Off-beat path in Bunyaruguru crater lakes region chasing the wonder tree and Lake Kamunzuku

After our scenic breakfast courtesy of Katara lodge’s chef, who made whipping together a breakfast picnic seem effortless, I contemplated walking down to the edge of one of the twin lakes with Nicholas to prove his theory about the water color. Was it really the reflection of the trees that turned it green?

As we debated which path would be shorter to use to get to the bottom of the lake, a pajero with four guys pulled up. It was a crew filming a Travel show with their drone and cameras out. They requested we get into the drone shot and speak a little about the twin lakes. Mic check…Aaaaaand Action!

Getting here

It’s approximately 6 hours and 26mins from Kampala to Bunyaruguru by road and about 2hours by air, if you fly from Entebbe.

Bunyaruguru crater lakes region has over 52 crater lakes. The twin lakes are Kamweru (meaning ‘’productive of’’ the crops in this area yield) and Shema (meaning a school of hippos, because hippos came here often)-which are some of the deepest lakes in the region. We feasted on the Bountiful-Katara Breakfast, with landscape views of the magnificent volcanic crater lakes.

These lakes were formed over 10,000 years ago as a result of volcanic activity. After gaseous explosions that blow off the surface rocks, a round shaped and fairly flat depression was formed with time the round depressions were filled with rain water forming the crater lakes.

The locals refer to the twin lakes as Nyanzi-Ibiri, meaning two lakes. These lakes are separated by a road in the middle

Another interesting lake in the region is Lake Nkugute (translated as “Swallow”-because the locals believed it swallowed children every year) shaped formed in the Africa shape at aerial view.

What Can You Do Here?

  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Fishing

Chasing the wonder tree

Having explored the beauty of these carters, I decided to join the crew on their search for the Wonder tree in Queen Elizabeth National park…yes a ‘’wonder tree’’ that supposedly changes color from the roots to the branches…

When we arrived to the park entrance and asked the ranger to guide us to it, he explained that the wonder tree commonly known as ‘’musheijja mukulu’’ by the locals was a long distance away (about a 3hour hike) which needed more time and planning to explore.

We were then shown another tree that stood out in a distance. It is a Muvule tree (I can’t remember the English name for Muvule) which is about 100years old and being preserved by the park. ‘’Back in the day it was rumored that when one cut the tree branches down in the morning, they would return and find them grown in the evening.’’ The ranger explained

During the periods when fish catchment is very low, fishermen around the area have been known to perform rituals under the Muvule, like slaughtering sheep and chicken- after this is performed, fish catchment is increased the next day.

Ugandans pay 15,000Ugx while non-residents pay 35 dollars as entrance fee into the park to access the park and the different activities.

Our next escapade was to cool off by a transparent lake; Lake Kamunzuku which was about an hour drive away from the park. We got a 14 year old guide to lead us there, as this was where he and his classmates usually swam and relaxed on the weekends. Through a beautiful forest, we followed his lead and got the transparent Lake Kamunzuku where we relaxed appreciating the potential of this sight.

What Can You Do Here?

  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Camping

I plan to come back here with either friends or family to enjoy being on the water and quiet here…it’s a place with shear untouched beauty. I’m still in awe and grateful for this day, where I was more impulsive and lived in the moment! This I believe resulted in my appreciation of my country’s people and landscapes’ beauty.

Have you had one of those days during your travels where the day turns out to be adventurous than expected? I feel grateful to have joined the crew with knowledgeable guides to help us explore this area.Would you visit any of these places in the Bunyaruguru region? Don’t you feel like looking for this wonder tree?!?

Your travelling friend,

Karen

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