Musanze is also the largest district with in the northern province of Rwanda and its capital Ruhengeri which is also known as Musanze and it serves as a center for tourism in Rwanda and its where Volcanoes National park id situated. This is also the most mountainous part of Rwanda and has also got dense vegetation and it’s so famous for the mountain gorillas and the endemic golden monkeys. It’s also the most visited district in Rwanda and has the components to make sure you have an extra ordinary holiday adventure. Musanze also makes up the biggest part of the gigantic Volcanoes national park and is also home to five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Chain and these include; Bisoke, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura. Even though the park is the main attraction, there are many sites to view that are so exciting.
On the outer side of Ruhengeri are also the Musanze caves and are a geological treat. These caves go 2km and are covered in the lush greenery and the inside of it are the homes for the bats. In case you are not brave enough to adventure inside, this beautiful vegetation around these caves make for the good pictures and are also good to explore.
Your lovely afternoon can also be spent canoeing down the river near where the mountain gorillas rest and play. The water here is also still and so tranquil and is also one of the best way to view the fantastic Rwandan country side and the wildlife in that area. There are also many museums which show case the honors of Rwanda’s past and the great future. It’s also not hard to see why Musanze is also the best place to visit, there are also many breathtaking views and these are in a lifetime opportunities to offer.
The residents of Kinigi sector with in Musanze district also say that they extremely benefited from the existing Musanze caves that attract many international tourists who also visit the area and then buy the artistic products that are made in the nearby communities. In 204, the Rwanda Development Board also launched the Musanzee Caves as another product for the tourism activities.
More so at the time, the head of tourism and Conservation at RDB noted that the local community will also benefit from this new product as the business will curl at the caves that surround the area. These caves are also the newest Rwanda touristic product. And there are also many of the adventures to be experienced in the area including the Buhanga Eco park coronation of Rwanda former kings, the panoramic views of the twin lakes that include; Ruhondo , Burera , the karisimbi volcano climbing , Bisoke volcano climbing the golden monkey trekking, the trek to Dian Fossey as well as the famous gorilla trekking. Many of the visitors to Dubai come from USA, UK M Australia as well as Rwanda.
These caves also came from the volcanic activities where different lava flow layers that date from 65 million years have been created into the Albertine Rift valley. These cave s are also 2 kilometers long beneath.
My travel adventure includes determining something new most especially when am the first person to do it. This is why the main two attractions that have been opened in Rwanda have become my favored items. These hidden gems are so peaceful, charming, refreshing and so spectacular. These are the Ruzizi Tented Lodge and the Musanze caves that are Rwanda’s best secret places.
There is also a short drive from Musanze which is Rwanda’s gateway to the mountain gorillas, I revealed the caves that were formed million years ago in volcanic eruptions once common place. These spiritual and exciting caves are one of the country’s newest tourist destinations. There are also over 32 caves below the foothills of the volcanoes National park. Our guide Musa took us to the one that is only 5 minutes from the center of the town.
The first item to raids you is the size. Going inside the cave was like entering into a cathedral. We were able to learn that these caves were once used by the Rwanda Kings as an ikigega or store for food and many other supplies during the times of war. Immediately putting on the helmets, Jackets and the boots, which are all provided, it became clear that the caves were not only so rich in history, but also the natural beauty.
You are right away enclosed by the dense silence that is broken only by the footsteps and the drops of water that hit the rock floor below. Though we were not alone, just a look high above showed hundreds of bats that hang from the stunning rock formations. These were also alarmed by our presence, the sound of the panicking wings rebounded through the cave. This retold of the scene from the present Bat man movie and I then expected the Batmobile that showed up with the Christian Bale at the wheel. The cave that we toured was so easy to traverse with a well-furnished path that leads you up and over, down and around and through to the other side.
I then appeared in complete wonder of the cave only to be gusted away again. Just high above the exist, the volcanic eruption has also left a ring of the rocks that vines, flowers and trees grip to thus creating a veil through which you arise from the darkness. This is a sight that is so beautiful and so magical to do integrity with the words. Musanze Caves are also a must to be visited on any itinerary to Rwanda.
