31 May 2012

Uganda {Part I}: Lake Bunyonyi

During my trip to Rwanda, we set the weekend aside to head over the Ugandan border and pay a visit to beautiful Lake Bunyonyi.  Until a couple of months ago I'd never even know that the lake existed, but now that I've been I'm already scheming up ways in which I can get Jurg to go back with me.  It must be one of the most breathtaking places I've ever had the privilege of visiting; the whole weekend the three of us just kept going on and on about how green everything was, and how friendly everyone was, and how we wished we could extend our stay from a couple of days to a couple of weeks {or months for that matter}.  It was so so pretty - and it really and truly was as green as it appears in the pictures below.  

Literally translated, Lake Bunyonyi means "place of many little birds".  Anyone who's visited will assure you that while the lake is indeed a very popular place for avid bird watchers, it's also quite famous for the rustic wooden canoes used for transportation and the hundreds of little islands scattered throughout its waters.  In fact, there's so many islands everywhere that it's almost impossible to catch an unobstructed view of the lake.  These little islands are home to locals, schools, orphanages, and Rastafarians, but also house quaint backpackers and hidden-away island bungalows, making it one of Africa's best kept secrets when it comes to expats and travelers.

First glimpse of the lake!
We made it! {Not an easy feat, I tell you}
So, so pretty!
The building in the background is an upscale hotel - we were told that Idi Amin had the owner killed because he was intimidated by his wealth.
One of the pretty little birds that the lake is so famous for
An early morning view of the lake from our bungalow {paradise, people, paradise...}
It looked like rain, so on our first day we opted for the motor boat rather than risking it with a canoe.
The next day we tried the canoes though!
They were fun at first, but after about10 minutes the novelty wore off and then they were just plain work ;)
The lake is also known for the beautiful terraces found all over its surrounding hills
Taking a break from rowing
Back on dry land!

Aside from its obvious beauty, what I loved about Lake Bunyonyi was that it still really felt like untouched, undeveloped Africa.  And, it was quiet.  The kind of quiet where the only thing you wake up to is the sound of birds chirping and at night you cozy into your bed early because it's so dark that you can't even see your hands when you hold them out in front of you.  Everything is natural and organic and raw.

One morning I woke up much earlier than Amber and Katie, so I took my book out onto our patio to watch the sunrise.  There wasn't another soul in sight and in the distance I could hear the faint drumming of drums and the voices of a group of locals engaged in some sort of song or chant.  As I sat there I took a  few minutes to just try and soak it all in because I knew I would never want to forget that moment - alone, watching the sun rise over the lake, in the middle of beautiful untouched Africa.  It was so peaceful - the kind of peaceful that is so difficult to find these days, and I found myself wondering, "will there be anywhere like this left on earth for my children one day?"

I'm not sure, but I sure do hope so :)

- - - - -

Tomorrow we are off to Sun City with Jurgen's parents for a weekend of fun and relaxation.  We decided to take my new Fiesta, so it will be a chance for me to really "show off" my manual driving skills ;)  Wish me luck!  Next week I'll be back with pictures!

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

{Next up in the travel re-cap series is our little island and bungalow on the lake!} 


  1. sweet. to get there though, you must have been on one of the worst roads in ug...ahhhhh!

  2. Beautiful pictures Jenna!

    Many people travel to Gabon as the majority of it is also untouched - I've got a post up tomorrow about our trip into a land reserve here and it was that same feeling. A little quiet and nature always feels so good after being in the 'city.'

    Have fun in Sun City!

  3. Wow Jenna! These pictures are breathtaking. You are truly a fortunate lady!

  4. The pictures are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing! What a great trip!

  5. WOW what a trip! - i so wish i was able to travel more often - i use to travel so much, now, not so much *boo*

  6. what a beautiful place. you are so lucky to be able to have these experiences. I hope you also keep a journal and write down random thoughts you have during the day. it would be fun to look back on. xoxo

  7. What an awesome opportunity. It looks breathtaking there.

  8. So pretty! They really should make more movies there....but "undeveloped"....one question - was there anything scary in the water?! I would die if a hippo came up out of nowhere! haha

  9. Jenna,
    These photos are incredible. I love seeing your adventures. A morning on that canoe would be fantastic:) So happy you are getting to travel!

  10. that land looks so lush! i want to visit it now! and you're right...it looks untouched, pristine, and peaceful... i need some of that in my life!!!

  11. Such beautiful pictures, Jenna - what an adventure!! So amazing :)

  12. Wow it looks beautiful! :) and it looks like you had a really good time!

  13. Oh my, these photos are just incredible, the colours are unreal! The little story about you watching the sunrise was beautiful, that must be such a precious memory for you. Oh and congrats on your awesome new car as well! ;)

  14. Oh my, these photos are just incredible, the colours are unreal! The little story about you watching the sunrise was beautiful, that must be such a precious memory for you. Oh and congrats on your awesome new car as well! ;)

  15. really love this post!
    would like to visit this place one day...


  16. you're right, Lake Bunyonyi is a magical place. Uganda itself is a beautiful country, and I am dying in anticipation of my upcoming months there as an expat. Thank you for the beautiful post! It makes me more anxious to arrive and more greatful that I will be living in a place with such beauty.

    I'm also subscribing so I can read some more of your adventures!

  17. It's so, so beautiful! I think that when you are in a big, modern city like Jo-berg, you can actually forget that you are actually in AFRICA! How great that you got to go to this beautiful place and reconnect with the amazing continent you live on!


Thanks for the love!