Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony, commonly known as “Kwita Izina” in the local language has been once again celebrated for this year. This year’s event took place at Musanze, in the Northwest of the country near Volcanoes National Park where Rwanda’s mountain gorillas reside.
Kwita Izina is a gorilla-naming ceremony where newborn gorillas in the previous year are given names and the country has made it an annual event with several guests invited across the globe to take part in it.
The Rwanda Development Board which is in charge of the country’s tourism sector underline that the ceremony is aimed at conserving the gorilla population in Volcanoes National Park and also to help monitor the individual gorillas and the groups to which they belong.
Several prominent personalities and public figures both local and international especially those who are interested in gorilla conservation have always attended the event.
In addition to celebrating Kwita Izina, several other tourism-related activities take place during the week in the buildup to the ceremony.
In the buildup to the grand Kwita Izina ceremony, Rwanda Development Board this time organized a 9-days special tour package which included game drives in Akagera National Park. Other tours on the package would even continue after the ceremony for another 2 days.
The Kwita Izina ceremony was launched in 2005 with the purpose of not only naming the newly born mountain gorillas but also to raise awareness of the importance of protecting gorillas and their habitat at both local and international levels.
What is involved in the Kwita Izina tour package?
Arrival and Kigali City Tour
Be picked up from Kigali International Airport upon your arrival and transferred directly into the heart of Kigali for several city tour activities. Among the prominent places, you can visit include the genocide memorial sites, local markets and crafts centers.
Accommodation is arranged according to your budget with both high end and midrange options available and you will be transferred back to your lodge or hotel for dinner and resting at the end of every day’s tour.
Akagera National Park in the East is Rwanda’s largest savanna park with a variety of wildlife including lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, among others. You enjoy viewing all these on an incredible game drive through the park upon arrival. Later after lunch, you enjoy a boat ride on Lake Ihema located in the park where you can get a chance to see the large resident crocodiles and view amazing birds like the Fish at the Bird Island.
Nyungwe Canopy Walk
The Canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park in the Southwest of Rwanda is one of the major highlights in this tour package. There are three spanning bridges of the canopy each standing high at over 50 meters and the length of over 160 meters. Enjoy spectacular bird views while on the canopy walkway and an aerial view of the magnificent tropical rainforest of Nyungwe.
As you drive to Nyungwe, you will enjoy unbelievable scenes like the cultural heritage centers of Rwanda with a stopover at the King Royal Palace Museum.
In addition to the canopy walk, go deep in the forest the following morning and track man’s closest cousins, the chimpanzees. Meet other amazing primates that also live in this forest including colobus monkeys and other species like birds and reptiles.
In the evening you will be taken for relaxation at Karongi where you can enjoy beautiful lakeside views before being transferred back to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Kwita Izina Ceremony
The ceremony marks the climax of this tour package. All guests assemble at Kinigi, the headquarters of Volcanoes National Park where the ceremony is held each year. In addition to naming the newborn gorillas, the event also showcases a number of programs including performances from cultural, local and international artists to entertain the guests. A few communications from key public figures including President Paul Kagame who always attends the event are also observed.
Later in the evening, the ceremony is concluded by a short community visit at the Red Rocks Community Camp where you will see and try your hand at exciting local activities like basket weaving, beer brewing, music, food preparation, and tasting.
Gorilla trekking experience
Early in the morning, embark on Rwanda’s greatest wildlife encounter as you enter deep into the montane forest of Volcanoes National Park to trek mountain gorillas
Before you ascend the forest, you will first attend a short briefing from the park officials and park rangers at the headquarters for guidance on the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking.
On reaching the gorillas, you will enjoy their company for a full hour as you observe how they play feed and communicate to each other.
Optional City Tour and departure
After gorilla trekking, you will be transferred back to Kigali to spend your final night in the country at your booked hotel for dinner and overnight. Early in the morning after breakfast, you may opt to for a city tour around Kigali where you can visit local markets like Kimironko fruit market, Nyamirambo women’s center, and the art and crafts centers.
After the city tour, set off to Kigali International Airport for your departure flight.