Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort, Uganda – 25-26 July

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September 9th 2012
Published: September 9th 2012
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Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort – 25-26 July

These 2 days were spent around, on and above the Lake.

Lake Bunyonyi is a body of water seven kilometres west from Kabale Town, south-western Uganda. It is 25 km long and 7 km wide, covering an area of 61 square kilometres. The lake's altitude is 1,950 m, and it is surrounded by hills that are 2,200 to 2,478 m high and intensely cultivated.

Its 29 islands are concentrated in the central part. These islands have few settlements; they are mostly used for tourist facilities and for a secondary and a primary school.

The data on the lake's maximum depth varies; from 44 m to 900 m in parts (although a conflicting sign on the side of the Lake stated that it was 2000m at its deepest). If the latter is true, Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa. The temperature on the surface rises to 25 degrees Celsius. In the beginning of the 20th century, fish were introduced to the lake and in the 1930s fishing became profitable. Unfortunately in the 1960s the fish died massively as a result of a violent shallow mixing, likely caused by wind. Subsistence fishing prevailed in the lake, people mostly caught clarias species - the lake's depth and stratification makes it difficult for the breeding of the common Ugandan species Nile Perch and Tilapia. Nevertheless, 300,000 Nile Tilapias and Clarias fish were released in the lake at the end of 2002. Also present in the lake are Mud fish, Cray fish and Mirrowcarp - and plenty of their predators, otters.

The lake's main centre is Bufuka Village. The area's inhabitants are from the Bakiga and the Batwa tribes.

On the morning of the 25th, after waking at 7.30am, breakfast at 8.00am, 12 of us decided to go to see the Village of Pygmies. After a 1 ½ hour motorised boat cruise, we arrived at the ‘village’. We were met by children and a couple of adults – no pygmies in site! We quickly learned that there was a lot of breeding with our sized people and so that is why we saw no pygmies. All the visit was about was kids with their hands out, asking for money, pens etc. It was very unpleasant and all the time I was there I was thinking how we tourists were destroying their society. So sad!

The group of villagers of all ages performed a dance and singsong for us. They then layed out their handicraft for us to buy. All the time, the children were asking for money. One boy (10-12 years old) was the worst. Another similarly aged boy told many of the kids off for trying to grab pencils and asking for money. On the way back to the boat, I got to speak to a 12 y.o. girl who told me she had finished your 7 and was going boarding to attend secondary school. She wants to be a teacher or doctor. She was the oldest of 6 children. Ages in the family were 12, 11, 9, 8, 6, & 3 (3 girls, 3 boys).

We said our goodbyes and went back to camp.

Lunch was at 1.00pm – Simon our cook was fantastic. All the meals were very tasty and healthy – and plenty of it!

In the afternoon at 2.30pm 6 of us decided to climb up the hill at the back of the resort. It was a tough climb. Tom started it but turned back. The rest of us kept going and after 30 minutes we came across the Arcadia Resort. This was a beautiful building with cottages for accommodation, a bar, restaurants, large deck from which we had the most amazing view of the lake, the many, many islands and the terraced hillside. The Lake is over 2000 metres deep in its deepest spot. We drank a much needed beer while we looked at the view, including the beautifully manicured, terraced gardens below the deck. The locals, again, were very friendly. We also met a Norwegian couple who had been staying at the Arcadia Resort and enjoying it.

That night we played pool, chatted and to bed about 10.00pm.

The next day (Thursday 26 July) we woke up again at 7.45am for 8.00am breakfast. Tom and I decided to hire a canoe after I did a bit of my diary. The canoe was a dugout which was definitely balanced. We both had a paddle and after a short time we learned not to paddle hard, but to let the canoe float with minimal rowing by us. After going around in a couple of circles, we worked it out.

We went over to the Nature’s Prime Island where there was a restaurant and more accommodation, most with on suite bathrooms (the toilets were ‘long-drops). We had a coffee looking over the lake – very pleasant. The locals told us about their menu special – yabbies. This restaurant is known for their spicy yabbies which we passed up. It was beautiful floating around the Lake which was beautiful. We floated and paddled around for a couple of hours. The weather was beautiful with a gentle breeze and slightly overcast. Magnificent. We were wondering what was happening in the world as we were not in contact with anyone due to the remoteness and lack of technology. I was missing the opportunity of talking to the family.

After another beautiful lunch (Simon makes fantastic salads) I talked Tom in walking up the hill so that he could see the view and Arcadia Resort. He agreed!! It would be good for his chest. We took it easy and he made it and was pleased he did. He even found a low carb beer which we shared.

We did the easy walk down after having a look at the village up the top, went back to camp and sat around doing our diary/blog again. The rest of our group were swimming, canoeing, playing pool or just sitting around reading or sunbathing. It’s a very relaxed place and has been good to get our laundry up to date and not be in the bus.

Tomorrow we start our drive back towards Nairobi which will take 6 days.

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