Lake Mutanda

Lake Mutanda is one of the scenic lakes in Uganda. The lake lies in the Northern part of Kisoro district in southwestern Uganda. It is a relaxing base for tourists who do gorilla, golden monkey, and volcano hiking safaris to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The lake is a keeper of 15 islands most of which are barely untouched and is in a spot that has a background of the Virunga volcanoes. It is less developed than its counterpart – Lake Bunyonyi.

The 22km2 lake is in a flooded valley that was a result of the lava flow that dammed the main river (Rutshuru). Many visitors to Uganda never venture to this place despite the stunning landscape. A few tourists that do visit Lake Mutanda find a paradise that is scenic and magical beyond their expectations. The hills and islands here are clad with green vegetation and terraced farmlands on the slopes.

The lake is named after the biggest island (Mutanda) which is inhabited by a group of people (clan) known as “Abagesera” who practice crop growing. The lake has 15 islands which include one Gahiza Island also known as the punishment island.

Activities to do at Lake Mutanda.


This is one of the adrenaline activities to engage in here. Choose to flex muscles and ride in a traditional dugout canoe. Go round the island as you peddle together with your guide. The canoes are major means of transport used at the lake.


Highlands surround the Lake. Traveler can hike from Bwindi impenetrable national park (Buhoma side) for 2 days to Nkuringo and then to the lake. The hills around also offer vantage points for photography, viewing, picnicking.

Island tour

The lake is dotted with 15 islands and tourists can relax and enjoy a canoe ride or motorized boat cruise on the lake. The cruises lead to some of the famous islands Mutanda the Gahiza punishment island, the python island among others.

Mountain Biking

The terrain around the lake is hilly and challenging. Those who seek to challenge themselves and engage in mountain biking as an adventure. You can hire a bike from some of the providers and ride around.

These activities can be done as add-ons to activities like gorilla tracking, Batwa community tour, golden monkey tracking, and Volcano climbing. Lake Mutanda is one place we love to include in our trips to Mgahinga Gorilla National park and if you love it too, let us know.