• Ndali-Kasenda crater lakes near Kibale National Park and Fort Portal, Uganda
  • Islands of Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda
  • Calm waters on Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

Uganda Crater Lakes Tour

Discover western Uganda’s picture perfect vistas of stunning crater lake pools, rolling hills and an idyllic highland lake waiting for you! Hike the hills of the Ndali-Kasenda on a guided walk and meet a local vanilla farmer to learn about vanilla growing techniques. Then journey on to the stunning Lake Bunyonyi to paddle in dugout canoes, hike the terraced hillsides and learn traditional crafts. Finally meet the Batwa community with a respectful trip to learn about the history and way of life. The truly unique trip through western Uganda lies outside of the national parks.

Destinations: Fort Portal, Ndali-Kasenda Crater Lakes, Lake Bunyonyi

 

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Itinerary - Crater Lakes Tour [TACP015]

Day One

Tea Farm Tour

Drive from Kampala or Entebbe to Fort Portal.
Estimated journey time: 6 hrs. 

Take a stroll and breath in the fresh scent of tea as you walk through the rolling tea fields bordering the edge of the rainforest of Kibale National Park. This landscape is incredibly fertile and produces abundant quantities of high quality tea, which are handpicked and placed in large grass woven baskets by a team of farm workers. With your local guide you will tour around the fields and learn more about tea production from the source. From the planting of new bushes, to farming techniques, harvesting methods and of course you’ll also have the chance to meet some of the tea workers in the fields. Your walking trail will also take you past two of the area's stunning crater lake pools; lake’s Nyinabulitwa and Nyabikere, so you can enjoy the region's stunning landscape. On completing your walk you will visit a local family home on the edge of the tea fields, where you’ll learn the traditional way of preparing tea of sun drying and pounding the leaves, before tasting a fresh cup of local tea with its intense aroma!.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Meals included: Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Kibale Forest Camp, non self contained tents.

Day Two

Vanilla and Crater Lakes

Ramble through undulating hills dotted by crater lake pools, with the stunning Rwenzori Mountains running along the skyline on a clear day. With your local guide your destination to visit a local farmstead which grows vanilla vines. This crop is an important source of income for many local farmers due to its high value, which supplements their income alongside other traditional crops. Upon reaching the farm you will be shown the vanilla vines, observe the different developments of the vanilla pods and witness a demonstration of how the flowers are hand pollinated. Your guide will be happy to answer any questions you have on the vanilla farming techniques and life living in the crater lake fields. You’ll then follow the trail back down the hillside passing under the swaying luminous green banana leaves, which offer you shade from the sun and make your way back to the heart of the crater lake fields.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

This stunning landscape was created by the volcanic upheaval of the Great Rift Valley, which produced the rolling hills dotted with fresh water crater lake pools, all set to the backdrop of the ‘Mountains of the Moon’. In the heart of the crater-lake field you will be joined by a local guide who will take you on a guided walk along the meandering paths through the crater lakes, villages and farmland. Your guide will explain to you about the local natural history as well as cultural history of the area, and the meaning behind the names of each crater lake as you pass. Your guide will also be happy to share with you the traditions and customs of the local communities as you walk, giving you a real insight into the lives of the people living here. Your guide will also be able to explain about the current developments that these lakes are offering people, such as sustainable fisheries and is very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna you’ll spot along the way.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Kibale Forest Camp, non self contained tents.

Day Three

Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

Drive from Ndali-Kasenda to Lake Bunyonyi.
Estimated transfer time: 7 hrs

Ascend to a hilltop on the edge of Lake Bunyonyi, where you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic postcard panorama over one the Kigezi Highlands most idyllic lakes. On a clear day the views stretch for 20km over rolling hills to the conical peak of Mount Muhavura in the Virunga Volcano range in the distance. From your vantage point you can also spot many of the lakes’ 29 islands and islets dotted throughout the lake, all framed by the patchwork of terraced farmlands carved out of the steep hillsides. While below you can view dugout canoes skimming across the lake leaving a trail of ripples in their wake and the hum of village life echoing across the otherwise tranquil waters.
Estimated excursion time: 1 hr 30 mins

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bunyonyi Overland Resort, non self contained cabin.

Day Four

Instagram Panoramas

Explore Lake Bunyonyi and the surrounding hills by hiking and canoeing with a knowledgeable local guide. Begin your day by taking to the water in a local dugout canoe to reach the Kyabahinga Peninsula and visit the local nursery school, where you’ll be welcomed to a singing and dancing performance by the pupils. Then meet a local brewer taste the local beer if you choose, called Obushera that has been drunk here for generations. Before a 30 minute hike to the peninsula's hilltop for a session with a traditional healer, who will share their secrets of tropical highland flora. You will then make your way to Lanick's place, which offers some stunning views over most of Lake Bunyonyi, its 29 islands and the distant Muhavura volcano. Lanick will regale you with some of the colourful tales, legends and historical facts related to this area and communities dotted around the lake. Your final stop off will then be at Mrs Anna’s place who is  a craft maker who will show you the tricks of her trade. Before you return down the hillside to the lakeshore and make the canoe journey back across the waters of Lake Bunyonyi.
Estimated excursion time: 5 hrs

Spend some time relaxing at Bunyonyi Overland Resort on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi. If you’re feeling energetic there are traditional dugout canoes available for you to paddle along the lakeshore or a motorboat available to you to venture deeper into the lake (for an additional cost*). Of course you can also swim from the dock, relax with a good book or birdwatch with species such as the Pied Kingfisher to be spied hovering and diving into the water. However you choose to spend your time, you will truly unwind at one of the most idyllic lakes in the Kigezi Highlands.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bunyonyi Overland Resort, non self contained cabin.

 

Day Five

Batwa Today

Meet the local Batwa of Lake Bunyonyi to learn about their lives today. This is a respectful trip focused on interacting with the local community and learning about Batwa history, rather than recreating their past lives of living in the bush. You will first make your way around the edge of Lake Bunyonyi to reach Muko Campsite to first learn about the history of the Batwa with a backdrop of stunning Lake Bunyonyi views. You will then move on to take a guided nature walk in Echuya rainforest with your Batwa guide. Here you will learn about the past and present lives of the Batwa in the rainforest, including hunting techniques, and edible plants used for their herbalist properties. Walk on to reach the picturesque Rwamahano Batwa settlement, where you will meet members of the local community. Here you can chat with the community who will also expect you to tell them about yourselves and why you came to Rwamahano. The excursion will come to a close with demonstrations of the use of bows and arrows as well as traditional dancing.
Estimated excursion time: 5 hrs

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bunyonyi Overland Resort, non self contained cabin.

Day Six

Journey Home

Drive from Lake Bunyonyi to Kampala or Entebbe.
Estimated journey time: 9 hrs

Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch.

Accommodation: Not included.