Lake Mutanda is located in Kisoro District in southwestern Uganda, approximately 20 kilometers north of the town of Kisoro. This location is approximately 454 kilometers (282 mi), by road, southwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city.

The coordinates of Lake Mutanda are: 01 14 06S, 29 40 12E Latitude:-1.2350; Longitude: 29.6700

It is nestled in the foothills of the Virunga Mountain Range, at an altitude of 1,800 metres (5,900 ft). The three volcanoes within the range that is partly located in Uganda, namely: Mount Muhabura, Mount Sabinyo and Mount Gahinga, can be viewed from Lake Mutanda.

There are several islands in the lake. The lake is drained by the Rutshuru River, which flows northward to Lake Edward.

Its fresh clear water is dotted by at least 15 islands lush trees & shrubs, and the lake is ringed by beautiful scenery of sprawling highlands clad with green vegetation, plantations, and terraces of crops along the slopes.

This amazing scenery is set against a stunning backdrop of cloudy peaks of the Virunga Mountain Volcanoes.

The biggest island, named after the lake, is Mutanda Island. This is inhibited by a local community of the “Abagesera” clan. These grow crops, such as peas, bananas, and sugar canes.

A good portion of this island is covered by trees and shrubs. There is a church built on top of the island and local worshipers from the mainland canoe to this island to attend service at this church.

There are two islands that earned the name Punishment Islands for being the places where criminals & misfits of the society were taken and dumped as a punishment. Unmarried pregnant girls, the elderly with no one to care for them, criminals such as thieves, and unwanted people from the region would be tied & taken to the island and left to die there.

Others would be killed and dumped at these islands. Caves with skeletal remains are found at the islands. These two islands are feared by the locals & actually no one walks on them because of the belief that they are haunted by the dead.

Flora and fauna on Mutanda Island

The environment on the islands within the lake and the surrounding countryside includes lakeside forests and wetland habitats that provide a haven for the endangered mountain gorilla.

In addition to the mountain gorilla and golden monkey in the nearby Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the lakeside environment accommodates a variety of animal and plant species, unique to this area. Bird species in the area includes kingfisher birds, kites, ibis and Uganda’s national bird, the crested crane. Weaver bird nests are a common site among the reeds along the lake shore.

In addition to the abundant and varied avian species, the lake shore supports several species of snake, chameleon, monitor lizard and frog species.

There is a varied and abundant supply of insect life as well.

The mammals unique to Lake Mutanda include the African clawless otter.

Tourist activities done at Lake Mutanda


This is among the unique and best tour experiences on Lake Mutanda. To ride on the calm waters feeling the cold breeze and tranquility, go around the islands & enjoy beautiful views of the landscape and the amazing scenery while observing some wildlife such as birds. It’s surely amazing!

Island nature walks

You can have tours like:

Visit the Python Island for a chance to view these enormous snakes. A good time to catch them is on a hot day. The pythons normally eat fish & other water creatures in Lake Mutanda.

Also, visit the punishment islands and checkout the caves with skeletal remains of the punished. Trek on Mutanda Island and visit the local community and church, and you can take some donations for the locals. The island also offers vantage point for beautiful views over the lake.

Bird watching

Explore with a canoe and visit some of the islands – go birding to spot some unique species .simply enjoy the lake whether you are on top of it in a boat with an experienced boat or canoe guide.


You can always fish at Lake Mutanda especially if you are staying right on the lake as at Mutanda Lake Resort and if the fish do not strike, there the is scenery around you.


Hike to and around the lake and access great vantage points for wonderful views of Mutanda and the volcanoes.

Mountain Biking

With good mountain bikes, biking the mountain landscape around Lake Mutanda is quite exhilarating.

The bikes are available at the nearby accommodation facilities near the islands.


Chameleon Hill Lodge

It is set in one of the most magnificent locations in Uganda, in terms of the beautiful scenery, dramatic landscapes, & a variety of activities.

Found in Kisoro District, southwestern Uganda, the lodge is built on a ridge overlooking Lake Mutanda, thus commanding outstanding views of the lake, and in the distance, a stunning backdrop of cloudy peaks of the Virunga Mountain Volcanoes.

The lodge has a unique style of multiple colors; each building painted a different color of the rainbow, which makes it so colorful and stand out beautifully. Its towering iconic castles can be seen from far off, and it is especially fascinating when you catch a glimpse of them from far away en-route to the lodge.

Mutanda lake resort

Perched on a Lake Mutanda peninsula in the shadow of the Virunga Mountains,
the resort offers comfortable accommodation combined with the most beautiful views on planet earth. It is a perfect base for gorilla trackers, lake loungers, volcano hikers, bird lovers as well as those looking for a mystical place in nature.

In a superb location, plunked directly on the lake, this relaxed Dutch-owned resort has luxury tents raised on wooden platforms with lovely porches and polished wooden floorboards.

Its within striking distance of gorillas at Nkuringo, Ruhija and Mgahinga.

Mutanda Lake Resort enjoys a stupendous southerly outlook! You could cross continents without finding a panorama to compare with the view across these peaceful, island-studded waters towards the Virunga Mountains.

The resort is spaciously set up and stretches into Lake Mutanda. Our cottages each come with private veranda and en-suite bathroom.

We offer single, double/twin and family/triple rooms with comfortable beds and mosquito nets.


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