Makwaza hill to be turned into a tourist attraction

AUTHORITIES in Gisagara district of the Southern Province are planning to develop Makwaza hill and transform it into a touristic site, the district mayor Leandre Karekezi has said.
An old traditional hut slugs atop the Makwaza hill in Gisagara.  The New Times/ JP Bucyensenge.
An old traditional hut slugs atop the Makwaza hill in Gisagara. The New Times/ JP Bucyensenge.

AUTHORITIES in Gisagara district of the Southern Province are planning to develop Makwaza hill and transform it into a touristic site, the district mayor Leandre Karekezi has said.

Makwaza, a small hill of a few hundred metres encircled by eucalyptus, pine trees and herbages, sits a few metres from the Rwanda-Burundi border in the rural Mukindo sector. The hill is believed to have saved the life of King Ruganzu Ndoli, who was being pursued after he launched an attack against local chief Nyaruzi rwa Haramanga, overpowering him and eventually killing him, according to a legend from local residents.

Until the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the hill used to be a tourism spot and infrastructures were set up to host tourists who visited the site. However, the infrastructures, which included a bar and a camp site, were destroyed during the Genocide. The ruins in the wake of the Genocide can still be seen at the hill.

“We are trying to attract private investors and encourage them to develop the site. But our efforts are yet to yield tangible results,” Karekezi said. “We consider the hill one of the major attractions in our district and we believe we shall achieve this dream.”

He added: “Tourism is an important sector that, if developed, can speed up local development. We are aware of that and we work towards its development.”

Apart from Makwaza, Karekezi said the district is also working on identifying other sites with the potential to attract tourists.

They include, among others, Save Catholic Church, which became the first church in the country in 1900.

Others include the ‘Rwabisemanyi’ fish ponds, which, according to the mayor, used to be a get-together spot for lovers of nature. The place offers a magnificent view of the many surrounding beautiful hills, is subjected to medium sunshine and fresh air that is brought by the small trees that surround the place.

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