Burera: The Rwanda’s undiscovered beauty

Despite a distance from main roads, whatever long journey in a dusty way, there is no reason to regret. A variety of relief, lakes, valleys, green hills with historical assets; this makes the places nostalgic for any passerby.

This district is located in a northern west corner of Rwanda, neighboring with Uganda. It a remote area between Base (main raod from Kigali to Musanze) and Cyanika (main road to Uganda border). It is a distance of about 150 kms, but takes more than 5 hours in a bus, due to road status.


However, better take this touristic journey to discover Rwanda’s beauty, than staying close minded. All along the way in this district, Lake Burera is always front and back your view, and Muhabura Volcano serves as a landmark. Butaro Hospital is your discovery, Urugezi valley and Nyabingi history will keep you nostalgic to the area.

Lake Burera: It has 52,8 km2. It goes around almost all sectors, infiltrating down the hills.  It is found in 8/17 Sectors of the district: Kinoni, Butaro,Kagogo, Rugarama, Cyanika, Kinyababa, Gitovu,  Rusarabuye. It has more than 6 archipelagoes. These include Bushongo, Batutsi, Bihosho, Munanira, Mudimba and Icyabarihira. And all hills around make chain in it like half islands. The west part of Burera pours in Ruhondo, via Ntaruka barrage, the most powerfull electricity plant in Rwanda( 11,5 MW).

Butaro Hospital, unic facility in the region to care on cancer. It offers treatment to cancer patients from all corners of the country and outside. It located on the top of Butaro hill, near Urugezi valley.

Inside the ground, there is a robust Umuvumu tree, which had been there for long ages. Local population says it is “Nyabingi tree”- Nyabingi is the former male god, whom Rwandans used to pray before christianism. Butaro is known as Nyabingi place, people there are from her workers.

Downstairs, there is Urugezi natural valley, which accommodates various kinds of birds in papyrus. This strange valley covers 6735 ha, between Burera and Gicumbi districts, both of Northern Province. By view, one may think it arable, as it is green, but it contains much water. On its way to Burera lake, water from Urugezi is too black, and makes to think about petrol or charcoal, but still more research is needed to confirm.

This valley has historical foot prints for Rwandans. During kingdom era, rebels used to flee and live in it. This is the case of Basebya, son of Nyirantwari. It is also a cave of Ndungutse with his army. According to some informations, the 1st president of Rwanda Mr Gregoire Kayibanda, might have died here, after the Putsch by Juvenal Habyarimana. “He would have died of cold and hunger in this valley”, they say.

To sum up, Burera remains a touristic place for ever. All is green there, plants, bamboo forests, good climate. People here live of agriculture: potatoes, beans, maize and millet are selected, but any kind of plant can grow here. Moreover, the district is planning to promote tourism, by Hotels around Burera lake and practical roads.


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Jean Baptiste Karegeya/


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