Red Rocks is not only the typical Backpackers’ Campsite; it commands its fair share of respect among Gorilla Tracking and Mountain Hiking freaks.
The proprietor, Greg Bakunzi, whose chatty and casual manner sets the pace at Red Rocks says their mission is “to focus on the interaction and exchange between locals and visitors in order to improve the quality of life in Musanze district.”
On the three occasions I have checked it out, I have found Red Rocks teeming with Safari-hungry bands of international tourists, backpackers, business travelers, expatriates, and NGO fat cats.
It offers modest but elaborate backpackers accommodation along with a camping ground with fixed tents, surrounded by beautiful green gardens of fruit and greens and beyond, the picturesque rolling hills of Musanze. Red Rocks is remote, very remote; there are no phones, fridges, computers, and any such trappings of modern technology. The beers are chilled by burying them in pits of wet sand dotted around the numerous garden bars. International tourists in particular have been known to show a particular fascination with these organic fridges. Digging the beer bottles from the sand hence becomes some sort of sport, a treasure hunt.
The food arrangement is another crowd puller. There is an unwritten “open kitchen and open garden” policy that allows you to either carry along your own packed food or cooking equipment, or make do wit what is on offer.
What Red Rocks has done is engage the elderly and vulnerable local women in tilling its extensive green fields through a Women Conservation Project. The results have been acres of fresh cereals, vegetables and fruits that one can harvest at will. Simply stroll down the garden, pick a cabbage, some tomatoes and carrot, and within a few minutes, you could be eating your salad. Like I said, the kitchen is open, meaning that you can overtake it and try to whip up your own recipes.
Shelley Buss, a young Canadian lady has devoted so much time and effort to putting Red Rocks not only on its feet, but also on the map. In June 2012, she visited this place and was immediately inspired by what she saw. Of particular interest to her was the women community conservation programme.
Currently in Canada, Shelley is aiding the Project by scouting for new markets for its handcrafts in her native Canada, besides running a website for it.
John Kaddulira, the chef usually has his kitchen stocked with the basics; wheat, minced meat, chips and salads should you not want to venture into the garden.
Currently they have about 25 fully-equipped tents on offer, but like with the food, one can still pack their own camping gear if you prefer falling asleep to the rhythms and sounds of nature.
Outdoor porcelain squat toilets have been erected in the lawns, and are kept surprisingly clean.
One could also choose to sleep in the main backpackers’ hostel, which offers both Twin and Double rooms. This option includes breakfast, and is ideal for that person looking for a comfy bed and functional mosquito net.
Red Rocks is located in the quiet Nkosi valley, 7 km South West of the main town of Musanze.