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Unmask Lake Bunyonyi’s Painful Past On Your Safari

The history of Lake Bunyonyi Akampene Island masks a dark and painful past however its beauty still makes it a must-stop destination for travelers on safaris in Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi has over 29 islands and these can all be reached by boat or dugout canoe. In the past, one of its islands was used for punishment.

In fact, of all the 29 islands in Lake Bunyonyi, Akampene Island also known as the Punishment Island is the most visited on by tourists on safaris to Uganda. The islands around it are far busier, with houses, tourist comfort resorts such as those that litter the entire lake and thriving trees.

Tales About Akampene Island

Akampene Island, found in the center of lake Bunyonyi, is large enough for the lonely tree that grows there. From the Bunyonyi overland resort pier, it takes a ride of about 20 minutes in a motorized boat running at a slow speed to get to the island. Some tourists on Uganda adventure safaris to Lake Bunyonyi, prefer paddling their way in locally dugout canoes.

In the old traditional Bakiga society, a young woman could only get pregnant after marriage. Marrying off a virgin daughter meant receiving a bride price, mostly paid with livestock. An unmarried pregnant girl was seen as not only bringing shame to the family but robbing it of much needed wealth. Families used to rid themselves of the “shame” by dumping pregnant girls on Akampene punishment Island, leaving them to die.

Most people at the time especially girls did not know how to swim. So, if a young woman was dumped on the island, she had two options; jump into the water and drown or wait to die from the cold and hunger.

Another way the girl would survive was that a passing canoeist would stop by the island and rescue the
girl there. This rescuer would take the girl as his own wife. Because dowry was expensive then, men and girls would find themselves in unlikely romance developing between the gratefully rescued girl and the gallant rescuer. This was regarded as “getting a free wife”, because the man would not have to pay any bride price for her. This was the most common event, and there are women still alive today who were rescued in this way, and they have happy families.

However, Akampene island itself is dying out because the lake is eroding it away from underneath, and this is what killed the trees that existed there. Their roots do not find soil anymore, so in the future, there may not be any Punishment Island anymore. But there will still be that the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi. Take a Uganda safari before it diminishes.

We can tailor for you a short Uganda wildlife safari to any of the National Parks in Uganda. Are you interested in tracking gorillas or chimpanzees? We can arrange a Uganda gorilla safari and a chimpanzee trekking safari Uganda as part of your Lake Bunyonyi safari Uganda.

Want to visit Lake Bunyonyi?

Want to visit Lake Bunyonyi, apparently the deepest lake in Uganda and one of Uganda's most beautiful places?