Canoe Trip Adventures

Take a paddling challenge in a dugout canoe in Uganda

Backcountry Canoe Trip Adventures in Uganda

Backcountry Canoeing On Lakes like Mutanda, Mburo, Bunyonyi, Victoria

Nothing compares to pushing off in a canoe and experiencing Uganda’s wild beauty from the water. Lake in Uganda has a unique character and spirit, with enough variety to accommodate all levels’ adventurers. When you set off the calm freshwaters, you’ll be doing much more than just paddling a canoe. You’ll have opportunities to rest, relax, explore, and spend quality time with friends and family. Backcountry canoeing has a way of bringing the best out in people. As you make your way down the lake, you’ll be improving your paddling skills. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as eagles, rare bird species, and unbelievable plants.

Our Canoe trip adventures also connect with surrounding lake communities with a hiking culture after or before the backcountry canoeing experience. Nights are filled with campfires, stories, and laughter beneath a canopy of stars. Choose the Southwest for your next family vacation or group outing. Add a canoe trip to your Uganda safari holiday and discover Uganda as a top destination for wilderness adventure.


  • Hiking trail across mountain communities, villages, and cultivated mountain slopes meeting native peoples spotting rare bird species and photographing scenic landscapes of Uganda
  • Become the attraction when village children follow and welcome you to their land chanting “Mzungu” (white person).
  • Challenge your travel muscles with canoeing in a dugout canoe on Lake Mutanda and Lake Bunyonyi, the beautiful mountain lakes around Bwindi Impenetrable forest. Also, on lake Victoria into Mabamba Swamp.
  • Spend a night at Lake Mutanda or Lake Bunyonyi under the African stars.
  • Learn how communities, people, and animals have lived together in and around the Bwindi jungles.
  • Support local communities when you hire a guide, porter, or ranger on your walking safari adventure.


  • Transportation and 4×4 vehicle transfers
  • Accommodation and Meals as per itinerary
  • English Speaking Guide and Rangers

We will process the park permits on your behalf from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).


Please carry a pack of N95 Facemask and hand sanitizer with you. You’ll be required to have a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate issued within 72 hours of your arrival in the country, and keep your mask on when with animals and people crowds. You’re requested to adhere to COVID Operating procedures to keep you safe during your trip.

Our Canoeing Attractions

Lake Bunyonyi Canoe trip adventure safari

Lake Bunyonyi

It is believed that Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika. It is located in the southwest of Uganda, just next to the border of Rwanda. This magical lake has different shaped and sized islands that are scattered across the river. This alone makes the lake one of the best natural treasures in Uganda. There are a lot of fun activities you can enjoy while on Lake Bunyonyi.

The lake is located in southwestern Uganda within the Kabale district, and it gets its name from the many birds living in this location. Some of these birds include heron, African harrier hawk, and the grey crowned crane. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest in Uganda and is also stable throughout the year due to its calm nature.

This lake is the only one where you can ride a canoe to visit all the 29 islands, including the Punishment Island, where the young girls who got pregnant before marriage would be dumped and left to die. Each of the islands has its own history attached to it, so your trip may take about 2 to 3 hours of canoeing accompanied by a guide who will make your trip extra special.

Many activities are carried out around Lake Bunyonyi, combined with your special canoe excursion, including Birding tours, Hiking, Nature walks, and Cultural adventures to experience true Bakiga homes. However, canoeing is one of the activities that stand out in this area. Dugout canoes are one of the means of transportation on Lake Bunyonyi. This makes it an incredible destination for tourists to engage and enjoy a quiet and scenic boat ride along the lake. There is also a booming local market just next to the lake. While enjoying your boat trip, you can take some time off to visit this local market and do some shopping.

Canoeing in Lake Bunyonyi is interesting because you can also go on a motorized boat cruise to Bwama Island, where a British person started a hospital for leprosy people. This will allow you to see the kind of community work that can be done around the area. Some of the best sunset views can be seen in lake Bunyonyi. An early morning or evening drive when the temperatures are just right can make for a very fulfilling experience. You can carry a snack with you to take while on the boat to keep your energy levels high and stable.

Backcountry Lake mutanda canoe trip adventures

Lake Mutanda

Lake Mutanda is located in southwest Uganda in a district known as Kisoro. Lake Mutanda is situated at the base of the Virunga Mountain Range. When you are on this amazing lake, you can also see features like the three volcanoes within the Virunga Mountain Range located partly in Uganda.

