two trees.
One of the trees looks long dead, one has lasted longer than usual that its flora is breathing it is last.
The islands next to Akampene Island are quite busy. They have several houses and tourism resorts.
In the old days up until 900s, a trip to Akampene Island was not something to rejoice.
Its strange history claims this was the island where all girls that would be found pregnant before getting married officially, would be taken, and abandoned there to die.
The judges made ensure that the display of dumping the girl on the island was seen as a warning to other girls, the process of leading her there would be just the first phase of the punishment.
It is believed that the girl would be taken and left there all on her own and nothing else to survive on but rather to die.
But that is not the gospel truth; the abandonment at Akampene Island was the beginning of ex-communication from the family.
After knowing all this, your first steps on the Island’s muddy floor will be a cautious one with your eyes fixed on the ground in expectation of skeletal remains of those who were starved to death on the Island.
Things, however, turned out not like you would have expected. Not everyone left on Akampene was meant to and would die there!
Death is not always what took place; any boy or man that for long had an interest in such a girl or long wished to get married but with no resources to pay for her bride price, would seize the opportunity to get himself a “free wife”!
Whoever would peddle to the Island and rescue the abandoned girl would take her home for a wife and would live together for life!
There are women that still live as testimonies to this around Lake Bunyonyi.
What a story!
Escaping the island
The common route would be escaping to Nju yeera Island and then continue to join the mainland at Bulimba and begin a new life.
That doesn’t mean that single motherhood was easier then than it is today and one disturbing fact in this story is that nothing would happen to the father of the unborn baby!
The pregnant girl would not dare mention the boy or man who made her pregnant because there was a belief that if she did, she would die at the Island with nobody to rescue her.
Bucuranuka Island turned upside down
Bucuranuka Island is believed to have turned upside down after the villagers occupying it denied an old woman local beer and told her to leave.
She asked for somebody to take her to the mainland and when she reached the shore, the island turned upside down and no one survived but the birds.
Lake Bunyonyi is a popular Uganda safari destination for watersports and is known for the surrounding terraced hillsides.
It is popular with both foreign and domestic tourists and there are a wide variety of tourist accommodations that offer various activities for your trip.