Ndaba Rock in Rwanda

Ndaba Rocks and waterfalls-locally known as “Urutare rwa Ndaba” is part of the captivating cultural and historic sites in Rwanda. This remarkable attraction is located in Karongi district, on the road heading to Kigali or Kibuye and Gitarama, 12 kilometers/7.5miles to the Karongi district Headquarters and 28 kilometers/17 miles to Kibuye City Center.  This site is one of Rwanda’s most-visited tourist sites, not just for its appearance but the mythical/legendary stories that surround it.

The legendary story surrounding this feature is more interesting than its physical formation. It is believed that a man called Ndaba lived in the area that is the modern time location of the waterfalls. As usual, this man went to harvest honey and hunt wild meat in the Forest with his friends. There was one particular rock that had large quantities of honey, which drew many people from the surrounding forest. As Ndaba was walking and hoping that it is his fortunate day, he sighted a cracked rock that had big honey combs, yet it was not very common for him to see such large honey combs dripping with honey.

Because they were moving as a group of hunters, he called out his friends to see what was in the rock as he went closer to the rock to investigate what was inside the rock, only to realize it was honey combs. When he got to the bottom of the rock, he started filling his stomach with honey using both hands (with a lot of greed). What surprised Ndaba were the large quantities of honey, that even the presence of the bees didn’t worry him.

His friends later arrived when the greedy Ndaba was already at the base of the rock and they tried lowering their pots so that he could fill them with honey, so that they can pull both Ndaba and the pots of honey. He forgot about his friends and was surpassed by greed and filled his stomach more than he put into the pots as they had earlier agreed. It was becoming darker and Ndaba’s friend started becoming agitated /and impatient, then began calling out to him to hurry up since it was getting dark. Unfortunately the gluttonous Ndaba could not pay attention to their call until the enraged men drew up their pots and left him at the bottom of the rock but funnily, he did not even realize when the other men had left. When he had eventually filled his stomach, he tried to climb back from the bottom of the rock but the walls of the rock were very wet and slippery and the fact that he was very full and heavier than when he descended. He attempted to climb but all in vain and as a punishment for his selfishness and greed, his friends did not come back to his rescue. In the attempt to climb the rock, he fell and died at the bottom of the rock beside the honeycombs and to the present time, the place is named the Ndaba Rock. The story of Ndaba teaches Rwandan locals and Tourists not to be gluttonous, as greed only brings trouble and conflicts among local community members. One of the most breathtaking features at the rock is the waterfalls which tourists are always astonished at. Tourists not only get marveled buy the rock and waterfalls but are also attracted for invigorating activities such as rock climbing.

Access to Ndaba Rock and waterfalls

Karongi district where this spectacular feature is located is about 2 hours’ drive from Kigali Town and normally explored while on the way to Karongi district because it is located near the highway. You can plan a Rwanda safari featuring visits to this rich cultural and heritage site including the popular Ndaba rock and waterfalls found within Karongi district.