Lake Bunyonyi

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Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi (8146148093).jpg
LocationSouth-western Uganda
Coordinates1°17′S 29°55′E / 1.283°S 29.917°E / -1.283; 29.917Coordinates: 1°17′S 29°55′E / 1.283°S 29.917°E / -1.283; 29.917
Typefresh water
Basin countriesUganda
Max. length25 km (16 mi)
Max. width7 km (4.3 mi)
Surface area46 km2 (18 sq mi)[1]
Average depth39 m (128 ft)[1]
Max. depth900 m (2,953 ft)
Shore length1186 km (116 mi)[1]
Surface elevation1,962 m (6,437 ft)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.
Rivers and lakes of Uganda. Bunyonyi is the relatively small lake in the far south-western corner of the country, just opposite the (on this map) similar-sized Lake Burera in Rwanda.

Lake Bunyonyi ("Place of many little birds") is in south-western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale,[citation needed] and it is close to the border with Rwanda.[citation needed] The lake appears on the 5,000 Ugandan shilling note under the title "Lake Bunyonyi and terraces". It is known as the second deepest lake in Africa[2][3] after Lake Tanganyika[4]. Lake Bunyonyi has a maximum depth of 900 meters[5] making it the fourth deepest lake in the world or the third deepest in the world considering Caspian Sea as closed sea instead of a lake[6].

Towns on its shores include Kyevu and Muko, while its 29 islands include Punishment Island and Bushara Island.


Market day at lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is a body of water 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) west of Kabale town.[citation needed]

Main islands[edit]

Akampene (Punishment Island)[edit]

Punishment Island in Lake Bunyonyi

The Bakiga used to leave unmarried pregnant girls on this small island with - to die of hunger or while trying to swim to the mainland (swimming skills were rare).[7] This was to intimidate the rest, to show them not to do the same. A man without cows to pay the bride price could go to the island and pick up a girl.[7] The practice got abandoned in the first half of the 20th century.[7]

Camp on the shore of Lake Bunyonyi

Bwama and Njuyeera (Sharp's Island)[edit]

In 1921, English missionary Leonard Sharp came to this part of Uganda and in 1931 established a leprosy treatment centre on the then uninhabited Bwama island.[8] A church, patient quarters (model villages), and a medical facility were built, while Sharp settled on Njuyeera Island (probably meaning "white cottage" after the similarity of the doctor's small white house to Sharp's father's house in Shanklin, now The White House Hotel). The rationale of the leprosy colony was that of "voluntary segregation'", where the provision of a happy community to live in would attract leprosy sufferers, so removing them from the communities where they might infect others.[9]


  1. ^ a b c UNEMA 2009, p. 94.
  2. ^ "Lake Bunyonyi Islands Guide, Where To Stay, Getting There, Activities Attractions". Lake Bunyonyi. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  3. ^ "LAKE BUNYONYI UGANDA". Lake Bunyonyi Uganda. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  4. ^ "Africa's second deepest lake, Bunyonyi decreases by two metres". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  5. ^ "Lake Bunyonyi Islands Guide, Where To Stay, Getting There, Activities Attractions". Lake Bunyonyi. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  6. ^ "ScienceDirect". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  7. ^ a b c "Uganda's Punishment Island: 'I was left to die on an island for getting pregnant'". BBC. 24 April 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  8. ^ Not a gap year but a lifetime. Katherine Makower. 2008. Apologia Publications, Eastbourne, UK.
  9. ^ Island of miracles. Leonard Sharp. 2nd Ed. Battley Brothers Limited, Queensgate Press, Clapham Park, SW4


External links[edit]