Makwaza Hill In Rwanda
You must be wondering what is special about the Makwaza Hill but its not just a Hill like you may see it but was rather a hide-out for King Ruganzu, hence making it a wonderful and must-visit cultural site for tourists visiting Rwanda. Nestled within Gisagara district, this Hill is small and just hundred meters on the Rwandan border with Burundi within the remote Mukindo sector of this district.
The Makwaza Hill is surrounded by tall eucalyptus and pine tree as well as herbages making it a relaxing environment much as little information is available about the site. Because of its significance, there are plans by the Government of Rwanda to revamp the site and make it more attractive and known to tourists visiting the country. It is found in the middle of a swamp, at few meters from River Akanyaru and serves as a natural border with the neighboring Burundi but historically, the site is said to be the place where several cultural events were conducted during King Ndahiro II Cyamatare’s time.
Nonetheless, legends have it that the Makwaza Hill saved the life of Mwami (King) Ruganzu Ndoli who reigned in the 1600s when he was being pursued during the raid against the rich local Chief known as Nyaruzi rwa Haramanga because he refused to recognized Ruganzu as the King. This chief was later defeated and murdered thus making his servants to pursue and ravage the King to revenge the death of their Master; hence the King escaped and hide within the bushes around the Hill.
It is after event that the King decided to make the hill a respected site because it saved his life but erected at the Peak of this Hill is an old all-grass thatched house that according to locals was always used for several Royal rituals at the time of King Ruganzu’s reign. After the abolition of the Monarchy, Makwaza Hill became one of the most outstanding tourist sites in the area.
Prior to the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, this small Hill was a popular cultural site with several tourist facilities such as a bar and Campsite set up within the area to accommodate tourists who always visited the area but was unfortunately vandalized during the Genocide and when you visit the area, you will be able to see the remains of the structures. However, some efforts are underway to develop the site into a significant cultural site and one of them is attracting private investors to allow them develop the Hill into one of the places tourists would wish to explore during their safari in Uganda.
Besides the Makwaza Hill, tourists visiting Gisagara district can also explore other outstanding sites such as the Gisagara Hill at a hundred meters away from this cultural site and is surrounded by eucalyptus and pine trees, Save Catholic Church, the oldest Church in the country constructed in 1900 as well as the remarkable Rwabisemanyi fish ponds, a favorite spot for nature enthusiasts and interestingly, the site offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills.
How to get to Makwaza Hill
If you are at Huye District, you can proceed to Makwaza Hill through a small sign-posted roadside that leads you to the site.