Less-Known Regional Attractions

Echuya Forest

Echuya Forest /Uganda/

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Echuya Forest Reserve; photo by Marcus Westberg

Located between Kabale and Kisoro, Echuya is a montane rainforest, the third remaining part of the extensive ancient woods that covered most of the region. A remarkable birding destination, it is also home to blue monkeys, colobus monkeys and a group of baboons you might run into on the tarmac.

On a hill overlooking the forest and Lake Bunyonyi on the other side lives the Batwa “Pygmy” community of Rwamahano. They prepare Batwa Today, an activity that starts with a nature walk in Echuya and ends with a community visit that is unlike anything else offered in the Gorilla Highlands. It emphasises discussion between the Batwa and their guests. A special kids’ version of the walk is available, with children “hunting” using traditional Batwa bows and cardboard targets.

Kisiizi Falls

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Kisiizi Falls; photo by Miha Logar

Kisiizi Falls /Uganda/

This pretty waterfall has gory history: pregnant unmarried girls used to be thrown over the falls as a punishment (there was a similar story from Lake Bunyonyi). Oral history says that the practice stopped after one of the victims pulled her father and brother down the cliff.

An impressive monument and a visitor centre have been erected. A suspension bridge takes travellers closer to the waterfall, and a 3-stage zip line ride entertains them. A couple of guesthouses are available.

The falls and the tourism proceeds power astonishing work by a nearby rural hospital: an extensive health insurance scheme, a rehab unit for children with cerebral palsy, a school of nursing and more.

Musanze Caves

Musanze Caves /Rwanda/

Musanze Caves entrance; photo by Marcus Westberg

In both Musanze and Kinigi abundant signposts promote “Musanze Caves”, at sometimes confusing locations. There are multiple caves, and the central awe-inspiring cavern hides right under the Musanze-Rubavu (Gisenyi) highway.

In the past they were used as a royal meeting place before military campaigns and a hideout during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.