Buhanga is a sacred hill located in the Northern Muhanga District, which is also home to Rwanda’s rare mountain gorillas. Some local residents call it Igihondohondo (which means yellow), probably due the colours of its vegetation. The hill played a important role in ancient Rwanda during the coronation of Kings. The lake, in which the king had to bathe before his coronation, called ‘Iriba rya Gihanga’ can still be found in the forest of the sacred hill. Despite its small size (around 13 hectares) the forest is a site of tremendous ecological importance and astonishing beauty.
According to folklore, every Rwandan king, from the first King (Gihanga) to the last one (Kigali Ndahindurwa), has bathed in the waters of the lake. For hundreds of years, local residents refused to either cultivate crops or to cut timber in the area. For lovers of bird-watching, the best time to visit the forest is in the early morning or late afternoon when the birds are at their most active and their songs fill the air.