Rwanda is home to three ethnic groups that, together, exemplify the history, traditions, and hospitality of the country. Serenity Adventure Safaris highly recommends setting aside some time during your safari adventure to visit local communities and experience Rwanda’s traditional way of life. The largest group in the country is the Tutsi, followed by the Hutu and Twa. Expect to hear delightful and engaging folk tales, riddles, and proverbs when you interact with the Tutsi. While among the Hutu, you may witness a unique ceremony that takes place when a new baby is born in a village. The mother and newborn remain in their house alone for seven days. A naming ceremony is held on the last day, during which the village children join the mother and child. The Twa are pygmy people, known for their pottery, semi-nomadic way of life, and hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Serenity Adventure Safaris specializes in culturally sensitive tours of Rwandan villages, developed in collaboration with the community members, which allow guests to observe day-to-day life in a way that does not undermine the authenticity of the experience. The villagers themselves offer input on the traditions and beliefs they wish to share with the world via these tours, as well as on areas of life they prefer to share only amongst themselves. You will be amazed and touched by the commitment of Rwandans to maintaining their ancestral way of life while living in a modern world. These tours benefit the villages, including Iby’iwacu and Banda, as the activities provide employment—often in lieu of poaching or other desperate ways of earning a living—as well as funding for healthcare, education, and ultimately hope for the future. Visitors to these villages experience the sense of community that binds the people of Rwanda and ensures the future preservation of traditions, as well as Rwanda’s wildlife and wilderness. Our like-minded guests often describe these tribal interactions as the most life-changing and significant aspect of their safari holidays.
You will leave with not only a new knowledge of the people of Rwanda, but also a deep appreciation for their contribution to conservation. By sharing their talents, ideas, and time, they contribute to our understanding of how the needs of humans can be balanced with those of the flora and fauna of Rwanda. Far away from Rwanda’s bustling urban areas are three villages in bush country that are open to visits—Ibyiwacu Village, Banda Village, and Kitabi Cultural Village. Serenity Adventure Safaris can arrange day trips or overnight stays in any one of these villages, or even all three if you desire. If you’re visiting Volcanoes National Park, a day trip to Ibyiwacu Village can easily be added to your vacation itinerary.
The Rwandan village is conveniently located just outside the park in Kinigi, and offers you a chance to make new friends. Your immersion in tribal customs begins immediately upon arrival, with a joyful dance performed to the rhythm of African drums. Other members of the community welcome you with warm smiles and gentle words before guiding you into the village for a tour, which includes a twin of the traditional king’s house. Sit on the throne for a moment and receive the king’s powers from a village elder. Meet a healer who will demonstrate traditional medicine and enlighten you about the grasses, shrubs, and trees that provide the herbal ingredients. Assist villagers with meal preparation and perhaps enjoy a lunch or dinner of traditional dishes. You may also wish to visit a local school, a banana beer brewery, and the place where Batwa (Twa) pottery is made. If you have time for an extended visit to Ibyiwacu Village, we can arrange a unique trip into the surrounding countryside; you can even stay overnight in the village if arrangements are made in advance.
Your second opportunity to meet local people is at Banda Village, which is located in the heart of Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park, just 15 kilometers from Uwinka Visitors Centre. You can access the village via a path at the end of the beautiful Canopy Walk. Once again, you are warmly welcomed with song and dance before touring the village. Traditional basket-weaving, maize-grinding, medicine-making, and a chance to sample the local cuisine are just a few of the ways you can enjoy a personal experience with Rwandan people. Fortuitous timing of your visit may even give you a front-row seat to a traditional wedding ceremony. An overnight stay allows you to watch a fire-making ceremony and special ritual dance.
On the eastern edge of Nyungwe Park is the third village where you can augment our dream cultural safari holiday with African interactions: Kitabi Cultural Village. In addition to the main village, the property includes a model of the king’s palace, a campsite, and a restaurant. Customize your day trip to include things like learning traditional bow-and-target shooting, dance ceremonies, and banana beer production. Serenity Adventure Safaris is your expert tour company for all of these distinct experiences. Our top priority is to give you a memorable travel experience with a personal insider’s look into the world of Rwanda’s indigenous cultures.