MUSANZE– Buhanga Hill, known locally as Egihondohondo, played a major role in the coronation of Rwanda’s Mwamis’ (kings). The lake, in which the king had to bathe in before his coronation, called ‘Iriba rya Gihanga’ can still be found in the12 hectare forest on the hill. The forest is also a popular bird watching area. As a result of the cultural significance of the area, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is going to upgrade the site.
Rica Rwigamba, the Head of tourism in RDB, told The New Times, that there were plans to expropriate all residents occupying the forest site and that a modern eco-lodge will be constructed.
Joseph Hategekimana, an employee at RDB, recounted several incidents that residents say proves the mystery of the place.
“In 1977, our Bourgmestre, Donat Nkikabahizi, ordered us during Umuganda (communal work) to find the source of this lake and dry it. We failed, but the next day, he and his entire family disappeared, never to be seen again’’ Hategekimana recalls.
According to residents, every king, from Gihanga to Kigeli Ndahindurwa, has bathed in the waters of the lake. For hundreds of years, local residents refused to either cultivate crops or to cut timber in the area.