Where to Stay in Musanze; the Musanze Cave Lodge
These caves were also formed as a result of volcanic activities in the past 65 million years ago and are among the Albertine Rift valley. The caves are also two kilometers long beneath, with 31 entrances and are the most visited among the 52 caves that are found in the Northern Province.
Once we reached there, we were asked to put on the protective gears, a touch helmet, the gloves, and the mouth and nose cover. We also found the tour guides with the guns for protection. There is also a sign post at the entrance that “any caving activity must be guided and guarded.
The Iwacu also explained that these caves are 2 km long and they were formed from Lava basaltic layers from the Sabyinyo and Bisoke volcanoes that consist of the Albertine rift valley. This entrance is big and you get inside, it’s a pitch with the aid of the torch helmet, we were also able to go through the caves. These walk paths are also clearly made even though one has got a feeling that a rock might fall or the ground might also collapse.
The Musanze caves have also got other rooms in side and it’s the reason this tour guide asked us not to get diverted from the guided route. This safari takes two hours and since we reached late, we also did one hour. More so, walking through the caves, we managed to see the bats hanging upside down and the different wild plants that had grown on the walls. The water also drops through the hanging walls. We also saw some personal properties that proposed that the locals come to the place.
The Iwacu also told us that these caves were used as the hiding areas during the genocide against the Tutsi. Touring these caves will give you a different tourism experience as compared to mountain gorilla trekking as well as bird watching. The dark areas makes it so hard to be able to describe the place and the experience of turning off the lights and the standing in the total darkness is so magical.
In this 2 hour trip to Musanze caves, you will expect to view the hanging upside down as well as the different wild plants that are grown on the walls. Some of the water drips through the hanging walls. These caves were also used as shelter and the hiding places during the wars in the past and in present as tourism activities that are guided by the armed experts.
You can tour musanze caves in the evening or in the afternoon after enjoy golden monkey tracking and Gorilla trekking. These can also be visited at any time of the year and there is no need of booking safaris to Musanze caves in advance.
These caves in Rwanda also give the in depth understanding of the geological history and the development of the earth. They are located in the volcanic region of Rwanda where the different lava flow layers date back from 65 million years ago that created the Albertine Rift valley, these caves are also 2 kilometers long beneath.
The Musanze Caves, Rwanda yielding Travel tourism.
This caving activity in these caves is fairly new and also started late last year. These are not yet so famous but part of it can be put on low promotion. I faltered upon on this when I arrived at the reception of volcanoes national park which was a little late for the activity in the park. I had also seen a sign post on the way and when I asked them, they informed me that they organize caving as well.
About my caving adventure
This was also not my first caving adventure, but it was surely the most prescribed one, with much caving gear into a cave that was full of wild migratory bats. My first time to try out caving was in Meghalaya in 2007 and since that time, I had not gotten another opportunity. Though there are no photos that show my first experience and I also didn’t show it on my blog as well. Inappropriately there are no images surviving from my first experience and I never shared about it on the blogs as well.
Nevertheless, as soon as I was told that I can do caving in the first half of the day, I got so excited and had to pay a fee of $30. I was also introduced to my guide who also became my good friend and gave me tips of the next few days as I was in the town of Musanze. I also asked him if he wants some help and he just told me to walk around, as I take pictures and wait. The is also the reception that is so scenically situated on the foot hills of volcanoes national park and you can also see the most beautiful volcano, mount Sabyinyo that is behind it. This is so beautiful that I could just see it for many hours.
About the Musanzee Rwanda caving equipment travel tourism.
Within one hour, we were ready to leave. It also took a lot of time as they had to charge many lights that we had to use in the cave. When I look at all the gears, we had to carry, I was so impressed and also most excited to go into these caves. Most of the times, one needs a vehicle to go to the caves, but since I had come with a taxi bus, they had to offer me a ride in a park safari vehicle that is used for conservation work and it’s not used by the tourists. I just guess that since I was alone and has also became friends with the soldiers, so they were open to giving me a free ride.
Caving in Musanze Caves- Entrance to the Caves
After a drive of about 30 minutes, we were so near the entrance of the cave. We had to dress up before going down into the darkness and this added to the excitement. I was then given the following.
