Hidden away in the majestic valleys of Bunyaruguru, Uganda, lie two beautiful crater lakes, one male and the other female. The love between these two lakes runs so deep in that one of the lakes literally wears its “heart on its sleeves.”
Bunyaruguru which is located in western Uganda, 365km from Kampala city has the second-highest number of crater lakes with 32 of them lying in between the rolling hills. Out of the 32 crater lakes which are believed to have formed due to volcanic activities 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, no other lake has a story like that of Lake Katinda (male) and Lake Murambi (female).
According to the locals, these two lakes formed close to each other because they were destined to be together. On further engagement with one of the locals, he told me, “Thousands of years ago, these two lakes found each other but unfortunately for Lake Katinda, he couldn’t easily see Lake Murambi because he was on the lower side of the valley, so he thought long and hard on how to attract her.”
I have seen and heard stories of people who do the craziest things for love and to my amusement, it looks like Lake Katinda tore a page out of the playbook. He elegantly wore his heart on his sleeves and put it out for the whole world to see.
At first glance, it’s hard to notice the love shape of the lake but after trekking up the steep hillsides, there it was in its full glory. The captivating sight was so peaceful and statue-still. “This is straight out of a fantasy book,” I said.
The lake mirrored the sky above, both of them blue and shimmering. But like the grandmaster, Lake Katinda had more surprises in store. I had never heard of an octopus sighting in Uganda until this day. As the tour guide explained to me why the lakes were called male and female, he said, “Lake Katinda has an octopus in it and on rare occasions, it crosses over to Lake Murambi. On the day of the crossing, the heavens open up and send a hail storm for several days.”
As he narrated the story, my mind wandered off as I tried to figure out what this mighty octopus looked like. Is it a man with octopus-like appendages like Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean or is it an octopus with wings that flies from one lake to the other? But whatever it is, Lake Katinda had it all figured out.
He foresaw the future and decided that no matter the terrain between them or the weather, nothing was going to stop him from “shooting his shot.” He, however, has toxic tendencies.
The locals fear fishing from him because it’s believed he has poisonous snakes and only has room for one friend at a time and that’s usually a migratory bird that often camps out on a dried tree branch.
Lake Murambi, on the other hand, is as beautiful as they come. She is monastery-quiet, often reflecting the teardrop-green vegetation surrounding it. The idyllic scene can take your breath away.
I remember the first time I saw it, the engulfing feeling of the breeze that came from it. It eddied around my body as if it were water in some magic wishing well. I remember taking a sip from my water bottle and it tasted like the mint of nature gods. Most of all, I remember how it felt to be at one with nature that special day.
Lake Murambi also has clearer and cleaner water and the locals like to plant on her banks and fish there. What’s surprising is, Lake Katinda is believed to have better fish but the people would rather not bother. I guess it’s true what some people say; “no one will take a sip of a drink if they know there is some poison in it.”
I only hope Lake Murambi can be the antidote for Lake Katinda because they will forever be joined at the hip.