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Lakes in Uganda

Lake Victoria

This is the largest lake in Africa and the chief reservoir of the White Nile. Its waters fill a shallow depression in the Centre of the great plateau that stretches between the Western and Eastern Rift Valleys. Among the freshwater lakes of the world it is exceeded in size only by Lake Superior in North America.

The lake also offers plenty of tourist activities. You can visit the source of the Nile in Jinja, visit one of the Ssese islands, feed the chimpanzees at Ngamba Island or relax at one of the fine resorts which are located on islands or peninsulas in Lake Victoria.

Of course you might also consider a fishing trip on the lake in search of the giant Nile Perch! Lake Victoria has more than 200 species of fish, of which the Tilapia is the most economically important.

This lake has a variety of bird species, which makes it a great place to go bird watching. Many tourists go to the Mabamba Swamp to see birds such as the Shoe-bill Stork. You can also just use a pair of binoculars and look out from one of the beaches. Since the lake has tropical highlands above it.

Did you know that chimpanzees were brought to a 100-acre island? Ngamba Island referred to as is home to 49 chimpanzees and a typical island of lake Victoria. It’s a Chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda. And is a popular tourist destination. You can do a day trip or an overnight stay.

Crater lakes in Fort Portal

30Km south of Fort Portal between the main Fort Portal – Kasese road and Kibale Forest is a collection of Crater lakes. These Crater Lakes are formed as a result of vulcanicity, with violent eruption causing the top of a volcano to be blown off, leaving a crater.

The lakes are so many and vary in size and character, and have well-developed facilities. It’s amazing that crater lakes are bilharzia-free and hence safe for swimming. However, it is important to establish the living creatures within or around a particular crater.

Meanwhile, these crater lakes are ideal for sport fishing, nature walks, cycling and a great opportunity to do intensive bird watching. These crater lakes have over 300 bird species.

The popular crater lakes include: Lake Nyabikere, literary translated as lake of Frogs. This tranquil spot is 30 minutes’ drive from Fort Portal on the Kamwenge road, and just 100 m off the main road at the edge of Kibale Forest National Park.

It is possible to walk from Lake Nyabikere to Lake Nkuruba via Lake Nyinabulitwa to Lake Nyamirima. Nyabikere is a popular base for Chimp treks in the Primate Kingdom of Kibale. Local fishing boats are available to ease transport from one Lake to another.

Another popular Lake is Nyinambuga. This image is found on Uganda’s 20,000 currency note. This blue-green lake offers stunning views of nature. Popular facility called Ndali lodge is set on a narrow ridge overlooking this water body.

Lake Nkuruba is another amazing Nature reserve which has contributed to education progress among the natives in the community. It has camping areas in tranquil settings and nice walks to the top of the world, to the neighbouring lakes, the Mahoma falls and the explosion crater.

Most other lakes such as Lake Nyamugasani, Lake Ntambi, Lake Mubiro, Lake Lyantonde, and Lake Nyanswiga are inaccessible.

Meanwhile, Lake Kasenda has fertile soils around it which favorites the growth of Arabia coffee which has led to the growth of Agro-tourism. However, a visit to Mahoma falls in Kabata village, near Ndali lodge can be arranged for an epic relation with nature.

Lake Wamala

Lake Wamala is a freshwater lake in Uganda. Its wetlands contain endangered species of birds and animals including the sitatunga. The lake is of traditional and cultural significance to the people of Buganda in Central Uganda.

The lake is shared by the districts of Mubende, Mityana, and Gomba in the Buganda Region of Uganda. The road distance between downtown Mityana and Kalyankoko, Kimuli, Mityana District, on the eastern shores of Lake Wamala is approximately 17 kilometres.

It is dotted by many islands, including Lwanju Island, Mabo Island, and Bagwe Island, Kiraza, Kazinga, among others.

Several rivers flow into the lake, including the River Nyanzi, the River Kitenga, the River Kaabasuma, the River Mpamujugu, and the River Bbimbye. The lake is drained by the Kibimba River into the Katonga River, which in turn drains into Lake Victoria.

The lake forms an ecosystem with wetland in the surrounding areas which has become a catchment areas and a home to different wildlife species.

