Musanze(Rwanda), Vulcanos and Gorillas

Musanze, also known as Ruhengeri, is a town located in the northern part of Rwanda. It is a popular destination for visitors because of its close proximity to the Volcanoes National Park, which is home to the endangered mountain gorillas. In addition to its natural attractions, Musanze is also rich in history and culture. In this article, we will explore the history of Musanze, how to get there, the top sights to see, and the delicious cuisine that can be found in the town.

History of Musanze

The area around Musanze has a rich history dating back to the pre-colonial era. The region was originally inhabited by the Twa, a group of hunter-gatherers who lived in the forested areas of Rwanda. In the 15th century, the Hutu people, who were farmers, migrated to the area and settled alongside the Twa.

In the late 19th century, European explorers and missionaries arrived in Rwanda, and the region was eventually colonized by Germany in 1894. After World War I, the country was placed under Belgian control. During the colonial period, the region around Musanze was developed for agriculture, and coffee and tea plantations were established in the area.

In 1962, Rwanda gained independence from Belgium, and Musanze became an important commercial center in the country. Today, the town is known for its tourism industry and is a popular destination for visitors who want to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

How to Get There

Musanze is located about 90 kilometers (55 miles) northwest of the capital city, Kigali. The easiest way to get to Musanze is by car or bus from Kigali. The drive takes about two hours, and there are several bus companies that operate daily services between the two cities.

Visitors can also fly into the nearby Kigali International Airport and then take a taxi or shuttle to Musanze. The airport is located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of Musanze and the journey takes around two and a half hours by car.

Top Sights to See

  1. Volcanoes National Park: The Volcanoes National Park is one of the top attractions in Musanze. It is home to the endangered mountain gorillas, as well as a variety of other wildlife and plant species. Visitors can go on guided hikes to see the gorillas in their natural habitat, and there are also opportunities to hike to the summit of Mount Karisimbi, one of the highest peaks in Africa.
  2. Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International: The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is a conservation organization that was founded by the famous primatologist Dian Fossey. The organization is based in Musanze and works to protect the mountain gorillas and their habitat. Visitors can take guided tours of the organization’s facilities and learn about the work that they do to protect the gorillas.
  3. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village: The Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village is a community-based tourism project that aims to preserve and promote Rwandan culture. Visitors can take part in a range of activities, such as traditional dance performances, drumming lessons, and craft workshops. The village also has a restaurant that serves traditional Rwandan cuisine.
  4. Twin Lakes: The Twin Lakes, Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo, are two scenic lakes located near Musanze. Visitors can take boat trips on the lakes, go fishing, or hike around the surrounding hills to take in the stunning views.

Cuisine in Musanze

Rwandan cuisine is known for its simplicity and use of local ingredients. Some of the dishes that visitors to Musanze should try include:

  1. Ugali: Ugali is a staple food in Rwanda and is made from maize flour. It is similar to a dense porridge and is often served with a variety of stews or sauces.
  2. Isombe: Isombe is a popular vegetable dish that is made from cassava leaves, spinach, and eggplant. The vegetables are cooked and then mashed together with onions, garlic, and spices.
  3. Brochette: Brochette is a popular street food in Rwanda and consists of skewered meat that is grilled over an open flame. The meat is typically marinated in a mixture of spices and served with a side of chips or vegetables.
  4. Akabenz: Akabenz is a type of beer that is brewed in Rwanda. It is made from sorghum and has a slightly sour taste. It is often served in bars and restaurants throughout the country.

In addition to traditional Rwandan cuisine, visitors to Musanze can also find a range of international restaurants and cafes in the town.


Musanze is a beautiful town located in the northern part of Rwanda. It is home to the Volcanoes National Park, which is one of the top attractions in the country and is known for its population of endangered mountain gorillas. In addition to its natural attractions, Musanze is also rich in history and culture, with several museums and cultural centers in the town. Visitors can also sample delicious Rwandan cuisine, as well as international dishes at the many restaurants and cafes in the area. Whether you are interested in wildlife, culture, or history, Musanze has something to offer everyone.

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