Punishment Island (Akampene), Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

This is a quick post about how we visited Punishment Island (Akampene), Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. I provide details that include maps, costs, logistical requirements and facts as well as links to additional details, photos and videos. This is a self-guided cultural adventure on a shoestring.

Once at Lake Bunyonyi, we used Itambira Island as our base and stayed at the Paradise Eco-Hub (because they have rooms with attached bathrooms) rather than the Byoona Amagara Island Retreat (where had I stayed in the past). Both locations are excellent with slight differences. Byoona tends to get more NGO types while Paradise gets more couples (attached bathrooms make the difference obviously).

easyIn no time at all we met a lot of cool people and discussed all the available activity options. Basically this amounted to walks on the island (15 minutes north and 5 minutes south), walks on the mainland road starting from the dock at the end of the east-side lake road, swimming in the cold lake, lounging about and finally, canoeing.

I (as a Canadian) naturally opted for a canoeing venture. Canoe rental prices vary based on which place you want to rent from and range from $5-$10. A guide/paddler is also available for a fee. Note that the canoes are actually traditional hollowed out logs, so paddling them is a lot of work (even though the locals make it look so easy).

Once we had the canoe we set out for Punishment Island. It took us about an hour to reach the island (based on favorable winds) and about 1.5 hours to return. But be warned, the island is isolated (hence the reason it was used to abandon pregnant unwed girls) so be sure you judge the weather and your paddling/swimming skills carefully before doing this trip un-guided (no life vest offered).

See below for details.

cost range

Total Cost Range of this Activity is: $

Cost Details:

Room ($30 deluxe room per night x3)
Meals per day (3 days)
Canoe rental
Motor boat to/from Itambira Island
$90
$75
$5
$20
Total $190
2023 prices

We also took long walks on the mainland which were quite peaceful (even with the frequent kids and young boys/men asking if we needed a canoe ride).


Click to watch Video (coming soon)

Car Parking & Arrival at Lake Bunyonyi

There are two places to park a car when heading to the island. The first is at the end of the dirt road on the eastern side of the lake. This is open (un-attended parking). The other is is a secured lot shared with the Seeds of Hope. It is at the north end of the lake near the resorts. Click to find it on Google maps.

If you arrive at the lake via public transport (usually a boda-boda from town) you can either hire a local canoe boy (4,000 USh) or a motor boat (30,000 USh). Both Paradise Eco-Hub and Byoona Amagara Island Retreat provide motor boat pickup and drop off.

Punishment Island Photos

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Punishment Island Map

Google map link

Punishment Island coordinates -1.2940736, 29.9169805

Itambira Island Map

Note that the Google map (above) is not up to date. The island currently has 4 active resorts on the island.

Other Uganda Outings

Read about Murchison Falls Self-drive safari.

Read about the Nyero Rock Paintings day trip.

Read the Lake Mburo National Park Safari blog.

Read about the Jinja Source of the Nile Ride for other local fun things to do.

Watch more 3 minute videos.

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