Touring the Musanze caves in Rwanda is one the things recently added on to the potential tourist menu. When this activity was launched first in 2014, more than 400 visitors were received in Rwanda with in a period of one month which is a great testament to Rwanda’s ability to market and influence tourists. The increased tourism activities in the country have been of a bigger economic benefit. Places like Musanze cave allows local people to show case off their products and sell art and craft to travelers passing by the community. Apart from art and craft the local people can also show the traditional way of living, culture and history whenever an opportunity comes.
Musanze caves are one of the most visited sites in the district of Musanze. It’s also the most visited part in Rwanda because it’s located in one of the naturally beautiful places in Rwanda and Africa at large. Volcanoes national park is located in this same area offering activities such as gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, canoeing, mountain hiking, visiting the grave of Dian Fossey among others. The Musanze caves in ancient days were used as a place for crowning new kings. The Musanze caves were made more famous of recent because they act as home of refugees who survived and escaped the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Visitors who come to the caves are welcomed by the beautiful green savannah scenery surrounding the cave to the top. The Musanze caves offer a clear view of Virunga ranges among which include volcanoes such as mountain Karisimbi, Muhabura, Gahinga.
Musanze caves are cold and quiet inside with water streams slowly flowing out of the rock ceiling to the rock walls and to holes underneath the cave floor. Exploring caves usually takes one hour to two hours. Caves are made up of complex and numerous tunnels which are homes to bats. The bats are spotted hanging on the cave walls darkened with smoke trapped by numerous cobwebs for thousands of years. Touring the caves involves walking through a 2km dark tunnel that is made of a hard rocks. Inside the caves, there is total silence that is interrupted by whispers, echoes from human voices as well as bats. To go through these caves, one would need a torch, helmet, gloves, head cap and boots to pass through various tunnels during the one or two hours trail.
After exploring the Musanze caves, Visitors can go for the cultural experience with one of the local people living near the caves. While at the homes of local people around the cave, visitors will learn how to make hunting tools such as bows and arrows, basket weaving using fingers, local beer using banana, constructing bee hives and harvesting honey.
Although visiting Musanze caves is one of the best things to do in Rwanda, exploring the caves is best done after doing major activities such as mountain hiking and gorilla trekking, game drive among others making your trip in Rwanda memorable.
What you need to know before planning to visit and explore the Musanze caves
Visiting Musanze caves is done throughout the year at a fee of USD55. This fee does not include accommodation, transport and other costs. You do not need to be fit to go visit the caves.
Musanze cave complex and passage are made of rough terrain with hard solid sharp rocks, bat droppings, dripping waters and mud filled sections. In order to have a best comfortable adventure, you must pack caving gears such as helmets, gloves, knee caps, head caps, boots and flash lights. All these equipment can be got from Rwanda tourism board offices.
Taking photos with the caves is not easy because of darkness and the best places to take photos are the top of the caves which have beautiful scenery and are ever green.
Musanze caves receive many visitors or travelers than any other park of Rwanda. The place has luxury, mid-range as well as budget hotels offering best services. Below is a list of some popular hotels and lodges while at Musanze caves.
The five volcanoes boutique hotel: The hotel is located near Ruhengeri airport with easy access to Musanze caves and volcanoes national park. The hotel has good gardens giving stunning views of Rwanda’s rolling hills. The hotel has single and double rooms with VIP cottages. Other facilities the hotel offers are conditioned private rooms, flat screens, en suit bathrooms, a bar, steam bath, swimming pool, sauna and free Wi-Fi. The park has enough parking space with a restaurant and offers airport pickups.
Jack Hannah’s cottages: These are luxury cottages situated in Musanze and have large contained rooms that can accommodate up to 4 people. The hotel is located in a good environment with long eucalyptus trees and a golf course for nature walk. Visitors to this lodge should expect great views of rolling hills and volcanoes national park at a distance.
Da Vinci gorilla lodge: This was constructed to offer both luxury and mid-range accommodation facilities. Located in Kinigi a few kilometers away from Musanze caves, the lodge gives a great view of volcanoes. Facilities offered in this lodge include single, double or triple self-contained rooms, free Wi-Fi and bath rooms that are furnished with hair driers and hot showers. There is also a lounge for relaxation, children’s playing grounds and beautiful gardens. The lodge has a restaurant with both local and international meals.
Mountain gorilla view lodge: This lodge sits at the foot of Mountain Sabyinyo and is near Musanze caves. The lodge has 30 beautiful cottages that are self-contained and have a camp fire, slippers, bathrooms, bath robes, free Wi-Fi, seating area and private veranda. Outside the lodge there is a bar, gift shop and a restaurant with both local and foreign dishes.
Gorilla volcanoes hotel: this hotel is situated in Musanze and it’s a good place to stay in while at Musanze caves. The place has a quiet environment and reaching volcanoes national park takes you 25 minutes from the hotel. The hotel has 31 air conditioned rooms and has a conference room, children’s playground, swimming, restaurant and the bar, coffee machine, flat TV screen, free Wi-Fi and self-contained rooms.
La bamboo gorilla village: this is a mid-range lodge with rooms built with local materials. The place has beautiful gardens, best sights of volcanoes and green vegetation cover making it a perfect lodge for relaxation. The hotel has free Wi-Fi with a restaurant offering both local and international cuisines, breakfast and a buffet. This place has a children’s playing ground, conference and a business center.
The garden palace: This is one of the good accommodations located in the province of Ruhengeri providing great views of mountains. These cottages offer car hire services, restaurant, bar and a big parking space. The rooms have flat screens, bathrooms and free Wi-Fi.
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