Deep inside the western district of Ntungamo lies a mysterious Lake Nyabihoko. This Lake sits on 6 square kilometers of land across three sub-counties that include Rubaare, Bwongyera and Nyabihoko that are mainly occupied by the cattle-keeping Community known as the Bahima. The site is surrounded by several legends, one of the popular ones being that it swallowed a family of the cattle keeper known as Mutuumo, hundreds of years ago. There are two common and interesting accounts of how and why the family of the Cattle keeper drowned into the Lake.
Mutuumo was a Muhima and his servants were Bairu (slaves), The Bahima and Bairu and the two tribes that form the greater Ankole Kingdom of Western Uganda. It is said that Mutuumo was a very wealthy man with numerous herds of cattle and servants. It is believed that he had a secret sexual affair with one of the pretty servants with whom he sired a son but never told his wife about it. This wealthy man had a good working relationship with the Bachwezi (believed to be demigods) who gave him a cow on conditions and he was supposed to fulfill the set conditions in order to get more wealth from the cow.
One of the conditions was that “if the cow died, no one from the family should eat the said cow”. He always followed the conditions as instructed by the gods.
When Mutuumo was travelling to Rwanda, he told his wife about the instructions because he was heading on a long journey and he spent a long time from home. Unfortunately after a short time, the cow died and his servants ignored the advice of Mutuumo’s wife and decided to consume the cow. Since one of the children belonged to Mutuumo’s female servant (his mistress) yet the wife didn’t know, the child also joined the other servants and instead ate the meat.
One of the nights, a servant was churning milk to make butter she heard a funny sound like stones falling in water but when she tried complaining, she was blamed for being lazy since she had a record of being lazy. Unfortunately, everyone fell and died instantly as it was prophesied.
As a punishment, the ancient gods made it rain for twenty eight days hence causing great floods that turned the farm and surrounding area into the present day Lake Nyabihoko that extends for over 2.31 square miles. Much as Mutuumo survived, his entire family (wife, daughter and servants) and all the wealth including his herd was wiped out but his illegitimate son survived. On finding out, Mutuumo a devastated man approached his old and wealthy friend named Mwamba and later became a steward of taking his friend’s cattle as a way of taking care of himself.
Mutuumo narrated the entire scenario to his friend then the two men formed an alliance to drown themselves into the newly formed Lake to spare their miserable lives but before they died, the wanted to ensure that their long established legacy wouldn’t die with them, hence decided to provide for their existing children. Mutuumo’s son inherited Mwamba’s land and chattels. Presently, Lake Nyabihoko is a haven to Mutuumo Island Resort as recognition of the legend surrounding the formation of the Lake. Besides the beauty and legend of the Lake, it is a home to the pristine Pelican Beach as well as a number of bird species that include the Pink-backed pelicans, African fish eagles, grey crowned crowns and wildlife like Crocodiles and Hippos.
How to Reach Lake Nyabihoko
Ntungamo district is situated at 372 kilometers (231 miles) South of Kampala. You have to branch off at Katinda on Kabale-Ntungamo road and continue for another 15 kilometers. Alternatively, you can use the Ntungamo-Rukungiri road then branch off at Rwashamaire Trading Center and continue for another 26 kilometers. On a guided Uganda gorilla safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park you can have a stopover at the Lake Nyabihoko and experience the beauty of the area.