Iby’iwacu Cultural Village – Now known as Gorilla Guardian Village
Iby’iwacu Cultural Village (Gorilla Guardian Village) in Rwanda is one of the places that make Rwanda such an amazing country with amazing nature and countless green hills. The Rwandan government, through its tourism board, has positioned the country as one of Africa’s leading tourism destinations despite its smaller size and fewer natural resources compared to its neighbors. One of the latest additions to the menu for potential visitors to the country is the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village (also known as the Gorilla Guardian Cultural Village) in Musanze District. The word “Iby’iwacu” is Kinyarwanda and means “treasure of our homeland and heritage”. Iby’iwacu Cultural Village is one of Rwanda’s main cultural sites. The village brings together all the known cultural traditions, people, and history of Rwanda in one place for presentation and personal experience.
Visitors to Iby’iwacu Cultural Village
International visitors can learn about life in a typical African village – lifestyle, houses, traditional dances, dress codes, food, herbs, and the general organization of ancient kingdoms. Visitors have the opportunity to learn ancient hunting skills and try basket/mat weaving, and woodworking. This unique experience has won the hearts of many tourists who want to immerse themselves in the culture of Rwanda’s indigenous communities after visiting the capital Kigali, seeing gorillas, and trekking through mountains such as Karisimbi.
It’s also a great place to relax while offering the chance to buy local crafts, gifts, and souvenirs to take home with friends. In addition to helping to generate significant income and publicity, the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village is a unifying factor for Rwandan cultural/tribal groups such as the Tutsi, Hutu, and Batwa. This recreation center helps foster a sense of unity based on a shared ideology. Many local entertainers like the Batwa were once poachers, and the Gorilla Guardian Cultural Village gives them a chance to do something different, something that helps them earn a living for their families while protecting them from poaching.
What to expect at the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village?
As we have outlined, the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village aims to offer many interesting learning activities while allowing visitors to relax and experience the local culture. Visitors are usually greeted by loud dancing and drumming in front of the gate, which is just an indicator of the many big events to come. Let’s take a closer look at some of the activities below.
Home Visits and Community Walks:
The best way to learn about human diversity is through interaction, sharing, and general immersion in the cultures of different communities. Home visits and neighborhood walks at the Gorilla Guardian Village provide visitors with an excellent opportunity to learn about the uniqueness of the Kinya Rwandan culture and heritage culture. During your visit to the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village, you can sit side by side with the locals in their traditional homes and thatched huts. As you sit, the elders will share information and stories about Rwanda and its rich history/heritage. You will have the opportunity to visit a local banana and vegetable plantation. You can even learn the art of traditional cooking or use a special grinding stone to make fine millet flour.
Walking together is also a great learning experience. The guide will take you to some of the local schools and learn about the local education system while interacting with the students and pupils. A particularly fun activity on these neighborhood walks is the many local art shops selling local paintings, knitwear, beautiful flower pots, and more.
See, Listen, And Dance To Traditional Music, Dance, And Drama:
Music, dance, and drama define African tradition and culture because it creates a sense of belonging. For visitors interested in traditional music, the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village offers the opportunity to listen to several unique local music, including Ingoma, Amakondera, Umuduri, Inanga, Inikiri, Ibyivugo, and Agakenke. Each sound is unique, with specific instruments and dance styles/steps.
Nature is an example. This popular samurai dance is performed by men in straw robes with small bells around their legs, holding spears in mock battles, or as a way to celebrate victory over an enemy. These smiling and happy young men and women will eagerly invite you to dance or at least learn to play the drums.
Visit the Royal Palace:
One of the most fun things to do while visiting the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village is to visit the Royal Palace, which shows how the ancient kings ruled and ruled their courts.
The old kings of Rwanda were not only feared but also fully respected. The king has supreme power and will make decisions that must be carried out without further questions. All royal activities and ceremonies take place in the royal palace under the supervision of kings, queens, princesses, princes, clan leaders, and high-ranking visitors. The residence of King Iby’iwacu paints an accurate picture of the setting of an ancient African kingdom, where all the symbols represent power, including information about each clan. The guide will help you explain and answer all your questions by looking at each character.
Meet a Traditional Healer at Iby’iwacu Cultural Village
In ancient times (and even today), traditional healers played an important role in their societies. People turned to them when they had any ailments. These traditional healers use medicinal plants, branches, roots, and shrubs to help heal certain ailments. Healers know how to use these substances and have studied their use over the years based on knowledge and ideas passed down through thousands of generations.
They proudly tell how traditional medicine survived the colonial era and is still relevant in the modern era. At the Gorilla Guardian Cultural Village, you will meet traditional healers who want to show you how local medicine works. Because they use natural remedies, you can try some local herbs – you may be surprised to find a cure or relief from an illness you’ve been battling for years.
Visit the Batwa Community:
The Batwa pygmies are former forest hunters and fruit gatherers who once lived in the dense forests of Rwanda and Uganda. Decades ago, the government kicked them out of the forest and settled in new areas outside the forest. Some of them are located in the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village. Since engaging in life outside the forest and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by tourism, the Batwa have contributed greatly to tourism in Uganda and Rwanda. Abandoning poaching and forest hunting and gathering, the Batwa learned ceramics, art, design, dance, and drama. At the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village, you will admire their demonstrated hunting skills such as setting animal traps, using spears, bows, and more.
Drinking Local Beer:
In addition to the pleasure and relaxation of drinking, drinking local beer in a group is a unifying activity in a traditional African social setting. This is especially true for many ceremonies such as harvest and welcoming. To fit in and participate in these rituals, one must participate in drinking. When you visit the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village, you will learn how banana beer is produced and fermented. You should actively participate and take at least a sip of the final product.
Special Guidelines To Consider While At Iby’iwacu Cultural Village
- As with any organized environment, the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village has a set of rules and norms that must be observed and followed on-site. Here are some things to consider when visiting a cultural center:
- Visitors are prohibited from littering the Iby’iwacu Cultural Centre. To maintain cleanliness in the cultural center, waste bins are placed in certain places.
- While hunting, you must respect nature, especially at the Gorilla Guardian Cultural Village. Visitors are requested not to harm the natural environment, especially plants and any other green vegetation in the village.
- You must be sensitive to local norms and customs so as not to appear disrespectful. For example, try to use your right hand when eating downtown or greeting locals. It is considered respectful to use both hands when exchanging gifts with the locals.
- Always ask for permission before using the camera.
- If you need further clarification on anything, feel free to ask your guide or elders.
- Respect for diversity is important, especially when visiting a multicultural and ethnic environment such as the Iby’iwacu Cultural Centre. Dress appropriately and don’t reveal too much of your figure.
- Foreign tourists are also encouraged to talk to locals about their culture – there are always differences and similarities in cultures and the way things are done everywhere.
- Engage will also try to be kind and humble in the village. Be patient while the locals describe and share information.
- Take the safety of residents seriously. If you have donations or gifts, please give them to the appropriate authorities.
Deks Uganda Safaris most Rwanda tour packages include a visit to the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village as it is one of the best places in Rwanda. This large cultural center is the perfect base for some of Rwanda’s most famous tourist activities, such as mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park, rock climbing, or cycling the Congo Nile Trail. Due to its uniqueness, we believe a visit to the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village will be one of the most memorable African safari experiences.