Musanze is undoubtedly the tourism capital of Rwanda thanks to numerous attraction sites including the majestic mountain gorillas, the Burera and Ruhondo twin Lakes – all located in the same district. 

It is a three and half hour journey from the Kigali International Airport to Musanze District, located in the Nothern Province of Rwanda. When driving on the road Kigali – Musanze, you will clearly see why Rwanda is called the “Land of Thousand Hills” since it’s the most mountainous region of the country.

Facts and Figures of Musanze

Quick Facts and Figures of Musanze District:

Total Size of the District530.4 sq. km
Virunga National Park Size60 sq. km
Burera and Ruhondo Lakes28 sq. km
Total number of Sectors15
Total number of Cells68
Total number of Villages432
Total Population406,000
Rural Population253,000
Urban Population112,000
Facts and Figures of Musanze District, Nothern Province, Rwanda

The above population figures are sourced from the recent census by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda. 

When reaching the city of Musanze, the first thing you will notice is the fast development of this city thanks to its advanced city master plan. Apart from the commercial buildings meant for offices and shops, there are five star hotels as well that help accommodate tourists from all over the world.

Developmental Changes in the last 10 years (2010 to 2020)

Hotels

Musanze has more than 37 hotels in total. The most recently completed hotel projects include the $25million Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House and the famous One & Only Gorilla’s Nest which is surrounded by swaying eucalyptus trees, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest awakens a wild spirit of adventure. 

Bisate Lodge is also located in this District.

Bisate Lodge

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is close to the Volcanoes National Park – a historic rainforest home to a diverse tapestry of wildlife, including over 340 mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and 300 bird species.

One & Only Gorilla nest

Surrounded by the imposing Virunga mountains in Rwanda, Kataza House offers tourists a great journey of discovery that ultimately provides a great inner restoration and a much-needed sense of calm.

Kataza House, Singita

Energy

Statistics from the website of the district of Musanze show that in the past 10years, tarmacked roads were 53 kilometers as opposed to the current 76km. Electrical connections by the people rose from 52% (7,700 homes to 90% 51,117 homes). Many homes use solar power as well and biogas as a source of energy.

Settlements 

Musanze now has 5 state of the art villages as opposed to the 2 that it had 10 years ago. Among these new 5 villages include the recently inaugurated one in Kinigi. As years pass so does the settlements improve and more estates and villages are created.

The model village located in Kinigi is one of the five model villages that have been developed in the last 5years. It is located in 12 kilometres from Musanze city. It was built with modern facilities in multi-storeys by the army and these houses are meant for 144 vulnerable families.

The photos below show this model village in Kinigi.

Trade

The newly built state of the art 5-storey market located in the middle of the city, presents a good location for trading. It took Frw 7.5 Billion for the Gorilla Investment Company to complete it. This investment company was formed by 89 members from this district who united to build it.

5 additional large markets in the district were rehabilitated and currently being used.

Musanze Market
Musanze Market

You can Read Top 10 Simple Businesses you can start and run in Musanze District by clicking this link.

Factories

Musanze has in total 23 factories. The most recent one is Prime Cement which seeks to bridge the supply gap of cement in Rwanda with a $40 million plant in Musanze. This big project will reduce the shortage of cement. There is also a plan to build a new assembly point for Volkswagen vehicles in this district.

Prime Cement Factory

Transport and Logistics

Musanze now has a big bus park to accommodate all public buses entering the city. This eases the smooth movement of goods and people in and outside the district. Petrol service stations grew from 5 to 10 in the last 10years as well.

Transport Services in Musanze

As the city grows day to day, many small businesses continue to thrive in the district of Musanze. These include youth, men and women. Transport and Logistics form an important component in this space.

Finance 

There are now more than 11 bank branches in Musanze District and customers and deposits grew as well. Umurenge Sacco has 16 branches in Musanze.

Agriculture

Musanze district is the most fertile district in the country and this is seen from the produce that the district supplies the rest of the country. The farm land size grew from 2,000 hectares to more than 38,000 hectares. This was directly proportional to the yield since Irish potatoes yield has now grown to 24 tons per hectare as opposed to the 15 tons they used to get per hectare.

15 collection centres were built around the district to facilitate the collection of potatoes from farmers.

Cooperatives with active members rose from 115 to more than 350 in the past 10years. They include members engaged in activities ranging from agriculture, trade, tourism, arts and crafts.

Education

This is a small table to illustrate changes in the education sector in the same district:

20102021
Kindergarten33113
Primary Schools87109
Secondary Schools1171
Universities47
Education Institution Figures, Musanze District, Nothern Province, Rwanda.

Among the listed educational institutions above include public and private ones as well.

Health

As of 2021, Musanze has 16 health centres as opposed to 11 that were there in 2010. Small clinics are presently more than 32 as opposed to just 1 that was there in 2010. This helps in providing quality health care and reduces the time spent by patients while going to hospitals.

Musanze District Hospital

Tourism at the Heart of The Economy

Musanze is considered as the capital city of tourism of Rwanda. This district hosts the Volcanoes National Park which holds more than 700 gorillas. As mentioned above, Burera and Ruhondo lakes play a very important role in the ecosystem of animals in this region of the country.

Twin Lakes – Burera and Ruhondo, Image Source: Trip Advisor

Before covid-19 hit, tourists who visited the Volcanoes National Park used to reach 35,000 per year (2019) and this brought in more than $26 million annually.

In efforts to help in the conservation, the local population of this district benefit as well from this revenue in the form of improved health, farming, education, energy and infrastructure as they get 10% from the collected amount invested across different projects that directly benefit them.

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