BirdNest Resort is situated in southwestern Uganda on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, only 2.5 hours away from Rwanda’s capital Kigali or 6 hours from Uganda’s capital Kampala. Spectacular views can be enjoyed here as the lodge is surrounded by picturesque green hills covered with farming terraces and a great array of birds of all sizes.
The lodge, which is easily recognisable by the big thatched roof, has a fascinating history. It tells the story of Francis (Frank) Kalemera Kalimuzo, who had visited Lake Bunyonyi many years back, fell in love with the area and decided to make it his home. In about 1963, he started putting up the first building at the lake, but this never came to fruition because even as he built, tourists asked if they could stay there.
Frank was an educated man who worked his way up to the position of Vice Chancellor of Makerere University. A military coup in 1972 brought drastic changes to the history of Uganda and his association with former President Obote was looked on with suspicion by the new President Idi Amin. In 1972, members of the notorious Public Safety Unit raided Frank Kalimuzo’s home and arrested him. He was never seen again. His legacy lives on and his devotion to work and patriotism was remarkable. In the period of Amin’s reign of terror the property and lives of many people were destroyed. The hotel at Lake Bunyonyi was occupied and vandalised by the soldiers of Amin’s regime. Frank Kalimuzo’s widow tried desperately to keep the hotel running, but the whole nation was falling apart.
Subsequent change of regimes in Uganda brought about peace and stability to the nation and a group of Belgian investors located Frank’s widow and renegotiated to renovate the hotel. The original hotel was rebuilt and expanded from a four-bedroomed lodging to the fifteen cozy-roomed building that is BirdNest Resort today – all with lake views.
There are also an additional seven nature-inspired cottages across the water for those who prefer more privacy.
Why we like it here
Ornithophiles (or bird lovers) will get some great viewing here. The word “Bunyonyi” locally means “birds” and the lake derived its name due to its attraction to over 200 bird species, including the grey-crowned crane, the white-tailed blue monard, the herons, the African Harrier Hawk, the egrets, slender-billed baglafetch, levillant cuckoo and the cardinal woodpecker.
Beautiful views of undulating hills, the lake and its 29 islands.
The hotel has free use of dugout canoes which is a great reason to explore Lake Bunyonyi – by yourself or with a local captain.
The food is great here and their “speciality of the house” is any dish with fresh, local crayfish from the lake – and of course the original crispy Belgian chips.
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi.
Things to be aware of
The swimming pool is an ecological pool, which means that the water is pristine without added chemicals.
If you want to buy from the gift shop, you should bring local dollars as they don’t take credit cards.