Buhanga Eco Park is a small forest covering about 31 hectares always termed as sacred, and its known for rituals by the Kings of Yore of Rwanda where enthrone and initiations for Kingship was done. This forest is endowed with beautiful eco systems which is good for nature walk lovers on stony trails under tall Majestics trees with climbing and creeping plants that has enhanced the growth and development of colorful butterflies and different bird species singing in the air.
Buhanga forest depending on the weather conditions, it allows nature walks in different directions yearly and at any time of the day, though it’s important to visit this forest very early morning and in the afternoon since it’s an appropriate time when the birds are actively singing which makes hiking through this forest more interesting and enjoyable.
Different sections in this forest has got different stories to tell regarding the kings and yore people traditions people of Rwanda therefore Buhanga forest should be a must forest to visit because of its section breakdown below.
The Three-in-one tree
According to Banyarwanda, the Three-in-one tree was a sign of unit, peace and harmony between the three Rwandan ethnic groups who served the King loyally.
The three-in-one tree, are called “Inyabutatu” in Kinyarwanda, according to the local people of Rwanda it was as a result of three different tree species; that is to say the Inigabiro, Igihondondo, and Umusando that intertwined to form a three-in-one-tree.
In that same place, you will also see a wonder termed as Umuvumu by Banyarwanda which is referred to as “the curse.” The reason as to why it is referred to as a curse by the Banyarwanda, is because it is said that one day thirty local men gathered and they cut it down for firewood but before they carried it home ,The tree turned back into the original state so the next day these men all perished with their families
While you walk down to the small spring containing cold dark water where the kings bathing water was withdrawn .According to the records of Rwanda of 1988 the local chief ordered his local men to dig this spring but a night before the spring started to flow again, Big snakes started to reside at the local chiefs home for a number of days though on the eighth day the chief and his family all dead.
Something Fishy about this spring is that it over flows during dry seasons and almost dries up in wet seasons ,though this spring provides water for domestic use to different hundreds of people in Rwanda as they also proclaim it’s a source of blessings too.
The Dark cave
This cave is boarded by big boulders and it’s where the King was wheeled in the Royal carriage, known to as “Ingobyi”, right from his palace in Nyanza no making any stop over on the way until when he reaches the dark cave, where the King could stop to take his shower with the spring water mixed with the local herbs collected from the small ditch, referred to as a fortune bestowing bath, referred to as “Kwihagira” in Kinyarwanda. After bathing, the King was wiped thoroughly and smeared with regal oil and after this, the King was then carried to the conference podium.
This could be the place where the King received his Kingship instruments that would useful while he is in power, as well as protection, blessings and Guidance from the gods. And after this, he was officially titled immediately as “Umwami” of Rwanda. The Ceremony was then presided over by his elders, clan heads, royal sorcerers and his advisory team. This ceremony, according to their ancient cultural beliefs, ensured proper growth and development of his Kingdom from external aggression and it also made invasions of other territories by the Kingdom smooth.
A small Ditch at Buhanga Eco Park
This small ditch is the place where the King’s royal assistants, called the Abiru in Kinyarwanda, could collect local herbs that would be added into spring water to cleanse it before the King takes a ritual bath as part of the processes of the King’s coronation. That small ditch is surrounded by small lava stones and a flowery thicket.