Less-Known Regional Attractions

Echuya Forest

Echuya Forest 🇺🇬

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 (see below), 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.

ECHUYA ACTIVITIES

Batwa Today

How to make a visit to Batwa “Pygmies” a positive and enriching experience, for both Batwa and visitors? Edirisa has been answering this question for a decade.

The resulting Batwa Today combines a nature walk in Echuya Forest and a visit to the Batwa of Rwamahano. A kids’ “hunting” version is offered too.

You will experience their forest knowledge and their present life, and meet the Bakiga, the majority ethnic group. Due to our long-term relations with the Batwa, they consider Edirisa their friends and don’t mind photography or any other disturbance by anybody coming with us.

The fee is USD 50 pp (nature walk, community visit, snack). Your donation to the Batwa is included in the activity fee; nobody will harass you for anything else.

+256 782 779 599
info@edirisa.org
www.edirisa.org/batwa

Kisiizi Falls

Kisiizi Falls; photo by Miha Logar

Kisiizi Falls 🇺🇬

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.

KISIIZI ACCOMMODATION

Kisiizi Falls Guest House

Two self-contained round-houses (USD 35/30 each; max 4 & 3 people) overlooking waterfall. Six single, one large double (super-king-size bed), two twin and one triple Guest House rooms (USD 7 pppn). Includes free entrance to the falls (SkyTrail zipline extra). Meals USD 1.52.5. Part of the remarkable Kisiizi Hospital.
+256 392 700 806
kisiizifalls@gmail.com
www.kisiizifalls.com

Musanze Caves

Musanze Caves 🇷🇼

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.

ACTIVITIES IN MUSANZE CAVES

For USD 50 per person you will get a 3-hour guided tour, including a helmet and a torch. Caving needs to be arranged at the Rwanda Development Board office in Musanze.