The experience starts at the main Rubavu – Musanze Road where your guide will meet you at the Ibere rya Bigogwe office on the main road. The office is easily located by the arch which marks the border between Rubavu and Nyabihu Districts.
Travel by moto to the farms (by car
if you have your own)
After meeting your guide you will travel to the green pastures of Ibere rya Bigogwe where the cows graze. The same way as locals in the area, you will
travel on the back of a motorbike to the farms. The views of the landscape are breathtaking as you leave the main road behind and travel up the hills. A photo stop is usually made at one of the best view points. The trip takes around 30 minutes. Helmet is provided.
Meet the cows and watch them grazing
Once you reach the farms, your guide will introduce you to the cows and cowboys. You will dress in a colorful shuka or rumbiya, the traditional attire of cattle keepers and get a Inkoni, a stick carried by all cattle keepers. Learn about the history of the green hills of Bigogwe, stories about cows and the traditional Rwandan life connected to cows. The hills at the farms are some of most lush and green hills in Africa. Spend some time with the cows and cowboys in this peaceful setting
Take the cows to drink water
The cows need lots of water. Twice daily they make their way to the river for a drink. Join the cowboys and use your inkoni (stick) and gentle whistles to move the cows down to the river for a drink. Watch the cowboys as the sing and whistle for the cows as they drink.
Milking the cows and tasting of fresh milk
Milking in Bigogwe is done by hands in traditional cans or ibyansi like inkongoro in wood, and Ingare made in bamboo. Get a lesson in milking by hand by the cowboys and try milking on your own. After milking you will taste the special “Bigogwe Cappuccino” as fresh as it gets straight from the cows.
The cowboys spend their life watching the cows. While the cows graze the cowboys have lots of free time. Many games and traditions have been invented by the cowboys. The most common games are URUKIRAMENDE or high jump, Kunyobanwa or stick fighting and Igisoro, a traditional game played with dried seeds on a wooden board. Watch the cowboys master these games and try on your own.
Traditional songs for the cows
When the cows rest after eating and milking, the cowboys sing to them. These traditional songs are called Kwivugira inka and have been passed on for generations. The songs repeat the names of the cows and include stories from legendary cows.
Making of traditional ghee
Leave the farms by motobike (or car if you have your own). Watch the traditional way women make Ikimuri or ghee by hand. Ikimuri is traditionally made by moving a large calabash or Igisabo back and forth. Learn how it is done and try making your own Ikimuri.
Return to main road and departure
It is time to say goodbye for now. Before you depart you may visit the shop and café where traditional crafts souvenirs and snacks are available.
This experience is organized by Alex Ngabo and Ibere rya Bigogwe. Ngabo grew up with cows on the green hills in the area and is passionate to share this wonderful place with as many as possible.
Extra info / What to bring
This Experience requires that you can walk for 1 km over uneven ground
Add-ons: Pick up and drop of at any hotel in Rubavu or Musanze can be organized at extra fee of 30,000 Rwf
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