Bee keeping, and traditional production of honey is widespread in Rwanda. Honey is a high energy food often used as a sweetener in tea or when baking. Honey also has medicinal properties and in Rwanda it is often used to help cure mild colds, sore throats, coughs and applied on wounds.
The bee keeping experience starts in the front of the Stone Saloon in Rugamba Village where you will meet your guide. You will start by learning about the Rwandan bee keeping tradition. After this you will learn how to create a traditional beehive using wood, banana fibers and cow dung. You will join the members of the community while making your own beehive.
After you have constructed the beehive you will carry it to replace one of the existing beehives which is ready for harvest. Be advised that you will be expected to carry the beehive in the traditional way on your head. If you have not done this before you will get a crash course in this art.
After replacing one of the beehives with your newly constructed beehive your are now ready to harvest honey. You will be provided safety equipment, including headgear, a net and gloves. Smoke from traditional wood is used to subdue the bees while the beehive is opened.
After the beehive is opened, the fresh honey is scraped of the honey cakes. You will have the opportunity to taste the fresh honey straight after the harvest.
Before saying goodbye, you will have the possibility to buy fresh honey straight from the cooperative.
About the organizer
The Twitezimbere Association is composed of bee keepers and has 15 members. Like many other communities in Rwanda, Twitezimbere bee keepers produce honey using traditional methods for home use and to sell for extra income.
The association offers bee keeping as part of their community-based tourism experiences. The experience starts from one of the bee keepers’ homes, where you will learn how to make different types of traditional beehives from wood, banana fibres and cow dung. You will then take the local beehives to the apiary and collect fresh (warm) honey, which you can taste.
To ensure your safety and security, and to boost your experience while collecting fresh honey, the association will provide protective clothes such as a bee-keepers’ veil and gloves. However, you are requested to bring/wear long trousers shirts with long sleeves or jackets.
Before you Go
- A bit of walking, wear comfortable outdoor shoes
- You will spend some time in the sun, wear a hat and sunscreen
- Bring an umbrella in case of rain
- Bring a bottle of water
Your guide will meet you in front of Stone Saloon in Rugamba Village Center