The Musanze Province in Rwanda is an eye of Tourism Boom
The province is Rwanda’s tourism focal point and some say, the source of the wild adventures. With the long line of adventure activities on offer, there is enough evidence to support Musanze’s claim to adventure fame. When spotlight is put on the adventure in Musanze, many will immediately think of the mountain gorillas and this would be right.
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is probably Musanze’s oldest and widely advertised tourism product and also the most embraced safari activity. It dates back since time immemorial.
There are several tourists’ activities that have been created in the area; but the gorilla experience is very much alive, thanks to the conservation efforts that have helped to protect the endangered primates.
Owing to the need to diversify tourism products and make them a worthwhile adventure, tourism operators are thinking harder on how best to utilize the new other unique features left behind by nature. It is this effort to offer tourists a variety that has given rise to the Musanze caves, an experience where tourists tour decades -old 2 km cave. It has two parts with nine and six rooms respectively. For those more inclined to tradition, cave touring might appeal to you.
Since mid September this year when the official visits started 44 tourists from a number of countries have visited the area with many more expected to increase in the coming months. The tourists included young and old people alike, mostly foreigners screaming their lungs out in excitement as they toured the inside of the cave. Many of them found it such an enjoyable activity and would surely recommend other tourists to go for it while in Rwanda.
The cost of visiting the Musanze caves is 50 U. S. dollars for foreign tourists, 40 dollars for those resident in Rwanda while Rwandan nationals pay 4,000 Rwandan francs for adult and 2,000 francs for students. The excitement about this new attraction is remarkable as tour operators anticipate to get more tourists as the caves are unique for Rwanda. Musanze residents are expected to benefit from the caves through jobs as guards, cleaners as well as tour guides.
The Musanze cave is said to be the newest tourism product in Rwanda with plans to turn several other caves into tourism sites in the future so as to diversify the adventure.
According to Rica Rwigamba, the head of Rwanda Tourism and Conservation at Rwanda Development Board, the target is to increase tourism products; and caves are part of the adventures on offer during a Rwanda safari.
History of the creation of Musanze Caves
According to legends, the Musanze caves were created by King Ruganzu who reigned from Burundi. Ruganzu is said to have been called to replace his father King Ndahiro Cyamatare but Burundians were not happy with his reign and wanted to attack the king.
But apparently Ruganzu was given a stick by his aunt and asked to lay it down or hit ground with it so as to get an underground escape. It is therefore believed according to folk stories that Ruganzu created the renown caves in that way.
However, according to geography Musanze cave is said to have been a result of volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. An old man who gave his name only as Kanyamihigo 83, told Xinhua that from his childhood people used the caves in various activities such as for prayers and meeting place.
The caves are home to large number of bat colonies and host some incredible variety of plants, shrubs and trees at the entrance.
Even after the caves, there is still plenty of adventure to be experienced in this northern part of Rwanda; including the Buhanga Eco-park which was a place for coronation of Rwandan former kings, the twin lakes namely Burera and Ruhondo in Burera district and Virunga lodge also in Burera district which was built in a traditional way.