A boat ride on Lake Mutanda in a locally made dugout canoe is a thrilling adventure that most tourists love to experience while visiting this part of Uganda. While on a canoe ride, there is so much to see, including the vast bird species around the lake and the many islands that give Lake Mutanda that scenic and magical look.

Canoe rides are usually done in the morning when the water is still calm and easier to navigate with the canoes. For those who love to swim, the lake is safe for swimming, and you can swim as you go on a boat ride.

There are also several islands on the lake. The barely touched islands here are quite a scene to behold. Mutanda island is the biggest of them. Found here is the Abagesera clan, who are predominantly farmers. The Punishment Island and Python Island are also part of this community, which have their own stories to tell.

The lake’s environment is wetlands habitats and a lakeside forest, which provides a home for the endangered mountain gorilla and the golden monkey. The lakeside environment harbors unique varieties of plants and animal species. There is a common sight of bird species that are very beautiful and chirp harmoniously along the lakeshore. Some birds are kites, ibis kingfishers, and the crested crane, which is also a national bird.

Backcountry canoe trip

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is a freshwater lake that sits in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It is the 8th largest lake in Africa. Idjwi Island, which is the 10th largest island in the world, is found on Lake Kivu.

Canoeing out onto Lake Kivu and exploring lush green scenic shores set against the blue waters and skies is an experience like no other. Rowing along the northern coastline from Gisenyi and dipping into inlets while crossing bays to soak up the spectacular scenery, peace, and tranquility. Such is the spectacular experience surrounding lake Kivu.

Classic Lake Kivu fishing boats ply the waters. Their crews sing rhythmically as a traditional way of life flourishes along the vibrant shore. With its crystal clear, incredibly blue, and crystal clear water, Lake Kivu is safe for canoeing because there are no hippos or crocodiles, and care is taken to avoid canoeing during strong winds. However, still, waters are the main attraction for canoeing in Lake Kivu.

Another thing about Lake Kivu, the weather is amazing. The food is exemplary, especially the fresh grilled fish from the lake. The locals are very welcoming and are always ready to talk and tell you more about the area. The people around this area are heavily cultured, much to their advantage as this is also a major tourist attraction. A visit to the hot springs while canoeing along this lake can also be a great addition to your experience.

Around the lake, you will spot blue monkeys and bats. For a 365 degree view, you can go to the top of Bat Island. There is also a farming island where you will learn about very interesting things regarding farming and agriculture.

Canoeing on bamaba swamo lake victori to see the shoebill stork

Lake Victoria, Mabamba Swamp

Mabamba Swamp is one of Uganda’s most convenient places to spot the highly sought-after shoebill in its natural habitat. Regularly featured on tourism brochures, these appealingly grotesque birds look like they’ve crawled straight out of the swamp (which they literally have), with their out-of-proportion features and a massive dirty-yellow bill that resembles an old battered shoe. Birdwatching is mostly via canoe, where you’ll navigate waterways comprising lily pads and papyrus swamp. Among the 260 species in the region, other notable birds include the papyrus yellow warbler, pallid harrier, and blue swallow.

Mabamba swamp is a Ramsar site and Important Bird Area (IBA). The wetland hosts over 300 bird species that include many globally threatened species, 7 of Uganda’s 12 Lake Victoria biome restricted species (notable is the Papyrus Gonolek), and plenty of wetland specialties. The wetland also hosts huge flocks of Palearctic migrants every year from October to March.

A canoe trip into the swamps is the only way to reach the Shoebill bird. You probably may not do any peddling because many of the canoes do not swamp have engines now.


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    Travel safely

    Please make sure you have your facemask on when in contact with animals, especially the endangered creatures. Without a negative PCR Covid Test, you’ll not be allowed into the country. You’ll spend most of your time in open spaces away from human crowds, with that there’s minimal to no infections of the COVID virus.

    Flexible booking terms

    Your booking can be extended up to 12 months ahead with no extra fees, in case of any emergency (based on accommodation availability). Reservations are accepted after we receive a 30% deposit on the trip and the full payment for gorilla tracking and chimp tracking permits for each tour participant. For more details on our booking terms, please read our Terms and Conditions.

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