Urutare rwa Kamegeri (translated as the Rock of Kamegeri in the local Kinyarwanda dialect) is one of the most important cultural and historical sites to be explored by tourists who visit Rwanda during African safaris. The spectacular Rock of Kamegeri is found in Ruhango district and can be visited by tourists to learn about the history of the country and how some of the former Kings administered Justice.
There are several legends about the rock but what is widely believed is that the site tells the story of a man after suggesting criminals be burnt to death on a rock instead suffered his own suggested punishment. It is said that in the late 18th or early 19th Century, an man who was apparently the King’s advisor had suggested to the King that the rock could be the best way of punishing criminals by first heating it with firewood until it turned red hot then strapping the criminal to the rock to bake to death. Unknown to him, that would be his time to die.
Kamegeri was one of the advisors under the time of King (Mwami) Yuhi IV Gahindiro who reigned from 1746 to 1853 and the rock existed without a name but later got its name when Kamegeri suggested a wrong punishment for a man who had reportedly disrespected the King. The King seemed happy with the opinion and ordered it be done and when the rock was red hot, he surprised everyone by ordering Kamegeri and not the criminal be burnt on the rock to get rid of an inhumane person who could propose a cruel and horrible punishment for another human being. Mwami Gahindiro had the reputation for being a fair and non-violent leader much as other legends state that the incident happened during the reign of King Mibambwe Sekarongoro Mutabazi who was leader much earlier.
Make sure to touch the rock when you visit the area because according to the locals, the Rock of Kamegeri is always warm regardless of the prevailing weather of the area. However before taking photos within the area, it is advisable to inform the local guide of your intention to take photos of the rock but not the nearby houses or locals, otherwise, you will be forced to pay money for taking photos of the locals’ houses.
How to get to the Rock of Kamegeri?
When you get to Kigali City, take a bus towards Ruhango or Nyanza where you will ask the locals for the route taking you to the site. Because it is not popular, it may take a number of tries to get someone that knows the site. However, if you are heading from Ruhango towards Nyanza, you will see the site on the left at a stone’s throw from the side of the road. Also, you can take a taxi or cab from one of the Bus stations but make sure to first discuss the price and the driver must know the location of the Rock.
In conclusion, on top of the wildlife species like mountain gorillas, big five animals, chimpanzees, and other natural attractions, tourists visiting Rwanda can also get the chance to explore historical and cultural sites, with Urutare Rwa Kamegeri (Rock of Kamegeri) being one of the most spectacular ones.