There exist remnants of a variety of animal species such as sitatunga, wild pigs, hippopotamus, bushbuck, waterbuck, vervet monkey, baboon and a variety of birds such as guinea fowl and turaco. A diversity of water based birds are visible in the remaining wetlands. Existing fish species include tilapia, catfish and lungfish.

Lake Bunyonyi is in south-western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale, and it is close to the border with Rwanda. The lake appeared from 2004 to 2009 on the 5,000 Ugandan shilling note under the title “Lake Bunyonyi and terraces”.

It is Uganda’s deepest lake with a varying depth between 44m and 900m, a width of 7km and 25km long. With this Lake Bunyonyi is also said to be the second deepest lake in Africa lying on an altitude of about 1962meters above sea level.

Its approximately a 7 hour drive from Kampala to Bunyonyi and around 2 hours if one is traveling from Kigali; Rwanda’s capital city. Lake Bunyonyi also appears on the Uganda’s fifty thousand shilling note. The Lake is among Uganda’s few lakes that are Bilharzia free and safe for swimming. While here there is a lot one can do and enjoy.

This lake is home to over 200 species of birds that have been recorded. Cruising into the Nyombi swamp will enable you to see a collection of assorted bird species.

These comprise of the home based species as well as those that have crossed over from International borders particularly during winter seasons in those countries.

It is also a lake free of Bilharzia; a human disease caused by parasitic worms, which makes the water safe for swimming. Another assuring advantage for the swimmers out there is that it is free of any kind of dangerous wildlife like the man eating crocodiles and hippopotamus.

Explore the Islands one by one, getting to know the story behind each one of them take for example the Akampene (Punishment Island) where the Kiga brought their unmarried girls whom they found pregnant, these would be forsaken and left for dead.

You can make a selection of renting your own canoe or opting for a guided tour on a motorized and or non-motorized canoe. The choice is yours!

Check out the many settlements and get insights about the lifestyle and cultures of the locals who will probably be easy to identify by their kangas (multi-colored wear). What’s more, you can visit the Batwa, a tribe of pygmies who are the original inhabitants of the country.

Explore through the highlands of Kigezi or even on the islands while on foot where you are sure to have yourself a stunning sight of the landscapes and a variety of wildlife like the zebras, monkeys, forest tree plantations and otters that can be spotted in the waters among others. You can also go hiking through the ancient Echuya Forest with an expert tour guide.

Go to the black smith sites where you can have souvenirs made for you by the gifted locals who use it as a way to earn a living. Also get a chance to see the way the locals make their farm equipment from the hoes to the machetes and many more.

In addition, you can get to stopover at the Bakiga Cultural Museum, a replica of a complete Bakiga homestead built in 2002 by Festo Karwemera a known elder of Kabale and a famous fighter for the language and culture of the Bakiga. There is also a village called Bufuka where tourists are welcome to experience the cultures of the Bakiga and the Batwa.

Lake Mburo

The Valley down flooded with water and a lake was formed which drowned Mburo. And to the present, the lake is named after him and the nearby hills are called Kigarama after his own brother. The area is also related with the cassine tree that has got powerful aphrodisiac effects.

The lake is decorated with large herds of wild animals such as buffaloes that evoke awe and wonder in equal measure. Not far away, the crocodiles and hippos on the marshy edges of the lake seemed unbothered by intrusion.

This is one of the largest five lakes that are near by the wetlands, and it accounts for only 20% of this unique lake found in western Uganda.

It’s situated between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara taking you about 4 hours to get there. Lake Mburo has around 6 species of fish with Tilapia being the most common one.

While on a tour to Lake Mburo, you cannot miss out Lake Mburo national park where the lake is situated. The boat cruise will get you to come face to face with the flora and fauna of the lake. And along the bank, you will also see many animals that come to the water especially in the dry season.

You will also see many hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, buffaloes, and over 3 types of otters that are found in the lake. Also when it comes to the birds, you will view the malachite kingfishers, African Fish eagles, blue headed weavers, Rufuos long tailed starlings, the pied kingfishers, hammer kobs, Herons, pelicans, the rare shoebill as well as the cormorants.

This boat safari will also give you a chance to view the crocodiles as well as the hippos in their natural habitat and it has continued to be the major tourist attraction.