Visit the Gorilla Guardian Village in Rwanda

On top of the gorgeous scenery and numerous green hills, the Gorilla Guardian Village in Rwanda is one of the locations that make Rwanda a great nation. Rwanda’s government, through the Tourism Board, has positioned the country as one of the major tourist destinations in Africa, despite its small size and less natural resources than her neighbors.

The Gorilla Guardian village in Rwanda, which also known as Ibyi’wacu Village, in the District of Musanze is a new significant addition to the menu for possible tourists to the country. The term “Iby’iwacu” is Kinyarwanda for “treasures of our home and heritage.” Most Rwanda gorilla safaris are completed without a visit to the traditional village of Iby’iwacu. Tourists may learn about and enjoy traditional Rwandan culture at the cultural village. The Iby’iwacu cultural hamlet is notable for the fact that the great majority of its males are reformed poachers who are now participating in conservation efforts within Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

The Gorilla Guardian Village in Rwanda is one of the country’s most important cultural attractions. The Village brings together all of Rwanda’s well-known cultural customs, people, and history in one location for display and personal experience. International tourists may experience what life was like in a typical African village environment, including the lifestyle, dwellings, traditional dances, dress code, food, herbs, and how old kingdoms were managed in general.

Tourists may learn historical hunting techniques, weave baskets/mats, and do carpentry. This one-of-a-kind experience has gained the hearts of many people who want to immerse themselves in Rwandan culture after seeing the gorillas and trekking or mountain like Karisimbi.  It’s also a terrific spot to unwind while shopping for local crafts, presents, and souvenirs to show friends back home.

Aside from the significant revenue and exposure it generates, the Iby’iwacu cultural center acts as a unifying element for Rwanda’s cultural/tribal groupings such as Tutsis, Hutus, and Batwa. This entertainment center promotes a sense of unity based on a similar shared concept.

Many of the local artists, such as the Batwa, were formerly poachers, and the Gorilla Guardians Cultural Village has provided them with an opportunity to do something new, something that allows them to support their families while keeping them away from poaching.

What to expect during your visit to the Gorilla Guardian Village in Rwanda?

As we’ve seen briefly, the Iby’iwacu Cultural Centre is meant to provide numerous fascinating learning opportunities while also allowing you to relax and get a sense of the local culture. You will be greeted at the front entrance by loud dancing and drumming, which is simply an indication of the numerous exciting events that await them.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the activities below:

Visit local homesteads in the community

Interacting, sharing, and generally immersing oneself in the customs of many groups is the greatest approach to grasp the variety within the human species. While visiting the Gorilla Guardians Village, you will have several opportunities to learn about the cultural distinctiveness of Kinyarwanda culture and tradition through home visits and community walks.

A visit to the Gorilla Guardian Village in Rwanda allows you to sit with the residents in their traditional dwellings and grass covered shelters. As you sit, the elders will share facts and anecdotes about Rwanda and its rich history/heritage with you. You will be given the opportunity to see local banana and vegetable plantations. You could even learn how to prepare one of the traditional dishes or how to create fine millet flour with a unique grinding stone.

The community stroll is also an excellent learning opportunity. As you interact with the kids and students, a guide will take you to explore some of the local schools and learn the education system in place. During these community walks, one of the most intriguing activities is visiting the various local art businesses, which sell local artwork, woven clothing, exquisite pots, and much more.

Watch traditional Rwandan dance performances from the Intore dance group.

Music, dance, and theatre characterize African heritage and culture by providing a feeling of identity. For tourists interested in traditional music, the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village in Rwanda gives opportunity to listen to various distinct indigenous musical sounds such as the Ingoma, Amakondera, Umuduri, Inanga, Iningiri, Ibyivugo, and Agakenke. Each sound is distinct, with its own set of musical instruments and dancing style/steps.

One example is the Intore dance troupe. Men in grass clothes and small bells wrapped around their legs do this classic warrior dance while holding out spears in a pretend fight or to celebrate victory over an opponent. These young men and women will be eager to encourage you to join them in the dance or at the very least to learn how to drum.


