In the western part of Rwanda lies a remarkable example of community-based tourism, a concept that transcends traditional travel experiences. Red Rocks Rwanda, nestled amidst breathtaking landscapes, stands as a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives. This is the story of my solo journey to this unique destination, where the spirit of community and the beauty of the surroundings intertwine to create an unforgettable adventure.

Understanding Community-Based Tourism (CBT)

Community-based tourism is a transformative approach that empowers local communities, fosters sustainable development, and invites travellers to immerse themselves in authentic cultural experiences. Unlike conventional tourism, this model places the community at the center, ensuring that economic, social, and environmental benefits are shared among its members.

Exploring Activities at Red Rocks RwandaExploring Activities at Red Rocks Rwanda

Situated in Musanze, at the foothills of the Virunga Mountains, Red Rocks Rwanda was conceived as a community-driven project. Established to harness the potential of tourism for positive change, it has evolved into a hub where visitors engage with the local community, contributing to their well-being and preserving cultural heritage. During my visit, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the community’s process of making organic handmade banana beer, preparing wood-fire recipes for lunch, and I even dabbled in basket weaving!

Getting There: Solo Travel on a Budget

From Kigali, I researched transportation options to Musanze, where Red Rocks is located. While taxis were available at a cost of $150, this didn’t align with my budget as a solo traveller. So, as you might have guessed, I decided to brave the bus yet again (I’m getting really good at taking them!) – this cost only $5 and took approximately 2 hours. Despite the winding roads and a few heart-wrenching turns, the breathtaking scenery and sense of adventure made it all worthwhile. You can also opt to take a moto taxi to your destination with a backpack in front of you and on your back. I didn’t mind the long bus ride too much though, the ride was incredibly scenic, and I kept thinking, “This life could be worse.” This was the adventure I sought for so long – freedom and empty roads, to a background of volcanoes that almost looks like your laptop screensaver – doesn’t get any better than this, really.

As I travel, people often question my motives, my route, etc. especially on the bus, where a foreign woman travelling on her own is not a common sight. But as I often mention in my Youtube videos, what gets me in the zone most of the time is the interaction with people and unearthing cultural similarities. During my travels I often realise I’m a proud Moroccan, as I literally can’t shut up about it! This passion for Africa often leads to a sense of commonality and grounding that puts people at ease immediately. So, after numerous justifications as to why I wasn’t married, the conversation with strangers on the bus almost always settles with, “So, tell me more about Morocco, Africa.” This interaction often led to enriching conversations and a deeper sense of connection locals with fellow travellers alike.

Recommendation Rating (Conclusion):

As a huge fan of Rwanda since my first visit in February 2022, I can attest to the country’s unparalleled greenery and cleanliness. Returning for a second time, I was eager to delve deeper into Rwanda’s initiatives for sustainability. I highly recommend Red Rocks to backpackers, campers, and road trip enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re interested crossing Africa overland, embarking on mountain trekking adventure, or Gorilla tracking, Red Rocks serves as an excellent transit point and a destination to learn about sustainable tourism and traditional practices firsthand.”