By Chancela Gningui,
Lake Bunyonyi, located in southwestern Uganda, close to Kabale city, near the border with Rwanda, Lake Bunyonyi with its winding shores, is 25 km long and 7 km wide and has at least 29 islands.
Beginning of last century during pre-independence, unmarried pregnant girls in Uganda were seen as a disgrace to the family and, more importantly, as a source of lost wealth since a virgin girl was traded for cattle to be married. To wash away the ‘dis-honour’, these young women were then sent to one of the islands in Lake Bunyonyi to die.
Lake Bunyonyi is a popular tourist destination as this tourist explains.
But today, Lake Bunyonyi, where this ancient tradition was carried on, has become the perfect refuge, a place of natural beauty and serenity, and mostly an escape from the bustling urban centres.
The scenic terraced hills slopes falling into the lake, water sports activities and the proximity to the “gorilla” national parks makes Lake Bunyonyi a popular tourist destination as this tourist explains.
In the past, tourism was rather seasonal, but the islanders are trying to change this. According to this Dutch tourist, tourism on the lake has changed considerably over the last decade.
Numerous guest-houses, campsites and eco-lodges have cropped up along the lake shores. The number of accommodation facilities, attractions in the park and around the lake have indeed increased.
Uganda Tourism Board records show there are at least 25 accommodation establishments today, compared to three ten years ago.
The Bunyonyi Overland resort is one example. It started as a campsite more than 20 years ago and can now accommodate nearly 100 people.
Tourism is on the rise in Uganda, thanks in part to the four government campaigns launched in 2016 and 2017