Visit the former King’s Palace.

The King’s palace – an area illustrating how the ancient Kings reigned and ran their courts – is one of the intriguing things to see while visiting the Iby’iwacu cultural village. In Rwanda, ancient monarchs were not only feared, but also revered. The monarchs possessed the ultimate power and made judgments that had to be followed without question.

All kingdom events and ceremonies were held at the monarch’s palace, under the supervision of the monarch, queens, princesses, princes, clan heads, and high-level guests. The King’s residence in Iby’iwacu depicts an old African kingdom setting, complete with the symbols of authority and information about each clan. As you move through each sign, a guide will assist clarify and answer any of your queries.

Meet the traditional herbalists/healers.

Traditional healers played an important role in their communities in ancient times (and still do now). People sought their advice anytime they were ill. Traditional healers employed herbs, tree branches, roots, bushes, and other plants to treat recognized ailments. The healers understand how to administer these substances and have researched their usage for many years, based on information and concepts passed down through hundreds of generations.

They are proud to tell the story of how traditional medicine has survived colonial times to remain important in current times. You will meet several traditional healers who will be ready to show how the native remedies operate while visiting the Gorilla Guardians Cultural Village. Because they employ natural treatments, you are allowed to experiment with some of the local plants – you may be shocked to find a solution for or alleviation from an ailment you have been suffering from for years.

The Batwa Cultural Tour in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Visit the neighboring Batwa Community.

The Batwa pygmies were previously forest hunters and fruit gatherers who lived in Rwanda and Uganda’s deep woodlands. Governments expelled them from the forests decades ago and relocated them to other areas outside the forest. Some are assigned to the Iby’iwacu Cultural Centre. Since embracing life outside the forest and seizing the opportunities afforded by tourism, the Batwa have made significant contributions to the tourist industry in Uganda and Rwanda.

After forsaking poaching and hunting and gathering in the jungle, the Batwa have learned ceramics, art and design, dancing, and theater. You will be impressed by their display of hunting abilities such as setting up animal traps and utilizing equipment such as spears, bows, and arrows when visiting the Iby’iwacu traditional village

Taste Locally-made brew.

Aside from the enjoyment and relaxation that alcohol provides, drinking local beer in a group setting was a uniting activity within the African traditional social environment. This was especially true during the many festivities such as new harvest and welcome babies. To blend in and look engaged during these events, one had to partake in the drinking. You will learn how to make and ferment banana beer while visiting the Iby’iwacu traditional hamlet. You are expected to actively engage, culminating with a sip of the finished product.

What you should know before visiting the Gorilla Guardian Village in Rwanda.

The Iby’iwacu cultural center, like any other structured environment, has its own set of regulations and conventions that must be obeyed and respected while on its premises. Here are some topics to think about when exploring the cultural center:

Visitors are not permitted to leave rubbish at the Iby’iwacu Cultural Centre. Rubbish bins have been strategically placed throughout the cultural center to preserve order. Throughout your safari, you must respect wildlife, and this is especially true at the Gorilla Guardians Cultural Village. Visitors are advised not to harm the natural environment, particularly plants and other green cover inside the town. To prevent appearing rude, you must be aware of local norms and customs. When dining or greeting residents in the center, for example, try to use your right hand. When exchanging gifts with a native, it is customary to use both hands.

Always obtain permission before using your camera. When you need clarification on something, feel free to ask your tour guide or the elders. Respect for difference is especially crucial while visiting a multicultural and ethnic setting like the Iby’iwacu cultural center. Dress modestly without exposing too much skin. Foreign tourists are invited to converse with natives about their own cultures – there will always be variances and similarities in civilizations and the way things are done from place to place. While in the hamlet, Engage will also make an effort to look pleasant and modest. Be patient while the locals describe and share knowledge with you. Local residents’ safety is prioritized. If you have any donations or presents, please provide them to the appropriate authorities.

