Red Rocks, Musanze

Hester writes:

I’m a medical student from Holland and I’m doing a science internship for 3 months in Ruhengeri Hospital. I’m staying in Amahoro Guesthouse, which is all ready in the Bradt Guide of Rwanda. Greg, the owner, has a new project now, called RED ROCKS. It’s about 10km outside of Musanze and it is a very nice place to stay if you look for silence, beautifull views at the vulcanos, contact with local people, nice walks around the mountains etc. They grow their own vegetables which you can eat in the little restaurant. You can sleep in the rooms but there’s also a camp site. It’s a very nice and peacefull place and I think Greg is doing a great integration project with the local people. You can work on the land with them, learn their language and learn how to make those typical baskets. The website isn’t online yet, but for more information you should have a look at http://www.amahorotours.com
This is the ultimate intercultural exchange! I would recomment this place to everybody!

8 thoughts on “Red Rocks, Musanze

  1. Isabella says:

    hi I ve worked for Greg at Red Rocks Rwanda - I ran the place for 4 months. This is not an honest "project" unfortunately. Greg is ever interested in obtaining "donations" and volunteer workers but without doing any work himself. He was never interested in improving living conditions of employees at Red Rocks or their wages or their skills - at all. Children and basket weaving ladies are invited only when tourists are around. After I left due to circumstances above I started to receive information about the past of the place. Red Rock used to be orphanage, then pre school facility, then community centre - all build and donated by various organisations, ngo's and private people whom Greg used and exploited to forward his company. They claim majority of children presented to donors and volunteers were not orphans.
    Greg has been changing the name and the profile of his "project" (one of them was Amahoro Integrated Development Program) as these facts were surfacing and more people were started to be disillusioned by him and his "community leader" image.
    If you are a traveller who wants to travel responsibly and is interested in the well being of communities that you visit - you should start asking questions and dig deeper before you commit your time or money to any project.

    • Rodman Southland says:

      My name is Rodman Southland, who got to recently visit the Mountain Gorillas, this summer and would like to share my experience with other travelers.

      When i got to Rwanda, after the trek I wanted to help, and initially had read a lot about Madam Carrie and her Imbabazi Orphanage, but when i got to visit the orphanage it was not longer in operation, as the Rwandan government had to shut down all orphanages , so don’t expect to visit any orphanage in Rwanda on your trip as all orphans were integrated into households and host families.

      I wanted to go into the details to know why, and the steps that Rwanda has taken since 1994 in dealing with issues like orphans and street kids, and on confronting a few people during my trip here I learn that now everyone is looking into development strategies rather than waiting for donations to come in.
      From my conversations with different people, all they were really saying was that Rwanda is now looking into self reliance and not external support from the volunteers or Donors, whose grants are all are not long term sustainability measures to bring about development .
      Most of all the associations were turned in co-operatives and have started making money for the community members.
      Fellow travelers don’t’ miss out some of the cultural tours around Musanze that are being offered by Amahoro tours and Ibyiwacu cultural village.

      More updates include the closure of Ishema Hotel as it’s now the Police command college.

  2. claudia froeschl says:

    hey Isabella, tx for this information, I met a guy who claimed having
    co-founded that site but became very defensive when I asked more questions, to me it seems too tourist catchy and only people who dont know Rwanda and stay there for some days only, dont get it. Friends who know Rwanda very welll were there and said they always had the feeling something is wrong or faky there…

  3. zoe smith says:

    hey Isabella,
    thank for everything , you don’t me, but there are some of us that believe in red rocks and all the projects.I really don’t know what happened to you there, but word of advice get over it and move on. You got fired and its normal and ok, it can happen to anyone.So get ur life together,and grow up both physically & mentally. Find something else to do with your life, and let Africans be, since they seem to know more than you do, may be you should learn something positive from them.
    We all have been honored by getting the chance to have visited red rocks and advice all those that visit Rwanda to go check it out., its worth it!!

    • philipbriggs says:

      Zoe, as the site moderator, I’m reluctantly approving your comment, as I try to avoid censoring feedback, but I should also point out that Isabella’s comments have been backed up by at least three other people associated with Red Rocks and Amahoro Tours over recent years, and personally I have little doubt that they are substantially true. Furthermore, she is expressing specific concerns about one single organisation, not “Africans” as a whole… to be frank, as a neutral, I find that your tone comes across as a lot less ‘grown up’ and more abusive than anything Isabella has written!

  4. Henk Gray says:

    Hello
    Am a volunteer worker with Peace cops in Nyamagabe, during one of my free times i went to Musanze for gorilla trekking, then i got to know about Red Rocks, i went there and i spent 3 nights, people need to be realistic and not complain about this place!
    I had a twin room with shared bathroom, average size room, fly nets were provided, bedroom was clean. I loved my stay there.Breakfast is quite funny..everyday it will be an omelette, toast, banana and tea/coffee
    I did not do this but believe they will prepare a take away lunch for you if you want to take something on the Gorilla trek (i recommend you take something, i had snack bars i all ready had with me).
    All the nights a campfire was prepared an i had time to discuss with the locals and other guests who were accommodated there.I highly recommend the guest house.

    • Paul B says:

      I am glad you enjoyed beds, fly nets etc in Red Rocks Rwanda – I was one of the people who help to build it as an orphanage and local community centre. I NEVER intended it to be Greg Bakunzi private business. From 2009 muznugus in the mist put 2 years of support to this place believing local community, especially children, will benefit from it. New building was build (now dining room) , existing one completely renovated. We added water tanks, heater, solar panel, donated beds, pillows, blackboard , football field etc. We were alerted by children that they are not allowed to come to the centre unless muzungus are around. We discovered “orphans” were children from local families. We still wanted to continue to support local community but we realised that estimated $20k in cash donations towards school fees, books, meals etc has never reached children from Nyakinama. We discovered Greg Bakunzi has been accepting donations from at least two other groups for the same project . When confronted he could not explain to us (or other supporters, like amahoro1919.org), what happened to our donations and efforts. This year Greg reinvented community centre into backpackers, Red Rocks, and he is the sole person ripping profits from it. Classroom was turned into dining room, most equipment disappeared, books and school materials even football posts are gone. Worst, Greg is still using children to promote Red Rocks (just look at their facebook) and his travel company Amahoro Tours. Children should be at school (primary schools in Rwanda are free), under no circumstances children should be used to entertain tourists. All past supporters disassociated themselves from Greg Bakunzi and Amahoro Tours and we continue independently to support local community.

      PS Henk – when you use fake identity , you should at least try to change your name. Henk G (parent to two small children apparently) added positive trip advisor review for Red Rocks. There is another post defending Greg’s conduct posted by Henk who describes herself as “white girl from Canada who has never been to Africa”. Now its “peace cops “ Henk ? Really, coincidence ? You should have at least check the spelling.

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