What do you know about Lake Bunyonyi? Ever heard of it or visited it? Before my recent trip, I had barely heard or seen anything about the lake other than a blog post by JustRioba. So when my pal suggested we visit it, I was curious and ready to go off the beaten tracks. We got to stay at this cute establishment for two nights and were we not headed to Kigali after, we would have stayed longer. Let me introduce you to Paradise Eco-Hub.
The lodge is owned and managed by Rev Capt Byarugaba Wilson and his wife and their son. I had the privilege of talking to the reverend who was happy to tell me all about the lodge. Sitting on one of the 29 islands on Lake Bunyonyi, Paradise Eco-hub was started as part of a community development program. The program helps the local community by offering trainings and scholarships, teaching important skills needed in entrepreneurship, agriculture, and forestry. All proceeds collected at the hotel go to the program and aids the community.
The lodge is eco- friendly and uses solar energy for lighting and to heat the water in the showers.
To get to Lake Bunyonyi, you must first get to a small town called Kabale. There are two ways you can get there, either by using the shorter route which is from Kigali (less than 2 hours) or coming from Kampala, which takes around 6 hours by bus.
From Kabale, you can either hire a taxi or hop on a boda-boda that will take you the lake’s loading bay. From there, you can either take a motor boat or a dug-out canoe to Itambira island. If you call ahead, the lodge’s management can arrange to pick you up at a cost of Ushs15,000 per person (Ksh 430/ $4.3), which is quite fair given the distance you’ll cover.
We were met and welcomed by Michael who took our bags, helped us check in and immediately made us feel at home. The staff members are fluent in English and can speak in Swahili so you are assured of an easy time communicating.
Paradise Eco-hub offers 3 types of accommodation from which you can choose;
The space in these rooms is quite small. They however can fit a double queen size bed, a small study area and a shoe rack, which is all you will find in the room. There are no power sockets in the rooms, so you have to charge all your electronics at the bar. Don’t worry, the have enough sockets for all the guests.
If you go for this option, you’ll have to use a shared toilet and bathroom which is outside the accommodation block.
The small size of these rooms comes in handy at night especially since it gets very chilly. If you are travelling on a shoe string budget and travelling alone or with a partner, this is the option I would highly recommend.
Deluxe Bird Nest Cave
Structured to look like actual bird nests, an inspiration from the many tiny birds in the area, these rooms are perfect if you are looking to be one with nature. They have no doors so you can wake up to an amazing view of the lake. Fun, right?
They can fit up to 4 guests and have outdoor private bathrooms.
They also come with a private deck where you can enjoy the beautiful sight of the lake.
If you want to feel like the many birds you’ll see on the island, I would highly recommend you to go for this option.
These are the newest addition to the lodge’s room options. Some of them are still being worked on but you can book and stay in the newly finished ones.
They are much bigger than the double rooms and they have private in-house bathrooms.
These are perfect if you are traveling alone or with a partner and want to enjoy a little privacy of not running into other guests in the bathroom.
The lodge has a bar stocked with enough local brews to quench your thirst.
Wi-fi is available but only accessible at the bar. There is a swimming dock area where you can enjoy a dip.
Note: Lake Bunyonyi is one of the few lakes in Africa said be free of Bilharzia, so it’s safe to swim in.
The kitchen is open for the better part of the day so you can order food at your convenience.
The produce used are sourced from local farms so the food is fresh ad tasty. You can also opt to go out of the island and eat, but that will involve taking a boat and a boda boda because the closest town is Kabale which is 16km away.
There are so many fun activities you can partake when at Lake Bunyonyi. I will list them in my next blog. The management can organize for you to have a customized trip of your choosing at a cost.
The lodge offers grounds for camping but you need to communicate and book in advance. They also have a small conference hall that can fit 20 people which you also need to book in advance to be able to access it.
In conclusion, my stay at Paradise EcoHub was truly magical. In the midst of the most beautiful and peaceful lake, this place is truly a paradise. And the best part is that it’s very affordable. Book your stay at Booking.com and use this code to enjoy 10% off.
Let me know how your experience goes.