- The head cap
- the light face cover
- Knee caps
- The hand torch and many instructions
The caves to Musanzee are so famous with the bats of the near countries, namely Uganda and Tanzania and there are also many types of bats including the exotic fruit bats. The escorts also follow you inside the cave.
This cave is also long, even though we only managed to do a short stretch of it which took us one hour. There is no light inside these caves and you have to use the head lights on the helmet all the time. This is also good for you, but the sharp light is known to disturb the bats and make a lot of noise it’s also good when you switch off all the lights inside and then stand quietly, these bats also calm down and then go silent. You can also feel them flying close to you, the winds panicking, the strange bats stink and many more.
The last bit of caves is also the most beautiful. This image at the top is also from at the end. On this firmness of my guide, I also made this video that is short about the place. He wanted me to make it so that I can share it with my family and tell them to come to Rwanda for the next vacation.
My Guide- Musa!
His real name was Moses but I preferred calling him Musa, this gentle man was my guide to the caves but we became friends so quickly. We talked about Rwanda and USA. He also took me to the best places in Musanze, game me his jacket for the trek and called me up each and every evening to ask me about my day.
Musanze Caves in Genocide Times
These caves became so protruding during the genocide in 1994, it was used by the residents that flee the killers to hide and save themselves. Many of these lived here for months and made the caves their homes. However, it must have been tough living inside there, with no lights, little food and many bats. There is a new walk way in place now and back then, it was only rocks and the rough terrain. As per as my guide, many of the people who hid here survived the killings.
The Travel Tips
- In case you are in Musanze, you can take a bike taxi to the reception of volcanoes national park. There is no booking needed and this taxi will only cost FRW 2000.
- There is also a car or jeep that is needed since you can put all the caving items there
- Caving takes 1 hour and is not all tough since it’s an adventure for every one.
- You need to carry water and food though you can’t have it inside the cave
- The cameras are useless, unless you need to use a tripod as you take long exposure photos.
Silence, it’s so peaceful that you feel your thoughts layering in order with in your brain. The darkness when we entered to enjoy the serenity. It is also one of those moments you will have to enjoy when you pay a visit to Musanze caves, which is one of Rwanda’s best hidden treasures.
More so, our guide asked us to go emotionless, since I had been nodding to some reggae and then decided to reduce the volume. The sound of the culture in this humble African, Maxi priests blessed and Jah Cure’s reggae version of John Legend’s all of me, could also have been better. The lyrics in the songs made the meaning and the melody got sweeter.
These caves were so cool and so natural, this moment is beautiful and the reflection also deserving and the cultural folklore at Musanze caves. We were also so thankful for the geographic activities that brought the grottos into the existence. There were also few reasons to worry but our heads were covered in helmets, the hands gloved well, our knees capped and the eyes were closed well. The hosts, Rwanda Development Board that brings together all the government agencies for the all investor adventure under one roof, provided us that.
About the Wild organisms
In case meditation is about allowing the world out and enjoying the moments, then I would also like to have more of such relaxed moments. There are also the bats that fly through the colored sharfs of light. There are two types, the fruit eaters and the insects. Just at the entrance of the caves is a children’s playground. There are a few meters away and a large entrance that is about 10 meters wide. There is also the green foliage on both at the entrance and the exit, with some trees.
For the photographers, these also present some creative back drops. As we were dressed in the trip gear, the locals stopped to observe. Along the way and at the tail of the fourth segment, there were village boys waiting and shooting eagerly.
They were shooting “mzungu ‘, Mzungu” almost in chorus. And when the cameras faced their way, they started posing and then engaged in some of cavorting. The journey in was somehow long and winding through the natural rock shelter that is held together by stone on the ground and at the ceiling, these are so delicate.
The guide told us to go slow as we walked through the caves. We were also told to keep our voices low since there are bats and in case they get hear the loud voices, they will run away.
These caves were formally opened recently and this is yet another key result towards our main goal to the increase tourism products; the caves are also expected to attract many tourists, we hope to see them as we spend more days in Rwanda and most especially in Musanze which is among our destination Management areas. These were also skilful in collaboration with the ministry of defense Reserve Force. These works included the establishment of tourists walk ways and the trails, stairs and the safety measures for the tourists.