A Sneak Peak into Buhanga Eco Park in Rwanda: The Buhanga Eco Park, which has 31 hectares of land, is one of the amazing Rwanda Safari destinations that surround Volcanoes National Park. Buhanga Eco Park is located in the Nyakinama community, about 8 kilometers west of Musanze town, and its significance stems not from its beautiful flora but from the cultural tradition associated with it.
Buhanga is a Kinyarwanda word that literally means “creation,” and tradition has it that Rwanda originated here. Gihanga, Rwanda’s first king is supposed to have created the Kingdom of Rwanda from this spot. As a result, previous to the monarchy’s fall, all of Rwanda’s Kings used to hold rites in this forest, making it a revered place as well as a cause of fear among the locals.
Because of the sacred character of this forest, it has stayed intact despite the fact that Rwanda is experiencing severe levels of land fragmentation and scarcity. Buhanga Forest appears to be dominated by a huge number of drago and ficus trees, which combine to provide a very lush canopy beneath which Rwanda Wildlife Safari guests may roam freely. Buhanga’s guided forest walk takes place on trails made of lave stones.
Buhanga park contains a cave where Rwandan kings were coroneted. It is an extraordinary spot that is important to traditional Rwandan rites since the Rwandan Kings would go from the southern kingdoms of Nyanza and Butare to Buhanga for coronation. The wood also features another cave, widely known as ‘Umwami,’ where the Kings would bathe before being anointed Kings.
Following the obligatory ceremonial bath, the King would be coated in regal oil and taken to the lava rock that served as the conference platform to receive the instruments of power presided over by the Kingdom’s Advisory Council, elders, clan chiefs, and royal sorcerers. According to mythology, the King reaped enormous benefits from this site, as well as the gods’ protection over the Kingdom.
Buhanga woods also contain a wonderful natural spring of water called Gihanda, named after Rwanda’s first King. It should be noted that the waters used in the ceremonial bath come from this spring. According to legend, a local chieftain once ordered his men to drain the well-known spring, but it was already flowing again by the evening. The next day, huge snakes attacked the chief’s residence for seven days, killing the chief and his whole family.
The Buhanga woodland trail in Buhanga Eco Park shows tourists to incredible trees like the ‘Inyabutatu ya Rwanda,’ which translates approximately as the Unity Tree and seems to be three trees in one. According to local legend, the tree represents Rwanda’s three ethnic tribes, specifically the Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa. Other trees include Umusando, Igihondohondo, and Ibigabiro, some of which are over 300 years old. The Buhanga Sacred Walk also introduces guests to 150 different bird species. The Buhanga Eco Park trek is $40 and runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
What can you combine your Buhanga Forest Hike with?
Volcanoes Nature Park in Rwanda provides a variety of activities that may be combined with your Buhanga woodland trip. Here are some activities you might wish to consider:
For USD 1500, tourists may track mountain gorillas in the national park. Depending on when individuals book, gorilla trekking may be done at any time of year; however, the best time to hike gorillas is between June and September, which is peak season. All tourists who intend to hike must get a gorilla trekking permit, and trekking is only authorized for those aged 18 and over. Visitors should arrive on time since tracking activities begin at 7 a.m. at the park’s headquarters in Kinigi. Please see the link Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park for more information on this activity.
Golden Monkey Trekking
Trekking golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park is an exhilarating and difficult activity. In the national park, visitors may witness two habituated groups of Golden monkeys. Both of these organizations have 80 members, and monitoring begins at 7 a.m. Permits to hike with golden monkeys cost USD 100 and are valid across Rwanda and Uganda.
Hiking trips on the Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, or Gahinga Mountains are included in this activity. Tourists on Mount Karisimbi hiking excursions can witness birds, wildlife like as mountain gorillas and forest elephants, and insect species. Visitors hiking Mount Bisoke may witness sites such as Crater Lake on the mountain’s crest. Volcanoes National Park hikes cost between $75 and $100 per person.
Hike to Karisoke Research Centre & Dian Fossey Gravesite.
Volcanoes National Park visitors may enjoy a hike to Dian Fossey’s tomb as well as a visit to the Karisoke Research Centre, all of which are located inside the park. Please read our Dian Fossey page for more information. The cost of this activity is $100 USD per person.
Ibyi’wacu Community Tour.
Volcanoes National Park cannot be visited without viewing the nearby villages. Tourists on cultural excursions are welcome to visit the Ibyi’wacu community village, where they may interact with the people, be entertained by the local intore dance company, and wander around the hamlet.
Birding and exploring the Musanze caves are two more activities available at Volcanoes National Park. For reservations, please contact our team of knowledgeable tour coordinators.