Destination Kivu Belt

Ibere Rya Bigogwe

Ibere rya Bigogwe is one of the greenest most spectacular places in Rwanda. The gentle rolling hills have a lush cover of fresh green grass making them a bright green with an almost dreamlike appearance as if from a fairy tale. Apart from a few walking tracks, the hillsides of Ibere rya Bigogwe are dotted with dairy cows busy munching away on the lush green grass. At the base of each green hill is a gentle stream separating it from the next. Ibere rya Bigogwe is a very gentle and dreamy place which will take the breath away from any visitor on a clear day.

Ibere Rya Bigogwe

Ibere rya Bigogwe is a cattle farming region established in the 80s for dairy farming. Today it is one of the largest milk-producing regions of Rwanda. Cows have a very special place in Rwanda both as an economic asset and as a symbol of wealth and social status. Traditionally the reddish Ankole breed of cows was widespread in Rwanda but has been replaced by other breeds which produce more milk. Today, black and white Jersey cows are the most common sight on the green hills of Ibere rya Bigogwe.

Ibere rya Bigogwe Milking
Drinking fresh milk on the green hillsides after a hike. (Photo, Dan Nsengiyumva)

There are many interesting activities for visitors to do in Ibere Rya Bigogwe. You can visit the green hills on your own, but a pre-booking is recommended to get a better experience. Most activities at Ibere Rya Bigogwe are obviously related to cows, but there are also nice trails for hiking and even a rock face used for rock climbing. Milking cows and tasting various dairy products such fresh cheese or Inshyushyu a pasteurized milk served hot are must-do experiences. Visitors also have the opportunity to take part in the specific Rwandan traditions and culture associated with cows and cattle keeping..

Ibere rya Bigogwe Stick Fighting
Traditional Stick Fighting (Photo, Dan Nsengiyumva)

Tending cows in Rwanda has always been the job of special cowboys. Rwandan cowboys have lived their lives next to the cows for centuries, watching over them, milking them and making sure that they are safe and healthy. Since cows do little else than eat and sleep, Rwandan cowboys have a lot of free time on their hands.  During the centuries, certain games, songs and stories developed amongst the cowboys to pass the time. At Ibere Rya Bigogwe, visitors are welcome to join traditional cowboy games such as high jumping and stick fighting. The cowboys will also recite traditional stories and sing songs as part of the old Rwanda traditions and culture linked with cows

Ibere Rya Bigogwe Hiking
Easy hiking at Ibere Rya Bigogwe (Photo, Dan Nsengiyumva)

There is the possibility to stay over night or over an entire weekend at Ibere rya Bigogwe. Tents are available for hire and you will be served fresh hot food. Nights are spent under the stars in front of the fire with the cowboys telling tales of ancient stories, singing songs and reciting poems while drinking warm milk from traditional wooden gourds. Visitors who stay over several days will can use one of the many hiking trails to explore the green hills. The views are incredible and on a clear day one will see Mt. Sabinyo in the north and Mt. Nyiragongo in the South. The lush short grass makes it easy to move around and in the few hills which are covered in forest have excellent trails for hiking.  

Ibere rya bigogwe camping
Camping at Ibere rya Bigogwe (Photo, Dan Nsengiyumva)

Contact Information and Booking

Ibere rya Bigogwe is an area of green lush hills off the RN4 main road halfway between Rubavu and Musanze with roughly 1 hour travel distance from each town. Visit Bigogwe is a company who organize various tours and activities for visitors. 

Good to know:

  • It is advised to bring raincoats or windproof jackets and hiking boots. The sun can be very strong. Walking sticks are available to borrow.

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