Lake Bunyoni is one of the jewels of the lovely south-west corner of Uganda. Close by is Mgahinga National Park, where the Virunga Volcanoes straddle Uganda and neighbouring Rwanda. This region is both beautiful and fascinating. You can enjoy a more leisured itinerary with the chance to hike through local villages, paddle a traditional canoe and meet the ancient Batwa people of the forest.
Lake Bunyoni, the second deepest lake in Africa, is fringed by lovely lakeside lodges from which to soak up the charms of this exceptionally scenic location. Bunyoni is dotted with little islands which play host to the numerous species of birds after which the lake is named, ‘little birds’.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, to give it its full name, is one of Uganda’s smallest forest reserves. Part of the Virunga Volcanoes mountain range, it is indeed home to mountain gorillas but they have an unfortunate tendency to range far across the border into the DRC which makes gorilla tracking from the Uganda side quite unpredictable. Thankfully, the park offers lots of other worthwhile activities including hikes up the volcanoes, tracking Golden Monkeys and the Batwa Trail.
The Batwa Trail
The Batwa are the former dwellers in the high mountain forests of south-west Uganda. Their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, in which they co-existed alongside the mountain gorillas and other forest inhabitants for millennia, has been devastatingly impacted by both 20th century development and conservation. In an attempt to improve their lot, establish an income and find a new way to resume their role as ‘keepers of the forest’ the Batwa are keen to explain, demonstrate and share their low-impact culture and heritage with visitors. The Batwa Trail in Mgahinga National Park is both moving and enlightening.