A cave is a natural space beneath the surface of the ground large enough for a person to enter. After visiting the volcanoes national park for gorilla trekking, don’t miss the indelible opportunity to explore these sensational and stunning caves. These caves are found in Musanze district (Northern Province of Rwanda), on the foothills of Volcanoes National Park making it easy to visit after a gorilla trek, approximately 90 minutes drive from Kigali town and 25 kilometers from Ugandan border.
Formally known as Nyamwasama, was formed 65 million years ago by geological activity (volcanic eruption) from Basaltic lava flow from Mount Bisoke and Sabyinyo Volcanoes which consist of the Albertine Rift Valley, whereby the lava cooled forming these enormous and magnificent caves. It is the most visited among the 52 surveyed caves in Rwanda and has a wide entrance of over 10km, is 2km (approximately 1.25 miles) long with 31 entrances. It is one of the recently added tourism attractions and was open for visitation in 2013 by Rwanda Development Board in collaboration with the Rwandan Defense Forces. The caves can only be visited by tourists if accompanied by guides who are usually armed to offer protection. The tour to Musanze caves usually takes 2-3 hours. While here you will learn about the geological formation of the earth and history of the caves including how it was used as a hiding place during war and massacre area during the 1994 genocide, also harbors large colonies of bats and for tourists who want to see bats this is the right place to be. Besides the bats, the entrance of the caves has green vegetation which can be good for photo sessions. The moment you enter the cave you will hear the screeching sounds of the bats.
Of recent the Rwanda Development Board had developed the cave for example there are footpaths, paved floors, concreted stairways/staircases and trails in the caves to allow easy movement of the tourists. One thing so adventurous and memorable about visiting these caves is putting off the lights while in the caves, the feeling of darkness in the cave makes it unforgettable.
When visiting the caves, you will be asked to have the appropriate protective gears which are usually provided like wearing helmets with torches to help light the caves since they are dark inside. Cover your mouth and nose to protect you from the droppings of the bats and also avoiding infections from bats, gloves to prevent you from touching the caves directly and boots to allow you to navigate the caves easily. Inside the Musanze cave portrays a home with numerous corridors and rooms and therefore tourists are advised not to divert and move away from the path followed by the guides because chances of getting lost are high.
The caves can be visited at any time of the day, preferably in the afternoons after your gorilla trek, and you will be taken though this spectacular attraction by professional and friendly tour guides, entrance fee to the Musanze caves is US$55 per person which excludes the transport costs to the site and the tips of the guides. Tourists interested in visiting these impressive caves can book with the Rwanda Development Board in advance to be able to participate.
Besides the caves, other attractions and activities within Musanze include the Buhanga Eco-park (for the coronation of former Kings of Rwanda), the Twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo, Bisoke volcano fro climbing and hiking, trek to Dian Fossey grave, Karisimbi volcano hiking and visiting the golden monkeys and the prominent mountain gorilla trekking.
In conclusion the Musanze cave is a spectacular attraction worth visiting in Rwanda due to its historical formation and the interesting appearance hence was added to the list of attractions in Rwanda and this has continuously attracted more and more tourists in the area since it was developed for tourists in 2013.