Nairobi News


Rwanda’s traditional massage parlours that have got tourists swooning – PHOTOS

Rubavu, Rwanda

Traditional massage parlours on the beaches of Lake Kivu in Rwanda are a completely different ball game.

Unlike Nairobi where massage parlours are a closed door affair, in the hilly resort town of Rubavu, a town on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, residents have dug out traditional parlours for open air massages.

Lake Kivu is Africa’s eighth largest lake and sits on the western branch of the East African Rift. The volcanic activity underneath it makes the water hot and with a chemical composition of medicinal value.

Tour guides claim the temperatures can reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius.


In the carefully dug out parlours in the beaches, traditional masseurs charge between 10,000 to 20,000 Rwanda Francs (about Ksh1, 500 to Ksh2, 500) for body massage to both men and women.

The masseurs claim to have an ability to treat back and muscle pains.

Visitors with leg pains are advised to step into the hot water at a fee of 1, 000 Rwanda Francs (about Ksh150). This reportedly heals the fatigue and muscle pain which we continuously ignore.

This reporter found scores of ‘patients’ – most of them elderly and pregnant women – in the parlours. Many did not mind getting half-naked for a dose of treatment.

There also exists a sauna of sorts nearby where men get buried in warm sand for about 30 minutes to ‘relax’.