Ruhengeri, also known as Musanze, is nestled in the Virunga Mountains in northern Rwanda. Most travellers pass through on their way between Kigali and their gorilla trek, but Ruhengeri and the surrounding region have much more to offer. This article provides information about this little-known destination and gives you three good reasons to visit.
- Golden Monkeys
After the gorillas, the golden monkeys are the rising stars of the Parc National des Volcans, becoming an increasingly popular attraction (especially with the significantly lower price tag on the experience than the gorilla trek). As with the gorilla trekking experience, you beat your way through the forest to find the golden monkeys. They are a bit more active than gorillas however, and your time with the monkeys is mostly spent walking under the trees following as they jump around.
- Village Experiences
Banana beer production and basket weaving are two key enterprises undertaken in the Ruhengeri region. You can visit the village of Muko and see these activities being conducted, get your very own basket and sample the banana beer. English is not generally spoken proficiently in the village so it is worth taking a guide from Ruhengeri with you.
- Dian Fossey
The Parc National des Volcans outside Ruhengeri is the place Dian Fossey called home for much of her life as she researched the beautiful and endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking is one of the most popular activities today in Ruhengeri and we can largely thank Ms Fossey that there are gorillas remaining in these mountains. Dian Fossey’s grave is a two- to three-hour hike from the park headquarters where you will also find the ruins of the Karisoke Research Centre.
There are plenty of other things to see and do in Ruhengeri aside from these three highlights. The Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera are a beautiful setting as you look out from Virunga Lodge (one of the more expensive places to stay, but you can just go for the views). There are also hiking trails in the Parc National des Volcans, mostly up to the top of one of the volcanoes through the thick green forest that covers the mountains.
Would you like to visit Ruhengeri? Join OTA’s Kenya to Kigali Adventure next November for your chance to trek golden monkeys, try banana beer, and visit the place Dian Fossey called home for her research years. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.