Embark on a captivating adventure with safaris and tours to Lake Mutanda, nestled in the heart of the picturesque southwestern region of Uganda within Kisoro District. This hidden gem, Lake Mutanda, remains one of Africa’s best-kept secrets, with its pristine beauty concealed amidst the dramatic mountainous landscapes.
This scenic lake boasts fresh and crystal-clear waters and is adorned by at least 15 islands, each surrounded by lush trees, shrubs, and the sweeping grandeur of the highlands. Encircled by a mesmerizing panorama of green hillsides adorned with plantations and terraced crops along the slopes, Lake Mutanda offers a captivating view. This breathtaking scenery unfolds against the backdrop of the Virunga Mountain Volcanoes, their cloud-draped peaks providing a stunning contrast.
The Virunga Mountain Range extends across the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo, with Uganda hosting three of its prominent eight volcanoes. Of these three, Mts. Muhabura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo grace the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These volcanoes rise majestically in the background, looming over Lake Mutanda and the surrounding highlands. In the morning, a thick shroud of mist envelops the lush terrain, creating a mystical ambiance that blankets Lake Mutanda, casting a spellbinding charm.
Of the 15 islands scattered across Lake Mutanda, only one is inhabited by a local community, while a few others have been cultivated for crops and tree plantations. The remaining islands remain untouched and are overgrown with rich wildlife-filled vegetation.
The largest of these islands, named after the lake itself, is Mutanda Island, home to the “Abagesera” clan. Local communities on this island cultivate crops like peas, bananas, and sugar canes. A significant portion of the island is adorned with lush trees and shrubs. Perched atop the island stands a church where worshippers from the mainland journey by canoe to attend service.
Two islands carry a darker history, known as Punishment Islands, as they were used as places to exile and punish criminals and societal outcasts. Unwed pregnant girls, the elderly with no support, criminals like thieves, and undesirable individuals from the region were tied up, transported to these islands, and left to perish. Others met their fate by being killed and dumped on these forsaken isles. Caves on these islands contain skeletal remains, and locals avoid them, believing the islands are haunted by the departed.
Another fascinating island within Lake Mutanda is Python Island, believed to be the habitat of pythons, although sightings of these reptiles are rare.
Due to the lake’s high elevation and cold climate, the variety of bird species is relatively limited. Some common avian residents include the Pin-tailed Whydah, Great Cormorant, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers, and sunbirds. Inhabitants of the lake also include otters and monitor lizards. Although the lake supports a modest fish population of around six species, including Catfish, Mads, crayfish, Barbals species, Tilapia, and haplochromines, pythons are said to dwell on some of the islands. Python Island, in particular, is rumored to be home to many of these intriguing reptiles.
Trek Africa Expeditions offers the opportunity to book safaris and tours to Lake Mutanda in southwestern Uganda, promising an experience of this hidden African treasure. Whether you’re seeking captivating landscapes, serene waters, or the allure of remote islands, Lake Mutanda will leave you spellbound and longing for more.