Other places that you can visit in Rwanda besides the Gorilla Guardian Village.

There are a number of alternative tourist sites that you can visit in Rwanda besides the renowned Gorilla Guardian Village and these include;

Volcanoes National Park.

The most popular activity to do in Rwanda is gorilla trekking at Volcanoes National Park. This Rwandan national park, which shares a border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is home to an increasing number of critically endangered mountain gorillas. Experts believe that there are around 600 gorillas in the park, a huge increase from the estimated 240-250 animals in 1981. To see one of the 18 habituated mountain gorilla families, you must purchase one of the restricted number of day hiking permits for $1,500. The most convenient option is to use a reliable tour operator, who can also organize transportation from Kigali to the park headquarters.

The trek to see mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park normally lasts four to eight hours, with the most of the time spent traveling through mysterious bamboo woods, natural meadows, and marshy places. The park guides will finally introduce you to one of the habituated gorilla families. You’ll spend an hour watching the animals feed, care for their young, and interact with one another. In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is often regarded as a risk-free pastime. The gorillas are mainly unconcerned about their human guests. Armed guides who interact with the gorillas using a variety of clicking noises keep tourists safe from any risks, making the experience one you’ll never forget.

Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Nyungwe Forest National Park, one of Africa’s most significant forest conservation sites, offers a stunning array of biodiversity, including 1,068 plant species, 322 bird species, and 75 types of animals. The majority of visitors come to this rainforest to monitor chimps that park officials have acclimated to people. This animal encounter is less expensive than gorilla trekking but no less amazing.

The company of primates isn’t the only thing to do in Nyungwe. The park also has East Africa’s only canopy walk, which is about a 90-minute hike from the Uwinka Visitor Center. You’ll stroll across a 91-meter-long suspension bridge that dangles more than 50 meters above the lush rainforest, giving you a dizzying perspective of the far trees and mountains.

Best Time to Visit Rwanda

Akagera National Park.

A journey to Africa would be incomplete without a game drive. Akagera National Park, located two and a half hours from Kigali, may satisfy tourists’ desire to go on safari. Akagera and its wildlife have made a remarkable rebound from near extinction during the Rwandan genocide, thanks to the African Parks organization. The 1,140-square-kilometer area (one of Central Africa’s largest protected wetlands) currently supports all five Big Five species, as well as a plethora of birds and antelope.

You’ll need a lot of luck to spot a lion or rhino-conservationists are still working on increasing their numbers, and there aren’t many in Akagera right now. On a self-drive safari, you’ll have no problem spotting zebras, hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants, and giraffes. The terrain is as beautiful as the creatures that dwell here. The landscape will change dramatically from savannah plains to wetlands and lakes. Hire one of the park’s knowledgeable guides at the visitor center. They have insider information on where to find the wildlife animals that you may be looking for in particular.

Lake Kivu.

After all of your outdoor excursions, you’ll be ready to rest–and there’s no better location to relax in Rwanda than Lake Kivu. Rwanda’s biggest lake is a 2,700-square-kilometer emerald-green sanctuary surrounded by foggy mountains. Take it all in from Rubavu, a tourist town on Lake Kivu’s northern coast. It boasts a vibrant waterfront, a sandy beach, and beautiful facilities (including the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel). A few days in this tranquil village will rejuvenate you. With Kingfisher Journeys, you may go even closer to the landscape. The tour operator can organize a spectacular sunset kayak excursion on Lake Kivu with singing fisherman, as well as multi-day paddling expeditions that will take your breath away.

Kayaking on Lake Kivu

In conclusion; at Laba Africa Expeditions, we include a visit to the Gorilla Guardian Village in most of our Rwanda Safaris especially if you are booking with us a gorilla trekking safari to Volcanoes national park. We are confident that seeing the Gorilla Guardian Village in Rwanda will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your safari because of its uniqueness.

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John Doe

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