what can i do in buhanga eco park-rwanda
Buhanga Eco Park is a small forest covering about 31 hectares, always termed "sacred, and it is known for rituals by the Kings of Yore of Rwanda, where enthronement and initiations for kingship were done. This forest is endowed with beautiful eco systems, which is good for nature lovers on stony trails under tall Majestics trees, with climbing and creeping plants that have enhanced the growth and development of colorful butterflies and different bird species singing in the air.
Buhanga forest, depending on the weather conditions, allows nature walks in different directions at any time of the day, though it’s important to visit this forest very early in the 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 have got different stories to tell regarding the kings and yore people's traditions of Rwanda. Therefore, Buhanga forest should be a must forest to visit because of its section breakdown below.
According to Banyarwanda, the three-in-one tree was a sign of unity, peace, and harmony between the three Rwandan ethnic groups who served the King loyally.
The three-in-one tree is called “Inyabutatu” in Kinyarwanda. According to the local people, it was 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 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While you walk down to the small spring containing cold dark water where the kings' bathing water was withdrawn, According to the records of Rwanda in 1988, the local chief ordered his local men to dig this spring, but a night before the spring started to flow again, big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 chief's home for a number of days, though on the eighth day, the chief and his family were all dead.
Something fishy about this spring is that it overflows 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 surrounded by large boulders, and it is where the King was wheeled in the royal carriage, known as "Ingobyi," straight from his palace in Nyanza until he reaches the dark cave, where the King could stop to take his shower with spring water mixed with 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. After this, the king was then carried to the conference podium.
This could be the place where the king receives his kingship instruments that would be 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 the “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 the proper growth and development of their kingdom from external aggression, and it also made invasions of other territories by the kingdom smooth.
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 process of the King’s coronation. That small ditch is surrounded by small lava stones and a flowery thicket.