Lake Mutanda Adventure
Lake Mutanda Adventure : this lake is located in Kisoro district in the Southwestern Uganda, approximately 20 kilometers North of Kisoro town. This small fresh water lake settled in the foot hills of the Virunga Mountain range, at an altitude of 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) close to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where you can do gorilla trekking. These volcanoes can be viewed from Lake Mutanda plus the several Islands in the lake. The lake is drained by River Rutshuru which flows northward to Lake Edward. The lake is a little-known jewel, hidden in the mountainous landscape of Southwestern Uganda, in Kisoro district. It is one of the most scenic lakes in Africa, located in a dramatic landscape of lush and verdant sprawling highlands. The fresh water of this lake is dotted by at least 15 islands lush trees and shrubs, and the lake is ringed by beautiful scenery of sprawling highlands clad with green vegetation plantations and terraces of crops along the slopes. The environment on the Islands within the lake and surrounding country side includes both forest and wetland habitats that provide a haven for the endangered Mountain Gorillas and the Golden monkeys in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It also accommodates a variety of animal, plant, bird and avian species. The shores of Lake Mutanda supports several species of snakes, chameleons, monitor lizards, frogs and insects. Some of the mammals found in this lake include the African clawless otter though history reveals that hippopotamus was also present in the area but were last seen in 1994.
Formation of Lake Mutanda
The lake forms the core of what has been entitled the “Switzerland of Africa” and it’s not more than 45 metres deep. It was formed by flooded river valleys along-dammed by volcanic eruption, the lake forms an ever-changing water scape punctuated by small forested Islands.
Islands on Lake Mutanda
The lake has got 15 Islands that are barely touched, with only one inhabited by the local community and few have been tiled to grow crops and trees. Some of these Islands include;
This is the biggest Island and it was named after the lake. It was inhibited by the “Abagesera” clan who grow crops such as peas, sugarcanes and bananas, and the biggest part of this island is covered by trees and shrubs. At the top of the Island, a church was built and the local worshipers from the mainland canoe to attend the church services.
Criminals and misfits of the society were taken and dumped here as a punishment. This Punishment Island’s name was earned by two different islands. Criminals like thieves, unwanted people from the country and also unmarried pregnant girls were tied up and left to die at the islands as their skeletons remained in the caves. Local people fear these two islands and no one walks on them due to the belief that they are haunted by the dead.
This intriguing island is a home to pythons though they are rarely seen. A good time to catch these enormous snakes is on a hot day and they normally eat fish and other water species in the lake.
Activities carried out on this Lake
You and your guide will head to the fishing site where you will find the local fishermen who will guide you through the typical Ugandan fishing process where you will be able to see and also know about the different fish species in this lake which include; mad fish, catfish, tilapia and many others. So, you could save your catch for a bonfire grill!
This activity beckons the curious mind, you will learn the way the people thrived back in the days. One of the caves is the Garama Cave which was designed to support the Batwa who inhabited the caves for many years. You will also checkout the caves with the skeletal remains of the punished people from the punishment islands.
Lake Mutanda has got a number of bird species where you will be able to tell out different birds for example King Fishers, Kites, Ibis, Pelicans Grey crested crane and many more. Weaver bird nests are a common site among the reeds along the lake shores.
This is one of the more relaxing activities as the water is known for being calm. Glide through the tranquil waters from island to island where you will even be able to see different bird species like king fishers, water birds among others and animals like otters.
This activity will take place around the lake and you will be able to access great points for wonderful views of Lake Mutanda and the volcanoes.
With good condition mountain bikes, feel the wind rushing past your face as you scramble down a steep slope, as the gravity pulls you back down the mountains towards the shores of Lake Mutanda. This activity is quite exhilarating.
Tour to the Islands
Lake Mutanda has 15 Islands. Visit the Python Island for a chance to see the resident snakes, for the brave one you can visit the Punishment Islands which are used to house outcasts of the society and also contains skeletal remains, and also the Mutanda Island to visit the local community and church.
Best time to visit Lake Mutanda
The best time to visit Lake Mutanda is during the dry seasons of June to September and December to February because hiking slopes around the lake is more challenging during the wet seasons yet we want you to focus on the scenery, not on the slippery hiking trail.
How to get there
The lake is well accessed from Kisoro town and well positioned between Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, homes to the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. It is 454 kilometers by road, southwest of Kampala, Uganda.