Welcome to Rwanda, one of the three destinations in the world where you can go for mountain gorilla tracking experience. These are found in Volcanoes National Park with over 10 habituated gorilla groups. Each gorilla trekking permit costs US$1500 in Rwanda.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park are the other destinations for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda with about 18 habituated gorilla groups, and each permit here costs US$700 starting July 2020. The last place to go gorilla trekking is the Magnificent Virunga National Park in the Democratic Congo Republic. This is one of the best places to go gorilla trekking in Africa with big gorilla groups and huge silver-back gorillas in the impenetrable Virunga Jungles.
Besides gorilla tours in Rwanda, the country is blessed with unique cultures exhibited in the following cultural villages;
- Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village / Gorilla Guardians in Volcanoes National Park
This is a non-profit community project situated on the outskirts of Volcanoes national park in Musanze. The initiative aims at transforming livelihoods of the native Rwandans as well as former poachers in Volcanoes national park.
Ibyiwachu cultural village has been one of the most successful community projects initiated to protect and conserve the endangered mountain gorillas and other wildlife in Volcanoes national park as well as improving the overall visitor experience by engaging in cultural entertainment, learn about traditions, dances, art / craft work and a chance to meet local people in their natural environment.
Visitors who wish to get a deeper insight into the first hand cultural and behavioral experience of the locals can stay for overnight as the village offers home stays.
Visitors here have variety of activities to engage in depending on their the preferences and these include; Community walks to visit different community sites to get acquainted and get a deeper insight into the everyday life of the people of Rwanda, visit the king’s house where you will enjoy ancient stories and learning about the royal items used in the palace, visitors are introduced to different traditional dances typical of Rwandan culture.
Some of these dances include; Iningiri, Umuduri, Inanga, Ibyivugo, Ingoman, Amakondera, and Ikembe, get to enjoy popular songs of the gorillas performed by Ngayabatema commonly referred to as Kayuku and also have an opportunity to visit the shrines for traditional healers to learn about African medicine by using medicinal trees, grass, shrubs and plant roots and their specific medicinal importance.
Other cultural activities performed at Iby’iwachu village include; visitors helping locals in preparing traditional meals, attending the local banana brewery process and tasting the local beers, get chance to exchange ideas with the local people through sharing cultural experiences, meet the reformed poachers who are now avid conservationists, visit the Batwa people and enjoy their pottery, their ancient hunting tools, ways of life and participate in local games, particularly football with community members.
At Iby’iwachu cultural village, visitors can also opt to engage in agriculture tourism where they join locals in their fields and engage in growing and harvesting different crops. Also take a tour to particular model farms and appreciate top notch advanced farming practices and different agro-processed products.
The “Igitaramo” is another cultural moment where you all converge around a fire place in the evening and enjoy the traditional dances after sunset, participate in riddles, story-telling from village elders, and many more. The tour to Iby’iwachu cultural village is most convenient and appropriate after gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park, starting from late afternoon up to dusk before bed time.
Cultural villages near Nyungwe forest national park
Nyungwe forest is not only famous for being naturally diverse, but also a center for exploring rich authentic Rwandan culture and traditions.
Nyungwe forest and the neighborhood is now a haven for cultural tours in Rwanda, given the increased number of community based initiatives geared towards the preservation of Rwandan culture as well as conservation of biodiversity.
Several community-based projects have been initiated, particularly Kitabi and Banda cultural villages. Kitabi cultural village is situated in the eastern edge of Nyungwe national park while Banda cultural village is only 15 km away from the Uwinka Park headquarter. Both villages have numerous cultural encounters that include restaurants, traditional campsites and visit to the king’s palace.
- Kitabi Cultural Village
At Kitabi cultural village, visitors get opportunities to discover myriad of ancient Rwandan music, traditional cuisine, dance, history and a great deal of hospitable and warm people. Visitors can get a chance to learn and participate in different activities, which include attending traditional wedding ceremonies, food tasting, basket weaving and other craft work and traditional milk preservation.
- Banda Cultural Village
Situated just 15 km way from the Uwinka Park headquarters, the Banda cultural village can be conveniently reached by following a simple hike towards the edge of canopy walkway. This village presents an ideal community which has been inhabited by natives over 50,000 years, and in addition visitors learn about Rwanda’s dance, music and traditional cuisine.
This place provides a perfect break for visitors to admire enriching cultural encounters at the heart of present-day Rwanda where authentic and popular culture of Rwanda welcomes you.
Authentic art and craft products include a mixture of musical instruments that can be purchased in this village to enhance memories.
The hospitable and warm people, the cultural diverse populace makes Rwanda one of the friendliest countries in East Africa next to her counterpart Uganda Africa’s number one friendly country.