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Rwanda

The Rock of Kamegeri

After suggesting criminals be burned to death on this rock, a king's advisor suffered his own punishment. 

There are several different versions of the story, but sources agree that an adviser to an early Rwandan king met a grisly end here, in a very unusual way.

In the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, a man named Kamegeri suggested to his king that this rock could be used to punish criminals, by heating it with firewood until it was red-hot, then strapping the person to the rock to bake to death. 

The king seemed pleased with the idea, and ordered it to be done. Once the rock was unbearably hot, the king surprised everyone by ordering not the criminal, but Kamegeri himself be burnt on the rock, to rid the kingdom of a man who would suggest such a cruel fate. 

According to one authentic report of the tale, the event took place during the reign of  Mwami (“King”) Yuhi IV Gahindiro, who ruled from 1746 to 1853 and had a reputation for being a fair and nonviolent ruler. Other reports have stated it was King Mibambwe Sekarongoro Mutabazi, who ruled much earlier.

The Rock of Kamegeri, or “Urutare rwa Kamegeri” in the native language Kinyarwandastill, still stands in the Ruhango district, and today tourists can visit the historical site where Kamegeri suffered his own cruel punishment. During your visit be sure to touch the rock, as locals say it is always warm no matter the weather.

Know Before You Go

Getting there: Ask at the bus port in Ruhango or Nyanza for a route that will take you by the rock - it may take a couple tries to find someone who knows! In Kinyarwanda the rock is called: Urutare rwa Kamegeri. Most drivers will be happy to let you hop off by the rock. Heading from Ruhango towards Nyanza it is on the left, just near the side of the road. If you want to stop for photos and exploration, you'll need to flag down another bus to return or continue onward.Alternatively, you could grab a taxi from one of the bus ports, but be sure to discuss price first and make sure the driver knows where he is headed. At the rock:There is a guard nearby who will be annoyed if he thinks you are taking photos of his building, so make sure you make it clear that you are simply there to see the rock (photos of the rock should be free of charge) before you start snapping!