Lake Munyanyange: Home of flamingos

Sunday May 09 2021
life01pix

Some of the flamingos on Lake Munyanyange in Kaseses District. Below, a flamingo in the water. PHOTOS/ALEX ASHABA.

By Alex Ashaba

At about 9 am, together with my friend we set off from Fort Portal City in a downpour to Lake Munyanyange in Kasese District.
The explosion crater lake which is in Queen Elizabeth National Park is renowned for its flamingos.

We did a 138-kilometre journey from Fort Portal through Kikorongo Trading Centre in Kasese  and  we branched off on a murram road on the road to Bwera. We made our first stopover at Katwe Eco Tourism information centre where Nicholas Kagongo, our tour guide, welcomed us.

Atop a hill, a few metres away at a vantage point you cannot miss Lake Munyanyange, one of the shallow crater lakes. A flock of birds with pink feathers effortlessly float. These are flamingos which are said to come from Lake Natron in Tanzania. 

On our arrival at Lake Munyanyange, the flamingos are shy,  people need binoculars or cameras with zoom lenses to get a  closer look at them.  The small birds with long legs walk effortlessly in the water.

Kagongo says within two weeks of their arrival at Lake Munyanyange from Tanzania, their feathers turn pink because of the food they eat. The lake attracts many tourists that love birding.

We waded through the muddy waters because the lake volume was low as we tried to get close to the beautiful bird species for a good shot. The ground was slippery.

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Flamingos can be sighted well from October to April because during these months the water levels are higher unlike the dry season.
The tour guide says the lake has more than 80,000 bird species but the majority is flamingos from Tanzania.
He says flamingos like Lake Munyanyange because it has algae which is found in alkaline lakes and other different food stuffs which help them to grow.

“Flamingos mate from this lake because of favourable weather. When it is time for breeding, they return to Tanzania because at this lake there are other bird species that can eat their eggs,” he says.

Munyanyange is surrounded by a rich greenery comprising euphorbia trees and because it is shallow it has grasses such as cyprus, and odyssea, that are  rare in Uganda.

Because the lake is muddy, these migrant birds rest there all the time and by the time they leave they are muddy and it becomes difficult for wild animals to prey on them. 

The lake also attracts other wild animals such as hyena, elephants, and hippopotami.
This is the only lake in Uganda with flamingos because it is the only lake with food types for the birds and tourists gape at them while feeding as  they stand in water.

Visiting Lake Munyanyange, accords one the opportunity to see other lakes in Queen Elizabeth National Park ecosystems that include Lake Katwe, Nyamunuka, Maseekye, Nshenyi, Mahenga, Kitagata, and Murumuri.

For your information...
Lake Munyanyange is a seasonal shallow Crater Lake located on the North East of Lake Katwe which is salty Lake.
The lake is 1.5 sq km and flamingos walk through water because it’s shallow but slippery. The lake which is salty lake has algae which is ideal food for flamingos and it is on the same contour with Lake Katwe.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com 

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