When I think of caves I think of cathedral size limestone voids followed by narrow ways that only Claudia Schiffer can fit through. Oh and stalagmites and stalactites. Always remember: tights come down… So this was my mind set when I set off to the Masanze caves.
When I expressed these thoughts the reply came from our friend, “No no they are volcanic caves”. “Volcanic caves?”. “Yep”. What was he saying? Only time would tell as we drove through Musanze town. We turned right and proceeded to drive 30 minutes away from the caves to national park office. After a battle with the office we over the residence status of a few of us (there were victories and defeats on both sides), we were on our way back to the caves. Another 30 minutes.
Now it is as this point that we began to suspect that we were the first people to visit the caves on the formal tour (It turn out the caves opened officially three weeks later). Mostly oblivious to the guinea pig situation, we went to gear up at the tourism office in Musanze. Our “guide” brought out wellington boots, water proof trousers and jacket, hard hat, water proof gloves and torches. When this all came out we wondered what had we let ourselves in for. Would we be sliding down waterfalls or swimming through lakes..?? During the short drive to the caves our guard display behaviour that made it clear that he had no idea where we were going. We parked up in a school playing field. Normal? We put on the protective clothing and began a nut sweating march to the entrance to the caves. By the time we reached caves all our clothes unearth the waterproofs we soaked in our sweat. Despite this we all had smiley faces for the groups photos.
We entered the caves ready for battering of water we were surely about to receive. And there was… not a hint of water, a perfectly formed walk way through the caves and some bats. Halfway through we all mutinied and took most of our protective clothing off and completed the rest of the caves in infinitely more comfort. We emerged just on the far side of the Musanze-Gysensi road with the nonchalant armed guard looking down at us.
Having caved all over north England I found the Musanze caves a bit pants but if you have nothing else to do take a look.