Lake Mutanda is a hidden jewel in the mountainous land scape of south-western Uganda, in Kisoro district and its one of the most scenic lakes in Africa, located in a dramatic land scape of lush and verdant sprawling highlands.
The 15 islands of Lake Mutanda are hardly touched, with only one inhabited by a local community and few have been tiled to grow crops & tree plantations.
There are also two islands that earned the name punishment islands for being the places where criminals and the misfits of the society were taken and then dumped a punishment.
Unmarried pregnant girls, the elderly with no one to care for them, criminals such as thieves, and unwanted people from the region would be tied & taken to the island and left to die there. There are many activities that you can engage in at Lake Mutanda as below
This is the main activity that offers a mind-refreshing experience as you ride through the tranquil and cool waters of this Lake as you explore some of the riveting wildlife species like the African Claw-less otter and several bird species, the spectacular views of the Landscapes and the astonishing scenery of the surrounding areas.
Boat rides within this Lake are conducted mainly conducted in the morning before the water of Lake Mutanda changes course and is still calm without tides.
Interesting bird species can be sighted within this lake including the Pin-tailed Whydah, Kites, Malachite Kingfisher, weaver birds, Great Cormorant, Ibis, the Grey-crowned cranes, pied kingfishers and sun-birds among others.
This enables tourists to combine other activities with bird watching. Imagine yourself relaxing and you spot birds and hear sweet melodies of birds, this is what awaits you around Lake Mutanda.
Relaxing and chilling
It is very relaxing when you visit a place like Lake Mutanda where all you will see is nature and hear the sounds and melodies of the birds.
You can just sit and relax on the Verandas of the Safari lodges for example Mutanda lake Resort as you enjoy the spectacular views of the lake, or take photos of the area around.
There is nothing as interesting as hiking around a Lake that is surrounded by undulating hills, beautiful Islands and local communities that live around Lake Mutanda in order to explore life in a typical rural Ugandan Village.
Interact with the Batwa community
Tourists who visit Lake Mutanda can also visit the Batwa communities especially within Southern sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and also the more exciting Batwa trail around Mgahinga National Park.
When you visit these communities, you will be able to learn about their ancient lifestyles and cultures when they still lived in the forests or get entertained in their invigorating traditional dances.
Bwindi is an old forest which survived the massive plate shift that lead to the formation of the beautiful western rift. Best known for its gorilla trekking safaris, and within this verdant forest you will also find a deep swamp.
There are over 340 bird species and 310 species of trees several butterflies and the ferns. Other wildlife living within this forest include: chimpanzees and this is the only place where you will find the chimpanzees happily co-existing with the mountain gorillas.
Others include Vervet Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Red-Tailed Monkeys, the Pottos, Duiker Antelopes, Black & White Colobus Monkeys, Civets, L Hoests Monkeys, Blue, Bush babies, Bush pigs, Forest Hogs, Side-Striped Jackals, Clawless Otter, Golden Cats, Genets as well as bats among several others.
The park has got a lot to do during your visit. From the popular gorilla treks to nature walks through well-developed trails, you will enjoy explorations through the impenetrable jungles of Bwindi.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an outdoor paradise for wildlife watchers, hiking enthusiasts, family vacationers, outdoor lovers, and photographers of all skill levels.
The Mountain Gorillas are among Uganda’s top tourist attraction. While trekking these great apes, the experience and excitement you encounter while with them is really worthwhile.
Tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest can be conducted all year round. Most gorilla trekkers prefer visiting the mountain gorillas from June to September as well as from December up to February.
You can visit Bwindi at any time of the year, the low season calls for cheaper gorilla permit price but generally there is small difference in the seasons.
Besides the popular gorilla trekking adventure in Bwindi, the Uganda Wildlife Authority introduced gorilla habituation since January 2014. This activity can only be done in Bwindi Forest!
The number of tourists is limited to 4 only who can spend four hours observing gorillas excluding time spent when searching for them. Gorillas are still wild or semi-habituated and unstable.
Viewing them depends on the mood they are found in that very day; however, researchers, guides and trackers are experienced with ethics of gorilla behavior to give you a memorable gorilla habituation experience.
You begin with briefing from the guides at Ruhija gorilla center, and then you’re led by rangers hike through forests. Once gorillas are located, tourists are helped and involved in the habituation process by researchers, guides and trackers.
You’ll spend four hours observing, photographing and learning how gorilla behavior adopts to human presence. Upon return from the forest you’re awarded a gorilla habituation experience certificate for your lifetime memories.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It homes over 351 species of birds including 23 Albertine Rift endemics such as Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Short-tailed Warbler, Kivu Ground Thrush and White-tailed Blue Monarch among others, which are hard to spot in any other part of East Africa. This Park was also selected as Africa’s number one birding site.
The Batwa experience
The Batwa were the indigenous inhabitants of the forest and had lived there thousands of years even before the Bantu people (considered the cultivators of land) arrived.
The Batwa commonly referred as the pygmies were initially hunter-gatherers and settled in the jungles of South-western Uganda and beyond. This Batwa experience involves tourists exploring these people’s ancient way of life.
A forest walk discovers all the secret treasures in Bwindi, which most clients have frequently missed out. Forest walks can be very essential as an additional therapy for those with high levels of stress.
To retain energy, hikers are reminded to bring along enough drinking water, snacks and soft foods which are energy giving as well as putting on hiking boots, gloves, huts to help in the sun, long sleeved shirts and trousers to control the unpredictable forest weather.